Heavy armor in Baldur’s Gate 3 is reserved for the toughest of front-line warriors, whether it’s fighter characters like Lae’zel or a custom-built paladin that is ready to take on the world. Heavy armor typically has the highest armor class of any type, repelling the most attacks and preventing a ton of damage outright. However, it comes with some drawbacks, with almost every piece of heavy armor giving you a disadvantage on stealth checks as a result of just how much heavy metal you’re lugging around to protect yourself.
My first character in Baldur’s Gate 3 was a vengeance oath paladin, one of the heaviest-built offensive characters in the game. Here are some pieces of armor that kept them safe through their journeys in Faerun and beyond.
#8 Cerebral Citadel Armour
To start off my list, we have this rare armor from later in the game that provides a solid armor class of 18. This can easily put you into the 20 range if you use it with a shield. In terms of special features, this armor makes you immune to the “Frightened” condition, a common condition applied by all sorts of psychic magic that prevents you from being able to move during your turn. It also will provide a +1 to any intelligence, wisdom, or charisma checks for the wearer, so long as they’re in possession of a mind-flayer tadpole. That limits this armor prime effectiveness to either Lae’zel or a custom-built player character, as there are no other Origin characters with heavy armor proficiency by default, and other party members do not possess tadpoles.
The biggest downside to this armor, and the reason it sits at the lowest number on my list, is that you can’t acquire it until Act 3 when your heavy armor proficient party members will likely already have something better. You’ll find it inside a wardrobe at the Knights of The Shield Hideout underneath the Elfsong Tavern, a bar you can find in the lower city of Baldur’s Gate.
#7 Armour of Devotion
Primed for Paladins, this armor starts you off with an excellent 18 armor class, standard for full plate armor. Its true power lies in an effect specific to paladins, allowing you to recite your oath to regain one charge of “Channel Oath” per long rest. “Channel Oath” has differing effects based on what kind of paladin oath you’ve taken. You’ll only have a single charge of it available per short rest until you’re at level 6 when you unlock a second charge. Having an extra shot at some of the powerful spells unlocked by “Channel Oath” can make or break an important battle for paladins.
This armor can be acquired fairly early on compared to many of the other heavy armor pieces on this list, becoming available from Roah Moonglow, a Zhentarim trader you can find at the Moonrise Towers as long as they survive their appearance early on in Act 1. Roah will sell this item for a base gold price of 3,200, but you can negotiate this down by having your highest persuasion characters do the trading.
#6 Adamantine Splint Armour
Like other entries on this list, the Adamantine Splint Armour starts you off with an armor class of 18, helping you deflect many more attacks. You can view each point of your armor class as making you 5% less likely to be hit by any attack. The true power of this armor lies in when attacks are actually able to get past your defenses, making it ideal for great-weapon users or anyone who isn’t holding a shield. It will reduce any damage done to you by 2 points. Additionally, melee attackers will be sent “Reeling” for three turns, reducing their ability to land follow-up attacks. You also cannot be struck by a critical hit while wearing this armor, keeping your heaviest characters from being knocked out of the fight by bad luck.
Out of every piece of armor on this list, this is the only one you can acquire during Act 1. You’ll need to use The Adamantine Forge deep inside the Underdark in order to craft this armor. With only two pieces of mithral ore available in the game, you’ll need to choose wisely which two pieces of Adamantine equipment you’d like to craft for your party. Adamantine weapons are some of the best weapons in the game during the period when you can get them, so its a tough choice which pieces of equipment you should forge for your party. If you’re depending heavily on some frontline beefcake to soak up damage, this special splint mail is the right pick.
#5 Blackguard’s Plate
At 19 AC, this powerful armor makes you very difficult to hit. Even if an attack gets through, all damage you receive while wearing this armor is reduced by one point. You also get to take advantage on Wisdom saving throws, getting a chance to roll twice and pick the best result whenever an enemy is trying to using magic to charm or frighten the wearer.
You acquire this dreadful armor from a Death Knight named That Which Guards, a guardian of the Bhaalist cult at the Murder Tribunal. Bhaal, the god of murder, is a major figure in the lore of the Baldur’s Gate series. Defeating one of his guardians will reward you with this armor as loot from that undead knight’s body.
#4 Emblazoned Plate of the Marshal
With a default 19 armor class, this plate mail can defend your toughest characters while also providing some versatile benefits on the side. All incoming damage will be reduced by two points. You’ll gain a +2 bonus to any saving throws you take while wearing this armor as well, likely reducing the effects of many magical attacks that could otherwise get around your armor class altogether. This armor gives you resistance to fire damage, cutting the destruction from every fireball thrown your way in half. But, its biggest perk is that you can cast “Fire Shield” once per long rest. This powerful spell will wreathe your body in flames, dealing 2d8 fire damage to anyone who hits you with a melee attack.
This is the armor of the great protector of Baldur’s Gate, and Wyll’s father, Duke Ulder Ravengard. There are a lot of circumstances under which the Duke can die after you meet him at Baldur’s Gate, including if you kill him yourself. Loot his body to acquire this truly excellent suit of armor.
#3 Reapers Embrace
With 19 base AC, the Reapers Embrace armor is an excellent choice for any of your scariest front-line fighters. It comes with three special effects as well, the first of which is similar to the last few items on this list, as it reduces all incoming damage by 2. It also comes with two unique abilities, the first being “Reaper’s Rigidity” which makes the character who uses it immovable by any magic or actions like a shove, at the cost of imposing disadvantage on dexterity saving throws. This can let your heaviest fighters hold the line against foes that are great at moving you around the battlefield, even on the edge of a cliff. Lastly, once per short rest, you can use the “Howl of the Dead” cantrip against all foes in 10 feet, giving them all the “numbed” condition that will cut their movement speed in half while giving you advantage on attack rolls against the target.
Ketheric Thorm is the primary antagonist of Act 2 in Baldur’s Gate 3, and this is his personal armor. You’ll need to fight your way through the cursed shadowlands and his undead army in order to reach Ketheric at the top of Moonrise Towers. Defeat him and you’ll need to chase him deeper underground, before eventually defeating him again right before the conclusion of Act 2.
#2 Armour of Persistence
This is one of the greatest defensive items in the game. With a base 20 AC, it’s incredible at deflecting blows, but even if you are hit, all incoming damage is reduced by 2. Additionally, the amazing power of this armor gives you permanent “Blade Ward” and “Resistance” effects. Blade Ward reduces all bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, effectively cutting damage from all non-magical sources in half. Meanwhile, resistance will make it easier for you to avoid the negative effects of magic that forces saving throws on you, by letting you roll an extra d4 against these sources.
This armor is bought from a blacksmith in Act 3, and in some ways is a reward for making sure the Tiefling refugees from Act 1 are taken care of throughout the rest of the game. Dammon is a blacksmith you meet very early on in the game, and you need to make sure he makes it through not just the goblin raid, but all of Act 2 as well.
#1 Helldusk Armour
The Helldusk Armour isn’t just the best heavy armor set in the game, it’s likely the best single piece of armor in the entire game. With a base AC of 21, it provides more defense for your characters than any other armor. Unlike any other armor on this list, the Helldusk armor isn’t limited to characters with heavy armor proficiency, as it actually provides that proficiency itself when you put it on. That means any character, not just your heaviest warriors, can wear the Helldusk Armour and receive its maximum benefits. It also has some additional infernal-themed effects. Any time you pass a saving throw against an enemy spell, the caster will be lit on fire for three turns. You gain resistance to fire damage, and cannot receive the “burning” condition. Every source of damage will be reduced by 3 entire points. Lastly, this armor also gives the wearer the ability to fly, letting you skip across the battlefield to wherever you need to be to do the most damage.
The Helldusk Armour is acquired very late in the game, upon defeating the fiendish Raphael in the House of Hope during Act 3. If you attempt to steal the Orphic Hammer from the House of Hope in order to pursue your ultimate goals without giving up the Crown of Karsus, Raphael will confront you as soon as you attempt to leave the House. Raphael is a tough enemy, transforming into his devil form when he reaches 60% health. However, he has a low wisdom score, making him susceptible to attacks that strike via wisdom saving throws.