An illustration of a set of armor made of yellow, orange, and red oak leaves sewn together into a suit or armor. Next to it are the words "Magical Armor and Shields"

A while back, we posted an article discussing some of our favorite 3.5e magical items here: 5 Cool 3.5e Magical Items to Include in Your Current Dungeons and Drag (d20collective.com)

Included in that article was 5 awesome items, along with the types of characters who’d make best use of them, and some ideas of how to bring them into play! But that barely scratched the surface of the available magical items for you and your party. There are hundreds more options, and that doesn’t leave armor out of the mix!

Here are 5 of our favorite magical armors and shields from 3.5e!

 

Armor of the Fallen Leaves

An illustration of a set of armor made of yellow, orange, and red oak leaves sewn together into a suit or armor

This armor may not look like it provides much protection, being made of autumn leaves sewn together to make a rigid breastplate, but it actually grants you +1 higher AC than your standard option (for a total of +6). Furthermore, once you’ve become attuned to it, you can cause the armor to turn brown and scatter, while you disappear into the wind. In fact, you merge with the leaves, and control them as though under the Gaseous Form spell.

This is a great item for a druid or ranger, but any character with a connection to wind or nature would find this item useful. Other than an empowered breastplate, it essentially lets you cast Gaseous Form once a day without expending a spell slot. Plus, it has a wonderful aesthetic for any character design!

 

Shield of Mercy

An illustration of a metal shield inlaid with gold and jewels, and etched with the illustration of a warrior in armor casting a healing spell on a fallen comrade

This elaborate and artfully crafted shield is emblazoned with the image of a warrior casting a healing spell. That image gives you a good idea of what the shield does, too! As well as being a +1 Shield, it allows a character with a Smite feature (no matter how they got it) to expend a use to heal instead of hurting. They roll and total their Smite damage to determine how much restoration they provide. This does take a full standard action, though.

The most obvious wielder for a shield like this is a paladin. But any character who has the smite ability can use it, whether they gain that ability from a magic item, a unique subclass ability, or some other function. It’s especially great for parties with minimal healing since it provides that extra option for it.

 

Vampire Hide Armor

An illustration of 2 sets of armor. Both have spikes and are decorated with skulls, one with wings around the head

Made of the skin of a vampire, this armor is decorated ghoulishly with spikes, flanges, and a skull-like face with bat wings. It acts as a set of +1 Studded Leather Armor, but with a bonus. It also grants you a damage reduction of 5 against silver weapons and magical damage.

 Damage reduction isn’t a commonly used feature in 5e, so you might want to alter this item to grant resistance to silver and magic instead. Otherwise, it’s spooky look and the grim reality of how you’d make a set of armor like this are best in a dark campaign. If you’re going to use it for an NPC, it works great for another vampire – one who’s slain and skinned a rival to gain protection against their weaknesses.

 

Foxhide Armor

An illustration of a set of armor made out of fox hide.

This set of armor is soft and luxurious to the touch, seemingly made out of the hide of a whole gigantic fox. However, the majority of the skin has been hardened into standard leather rather than more supple hide armor. This set has a variety of benefits to the wearer: it acts as a set of +1 leather armor, grants +2 to Hide and Move Silently skill checks, and has 3 activatable abilities. One, once per day you can activate the armor and gain +4 to Intelligence for 9 minutes. Two, twice per day you can activate the armor to gain the Scent ability for 5 rounds. Finally, thrice per day, you can activate the armor to gain the benefits of a Pass Without Trace spell, as well as the ability of a druid’s Woodland Stride feature.

Since this armor has no metal, and the bonuses (other than AC bonus) can be used even while wildshaped, this armor is perfect for druids. But rangers, rogues, and barbarians might also have a fun time making use of the bonuses to stealth and intelligence checks in a variety of ways! It also begs the question of just what kind of fox this set of medium-sized armor was crafter from…

 

Overhead Shield

An illustration of a white shield with a rectangle of blue in the middle.

This simple shield is a plain, whitewashed circle inset with a small blue rectangular crystal. It has the typical bonus of +1 greater AC than a standard shield, plus an additional ability. Once per day, you can raise it overhead and activate it to create a 20-foot radius Wall of Force 5 feet above you. This blocks attacks from above, including catapult missiles, dropped items, and other assorted items. The Wall of Force requires concentration and lasts up to 10 rounds, and you lose the shield’s AC bonus while you use it this way, though.

This a fantastic item for fighters and tanks, since it lets them take a brief hit to their AC in order to provide themselves and other party members with cover from a great deal of attacks. It does require shield proficiency, though, so clerics, paladins, and fighters are most likely to wind up with it in their hands. And in the hands of an opponent, it can complicate your party’s tactics quite a bit!

 

 

These are just a few of our favorite magical armors and shields from 3.5e, and doesn’t even being to scratch the wealth of homebrew and custom content that people have put up to share with the community. If you’re interested in using any of these particular items, they can be found in the Magic Item Compendium supplement!

 

 

Have you obtained, or provided, any cool magical armor or shields in your campaign? What did they do? Let us know in the comments below!

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