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For each +1 bonus to armour, regardless of the type of armour, the wearer’s Armour Class moves downward (toward AC 2 . . . to 1 . . . to 0, -1, -2, and so on). A normal shield improves the armour class by one.
A magical shield improves Armour Class like magical armour—toward -1, -2, etc. Note, however, that Armour Class can never be improved beyond -10. Thus, chain mail +1 is like ordinary chain mail (AC 5), but one category better (AC 4). A shield +1 is equal to Armour Class 8—two places better than no armour (+1 for bearing a shield, +1 for the magical bonus of the shield).
When adding magical armour to the game, be aware of sizing problems: 65% of all armour (except elven chain mail) is man-sized, and 20% is elf-sized, 10% is dwarf-sized, and but 5% gnome- or halflingsized