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Maximum dexterity bonus
Heavier armors limit mobility, reducing the wearer’s ability to dodge blows. Maximum dexterity bonus is the maximum amount of additional Armor Class you can gain from your Dexterity bonus while wearing an item. Maximum dexterity bonus also caps your maximum dodge bonus (up to the hard limit of 25%).
For example, a character with 14 Dexterity has a Dexterity modifier of +2. While unarmored, that character gains +2 AC from Dexterity and her maximum possible dodge bonus is 25%. If she wears armor with a maximum dexterity bonus of +1 (such as Full plate) she would only gain +1 AC from Dexterity and her dodge chance would be capped at 1%.
Your encumbrance level may also impose a maximum dexterity bonus. Smaller shields do not have a maximum dexterity bonus score, but tower shields do.
Maximum dexterity bonus of armor, shield, and encumbrance does not stack. The lowest value applies.
Note that your maximum dexterity bonus does not apply to other uses of Dexterity, such as ranged attack bonus, Reflex saves, and Dexterity based skills.
See armor overview in the Armor by Proficiency article. Mithral armors have a Maximum Dexterity Bonus that is 2 higher than normal. Darkleaf is 1 higher than normal. Enhancements that increase maximum Dexterity Bonus are available to Fighters and Dwarves, and very limited extent Paladin Defender of Siberys enhancements. Armor with augment slots can have its bonus increased using appropriate augments. Daggertooth's Belt can improve your maximum bonus as well.
Tower shields have a maximum dexterity bonus of +2. Mithral improves the bonus by 2. Enhancements that increase the Maximum Dexterity Bonus are available to Fighters and very limited extent to Paladin Defender of Siberys enhancements. Shields other than tower shields do not have a Maximum Dexterity Bonus.
- Light (unaffected Maximum Dexterity Bonus)
- Medium 3
- Heavy 1