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I'm working on figuring out what armor I should be saving gold towards for my Lore Oracle and ran into a question on two different armors, specifically Darkleaf Hide and a Mithril Chain Shirt.

From what I can tell from the CRB, both materials reduce the Arcane Spell Failure chance by 10%, increase the maximum Dexterity bonus by 2, and decreases the Armor Check Penalty by 3. Both materials also cut the weight of the item in half. Based on that, the stat lines for each item look like this:

Mithril Chain Shirt +4 AC; +6 Max Dex Bonus; 0 ACP; 10% AFR; 30/20 Speed; 12.5 lbs

Darkleaf Cloth Hide +4 AC; +6 Max Dex Bonus; 0 ACP; 10% AFR; 20/15 Speed; 12.5 lbs

The only difference between the stats in these two armors is speed, which is worse for the Darkleaf Hide. However, the Darkleaf Hide armor also costs more than the Mithril Chain Shirt (1,515 gp vs 1,100 gp).

I feel like I must be missing something here. Assuming a character is proficient in both light and medium armor and isn't a druid, is there a reason they would purchase the Darkleaf Hide over the Mithril Chain shirt?

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It would depend on the situation. Here are some examples:

  • Enemies that Target Metal — Metal Wizards have spells to manipulate metal. Rust Monsters. If I were going into a dungeon that was full of Rust Monsters, I'd rather have the darkleaf cloth than the mithral.
  • Protection Against Certain Spells — Chill Metal and Heat Metal would have no affect on the darkleaf cloth armor. As well as any spell that targets metal.
  • Resistance Against Certain Spells — Certain spells give bonuses against metal, shocking grasp, for example.
  • Roleplay Situations — Meeting with a druid sect that forbids metals; shiny silvery mithral armor might attract the attention of thieves more than darkleaf cloth; playing a druid

However, if we're just looking at the numbers.
The mithral chain shirt is the way to go in the context provided.

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Druids need special armor

It is classically assumed and stated in the druid class that druids aren't allowed to wear metal armor.

This means a druid is unable to wear the mithril armor option you presented, but would be able to wear the Darkleaf Hide as it is made of non-metal materials.

If your character isn't a Druid

Then there isn't any reason to pick the the Darkleaf. That armor was made primarily for druid use.

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