D&D 5E Can your Druids wear metal armor?

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Chaosmancer

Legend
Yes. And the designers put that rule there for a reason. They actually expected it to do something, whether you like it or not.

They probably expected it to prevent druids from wearing metal armor, you know, like it says. If they expected it to prevent them from wearing medium armors, then they would have done it differently.

This is not how rules work! "It doesn't say I cannot change the rule so I totally can!" No, that is an absurd standard.

If there is no rule, what am I changing?
Half plate750 gp15 + Dex modifier (max 2)-Disadvantage40 lb.


Those are all the rules for half-plate right there. If I put this on a character, I have changed nothing. If the designers didn't want me to make half-plate out of an alternative material (something that people have been doing for 40 years in DnD) and put it on my druid, then instead of "non-metal medium armor" they would have given druids proficiency in Hide, wouldn't they?

There is very good reason think it would alter the stats, because different material are actually different! There is a reason why armour that is said to be made of leather provides a lower AC than one that is said to be made of metal plates.

And the game certainly recognises this elsewhere:

And there is a very good reason to think it wouldn't. It doesn't. Nowhere in the rules does it say that if you make an item out of a different material that the stats change.

Also, interesting chart. It is meant for the destruction of items in the world, give you a rough outline. But, I can also tell you with 100% certainty and accuracy that it doesn't apply to armors.

Why?

Because Mithral and Adamantine Breastplates still provide 14 + Dex modifier (max 2) AC, they do not provide an AC of 21 or 23, the listed ACs for those materials. In fact, Adamantine armor and Mithral armor provide zero bonus to AC at all. Proving that armors made of different materials keep the same stats (though in this case they do provide specific bonuses based on incredibly special materials)

The rules do not specify the material of those objects. Thus it for the GM to decide what material is appropriate. Armours however specify their material, almost like the designers thought it would matter.

It specifies steel hooks in fishing tackle. Does that matter? Steel ball bearings, does that matter? The Xanathar's rules say that a Thieve's Tool Kit includes a small mirror on a metal handle, they specified that, so clearly that matters right? And if a rogue said that they pulled out a small mirror on a wooden handle, they'd be breaking the rules of the game and you'd give them this whole spiel right?

Because, you are really looking at only two options here. Either every single example I can come up with matters and was specified for a purpose that is ingrained in the rules... or none of these actually matter, and you are wrong about the armors. That's it. Those are the options here.

Either you say that every single herbalism kit every druid carries must contain glass jars or you say that the exact material of those jars doesn't matter and they could be ceramic or something else. Every single brewer must use hops to make alcohol, and they cannot make it without, because hops are part of every single brewer's kit, and that is supposed to matter. And on and on and on.

Your "it doesn't say I can't" stance is untenable. Rules do not work like that. Designers do not put rules that they expect to do nothing in the game. Complete noobs have no difficulty in getting this. They look the druid rule, they look the equipment description and pick a non-metal armour. This is how it is intended to work and Crawford's list of druid armours confirms this. You're literally arguing against the stated intent of the designer of the game.

No, I am not. Because the stated intent of the game is "non-metal medium armor". If they wanted that to mean "hide armor" they would have said "hide armor". Heck, Dragonscale is a magical item that isn't supposed to be considered in the balance. And they could have trivially made an exception for it in the rules for dragonscale, just like they did with Elven Chain.

They clearly intended for non-metal medium armors to exist, otherwise, they wrote a rule in the literal worst way possible.

People figured out 40 years ago that you could make half-plate out of things other than metal. Armors in the real world, like samurai plate were made from non-metal materials hundreds of years ago. Why is it so difficult for you to accept that they clearly intended non-metal medium armors to be an option? It is literally written in the book.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This is not how rules work! "It doesn't say I cannot change the rule so I totally can!" No, that is an absurd standard.
Plate mail being made of metal is not a rule, though. A description with a material type is just that. A description with a material type. If the DM says to you, "The walls of the corridor are made of stone," that is not a rule. It's the same with the armor descriptions. There are rules which interact with the material descriptions, though. Rock to Mud could be used on the stone wall and Heat Metal on a metal suit of plate mail. If the DM chooses to make the plate mail out of something else, like stone, then Heat Metal rules would not work on that description of plate mail.
 

They probably expected it to prevent druids from wearing metal armor, you know, like it says.
And if this is just cosmetic, they wouldn't put it in the rules! If it was just 'rangers wear green clothes' or 'wizards wear pointy hats or shoes' but green clothes, pointy hats or pointy shoes wouldn't actually be defined or referenced in the rules it would be insane to write such a rule. This is rule reading 101: consider why the rule was written, if your interpretation leads to rule doing nothing, it almost certainly is wrong. Writers put rules in the game for a reason.
If they expected it to prevent them from wearing medium armors, then they would have done it differently.
They will wear some medium armours. Ones without metal. And helpfully the rules tell you which armour are made of metal.

If there is no rule, what am I changing?
Half plate750 gp15 + Dex modifier (max 2)-Disadvantage40 lb.

Those are all the rules for half-plate right there.
The description is part of the rules, especially when it contains information other rules interact with.

If I put this on a character, I have changed nothing. If the designers didn't want me to make half-plate out of an alternative material (something that people have been doing for 40 years in DnD) and put it on my druid, then instead of "non-metal medium armor" they would have given druids proficiency in Hide, wouldn't they?
If the designers would have wanted material to be purely cosmetic the rule wouldn't exist in the first place. And making them proficient only in hide would prevent them wearing dragonscale and any potential later added non-metal medium armour. So that would be a nerf compared to the current situation.

And there is a very good reason to think it wouldn't. It doesn't. Nowhere in the rules does it say that if you make an item out of a different material that the stats change.

Also, interesting chart. It is meant for the destruction of items in the world, give you a rough outline. But, I can also tell you with 100% certainty and accuracy that it doesn't apply to armors.

Why?

Because Mithral and Adamantine Breastplates still provide 14 + Dex modifier (max 2) AC, they do not provide an AC of 21 or 23, the listed ACs for those materials. In fact, Adamantine armor and Mithral armor provide zero bonus to AC at all. Proving that armors made of different materials keep the same stats (though in this case they do provide specific bonuses based on incredibly special materials)
I of course do not except that you could just take ACs from chart intended for completely different purpose and apply them to armours. That would be absurd, like taking AC of monsters and directly apply it to armours made of them. But it proves that the rules certainly recognise that materials matter. This of course is already apparent in the armour descriptions themselves. Leather armour is unsurprisingly made of leather and provides lower AC than one made of metal plates. I wonder why this is? Furthermore, adamantine armour certainly makes your character more resilient, it merely is represented in another way.


It specifies steel hooks in fishing tackle. Does that matter? Steel ball bearings, does that matter? The Xanathar's rules say that a Thieve's Tool Kit includes a small mirror on a metal handle, they specified that, so clearly that matters right? And if a rogue said that they pulled out a small mirror on a wooden handle, they'd be breaking the rules of the game and you'd give them this whole spiel right?

Because, you are really looking at only two options here. Either every single example I can come up with matters and was specified for a purpose that is ingrained in the rules... or none of these actually matter, and you are wrong about the armors. That's it. Those are the options here.

Either you say that every single herbalism kit every druid carries must contain glass jars or you say that the exact material of those jars doesn't matter and they could be ceramic or something else. Every single brewer must use hops to make alcohol, and they cannot make it without, because hops are part of every single brewer's kit, and that is supposed to matter. And on and on and on.
You again build a strawman out of trivialities that will not actually matter in the game. Yes, material of those items might technically be rules but their material also is not going to matter 99.9% of time so no one cares. Armour material however matters 100% of time eight at the character creation when someone decided to make druid.

No, I am not. Because the stated intent of the game is "non-metal medium armor". If they wanted that to mean "hide armor" they would have said "hide armor". Heck, Dragonscale is a magical item that isn't supposed to be considered in the balance. And they could have trivially made an exception for it in the rules for dragonscale, just like they did with Elven Chain.
They could have. And they would have had to do so for every additional non-metal item. Now at this point is seems clear that that is what they should have done, as this seems to be so bizarrely hard for some people to get!

They clearly intended for non-metal medium armors to exist, otherwise, they wrote a rule in the literal worst way possible.
And they do. When the rules they they do.

People figured out 40 years ago that you could make half-plate out of things other than metal. Armors in the real world, like samurai plate were made from non-metal materials hundreds of years ago.
It is common misconception (for some reason) that samurai armour isn't metal. I don't know why. They predominantly used armour made of metal plates, just like Europeans. And sure, sometimes they used leather, but metal was preferred, as it obviously was better. Also, there are rules in the game for leather and hide armours, and those are different than ones for metal armours.

Why is it so difficult for you to accept that they clearly intended non-metal medium armors to be an option? It is literally written in the book.
Yes, they did. And the rules tell you what they are. Literally written in the book. I don't know why it so hard for you to accept and follow the rules.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
And if this is just cosmetic, they wouldn't put it in the rules! If it was just 'rangers wear green clothes' or 'wizards wear pointy hats or shoes' but green clothes, pointy hats or pointy shoes wouldn't actually be defined or referenced in the rules it would be insane to write such a rule. This is rule reading 101: consider why the rule was written, if your interpretation leads to rule doing nothing, it almost certainly is wrong. Writers put rules in the game for a reason.

And now you are starting to see why many of us consider this a bad rule, why Undrave was saying that it seemed like it was written by a newbie game designer. Because they intentionally wrote a rule about cosmetics.

Personally, I thought you understood that, because earlier in this thread you kept going on and on about how druids in metal armor would "look weird" and how that wasn't "the look you wanted". I didn't realize you misunderstood this so badly.

They will wear some medium armours. Ones without metal. And helpfully the rules tell you which armour are made of metal.

The description is part of the rules, especially when it contains information other rules interact with.


If the designers would have wanted material to be purely cosmetic the rule wouldn't exist in the first place. And making them proficient only in hide would prevent them wearing dragonscale and any potential later added non-metal medium armour. So that would be a nerf compared to the current situation.

I really appreciate how you read my posts and utterly ignore what I say. It would have prevented the rule designers from adding "Druids are proficient in this armor" to dragonscale? Or to any other future armor they decided to add?

Also, what would be the point of adding "Chitin Half-Plate: See Player's Handbook for stats, Chitin half-plate has all the stats of half-plate but Druids are proficient in it" That is an entirely pointless thing to do, the stats are identical, so why make a big production out of it?

I of course do not except that you could just take ACs from chart intended for completely different purpose and apply them to armours. That would be absurd, like taking AC of monsters and directly apply it to armours made of them. But it proves that the rules certainly recognise that materials matter. This of course is already apparent in the armour descriptions themselves. Leather armour is unsurprisingly made of leather and provides lower AC than one made of metal plates. I wonder why this is? Furthermore, adamantine armour certainly makes your character more resilient, it merely is represented in another way.

And how does mithral armor make you more resilient? Is it because it is lighter and removes stealth penalties? Because according to your chart there it is +2 higher than steel and iron (weird since steel is certainly stronger than iron) and yet wearing mithral plate confers no bonuses to "resilience" in any way.

I mean, sure, they recognized it is easier to destroy paper walls than adamantium walls. But they've also shown that armor made out of steel and armor made out of adamantium and armor made out of mithral all have the same AC value conferred on the wearer. And since that is the thing we are talking about...

You again build a strawman out of trivialities that will not actually matter in the game. Yes, material of those items might technically be rules but their material also is not going to matter 99.9% of time so no one cares. Armour material however matters 100% of time eight at the character creation when someone decided to make druid.

Trivialities that won't matter, wow. So some rules are vitally important, put in with precise purpose and intent by the game designers. Others are trivialities that might technically be rules, but probably no one cares.

And in both cases we are talking about the material an item is made out of.

You know, funny thing, armor and shield material almost never matter. Shields specifically, you never have to specify which it is. Clerics start with "a shield", Fighters start with "a shield", Paladins "a shield". Then, despite the "rules" saying that shields can be made out of metal or wood, the Druid gets "a wooden shield"

So, clearly the material matters right? Especially considering the interactions with heat metal and the fact that the DMG specifies different materials and all that. So... why don't they say whether the Fighter is supposed to start with a metal shield or a wooden shield? It matters right? I mean, it needs to be specified, because it matters on whether or not that fighter can give their shield to the Druid. At character creation do you have them write down if they took a metal shield or a wooden shield? This is vitally important information right?

Or... is it not? If the fighter three levels down the road says "I give the druid my shield" do you even stop to think about whether or not the fighter ever said their shield was metal? It was specified in the rules, the designers cared deeply about it according to you, and yet... I bet that no one has ever cared. I bet no one has ever stopped and taken note that the fighter had a metal shield, so the druid can't use that specific shield. Because actually, it doesn't matter. A wooden shield and a metal shield are identical. It is... purely cosmetic


They could have. And they would have had to do so for every additional non-metal item. Now at this point is seems clear that that is what they should have done, as this seems to be so bizarrely hard for some people to get!

No, we get their intent. You seem to refuse to accept it.

It is common misconception (for some reason) that samurai armour isn't metal. I don't know why. They predominantly used armour made of metal plates, just like Europeans. And sure, sometimes they used leather, but metal was preferred, as it obviously was better. Also, there are rules in the game for leather and hide armours, and those are different than ones for metal armours.

I thought I remembered the armor mostly being made out of other materials, with the occasional metal plate. But I admit I was mostly relying on earlier posters in this thread who said as such and were never challenged on it. Or maybe I'm picturing armor for the Ashigaru and not the samurai.

Yes, they did. And the rules tell you what they are. Literally written in the book. I don't know why it so hard for you to accept and follow the rules.

Because you seem to have no conception that the rule was intended to be purely cosmetic. They said druids can wear medium armor. They said it wasn't a balance issue. They have multiple examples of items like shields and armors being made of different materials yet conferring the same AC bonus.

Why doesn't leather armor have the same stats as Studded Leather armor? Both are made primarily of leather. Why doesn't Scale Mail have the same stats as chain mail? Both are made out of small, shaped pieces of metal (unless they aren't, scale mail being made out of many different things in history). It would seem that the answer is because these aren't the same things. Even if they are made out of the same material. The mechanics are not based on what the material is, they are based on the armor itself.
 

Undrave

Hero
And making them proficient only in hide would prevent them wearing dragonscale and any potential later added non-metal medium armour. So that would be a nerf compared to the current situation.
Why does that matter? I thought Druids weren't entitled to a good AC? Pretty sure I've seen that comment somewhere when someone complained that Druids have to jump through hoops to get the same AC everybody else can buy in a shop. If they're not entitled to good AC, then what's the problem with just limiting them to Hide Armor proficiency and making the damn rule simple and clean like that?
Yes, they did. And the rules tell you what they are. Literally written in the book. I don't know why it so hard for you to accept and follow the rules.
It wouldn't be so hard if the stuff that is purely aesthetic fluff (and thus can be reworked at will, like say, the color of a fireball) and the parts that are ACTUAL RULES (like, apparently, armor materials) were better delineated without resorting to the BS 'Naturalistic language!' excuse...
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The description is part of the rules, especially when it contains information other rules interact with.
If this is true, then you're saying that every time the DM describes anything at all that any rule can interact with, that description is a house rule. I doubt you're going to get much support on that idea.

Descriptions are not rules.
 

And now you are starting to see why many of us consider this a bad rule, why Undrave was saying that it seemed like it was written by a newbie game designer. Because they intentionally wrote a rule about cosmetics.
No they did not! You're simply trying to ignore the rules.

Personally, I thought you understood that, because earlier in this thread you kept going on and on about how druids in metal armor would "look weird" and how that wasn't "the look you wanted". I didn't realize you misunderstood this so badly.
It certainly is due the look and feel, but if it was just cosmetics, it wouldn't need to be a rule. Then armours wouldn't mention material, or say something like "Metal or bone plates" and the druids not wearing metal would be in their class fluff.

I don't know why it is so damn hard for connect 1+1, you have two obvious elements provided: the class doesn't use items made of a thing and the items tell you whether they're made of the thing. It is blindingly obvious that these things have meant to interact!

I really can't be bothered with your bizarre strawmen any more. The rule is meant to cover a common a situation that comes across right at character creation every time that everyone makes a druid and even total noobs can easily understand it. They will never try to invent half-plates made of marshmallow to wear! Now you can continue to not believe in the rules, it ultimately is not my problem as I thankfully never need to play with you.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
No they did not! You're simply trying to ignore the rules.
You may disagree with us, but you really need to stop with these false accusations. Nobody here is trying to ignore any rule. We just disagree with you that it's a rule in the first place. Your OPINION on the status of the druids wearing metal blurb is not a fact, so you should really stop treating it that way. It's simply your belief and we hold a different one.
 

lingual

Adventurer
I think binary reasoning in general (for this issue) would only matter we were programming a video game. In a real game with DM and player interactions, common ground would easily be found either way. The DM would NOT roll out enemy NPC druids in full metal plate if the players like the traditional druid trope and vice versa. Any reasonable DM would, likewise, make non-metal medium armors attainable if they liked the trope.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
No they did not! You're simply trying to ignore the rules.


It certainly is due the look and feel, but if it was just cosmetics, it wouldn't need to be a rule. Then armours wouldn't mention material, or say something like "Metal or bone plates" and the druids not wearing metal would be in their class fluff.

I don't know why it is so damn hard for connect 1+1, you have two obvious elements provided: the class doesn't use items made of a thing and the items tell you whether they're made of the thing. It is blindingly obvious that these things have meant to interact!

I really can't be bothered with your bizarre strawmen any more. The rule is meant to cover a common a situation that comes across right at character creation every time that everyone makes a druid and even total noobs can easily understand it. They will never try to invent half-plates made of marshmallow to wear! Now you can continue to not believe in the rules, it ultimately is not my problem as I thankfully never need to play with you.
That is because your houserules only apply at your table. You've consistently tried to argue RAW, RAI, your houserules, all three, and neither as convenient as if it's all one thing.
 


lingual

Adventurer
That is because your houserules only apply at your table. You've consistently tried to argue RAW, RAI, your houserules, all three, and neither as convenient as if it's all one thing.
It's not "your" house rules. When a good chunk (half?) the players interpret it one way, it's way beyond "house rule". It's a common interpretation of a poorly written rule. The devs pretty much admit it as such. At least, this thread has convinced me of that. That my interpretation could very well be wrong.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
It's not "your" house rules. When a good chunk (half?) the players interpret it one way, it's way beyond "house rule". It's a common interpretation of a poorly written rule. The devs pretty much admit it as such. At least, this thread has convinced me of that. That my interpretation could very well be wrong.
Your coming in late, he's cited many personal houserules like a recent one about "tags", removing multiclass/racial/feat gained proficiencies, & so on.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
No they did not! You're simply trying to ignore the rules.


It certainly is due the look and feel, but if it was just cosmetics, it wouldn't need to be a rule. Then armours wouldn't mention material, or say something like "Metal or bone plates" and the druids not wearing metal would be in their class fluff.

I don't know why it is so damn hard for connect 1+1, you have two obvious elements provided: the class doesn't use items made of a thing and the items tell you whether they're made of the thing. It is blindingly obvious that these things have meant to interact!

I really can't be bothered with your bizarre strawmen any more. The rule is meant to cover a common a situation that comes across right at character creation every time that everyone makes a druid and even total noobs can easily understand it. They will never try to invent half-plates made of marshmallow to wear! Now you can continue to not believe in the rules, it ultimately is not my problem as I thankfully never need to play with you.

You know what else a complete and total noob will never talk about? Ironwood. You know why? Because they don't know that it existed for decades as an armor alternative for druids. You know who probably does know that ironwood was a thing? Jeremy Crawford. Have a feeling the guy might be familiar with the rules of 3.5 DnD. Just a guess.

But, you know what I have had complete noobs (because that is somehow our standard for what the designers expected, what a complete noob thinks) do? They've asked about taking insect carapace from giant insects to make armor. And I wonder, if you have a breastplate made out of insect chitin... would you give it the stats of padded armor? Maybe Platemail? Or... would you give it the stats of Breastplate?

Yes, I would think that if we could go back and rewrite things, and I had to live with this utterly innane no metal armor rule (again, no metal armor, they can still use metal items, you keep saying they don't use items made of metal and that is false) then I would have asked they include in the description of the armors that it was possible to make them out of other materials.

Because it is fluff. It is aesthetics. It is not a mechanical balance concern, as stated DIRECTLY by crawford. You want to nerf druids? Go right ahead man, I can't stop you, but stop acting like I'm some insane maniac just because I recognize the obvious solutions here. I'm not breaking any rules by making half-plate out of alternative materials. Hell, you yourself said they phrased it to allow for more non-metal medium armors. Half-Plate made out of chitin is a non-metal medium armor. It is literally the thing you said, you just can't stand the fact that it would use the same stats. Because I guess multiple creatures having exteriors as hard as steel in DnD makes it impossible for their hides to be as hard as steel.
 

And now you are starting to see why many of us consider this a bad rule, why Undrave was saying that it seemed like it was written by a newbie game designer. Because they intentionally wrote a rule about cosmetics.

As someone coming into the conversation for the first time on page 112 (but I've been doing my best to check in occasionally)...

Why is this a problem? Why do you consider rules about cosmetics inherently "bad"? Lots of things are "cosmetic" in the rules. Most of the finer details about races, weapons, and spells are fluffy bits that are, fundamentally, cosmetic.

I say this as a person who actually doesn't like cosmetic rules very much. I prefer crunchy rules. Coming from 3e to 5e, a lot of my earliest complaints were that many of my preferred crunchy/hard rules in 3e were downgraded to cosmetics. And IMNSHO the entire "Personality in Background" chapter in the PHB is valuable rules real estate being wasted on cosmetics. But I'm fundamentally okay with rules that only effect cosmetics and nothing else; they're all over the game. I don't understand why cosmetic rules are acceptable in some places but are considered "bad" here.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
It's not "your" house rules. When a good chunk (half?) the players interpret it one way, it's way beyond "house rule". It's a common interpretation of a poorly written rule. The devs pretty much admit it as such. At least, this thread has convinced me of that. That my interpretation could very well be wrong.

It's not half. It's probably closer to 1%.

99.9% of players don't post on message boards.
 


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