Is there any combination of races, classes, items, or feats that allows you to add your Wisdom bonus to AC, without restricting the armor that you wear?

Several classes offer Wisdom to AC while unarmored, and one (swordsage) allows Wisdom to AC while wearing light armor.

It is acceptable for this Wisdom to AC to replace the typical Dexterity to AC, as for example the deepwarden does with Constitution to AC. In this case, however, it cannot explicitly state that the Wisdom to AC is limited by the maximum Dexterity of the armor.

The bonus must count for touch AC; obviously it’s preferable to count for flat-footed as well, but it is acceptable if it does not (note this however).

The bonus must count against all opponents and operate at all times (barring things like flat-footed, bound, helpless, or unconscious); features that allow you to apply Wisdom to AC against a particular opponent, or options that have limited durations or limited uses are not welcome.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I assume you've checked the manual and found it lacking? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ernir
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ernir I assume he either didn't or forgot to explain how those 4 entries that I listed do not suit his needs. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ernir Don't have Dragon 298, so I can't really check dragon warrior, and I missed that saint did not have armor restrictions (for some reason I thought it did; probably conflating it with apostle of peace/vow of poverty). The others are unarmored, lightly armored, limited in who it applies to or how long it lasts, or Pathfinder material. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan barring other restrictions, Saint is by far your best call. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 17:05

3 Answers 3


There is not much in the unrestricted Wisdom-to-AC department.

Unlimited bonuses

  • Saint template lets you to add your Wisdom bonus as an insight bonus to AC.

Limited bonuses

  • Balance domain granted power (Player's Guide to Faerun) allows Wisdom bonus to AC for 1 round/level 1 time a day.
  • Mantis Mercenary class (Oriental Adventures) lets you to add your Wisdom bonus to AC... against the target of your Dodge feat. Though you might want to (ab)use Expedituous Dodge or Desert Wind Dodge here.
  • Multiple ways to get monk-like Wisdom bonus to AC while unarmored or while in light armor, which are not suitable for your needs.
  • \$\begingroup\$ In that link, the dragon warrior states that it loses all class features while wearing armor. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan missed that part, having read only the ability itself. My bad, but good riddance to the dragon material. Saint is your only option now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 17:14
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, Book of Exalted Deeds is often worse than a lot of Dragon material. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Accepting this, as my DM is actually allowing Saint. I wouldn't, but eh, he did. He knows what he's getting into. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan: Does your DM enforces some kind of role-play restriction? As written in the link it seems the +2 level adjustment is really cheap for a template that adds so much endurance to the character. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 19:38

Just came across this, so I wanted to add it to the list:

  • Argent fist (Faiths of Eberron) is a prestige class for paladin/monks. At 2nd level, it gains the ability to retain the monk Wisdom-to-AC while wearing armor.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I added more things in the flavor of what you may have been looking at for things to be added to the list. Feel free to copy/edit/cut/paste as needed to make it part of the accepted answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 14:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Ruut In reality, no, what I was looking for happens to be what I asked for. Your answer is a good answer, but not particularly a good answer to this question; the one part of the answer that is actually relevant to the question already existed in this answer, and the rest is not really on point. Good stuff, but seems out of place. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 14:31

The Ascetic Knight

Ask your DM if he will allow Ascetic Knight to be allowed in place of Knight Training and/or Monastic Training.

Wisdom to Armor Class: Argent Fist

Holy Armor (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, you retain the AC bonus granted by your monk levels (including Wisdom bonus to AC), even when wearing armor or carrying a shield or a medium or heavy load. This doesn't extend to any other monk class features lost when wearing armor or carrying a load (such as fast movement and flurry of blows).

Wisdom for All-Things Knightly: Serenity

Serenity: Use your Wisdom bonus in place of your Charisma bonus for purposes of divine grace, lay on hands, smite evil, and turn undead.

Wisdom for Ranged Attacks: Elf Racial Subsitution Level & Zen Archery

Ranged Smite Evil (Su): An elf paladin can only deliver his smite attack with a long or short bow (any type). The target must be within 30’. This ability replaces the standard smite evil and increases the same way.

Zen Archery: The character can use her Wisdom modifier instead of her Dexterity Modifier when making a ranged attack at a target within 30 feet.

Honorable Mention: Shou Disciple

Since you have Paladin Levels, and will most likely using a big sword, may as well be able to do:

Martial Flurry (Ex): At 3rd level, a Shou disciple gains the ability to use any light melee weapon for his flurry of blows, not just special monk weapons. At 5th level, the Shou disciple may use any melee weapon for his flurry of blows.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Serenity doesn't affect paladin spells; those always use Wisdom. It affects all the other paladin class features. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Yep, misprint on my part. Good catch. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 14:09

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