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Mystery solved! Magic armour in Essentials

Today's Rule of Three article on the Wizards site has answered something that's puzzled me since Essentials came out - why did magic armour get an extra "masterwork" bonus as it grew more powerful? I remember the smiles on both Krivinn and Sora's scaly faces when this rule change hit the character builder. I checked with Wizards customer service who told me it was a change in Heroes of the Fallen Lands but no rationale was given for it. Now, here's Rich Baker's explanation (which does make sense):

"During the development of the 4th Edition system, we discovered a hole in the system math: Characters who added their ability score modifiers to their ACs began to outpace the AC of characters who wore heavy armor. (Yes, in retrospect it's obvious; we spotted it when we began to playtest at higher levels.) Clearly we needed heavy armor to improve at higher levels. Ideally, it should improve as fast or faster than a rogue could pump his or her AC with ability score improvement. Since the concepts of "masterwork" and "special materials" were basically still untouched on the shelf, we decided to marry them up with the improved heavy armors that were necessary at paragon and epic levels. That's how we wound up with the armor system you see in 4th Edition."

Mystery solved.

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