• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

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

Status
Not open for further replies.

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
(Also, sage advice is not rules to begin with.)

Also, let's not omit this bit:

Sage Advice: If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class.

I.e. it is a rule, and you need GM's permission to ignore it.
Right and this is mentionned in Sage Advice, not a rulebook. There is no rules against a druid wearing metal armor.

Of corse DM can give consequences, no one need a Sage Advice or any other internet ressource to tell us that. Such consequences would be up to the DM, not a rule in the PHB.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Chaosmancer

Legend
Maybe. Just like much of D&D


Only if you decide that the rules in the PHB do not apply to your game.

I do decide that players get to choose what actions their PCs take. Since a druid can choose to wear metal armor, as stated directly by the designers of the game, and suffer no penalty, I do not enforce my sense of aesthetics and force them to make a different choice.

You will. That is your choice.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I know you are being a bit tongue in cheek,

Qui, moi?

"Are you being sarcastic, Dude?"

...."I don't even know anymore?"

but I want to make sure my position is clear.

Armor made out of beetle carapace or bulette plating? I find that cool. I've had rogues try and skin wyverns and displacer beasts because they think the hides would give them special abilities.

Forcing druids to be the only class that HAS to go on a quest and do this just for bog-standard armor that has no special properties? That is a bad rule, and it serves no purpose. Even people who are on about "the theme of the class" need to recognize that there are plenty of themes that metal armor serves for specific druids. The restriction is non-sensical as well, since it also includes metal shields for no reason that any one has ever addressed or explained.

Okay, to put on my semi-serious hat* for a moment. This is what I think of the thread-

It's kind of silly. IMO. Let me explain why.

First, you have people arguing that it's not a rule, or that the words or meaningless, or that the use of "will" somehow transmogrifies it into something that cannot be deciphered into the English language, or that this is the worst thing that ever happened to MAH AGENCY and that DMs that think this is a rule are abusing the players and practically smacking them around.

In this case, the idea that you are proposing - that you don't like the rule because it's non-sensical ... well, yeah. A lot of the rules in D&D don't stand up to examination if you try to look at them in a holistic whole.

But in the end, it is a rule. All of the caterwauling and hyperbole is so very silly to me.

But ... and this is a huge but, way beyond your typical Sir Mix-a-lots... just because something is a rule, doesn't mean that people can't say it's a bad rule. Which is what you state at the end right there. If you don't like it, I get it. I do. Some people like these type of "flavor" rules, and some people don't. That's totally cool! This particular druid rule stands out, because it is an anachronism- it really harkens back to the OD&D/1e days, when there were class restrictions that were just ... restrictions, without a mechanical penalty. Clerics don't use edged weapons, because ... they didn't. What happens if they do? Dunno, because they don't**. What if that MU picks up a sword and swings it? Huh? What happens then? Again, they just don't.

And that's pretty simple to me. Despite all the sturm und drang, despite all the jokes about druids exploding, despite all the careful parsing of the location of the rule within proficiency or the exact use of "will"***, in the end ....

A. It's a rule.
B. It's kind of a weird, throw-back rule, that we don't really see much of in 5e.
C. You can either use it, or not. It's totally fine. Some people like the continuity with lore and weird, non-metal ACs, some people think it's a stupid rule and they don't use it. Both opinions seem totally cool to me.
D. In the end, I hope that we can all, at a minimum, agree that Bards suck.



*It's a hat made out of semi-sweet morsels of chocolate. Protip- don't wear it during the summer.

**There were a few, specific exceptions for certain deities.

***Fun fact- the indeterminacy and constant arguments over will/shall has caused some people to use "must" and other words instead just to avoid these type of crazy arguments.
 

carkl3000

Explorer
First, I want to make sure my positions are clear. I'm okay with consequences for a druid putting on metal armor, including consequences that are class crippling like a monk wearing armor. I love class identity and don't see classes as just a collection of mechanics. The only things I really have an issue with are the way certain things are written, and the way some people either don't: a) realize that there is an in-play player-agency issue being uniquely, in the entire game, impacted by the druid armor issue, or b) realize it and are okay with it. I don't suppose I can meaningfully convince someone that they shouldn't be okay with that, but people on this forum are generally pretty reasonable (though we do like to dig in our heels on certain issues) and I believe it is possible to help reasonable people see where an actual issue exists. My primary goal is therefore for everyone (yeah, I'm an idealist) to recognize that there is unique and problematic issue in the social contract (and in setting consistency) arising solely from this one class feature, that has nothing to do with preserving class identity (I don't want druids wearing metal armor in general!) or game balance.

But first, I want to briefly address something no one has brought up regarding the argument @Yaarel is making that druids lack proficiency in metal armor. Based only on the PHB, this is not as absurd as it appears. Here's what page 45 says:

View attachment 141609

The chart says that their proficiencies are in nonmetal light and medium armor and shields. This is not the same as what page 65 (under the druid class entry) says. While I think the stronger interpretation is to make the class entry primary and say this table is just making a functional summary, that does mean this table is technically incorrect. It is also reasonable to take the interpretation that the table is clarifying the actual mechanical rule, and the entry in the class is including a bit of fluff explaining the reason they mechanically lack proficiency in metal armors. The benefit of the latter interpretation is that neither entry is actually incorrect, they are simply talking about different things.



So, assuming you didn't feel it was too disruptive to your game to allow, and a player was okay with taking the consequences, would I be correct in assuming you'd have them lose all or most class features, either permanently or until they made some sort of atonement? While that might not be my preferred method of dealing with it, I think it's a reasonable way and it doesn't eliminate player agency. "You can choose to do this, but there will be severe consequences" preserves agency. Heck, even "yes, your character can theoretically put on metal armor and suffer massive consquences; but I'm not going to let you as a player have them do that in my game, because I don't like what it does to the game, and if you insist it indicates you are probably not going to be a good fit for this game" is a reasonable position. Those positions, while rather hard line, are fine.



This is also how I see it.

I would like to understand why those who see it differently do so.

For those who don't have an issue based on player agency, could you provide some other examples of player-agency issues that you would have an issue with? And/or some other examples of restrictions that seem even stronger than the druid armor one that you would also not have a problem with? I'm trying to figure out if there is a general lack of compatibility on perception of player agency issues, or if the issue is being viewed differently by different people.

For instance, if you want to preserve class identity, and prefer druids don't wear metal armor, I'm on your side. No need to fight me. If you think there might be a balance issue, I'm not strongly attached to any view. Again, not your opponent on that. If you're just trying to make it clear what the rules are in the book, I agree that the stronger reading is that "will not" is a rule. What I want to get at is how you feel about the player-agency issue in isolation from every other issue.

I think it has been explained fairly well why many of us see it as a problem. It does something nothing else in the entire game does--it prevents us from making a choice to violate a character's initial beliefs during the game and face the consequences (whatever those might be). This doesn't make any sense from a religious perspective. Even the most devout religious people violate their beliefs on occasion due to human imperfections, regardless of how much effort they put into not doing so. Many people change religious beliefs. In D&D, angels can fall and fiends can rise. It seems odd to say that members of the druidic faith (or character class) are literally incapable of choosing to change their beliefs or give in to temptations to violate them. I'm sure it was correct at one point to say that a fallen D&D angel "would not" do evil acts, and that a risen fiend "would not" do good acts. But they changed over time. How are druids different?
Thanks for pointing out that table. Seeing that, it's even more surprising that they went the way they did in the Sage Advice clarification.
 
Last edited:

carkl3000

Explorer
Sure, they can do those things, but they probably won't. They're not incentivised to do so. They gain no particular benefit from hundreds of iron chains or from a iron staff. They however gain significant benefit from metal armour. Please understand, that a world where druids can wear metal armour is a world where all druids will wear metal armour.
Just to push back on this a little. I don't think it follows. A druid that doesn't want to have a frontline combat presence or a moon druid maybe? would probably prefer light armor and a good dex score over medium armor and a higher con score
 

ad_hoc

Hero
Right and this is mentionned in Sage Advice, not a rulebook. There is no rules against a druid wearing metal armor.

Of corure DM can give consequences, no one need a Sage Advice or any other internet ressource to tell us that. Such consequences would be be up to the DM, not a rule in the PHB.

The consequence at my table for any game that I play is that people who don't follow the rules don't get to play.

It's strange to me that anyone else is okay with that.
 

Undrave

Hero
The chart says that their proficiencies are in nonmetal light and medium armor and shields. This is not the same as what page 65 (under the druid class entry) says. While I think the stronger interpretation is to make the class entry primary and say this table is just making a functional summary, that does mean this table is technically incorrect. It is also reasonable to take the interpretation that the table is clarifying the actual mechanical rule, and the entry in the class is including a bit of fluff explaining the reason they mechanically lack proficiency in metal armors. The benefit of the latter interpretation is that neither entry is actually incorrect, they are simply talking about different things.
See, if that were the case it would be WAY better. This would mean that a Druid player can go out of their way to gain those missing proficiencies (or they decide to play a Dwarf) just like any other class that doesn't have good armor proficiency, and the rules stay out of the way of my character's personal choices.

The major premise, given by the text of the Player's Handbook, is "druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal".
The minor premise, given by the player, is "This character will wear armor or use shields made of metal."
The conclusion follows, "This character is not a druid."

The DM isn't enforcing anything or inflicting a penalty; it's just the inexorable result of cold Aristotelian logic. When the character became someone who would wear metal armor, he ceased to meet the definition of a druid, so he isn't one.

Don't force me to bring in Diogenes!

What does "This character is not a Druid" even MEAN here? What are the impact of that on the game rules?

Quite the opposite, there is a mechanical impact to not wearing it (slightly lower AC), hence the passion with which people take to this debate.
No one likes to get hit, Phoenix. Since when is wanting good AC somehow a bad thing?!

So, while we're discussing the druid's quirks: allowing non-druids learning the druidic language: yay or nay?

...Has anybody in the History of D&D ever used Druidic?!

Druidic and Thieves' Cant are like "secret" language right? So a character would first need to be made aware those languages even exist before they can decide to learn it. After that it's more a question of finding someone willing to teach you. There's probably no book on the subject.
 



Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The major premise, given by the text of the Player's Handbook, is "druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal".
The minor premise, given by the player, is "This character will wear armor or use shields made of metal."
The conclusion follows, "This character is not a druid."
So you're saying that he's the druid class with all the druid abilities and spells, but not a druid at the same time? Because he wouldn't lose a single class ability or even be inhibited in those abilities by the armor. There's no sidebar like paladins get explaining what happens for violating their oath. An oath by the way is stronger language than, "Won't wear metal armor." If paladins can violate their oath, druids can violate their choice not to wear armor, and with no penalty!
The DM isn't enforcing anything or inflicting a penalty; it's just the inexorable result of cold Aristotelian logic. When the character became someone who would wear metal armor, he ceased to meet the definition of a druid, so he isn't one.
I guess other druids might not consider him one while his armor is on. He wouldn't cease to be the druid class, though.
I would suggest that the directly on-point sentence of the Sage Advice Compendium answer is the sentence "If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class."
Nope. They would have said that as well. Their lack of putting in such language in either the PHB lore or lore clarification means that no such penalty exists.
 

Nope.

Sage Advice: Druids don’t lack the ability to wear metal armor. They choose not to wear it.
Yes, this is an explanation why they won't wear metal armour, it in no way or form make that 'won't' into 'will.'

If it is a choice, then it is something that I can choose. If I can choose to change what I wear, then nothing prevents me from doing so.
It is a choice. You made that choice when you decided to become a druid. Druids won't wear metal armour. That is the rule. The Sage Advice also explicitly tells that allowing to ignore this limitation is for the GM to decide, not something the player can unilaterally do.

So druids wearing non-metal armors are required to get magical armors?
That is an option that exists currently in the rules without the GM homebrewing anything. And I don't think it is particularly unreasonable. Low level magic items tend not to be that hard to get.

Or are you saying that because in the DMG they say magical gear can be made out of strange materials that the PHB contains breastplate made out of bones?
No.

Because that is somehow bad? It doesn't make druids any less druidic. I know. I've been playing where druids can wear metal armor if they want for years, people barely even notice. Because the druid is defined by their beliefs and actions, not by some random restriction that their shield must be made from the heartwood of a tree instead of from steel, because somehow that is better and more natural.
Not wearing metal armour is part of the classic D&D druid imagery and I like it, as apparently did the people who wrote the PHB. You don't need to like that, and you can housserule things like your GM apparently did.
 

Northern Phoenix

Adventurer
Seeking mechanical advantage is often used as shorthand to imply that one isn't a true roleplayer vs being a rollplayer and is just a backhanded insult that can be easily ignored.

Well, the counterargument to that is that you can do both, right? Actually trying to do one at the expense of the other is unironically playing into the stereotype that supposedly isn't true.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
True. The players can wear what they want. Rules however prevent druid characters from wearing metal armour.
Where? Not one word in the druid section prevents such a thing. There is no "can't" with regard to metal armor.
You're massively misinterpreting the sage advice. Crawford at no point says it is not a rule, they merely explain why it is a rule.
Let's see...

"Well, not actually. Druids have a taboo against wearing metal armor and wielding a metal shield. The taboo has been part of the class’s story since the class first appeared in Eldritch Wizardry (1976) and the original Player’s Handbook (1978). The idea is that druids prefer to be protected by animal skins, wood, and other natural materials that aren’t the worked metal that is associated with civilization. Druids don’t lack the ability to wear metal armor. They choose not to wear it. This choice is part of their identity as a mystical order. Think of it in these terms: a vegetarian can eat meat, but chooses not to.

A druid typically wears leather, studded leather, or hide armor, and if a druid comes across scale mail made of a material other than metal, the druid might wear it. If you feel strongly about your druid breaking the taboo and donning metal, talk to your DM. Each class has story elements mixed with its game features; the two types of design go hand in hand in D&D, and the story parts are stronger in some classes than in others. Druids and paladins have an especially strong dose of story in their design. If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class. As long as you abide by your character’s proficiencies, you’re not going to break anything in the game system, but you might undermine the story and the world being created in your campaign."

So the first bolded part says taboo, not rule. A taboo is not a rule. The second bolded part clearly says it's part of the class story. Story = lore. The third bolded part says very clearly that it's a preference to wear non-metal armor. A preference is a choice, not a rule. The fourth bolded part flat out tells you that it's a choice, which means that it is not a requirement and nothing prevents the druid from putting it on. I've known vegetarians to occasionally break that taboo, so the fifth bolded portion also indicates that it can be broken. The sixth bolded portion literally says the druid can wear metal armor. The sixth bolded portion also clearly says this is a lore feature of the class by literally equating it to story. It also says that a DM could take away the class if he wanted to, but that's not in question. A draconian DM could always do that. DMs can create whatever house rules they want.

At no point, though, is it ever a rule. It's lore and story, not rule. The DM has to enact a rule in order to remove the class.
 

But first, I want to briefly address something no one has brought up regarding the argument @Yaarel is making that druids lack proficiency in metal armor. Based only on the PHB, this is not as absurd as it appears. Here's what page 45 says:

View attachment 141609

Good find. Bumping this and putting it into text as the image seems to get reduced to a link when quoting:

PHB page 45, Classes chart, Druid Armor and Weapon Proficiencies:
Light and medium armor (nonmetal), shields (nonmetal), clubs, daggers, darts, javelins, maces, quarterstaffs, scimitars, sickles, slings, spears
 

There is no rules against a druid wearing metal armor.
'Druids will not wear metal armour' That is the rule! I literally cannot understand where the difficulty is. If your character has a rule 'Will not do X' then them doing X is against the rules. This must truly be the bizarrest attempt at rules lawyering I have ever seen; simply claiming that words don't mean things. o_O
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
No! It is a rule, that exists because of a story element. That there is fluff explanation for the existence of the rule doesn't stop it being a rule!
(Also, sage advice is not rules to begin with.)

Also, let's not omit this bit:

Sage Advice: If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class.

I.e. it is a rule, and you need GM's permission to ignore it.
That's a ruling, not a rule. A rule is, "Any druid that wears metal armor loses their class and becomes an X of the same level." If the DMs have to decide on an individual basis for their game, there's no rule in place. There's simply strong story behind it and the DM can make a ruling(put in a house rule) that removes the class. No such rule exists in RAW, though.
 

Since a druid can choose to wear metal armor, as stated directly by the designers of the game
No, they don't state that, they state the opposite. Druids choose to no wear metal armour. Like vegans choose not to eat meat. There is no indication that they could choose otherwise and remain druids or vegans, except the later stipulation that basically amounts to 'GM can change the rules if they want,' which we all of course already know.
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top