We know that enhancement bonuses increase the armor bonus:

Enhancement bonuses to armor or natural armor effectively increase the armor or natural armor’s bonus to AC.

… and armor bonuses normally don't stack. Chahar-aina and Dastana are exceptions to this though:

Chahar-Aina: This “four mirror armor” can be worn over certain other types of armor to provide an additional armor bonus that stacks with both the foundation armor and any shield worn.

So, how would enchanting all three pieces of armor work out towards one's AC?


Only the highest enhancement bonus applies

The Dragon #318 article "Oriental Adventures Update: Eastern Flavor" on Magic Chahar-ainas and Dastanas says

Both dastanas and chahar-ainas provide special armor bonuses to AC that stack with other armor bonuses granted by certain forms of light armor. However, it is still the case that only one enhancement bonus can apply to a character’s armor bonus at any time. This, if a character wears +2 dastanas, a +1 chahar-aina, and +1 cloth armor, only the +2 bonus fom the dastanas increases his AC. A character can still gain the benefit of special abilities attached to multiple pieces of armor, however, so a character wearing +2 balance dastanas and a +2 displacement chahar-aina has a +2 enhancement bonus to AC and can use the balance and displacement abilities. (42)

Note that the Arms and Equipment Guide represents the dastanas (15), superseding Oriental Adventures, but changes little except putting the dastana into the Shield category exclusively (rather than OA's Shields and Other Additions category). The chahar-aina remains exclusive to Oriental Adventures.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If I recall correctly... the shield bonus didn't exist as a separate bonus at the times OA and A&EG were published. Instead it was an armor bonus that specially stacked with that granted by the armor. I wonder if that accounts for it. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 20 '16 at 20:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ You do recall correctly: 3e lacks a shield bonus, and both OA and AE are 3e products. Personally, I might make a "minor adjustment" and rule that the chahar-ainas add a stackable +1 armor bonus and the dastanas add a +1 stackable shield bonus, but I don't have to, having long since banned both in my campaigns. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 20 '16 at 20:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could cleanly reword it as "provides no bonus, but increases the armor bonus of armor they are used with", so they themselves provide nothing to enhance, and the overall effect is preserved. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Jul 20 '16 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Awww, but I like putting +1 on each and then plus nine worth of random enhancements each.... (pout) ;D \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko May 2 '17 at 19:19

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