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

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cbwjm

Hero
Let's be honest, no one has ever used Padded armor in the history of D&D 5e. No one.

It might as well be a blank space in the PHB. Thinking back on it, it might actually be. Maybe it's just a strange mixture of the Mandela Effect and Aurora Borealis. :unsure:
Wow, I didn't even know padded armour was a thing in 5e.
 

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Let's be honest, no one has ever used Padded armor in the history of D&D 5e. No one.

It might as well be a blank space in the PHB. Thinking back on it, it might actually be. Maybe it's just a strange mixture of the Mandela Effect and Aurora Borealis. :unsure:
back in 3.5 when armor dex caps were a thing there could be situations where a pc with extremely high dex was better in padded
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Jump from +8 ac to +9 at 26 dex, not impossible or even all that hard for a dex build after enough levels given proper magic items.
 
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Undrave

Hero
Yep, and that’s an intentional choice, according to Sage Advice. In D&D lore, druids use leather or hide armor, or armor made with special materials like darkwood or dragon scales. But, if a PC druid dons metal armor they’re proficient with, there’s no mechanical consequence for doing so, and nothing will break as a result. Some DMs might want to impose some sort of story or social consequences - maybe the Druid’s order will banish them if they find out or something. But mechanically? Nothing prevents it, and there’s no exploit the restriction is meant to circumvent.
It's badly explained is what it is.

They can wave 'Rulings not rules!" around as much as they want, but if you can't tell what text is even RULES in the first place that's just bad design.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
It is. It’s the same as leather armor, but gives disadvantage on stealth and costs 5 gp instead of 10.
I know. I was joking, in case the wink emoji didn't make that clear.

It practically doesn't exist because it's strictly worse than Leather Armor in every way except for price, and no class's starting equipment actually gives it. They all just give Leather Armor. It might as well not exist.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It's badly explained is what it is.

They can wave 'Rulings not rules!" around as much as they want, but if you can't tell what text is even RULES in the first place that's just bad design.
I don’t disagree. But with the clarification in Sage Advice I’m perfectly comfortable not putting any druid NPCs in anything higher than hide while ruling that nothing prevents a druid PC from doing so, save potential social consequences.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I know. I was joking, in case the wink emoji didn't make that clear.

It practically doesn't exist because it's strictly worse than Leather Armor in every way except for price, and no class's starting equipment actually gives it. They all just give Leather Armor. It might as well not exist.
I think that's why I had to look it up to see if it's real, classes start with leather which made me think that was the worst armour, but no, padded is there for everyone who wants worse armour than leather.
 

I don't run 5e, but the druid in my game wasn't wearing metal armor, more out of style than out of need. The druids in my game are much more politically/socially engaged than how druids are usually characterized. Urban communities aren't necessarily a bad thing--bees build hives, termites build nests, "constructing" things by taking stuff from your environment is quite natural. Overreach and causing damage that takes ages to repair, that's what makes "Cities" a problem, but kudzu is (or, rather, would be, if it existed in this world) just as bad if not worse, despite being "more natural" than blacksmithing and cities and such.

If he ever did want to wear metal armor, I'd probably make it a story as to how he got it, and how he balanced the innate "city spirit" nature of forged metal with the innate "wild spirit" nature of his powers. Could end up being pretty cool.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think that's why I had to look it up to see if it's real, classes start with leather which made me think that was the worst armour, but no, padded is there for everyone who wants worse armour than leather.
There’s also ring mail, which is even more egregious if you ask me. 30 GP for scale Mail but heavy and you can’t add +2 from dex.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I think that's why I had to look it up to see if it's real, classes start with leather which made me think that was the worst armour, but no, padded is there for everyone who wants worse armour than leather.
Yep. Same applies to Ring mail, too. No classes start with it, it's objectively worse than the other heavy armors in the game (and worse than most medium armors), and also might as well not exist in 5e. Literally the only time I used it was when my Changeling Warlock wanted to outfit their army of ogres in armor, and Ogres have a minus to DEX, so Heavy armor was the only option, so I chose to give them the cheapest heavy armor in the PHB, which was Ringmail. Later, I upgraded it to Chainmail because it wasn't that much more expensive and my character got the funds to do so.

That's literally the only time it's ever come into play, and it was temporary, and it was a very, very niche circumstance. I'm yet to find another PC that is in charge of an Ogre army that they want to outfit in heavy armor.

Edit: @Charlaquin beat me to pointing out Ring mail.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The green knights of my game world used teak wood to replace all uses of metal but it wasn't because they couldn't it was because huge amounts of metal in the country the were dominant in was tainted with a poison that created zombies out of those exposed too long.
 


Yes. I'm probably going to say that the class doesn't give them proficiency in metal armor though, due to it being uncomfortable for wild shaping in (purely fluff). If they get it from another source, such as being a mountain dwarf, multiclassing, or a feat, they have learned to overcome the issue just like wizards who gain armor proficiency and can wear it just fine.

Some druidic orders (definitely not dwarven ones) frown on wearing metal armor and see the (fluff) difficulty of wild shaping in it as an indication that they shouldn't wear it. Others disagree and see it as simply a practical issue.

In any event, if a druid put it on (proficient or not) they wouldn't suffer any penalty other than perhaps social if they were in a really hard core order.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
In all seriousness though, Padded armor and and ring mail are for NPCs you want to have wear crappy armor.

Pretty much this.

Personally I think 3E system tweaked would work well enough.

Side effect of 3E and 4E buy the best armor with the highest bonus. Magical full plate in AD&D good luck +3 chainmail a lot more common.
 

Stormonu

Legend
It hasn't come up in 5E, but since 2E, I've had non-metal equivalents they can use, like wood, sharkskin, dragonscale, etc. Had a druid once that made a breastplate from a bullette, for example.

Also, as a side note, we dropped Concentration from Barkskin (if cast on the Druid) and Call Lightning can be used indoors as long as the roof is 15' or higher.
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
I suppose I shouldn't complain about it after complaining so much about alignment restrictions in 3.X/PF1, but I don't see the metal armor restriction as nearly as baseless as weapons restrictions for Clerics or... well, practically any/every alignment restriction for classes other than Cleric/Paladin.

It's a little weird they're allowed metal tools and weapons, but denied metal armor, but it's not totally weird; you wield a weapon in your hand only when you need it, but you wear armor whenever you might need it. Weapons make you more dangerous predator/prey, but metal armor-- realistically-- makes you practically invulnerable to most animals' attacks.

I'm not a purist about this. I'd allow a Druid PC to waive this restriction with a good reason and a small cost. In 5e, being proficient in Medium armor means being qualified for the Heavy Armor Proficiency feat. Take the feat, with a narrative justification... sure, wear whatever not unnatural armor you want.

In a game with (fixed progression) multiclassing and some kind of feat/slot option, I'd allow any Druid/armor-wearing class to buy metal armor with a feat or two.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But they do have medium armor proficiency, don't they? That suggests to me that designers expect them to wear such armor.
The "no metal" requirement sounds to my ears more like fluff than mechanics.
I think they've explicitly said that it is purely about flavour, yeah.

Anyway, in my games druids can wear whatever they're proficient in, but generally don't like deep mining. They will recycle metal armor, though, without hesitation. If I play a druid, the concept I have wears a moss covered suit of half plate taken from a knight who fell in a duel with The Woodking century or so before the PC was born.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
I play it just as the Sage Advice Compendium says: "What happens if a druid wears metal armor? The druid explodes."

(Whaddaya mean there's more to the answer than that? :p)

(For those of you wondering what armors are non-metal, that same Sage Advice Compendium says "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.")

In all seriousness though, Padded armor and and ring mail are for NPCs you want to have wear crappy armor.
Or for PCs trying to equip an army on a budget. You can armor twice as many peons with padded as you can with leather for the same budget, it's the same AC, and an army isn't going to be Stealthing anywhere anyway.
 

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