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Thread: 3.5 armor materials question

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    Firbolg in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Central Kentucky

    Default Re: 3.5 armor materials question

    It's education time! Gavin talks about wooden armors!

    Okay. Per the PHB and the SRD, in the "craft" section, at

    "A successful Craft check related to woodworking in conjunction with the casting of the ironwood spell enables you to make wooden items that have the strength of steel."

    In the Ironwood spell description, it says, at

    "Effect: An ironwood object weighing up to 5 lb./level"


    "Using this spell with wood shape or a wood-related Craft check, you can fashion wooden items that function as steel items. Thus, wooden plate armor and wooden swords can be created that are as durable as their normal steel counterparts. These items are freely usable by druids.

    Further, if you make only half as much ironwood as the spell would normally allow, any weapon, shield, or suit of armor so created is treated as a magic item with a +1 enhancement bonus."

    In the goods and services section, it says, at

    "Spell, 6th-level Caster level 60 gp"

    In the Druid section, at, it says that the minimum character and caster level for a 6th level spell is 11.

    In the Special Materials section, it says, at


    This rare magic wood is as hard as normal wood but very light. Any wooden or mostly wooden item (such as a bow, an arrow, or a spear) made from darkwood is considered a masterwork item and weighs only half as much as a normal wooden item of that type. Items not normally made of wood or only partially of wood (such as a battleaxe or a mace) either cannot be made from darkwood or do not gain any special benefit from being made of darkwood. The armor check penalty of a darkwood shield is lessened by 2 compared to an ordinary shield of its type. To determine the price of a darkwood item, use the original weight but add 10 gp per pound to the price of a masterwork version of that item.

    Darkwood has 10 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 5."

    In the Armor section, it says, at

    "Breastplate .... 200 gp ... 30 lb."
    "A masterwork suit of armor or shield costs an extra 150 gp over and above the normal cost for that type of armor or shield."

    So, combined, what does this mean?

    1. Make a Masterwork Darkwood Breastplate. 200 gp + 150 gp for masterwork + 300 gp for darkwood. If your craft check is high enough to do this yourself, you can shave quite a bit of money off of the price of this.
    2. As part of the crafting, pay an 11th level Druid to cast a CL 11 Ironwood on it. This should work on an object up to 55 lbs. Further, since the actual Darkwood breastplate weighs half the normal weight -- 15 lbs instead of 30 -- it invokes the 'half as much ironwood as the spell would normally allow' clause, and the item becomes +1. The cost of spellcasting services of an 11th level Druid casting Ironwood is 11 x 60, or 660 gp.
    3. Enjoy your swank new armor! Many DMs rule that the +1 is permanent and won't go away; some GMs rule that the +1 goes away when the Ironwood spell runs out in a few days. Regardless, it is Masterwork Light armor, like Mithral, and is as strong as steel, and doesn't burn like wood, and is as resistant to fire as steel.. see the following..

    Now... looking at 3.0e and 3.5e, a Darkwood armor *was* possible. In Dragon Magazine 279 pg 49, Darkwood armor (described as treated with alchemical leaves) has spell failure chance decreased by 5%, max dex bonus increased by +2, armor check penalties decreased by 2, and it is treated as 1 category lighter. This was updated to 3.5e in Eberron Campaign Setting, and given the exact same stats, but called "Darkleaf".

    But what are we doing? We are replacing the Alchemical treatment with a magical treatment... and paying 1310 for an armor in a very profound way, likely has the stats almost (but not quite) equivalent to a "+1 Mithral Breastplate", or at least a Mithral Breastplate. The canon alchemically treated Darkwood armors cost, for a +1 version, 3450 gp, in both the 3.0e and the 3.5e version. If the DMs let the Ironwood bit be permanent (Rules as Written isn't clear), this gets you basically the same thing for 1310 gp. Also compare it to a +1 Mithral Breastplate, which costs 5200 gp.

    Now, let's look at the OTHER materials.

    Per Eberron campaign setting page 126, a like iron, albeit a tad lighter, but made out of wood material is Bronzewood. A +1 Bronzewood Breastplate would cost 5200 gp.

    Per Magic of Faerun page 178, a +1 Duskwood Breastplate is 4200 gp. This one is most similar to Mithral of the woods (even more than the Darkleaf), with a Duskwood Breastplate being armor bonus +5, maximum dex bonus +4, armor check penalty -2, arcane spell failure of 20%, and it is light armor.

    Coldwood is in Dragon Magazine #357 page 55. A +1 Coldwood Breastplate costs 3200 gp, and a mundane version of this acts exactly like a steel breastplate.

    Bluewood is in Unapproachable East page 58. It is an alchemically treated wood. A +1 Bluewood Breastplate costs 1800 gp, and a mundane version acts like a steel breastplate.

    Also, Druids can use any of these armors completely without problem... and remember! The Animal Companions of the Druids don't share their oath; they can use metal armor just fine. Get these (generally nonproficient) Mithral Chain Shirt Barding, for +0 ACP, if you have the cash.

    Any questions on the lesson?
    Last edited by Gavinfoxx; 2013-04-03 at 09:52 PM.