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When using the Craft skill to create armor. It says the difficulty to create an armor is 10+AC bonus. So, can I create an armor that gives 25 AC? The DC would be 35. I wonder if it's possible to create only existing armor. How does it work?

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Ultimately, you can craft anything with the DMs permission, and nothing without it. Most games assume the printed armors are available and others are not, but you can always ask your DM to homebrew a 25-AC armor and let you craft it. I doubt he will; I wouldn’t. But he might, (probably) doesn’t hurt to ask.

What does hurt is actually making it.

The DC would be 35, not 25, and considering that 25 AC would be massive, the armor would have to be phenomenally expensive. Consider the existing armors:

  • Scale Mail, 4 AC, 50 gp
  • Banded Mail, 6 AC, 250 gp
  • Full-plate, 8 AC, 1,500 gp

You see how quickly that ramps up? +2 AC quintuples or more the cost. You want to add 17 AC? That’s 5 the cost of full-plate: over 1,000,000,000 gp. That’s a billion. Obviously, it’s not actually worth that, but what if it was just a hundred thousand, there are actually items worth 100,000 gp or more in the game.

A mundane item that cost a hundred grand, that is, a million silver pieces, with DC 35 that you hit precisely (i.e. taking-10 with a +25 bonus), takes 817 weeks to make. That’s 15 years of working eight-hours-a-day, day-in and day-out. Good luck.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, weight seems to scale with the square of AC bonus (only considering the lowest weight armour for each AC value from PHB), weight =0.2238*AC^2+3.5572*AC+6.7355 with an R^2 value of 0.9978. So if we have armour that gives 25 AC, that is 236 pounds. Enough to put a Str 24 character into moderate load even if they carry nothing else. Less of a problem than the others already mentioned, but worth noting. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Oct 2 '14 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would it not be 1500* 5^9 for cost if +2 AC multiplies cost by 5. We want to increase the AC by 9 increments of 2, not by 17 incremenets of 2. This would reduce the cost to a mere 3 billion GP. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Oct 2 '14 at 3:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Scott Wow, I totally forgot to halve the AC difference to account for it being +2 for quintupling. >.> \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 2 '14 at 3:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just put the numbers into a graph and did some fitting. Cost actually scales quite nicely exponentially at Cost = exp(0.915*AC), which puts AC 25 at 8.6 billion gp. Also, Armor Check penalty scales roughly linear with AC: ACP = 1.14*AC-1.37, yielding an ACP of 27. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Oct 2 '14 at 7:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mind, that's assuming you're going for pure non-magical armor. You can cut down your pain slightly by going for +5 BrickArmor that's AC(15). That's "only" about 950K GP (including the 25K for +5 armor). But even then, you're building relic-level armor - a craftman's life's work. That's the stuff an adventurer finds, not builds. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Allen Gould Oct 2 '14 at 15:58
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No Guidelines Exist

If using the skill Craft (armorsmithing) to create a new kind of previously nonexistent armor,1 I suggest the craftsman work with the the DM to determine the new armor's statistics using existing armors as guidelines, just like what's supposed to happen with custom magic items.

If this isn't done--for example, if one's extrapolating based on a purely theoretical grounds or one's DM's a goldfish--, one's likely to end up in ridiculous places, with mundane armor possessing unfair statistics.2 It's unlikely beyond level 9 that this would be a serious problem--mid- and high-level characters are usually less concerned with their Armor Classes than they are with, for example, their saving throws--, but at lower levels Armor Class Infinity might be a cause for concern.

Comparisons

For comparison, the beefiest non-setting-specific armor is the heavy armor Mechanus plate (Planar Handbook 69, 70) (1,750 gp; 75 lbs.). The wearer gains a +10 armor bonus to Armor Class, and it possesses a Maximum Dexterity Bonus of +0, an Armor Check Penalty of -10, and Arcane Spell Failure 50%. It reduces the speed of a creature whose normal speed is 30 ft. to 15 ft. and the speed of a creature whose normal speed is 20 ft. to 10 ft.

The beefiest setting-specific armor is the Forgotten Realms' heavy armor Thaalud stone armor (Anauroch 108) (2,800 gp; 180 lbs.). The wearer gains a +12 armor bonus to Armor Class, and it possesses a Maximum Dexterity Bonus of +0, an Armor Check Penalty of -8, and Arcane Spell Failure 40%. It reduces the speed of a creature whose normal speed is 30 ft. to 20 ft. and the speed of a creature whose normal speed is 20 ft. to 15 ft.

Any masterwork armor can have its armor bonus increased by 1 with the property reinforced (Dragon #358 42) (800 gp, 1,000 gp, or 1,200 gp; +10% lbs.). The ability to add the property reinforced to armor itself requires the feat Artisan Craftsman (Dragon #358 39).


  1. I tried to think of a material that hadn't been used to make D&D 3.5 armor. I'm pretty sure armor made of meat doesn't exist, so one could make that, I guess.
  2. Unique super-powerful armor is probably the least game-breaking thing one can craft. Crafting one's own unique super-powerful weapons and alchemical items pose far greater problems.
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No. Without your gm allowing a house rule, you cannot make armor aside from the categories listed. At best, you can make Full Plate, with a +8 armor bonus, at a DC of 18.

If your DM allows for the epic uses of skills, you can add +10 DC voluntarily to increase how much progress you make in a given day. And if you have time to burn and sufficient access to the material, you could make armor out of adamantine and gain a few points of DR.


Of course, if your GM is willing to house-rule you could plausibly make higher AC armor. But the house-rule that breaks the system the least would be allowing ranks of craft (smith) to count as a caster level three ranks lower for gaining the craft magic arms and armor feat and adding an enchancement bonus to the same, using the magic item creation rules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ [Citation Needed] on the bit about being allowed to make exactly the armors listed. But +1 anyway cuz I like the houserule suggestion and this is probably the more “real RAW” answer. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 2 '14 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ In D&D 3, the items listed for armor and weapons are the only types in existance. If you want armor not in (the armor table)[d20srd.org/srd/equipment/armor.htm#tableArmorandShields], you need to pick the closest match. This rule isn't in the SRD, but I can probably find you a 3.0 page match if you really insist. \$\endgroup\$ – Bleep Oct 2 '14 at 12:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your claim, your responsibility to back it up. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 2 '14 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ So... where's your citation for "you can just make stuff up?" (It'll be a day or two until I have time to dig out books I don't use anymore, but I'm not the only one making a rules claim here, @KRyan. \$\endgroup\$ – Bleep Oct 2 '14 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ My claim, one, was that your DM can make stuff up, which is obviously true albeit not particularly interesting. My argument is that there are no rules at all about which things can be made; kind of hard to demonstrate a negative. The Craft skill rules certainly don't say; they just say "Armor or shield." The Equipment chapter doesn't say "these are all the armors that possibly exist" or "your character can make these items," it just presents a list of armors. I'm not saying my hypothetical armor is RAW, I'm saying that RAW doesn't address this. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 2 '14 at 19:34

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