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An armor check penalty applies to most dexterity-based skills when a character wears armor heavier than leather, and it applies to hide, move silently, parry, pick pocket, set trap, and tumble. The only dexterity-based skills not on this list are open lock and ride, to which neither the maximum dexterity bonus nor the armor check penalty apply.

If a character is wearing armor and using a shield, both armor check penalties apply.

Type of armor or shield Base AC Armor check
penalty
none, clothing 0 none
padded armor 1 none
leather armor 2 none
studded leather armor, hide armor 3 -1
chain shirt, scale mail 4 -2
chainmail, breastplate 5 -5
splint mail, banded mail 6 -7
half plate 7 -7
full plate 8 -8
small shield 1 -1
large shield 2 -2
tower shield 3 -10
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