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D&D 5E Comparing Monk DPR

Asisreo

Hero
A fair point, except that I always see step of the wind as the most situational of the abilities.

Sure, disadvantage and +3 AC is AMAZING and likely to make a single opportunity attack miss. Step of the Wind with a Dash though allows the monk to guarantee that a dozen opportunity attacks don't even get made.

Is it generally weaker? Sure. But, Step of the Wind has always been the weakest option, because it is mostly for dashing and monks are crazy fast.
I'd say make Step of the Wind better in a more unique way. Give them a flying speed equal to their walking speed until the start of their next turn on top of everything else. That way, monks have an option to challenge flying enemies as well. It would be expensive to keep it up but it would give them much more important mobility in combat.
 

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At level 5 you have mage armor which is 13, +4Dex, +3intelligence, +2 Haste +5 shield. That is 27 with bracers pushing it to 29. Shield is only for 1 round, but you do not need it very often as 22 is pretty darn good already and you only cast shield when they would hit a 22.

Let us break this down for a second.

18 dexterity.
16 intelligence
Bladesinging feature
1st level spell
3rd level spell
Reaction 1st level spell


That is a lot. But it is also using a lot of resources. So, I can completely see the argument that Bracers of Defense added to all of this is troublesome. But, this meaning that the Bracer's shouldn't be changed, because of this one situation, is kind of silly. Especially considering that when the Bracers were designed, this wasn't possible.

Three Counter points.

Most Monks with 18 dexterity and 16 wisdom has... 17 AC. 10 points less. They have no access to mage armor (and if they did it wouldn't change anything), no access to shield, no access to haste. If they get the bracers is raises them to 19.


If you gave that bladesinger the option of any magical items to increase their AC, and they picked the Bracers... they've made a mistake. A staff of power gives them the same AC bonus with multiple other benefits. An amulet or cloak of protection gives them only a +1, but it also increases their saves, and since their AC is already so ridiculously high, the +1 is likely not going to help.



If you take a fighter or other heavy armor using character, with defensive style and give them a +2 shield, they have an AC of 23. A +2 shield is the same rarity and benefit of Bracers of Defense, but it does not require attunement. And is still better than the Monk.



I don't think anyone is going to argue that Bladesinging wizards who dump everything into getting an amazing AC aren't going to have an amazing AC. But that misses the point of the complaint, to take one of the most extreme examples, and use it as the baseline.


+2 AC to an unarmored character is a big deal.

But +2 to an armored character who already has a higher AC isn't a big deal?

Further it is always better than a shield as it does not take an action to don or drop, and it gives you a bonus while allowing a free hand for two weapon fighting, a free action, spell casting, grappling etc. Shields pretty much suck for anyone except a non-melee cleric or a warlock who takes the moderately armored feat.

Shields taken an action to don has come up... once. In the last seven years of gameplay.

It does give you a hand for two weapon fighting. This is not something that wizards, sorcerers or monks will ever use, and it is rarely used for Barbarians. It rarely affects spellcasting at all, because most casters are using their arcane focus anyways, like a staff, and have two free hands. Also, monks aren't spellcasting.

Also, shields are AMAZING. I don't get where you have the idea that they aren't good for most people. They are crazy good for most people.

We have a magic +1 shield in a campaign I am playing right now. Aside from being a magic shield, it also is intelligent and can cast several spells once a day. No one in the entire party wanted it because no one wants to lug around a shield. One of our wizards (who is not proficient) ended up carrying it on his back, he will pull it off and use it to cast something like it is a wand and then drops it or puts it back on his back. If we found bracers of defense multiple characters would be fighting over who got to wear them.

You guys are crazy. Every character who isn't using a bow, non-profiecient, or using a two-handed weapon is using a shield in our games. But no one in our games would ever use the Bracers of Defense.

Remember, to use the Bracers, you cannot be wearing armor. Full PLate is 18 AC. That is equivalent to +8 AC over not wearing it. You have to give it up to get a +2. Every single character who can wear light armor can get the exact same benefit of using the bracers by wearing studded leather armor. This item isn't powerful at all.
 

I'd say make Step of the Wind better in a more unique way. Give them a flying speed equal to their walking speed until the start of their next turn on top of everything else. That way, monks have an option to challenge flying enemies as well. It would be expensive to keep it up but it would give them much more important mobility in combat.

I could see that. I think the issue is that it would only be different from the increased jump distance if the flying enemy is more than 30 up, or away from a wall. Because, remember, by level 9 all monks can run up vertical surfaces with ease
 

auburn2

Adventurer
Let us break this down for a second.

18 dexterity.
16 intelligence
Bladesinging feature
1st level spell
3rd level spell
Reaction 1st level spell


That is a lot. But it is also using a lot of resources. So, I can completely see the argument that Bracers of Defense added to all of this is troublesome. But, this meaning that the Bracer's shouldn't be changed, because of this one situation, is kind of silly. Especially considering that when the Bracers were designed, this wasn't possible.

Three Counter points.

Most Monks with 18 dexterity and 16 wisdom has... 17 AC. 10 points less. They have no access to mage armor (and if they did it wouldn't change anything), no access to shield, no access to haste. If they get the bracers is raises them to 19.


If you gave that bladesinger the option of any magical items to increase their AC, and they picked the Bracers... they've made a mistake. A staff of power gives them the same AC bonus with multiple other benefits. An amulet or cloak of protection gives them only a +1, but it also increases their saves, and since their AC is already so ridiculously high, the +1 is likely not going to help.



If you take a fighter or other heavy armor using character, with defensive style and give them a +2 shield, they have an AC of 23. A +2 shield is the same rarity and benefit of Bracers of Defense, but it does not require attunement. And is still better than the Monk.



I don't think anyone is going to argue that Bladesinging wizards who dump everything into getting an amazing AC aren't going to have an amazing AC. But that misses the point of the complaint, to take one of the most extreme examples, and use it as the baseline.




But +2 to an armored character who already has a higher AC isn't a big deal?



Shields taken an action to don has come up... once. In the last seven years of gameplay.

It does give you a hand for two weapon fighting. This is not something that wizards, sorcerers or monks will ever use, and it is rarely used for Barbarians. It rarely affects spellcasting at all, because most casters are using their arcane focus anyways, like a staff, and have two free hands. Also, monks aren't spellcasting.

Also, shields are AMAZING. I don't get where you have the idea that they aren't good for most people. They are crazy good for most people.



You guys are crazy. Every character who isn't using a bow, non-profiecient, or using a two-handed weapon is using a shield in our games. But no one in our games would ever use the Bracers of Defense.

Remember, to use the Bracers, you cannot be wearing armor. Full PLate is 18 AC. That is equivalent to +8 AC over not wearing it. You have to give it up to get a +2. Every single character who can wear light armor can get the exact same benefit of using the bracers by wearing studded leather armor. This item isn't powerful at all.
It is a big deal when bracers do not require any proficiencies or abilities to use. To use plate there are a ton of negatives and requirements - heavy armor proficiency, a minimum strength score and disadvantage on stealth checks. Compare that to bracers of defense which ONLY requires attunement, it is far harder to get and use full plate. Plate is only +8 over someone with no dexterity bonus, it is not that in use compared to most that will use the bracers. Plate is only +1 better than a Monk should have at the point a character can afford plate. So a Monk with bracers of defense at a point where plate is appropriate will have a BETTER AC than another character in plate armor with two free hands.

You also act like any character can use a shield, they can't. The gp cost of a shield is not the barrier to using it, the proficiency is. It is one of the hardest common items for a character to get access to, harder than any other weapons and for most players as difficult as getting heavy armor proficiency. Just about anything else can be picked up with a race or at most one feat, but to get shield proficiency you either need to multiclass into a class that gets it or use TWO feats (one if you already have light armor proficiency). If everyone in your party uses a shield like you claim, then many of them took the moderately armored feat because Rogues, Wizards, Sorcerers, etc can't get shield proficiency any other way. In a typical party you are going to have probably 2-3 characters with shield proficiency. Of those 2-3 characters take out the clerics who are not back liners and need a weapon in 1 hand and another hand free for casting. Then take out the martials using primarily bows, cross bows and two handed weapons, then take out any that are TWF specialists. What you are left with is the characters that both can and have a reason to use a shield, I would argue it is 0 in most parties. A few probably have a cleric with warcaster or a sword and board fighter, but I think it is a minority of parties that have such a character and very few have 2 of them. Now how many can and would use BOD? Probably 2 or 3 can use them and would use them - all the Monks, most of the wizards, sorcerers and warlocks, some of the Barbarians and Rogues. You talk about doing something for one subclass; yet in 5 years of playing 5E we have had the same number of bladesingers at my table (3), as we have had PCs of all types that used a shield (1 light cleric, 1 battlemaster fighter, 1 vengence paladin).

To put it another way - you say this is no better than a shield and a shield is not a big deal so this is not a big deal ........ if a shield is "no big deal", why doesn't every wizard and sorcerer rock a shield? There is no reason for them not to and certainly every single one of them would take a free +2 to AC? It is a safe bet every one of them with a spare atunement spot would take BOD.

This is an item that is better than a shield in combat, does not require an action to don or doff, does not take up you offhand and does not require proficiency. Considering the significant barriers to most characters using a shield, why should this be free to employ? This is better than a shield in use, so certainly there should be some barrier or something to give up to use it!

Finally your entire argument is the +2 AC is not a big deal, if that is true, then you are not losing much if you have to drop it to attune to something else. You can't really have it both ways, either the +2 is a big deal and should require atunement or it isn't and then it is not a big deal if they don't have the +2.
 
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It is a big deal when bracers do not require any proficiencies or abilities to use. To use plate there are a ton of negatives and requirements - heavy armor proficiency, a minimum strength score and disadvantage on stealth checks.

But it is one of three attunement slots, and it is only viable for 4 classes. Again, compare it to the actual same value by itself, which is studded leather armor, which has 9 classes which can use it, no strength requirement and no stealth disadvantage.

This is why the Bracers are so limited, because only the classes that no other choice really want them, and the Barbarian, only if they insist on using a two-handed weapon and have high scores.

Compare that to bracers of defense which ONLY requires attunement, it is far harder to get and use full plate. Plate is only +8 over someone with no dexterity bonus, it is not that in use compared to most that will use the bracers. Plate is only +1 better than a Monk should have at the point a character can afford plate. So a Monk with bracers of defense at a point where plate is appropriate will have a BETTER AC than another character in plate armor with two free hands.

Attunement is an incredibly limited resource. You get three. And yes, it is +8 over someone with zero dex. A necromancer might have a very low dex. A Celestial Soul Sorcerer might have very low Dex. These characters want the Bracers too.

And, to break down your numbers again, if full plate is only +1 better, then you are saying the Monk should have a 17 AC. Now, let's just say that the fighter gets full plate around level 6. Now, the monk can use one of their highly limited attunement slots, with a Rare magical item to jump up higher with a 19 AC. With both hands free.

  • The fighter... could have taken the defensive style to get 19 AC. With Both hands free.
  • The fighter could have gotten an uncommon attunement item (the cloak of protection) that gives +1 to all their saves and gives them 19 AC. With both hands free.

But, why does both hands free matter? Sure, a shield takes an action to put on, but drawing a weapon is a free-item interaction. So, you could have one hand free to do things like open doors, then draw your weapon as part of your attack. Just about the only thing this prevents is you can't grapple... unless you sheath your sword (which is free) to grapple. So, let us assume the fighter is willing to risk those rare times when having only one-hand is going to be a tricky situation during combat, when AC matters.

  • The fighter could wear a shield. This brings them to 20 AC.
  • The fighter could get a rare magic item that doesn't require attunement, a +2 shield, that brings their AC to 22

Oh, and lest we forget... most of this stacks. So, you could have a 23 AC fairly easily, with no attunement. 4 points higher than the monk using their attunement.

You also act like any character can use a shield, they can't. The gp cost of a shield is not the barrier to using it, the proficiency is. It is one of the hardest common items for a character to get access to, harder than any other weapons and for most players as difficult as getting heavy armor proficiency. Just about anything else can be picked up with a race or at most one feat, but to get shield proficiency you either need to multiclass into a class that gets it or use TWO feats (one if you already have light armor proficiency).

There are 13 classes in the game.

Natively able to use shields? Artificers, Barbarians, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger (7)

Has a subclass that gives a melee version of the class who can use shields? Bard, Warlock (2)

Has no access to shields outside of multi-classing or Feats? Monk, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wizard (4)


It is actually harder to get martial weapon proficiency or Heavy Armor Proficiency. Just about 75% of all classes can use Shields though. And, on that list with no access outside of feats or the subclass list? Only the Monk, Sorcerer and Wizard need two feats, because the Bard Warlock and Rogue all have light armor proficiency. These three classes also never will attune to Bracers of Defense, because it offers them nothing that they can't get by wearing Studded Leather armor.



If everyone in your party uses a shield like you claim, then many of them took the moderately armored feat because Rogues, Wizards, Sorcerers, etc can't get shield proficiency any other way.

Actually, they are fighters, rangers, paladins, barbarians, ect.

In a typical party you are going to have probably 2-3 characters with shield proficiency. Of those 2-3 characters take out the clerics who are not back liners and need a weapon in 1 hand and another hand free for casting.

Nope, Clerics and Paladins can use their shield as a Holy Symbol, meaning they do not need a free hand for casting per the rules.

Then take out the martials using primarily bows, cross bows and two handed weapons, then take out any that are TWF specialists.

Handcrossbow can be used with a shield, but I will concede that martial ranged characters and TWF specialist have chosen not to use a shield. Not that they couldn't, they just have made a choice to no use one while using their preferred method of fighting.

Funny thing though? Two Weapon Fighting Feat gives +1 AC, so if they are a fighter wearing full plate? AC 19, just like the Monk with the Bracers.

What you are left with is the characters that both can and have a reason to use a shield, I would argue it is 0 in most parties.

You would be very wrong.

A few probably have a cleric with warcaster or a sword and board fighter, but I think it is a minority of parties that have such a character and very few have 2 of them. Now how many can and would use BOD? Probably 2 or 3 can use them and would use them - all the Monks, most of the wizards, sorcerers and warlocks, some of the Barbarians and Rogues.

Rogues and Warlocks would never use Bracers of Defense, because they get the exact same benefit from wearing Studded Leather armor. Again, to repeat. To use Bracers of Defense you cannot wear any armor. This is a major drawback of the item. There are 9 classes to whom this item is 100% worthless. That is a super majority of the classes in the game. Only 4 can get any use out of it, one (the barbarian) has to have high stats to even consider it, and the other 3 are where we are talking, wizards, sorcerers, and Monks

You talk about doing something for one subclass; yet in 5 years of playing 5E we have had the same number of bladesingers at my table (3), as we have had PCs of all types that used a shield (1 light cleric, 1 battlemaster fighter, 1 vengence paladin).

So? Bladesinger wizards may be common at your table, but again, if this item is a problem for them, just don't give it to them. But designing this item to be nearly worthless for everyone, just because one subclass can go nuts with it, is a problem.

The issue isn't the item, it is the stacking on top of everything else you are having the bladesinger do.

To put it another way - you say this is no better than a shield and a shield is not a big deal so this is not a big deal ........ if a shield is "no big deal", why doesn't every wizard and sorcerer rock a shield? There is no reason for them not to and certainly every single one of them would take a free +2 to AC? It is a safe bet every one of them with a spare atunement spot would take BOD.

If they could get shields without needing two feats, they would rock shields at every opportunity. But, you said a key phrase here. "with a spare attunement spot".

That is the trick here, is a shield worth attunement? Sure, if you have nothing better to attune to, but how many items are better to attune to? Would you give up a ring of spell storing for a shield? A Wand of Fireballs? There are a lot of things that are far better for them, that also require attunement. And why does this item require attunement when it is already so limited?

This is an item that is better than a shield in combat, does not require an action to don or doff, does not take up you offhand and does not require proficiency. Considering the significant barriers to most characters using a shield, why should this be free to employ? This is better than a shield in use, so certainly there should be some barrier or something to give up to use it!

Finally your entire argument is the +2 AC is not a big deal, if that is true, then you are not losing much if you have to drop it to attune to something else. You can't really have it both ways, either the +2 is a big deal and should require atunement or it isn't and then it is not a big deal if they don't have the +2.

But a smart player sheaths their sword instead of donning and doffing the shield. Most player's don't need both hands all the time. Most players can get proficiency rather trivially with a shield.

And the barrier of being unable to wear armor immediately drops the Bracers down to being usable by 4 classes in the entire game. If shields can be used by 9 classes, and BoD can be used by 4 (one with a asterisk) then... why also make it need attunement? The only reason I don't compare it to studded leather armor is because it stacks with non-armor AC calculations, but if you want to give it to a rogue... it literally has all the benefits of studded leather armor with additional drawbacks and a massive price tag.

I think you are just not seeing how heavily limited this item already is. The only characters whom this item would be a no brainer for without attunement are Monks, Wizards and Sorcerers. And other than the bladesinger, none of them are going to be getting the ridiculous levels of AC that the traditional AC builds can do with magical armor and shields.

The maximum I could see a Monk hitting with this, is if you gave them a Defender, Bracers, two items of Protection, and the Ioun Stone. Max their stats and you could see an AC 28

The max of a Fighter with +3 plate, +3 shield, Defender, two items of protection and the ioun stone is 32.

I might be wrong about the Defender not requiring attunement, but in that case, drop the Ioun stone and both ACs by 1. That is the "worst case" scenarios for both of them stacking as much AC with attunement slots as they can if Bracers are free. Again, a difference of 4 points, not including the defensive fighting style.

There is just nothing the Monk can do with free bracers that breaks anything not already broken. Opening them up doesn't do anything except level the field a tiny bit. And make Bladesingers potentially more broken than they already were.
 

Shields taken an action to don has come up... once. In the last seven years of gameplay.

Interesting, as it comes up frequently in my games. I often have ranged attackers at elevated positions, flying enemies who stay out of melee reach, and so on. Seems every other session, I have a player forgetting that doffing a shield is an action.

Remember, to use the Bracers, you cannot be wearing armor. Full PLate is 18 AC. That is equivalent to +8 AC over not wearing it. You have to give it up to get a +2. Every single character who can wear light armor can get the exact same benefit of using the bracers by wearing studded leather armor. This item isn't powerful at all.

The power of Bracers of Defense is that they can be used by characters who can't use armor, who have preciously few ways of increasing their AC. +2 AC is, as you point out, a big deal, and certain classes have virtually no way to get it. That's why the item requires attunement. It's literally a special item for certain classes. Your argument that it's not useful to Fighters...I mean, so what? A legendary, sentient greataxe isn't particularly useful to rogues.
 

Interesting, as it comes up frequently in my games. I often have ranged attackers at elevated positions, flying enemies who stay out of melee reach, and so on. Seems every other session, I have a player forgetting that doffing a shield is an action.

Yeah, those things aren't quite as common in our games, and when they are a ranged character usually deals with that threat while the character with the shield deals with the ground units. Or they swap over to a bow or something, and don't swap back until the fight is over

The power of Bracers of Defense is that they can be used by characters who can't use armor, who have preciously few ways of increasing their AC. +2 AC is, as you point out, a big deal, and certain classes have virtually no way to get it. That's why the item requires attunement. It's literally a special item for certain classes. Your argument that it's not useful to Fighters...I mean, so what? A legendary, sentient greataxe isn't particularly useful to rogues.

The thing is though, the exact same benefit and rarity (+2 AC) is given to fighters via +2 shields. No attunement. Go up a single Rarity level and you can get +2 Armor, with no attunement. Or if you are a spellcaster, a Staff of Power which gives a +2 AC for attunement... but also +2 Attack, damage, spell attack, a series of spells, charged attacks, ect ect

Why is this item which is a special item for about three classes so much worse than comparable items? You are right, characters who can't have armor have precious few ways to increase AC, unlike people with armor, so why is their practically unique AC increasing item WORSE than magical armor?

Especially since all of those items I mentioned, say if you were a Hexblade and could use the staff, armor and shield, STACK. While the Bracers of Defense explicitly can't stack with armor, and taking up one of three attunement slots means it could easily be abandoned for a better item.
 

The thing is though, the exact same benefit and rarity (+2 AC) is given to fighters via +2 shields. No attunement.

Because shield proficiency is a class feature of fighters. It's not a class feature of wizards or monks. On the flip side, it would be perfectly reasonable for, say, an amulet that allows any wearer to cast Detect Magic and Identify as rituals, an extremely mundane task for wizards, to require attunement. It would be perfectly reasonable for a belt that allows you to take the Dodge action as a bonus action three times per day, something that monks get merely for existing, require attunement.

Go up a single Rarity level and you can get +2 Armor, with no attunement.

If you're not proficient, no, you can't. The penalties for wearing armor you're not proficient in are severe. You're basically crippled:

Armor Proficiency: Anyone can put on a suit of armor or strap a Shield to an arm. Only those proficient in the armor’s use know how to wear it effectively, however. Your class gives you proficiency with certain types of armor. If you wear armor that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or Attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can’t cast Spells.

Bracers of defense don't impose those penalties. This makes them, for the classes that can use them, infinitely better than a suit of +3 plate armor. We might also note that your argument applies to Frost Brand. It's a rather useless item for a typical STR-dumping sorcerer, worse than a cantrip with its 1d8+1d6-1 damage and weak attack...that is, not unlike a Fighter losing AC if he wears the Bracers, a Sorcerer loses damage if he uses Frost Brand instead of Ray of Frost. But, for a Fighter, it's very good. We should also note that, unlike a Ring of Protection, a Fighter is never going to insist that the Bracers of Defense are rightfully his, due to taking most of the hits in battle. A non-armor class will actually get them, for sure.
 
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auburn2

Adventurer
But it is one of three attunement slots, and it is only viable for 4 classes. Again, compare it to the actual same value by itself, which is studded leather armor, which has 9 classes which can use it, no strength requirement and no stealth disadvantage.

This is why the Bracers are so limited, because only the classes that no other choice really want them, and the Barbarian, only if they insist on using a two-handed weapon and have high scores.

Attunement is an incredibly limited resource. You get three. And yes, it is +8 over someone with zero dex. A necromancer might have a very low dex. A Celestial Soul Sorcerer might have very low Dex. These characters want the Bracers too.
No, you have the math backwards. The number of items you can use in your hand is extremely limited, the number of items you can attune to is irrelevant for the majority of games.

Bracers are one of FOUR magic items you can attune to, a shield is one of TWO items you can have in your hands (three if you have the mage hand cantrip). Further, there are a lot of magic items that don't count against that 4-item attune limit, while every single weapon, every shield and a heck of a lot of other items, both magical and not, account against the number of items you can carry in your hands.

I have regularly had 1st level characters who ran out of hands, I have never had a character below 11th level that ran out of attunement slots. When a player can wield a shield in addition to three other items in their hands, then at that point this argument will have merit.

And, to break down your numbers again, if full plate is only +1 better, then you are saying the Monk should have a 17 AC. Now, let's just say that the fighter gets full plate around level 6. Now, the monk can use one of their highly limited attunement slots, with a Rare magical item to jump up higher with a 19 AC. With both hands free.

  • The fighter... could have taken the defensive style to get 19 AC. With Both hands free.
  • The fighter could have gotten an uncommon attunement item (the cloak of protection) that gives +1 to all their saves and gives them 19 AC. With both hands free.
An 8th level Monk should have an AC of 17. 8th level is about when a character should be able to afford Plate. In 5 years of playing 5E I have never had a 6th-level character that could afford plate and most of those were official campaigns, so we had the proper amount of loot. As a matter of fact both times our party got bracers of defense we got them BEFORE characters could afford plate.

Your second example illustrates my point - a fighter could attune to an item to get the same AC as a Monk who attunes to BOD. The fighter has to overcome the other negatives of plate (disadvantage on stealth, minimum strength score) so he is worse off than a Monk, but he has the same AC WITH ATTUNEMENT
But, why does both hands free matter? Sure, a shield takes an action to put on, but drawing a weapon is a free-item interaction. So, you could have one hand free to do things like open doors, then draw your weapon as part of your attack. Just about the only thing this prevents is you can't grapple... unless you sheath your sword (which is free) to grapple. So, let us assume the fighter is willing to risk those rare times when having only one-hand is going to be a tricky situation during combat, when AC matters.
You need a free hand to cast spells, to grapple ect. You also can not open doors and then draw your weapon and then attack in one turn. If you open a door, that is interacting with the environment and RAW counts as your interact with an object. You would then need to use an action to interact with a 2nd object (drawing your weapon) and would not be able to take the attack action.

Now if you are not playing by the rules, then certainly having a hand free is not as big a deal.

  • The fighter could wear a shield. This brings them to 20 AC.
  • The fighter could get a rare magic item that doesn't require attunement, a +2 shield, that brings their AC to 22
The fighter could if he has a 18 strength. Most classes, and to be honest even most fighters can't though.


There are 13 classes in the game.

Natively able to use shields? Artificers, Barbarians, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger (7)
But only 2 of them can use heavy armor (which is the other part to your arguement) and most of those that can use heavy armor still can't use plate.

Nope, Clerics and Paladins can use their shield as a Holy Symbol, meaning they do not need a free hand for casting per the rules.
Not RAW, this is covered in sage advice. A player with a properly prepared shield can can cast a spell with a shield in one hand and a weapon in the other ONLY when the spell has BOTH a material and a somatic component. If a spell has no material component but does have a somatic component the cleric "needs to put the mace or the shield away, because that spell doesn’t have a material component but does have a somatic component."


Again if you are not playing RAW then having your hands full (literally) is not as big a deal.

Funny thing though? Two Weapon Fighting Feat gives +1 AC, so if they are a fighter wearing full plate? AC 19, just like the Monk with the Bracers.
Yes and taking a feat instead of an ASI to get there.


Rogues and Warlocks would never use Bracers of Defense, because they get the exact same benefit from wearing Studded Leather armor. Again, to repeat. To use Bracers of Defense you cannot wear any armor. This is a major drawback of the item. There are 9 classes to whom this item is 100% worthless. That is a super majority of the classes in the game. Only 4 can get any use out of it, one (the barbarian) has to have high stats to even consider it, and the other 3 are where we are talking, wizards, sorcerers, and Monks
A better way to put it is it gives you the same benefit of studded leather WITHOUT WEARING ANY ARMOR. Why would you wear studded when you could get the same AC without it? The only Rogues that wouldn't wear it are those with medium armor proficiency, magic studded leather or four items they want to attune to. That is some of them certainly. Maybe a plurality.

As for Warlocks, same arguement as above except bracers also work with mage armor which would be a full 3 points better than studded leather.

So? Bladesinger wizards may be common at your table, but again, if this item is a problem for them, just don't give it to them. But designing this item to be nearly worthless for everyone, just because one subclass can go nuts with it, is a problem.
I believe bladesingers are as common as PCs that use shields period, not just at my table. I don't know that but I think it to be true.

That is the trick here, is a shield worth attunement? Sure, if you have nothing better to attune to, but how many items are better to attune to? Would you give up a ring of spell storing for a shield? A Wand of Fireballs? There are a lot of things that are far better for them, that also require attunement. And why does this item require attunement when it is already so limited?
Not for most characters. To start with the vast majority, well over 80% of all characters do not have 4 attunement items they need to attune to. In that case there is no reason not to wear BOD. Heck even the fighter in plate with a shield would wear them if he had them because his AC woudl be better if caught in bed, while not wearing armor.

Basically, unless you actually have 4 attunement items, and all four are better than BOD, any character period will ALWAYS be better off wearing BOD. The same is not true for a shield. Aside from the fact many can't use it, many others would be worse if they tried.


But a smart player sheaths their sword instead of donning and doffing the shield. Most player's don't need both hands all the time. Most players can get proficiency rather trivially with a shield.
Shield proficiency is never trivial. It requires a feat or a class. Unless he uses an action to sheath it, a player can only sheath a sword on a turn he did not draw it or pick it up on.


And the barrier of being unable to wear armor immediately drops the Bracers down to being usable by 4 classes in the entire game. If shields can be used by 9 classes, and BoD can be used by 4 (one with a asterisk) then... why also make it need attunement? The only reason I don't compare it to studded leather armor is because it stacks with non-armor AC calculations, but if you want to give it to a rogue... it literally has all the benefits of studded leather armor with additional drawbacks and a massive price tag.
As noted earlier, bracers are useable by every character. A fighter in plate and carrying a shield can attune to and use bracers of defense, he just does not get the armor bonus while wearing the armor or with the shield donned. Whenever those two things are not the case, he gets the bonus to AC.

The only character that can't use BOD are those already attuned to 4 items.

Also as noted earlier BOD are better than studded leather, because you don't have to wear armor to have a 12 AC. The only cost to a BOD for the super majority of characters are the 1-pound weight. That is hardly a "massive" price tag and as a matter of fact the studded leather you noted has literally 13 times the price the pay.

I think you are just not seeing how heavily limited this item already is. The only characters whom this item would be a no brainer for without attunement are Monks, Wizards and Sorcerers. And other than the bladesinger, none of them are going to be getting the ridiculous levels of AC that the traditional AC builds can do with magical armor and shields.
Like I said before even with attunement is a no-brainer for the majority of characters of characters of every single class already. If it had no attunement it would be a no-brainer for literraly every single character playing the game.


The max of a Fighter with +3 plate, +3 shield, Defender, two items of protection and the ioun stone is 32.
I might be wrong about the Defender not requiring attunement, but in that case, drop the Ioun stone and both ACs by 1. That is the "worst case" scenarios for both of them stacking as much AC with attunement slots as they can if Bracers are free. Again, a difference of 4 points, not including the defensive fighting style.
Ok to start with that is only true for a fighter with 18+ strength, so that is far from all of them. Second you have two legendary items, a very rare item and three rare items.

No character of ANY level should have the collection of magic items you posted for the fighter. A 20th level character should have 1 legendary, 1 very rare, 2 rare and 2 uncommon permanent magic items (plus a bunch of limited use items). The Monk you posted actually had items consistent what a 20th-level character should have (1 legendary, 4 rare). Redo your Fighter AC using more reasonable magic items, or better yet the same formula you used for the Monk (1L, 4R) and see how their AC compares.

There is just nothing the Monk can do with free bracers that breaks anything not already broken. Opening them up doesn't do anything except level the field a tiny bit. And make Bladesingers potentially more broken than they already were.
There is nothing that breaks the game by keeping them attunement.
 
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Lord Twig

Adventurer
I am not going to try to quote that very long post, but off the top of my head there are several glaring flaws with your arguments.

I have never, in my 40 years of playing various fantasy RPGs, had a party that didn't have at least one character that used a shield. They are as common as dirt and only cost 10gp and are available in just about every town. Studded leather is 45gp and plate armor is 1500. Bracers of Defense costs many thoudsands of gold pieces (2d10x1000) and that is only if you are lucky enough to find it for sale anywhere.

The weight of studded leather armor is meaningless until you hit your maximum carrying capacity, which is extremely generous in 5e. And again, it costs 2d10x1000-45 less than the Bracers of Defense.

The maximum number of attuned items is 3, p138 of the DMG.

Wearing armor only prevents you from wearing different armor, or the Bracers of Defense. The Bracers of Defense limits you to just two other attuned items. If you also have a good weapon (like the Staff of Striking, a Flame Tongue short sword or a Sun Blade) that also costs attunement and now you only have one slot available.

You only have two hands, sure. But you can change what is in your hands with an action. It takes an hour to attune to a different item. And you only get 3 attuned items.

Why do you keep mentioning a fighter with an 18 Str is needed to wear plate? It only requires a 15 Str. Even if you don't have the required strength the only penalty is it slows you down by 10'.

And again, most classes get some kind of armor proficiency. If you are wearing armor anyway then there is no extra cost to wearing magic armor. And magic armor does not require attunement. For a non-armored person (monk, sorcerer, wizard) they have to use one of there (very valuable) attunement slots.
 

Because shield proficiency is a class feature of fighters. It's not a class feature of wizards or monks. On the flip side, it would be perfectly reasonable for, say, an amulet that allows any wearer to cast Detect Magic and Identify as rituals, an extremely mundane task for wizards, to require attunement. It would be perfectly reasonable for a belt that allows you to take the Dodge action as a bonus action three times per day, something that monks get merely for existing, require attunement.

It is also a feature of rangers, paladins, clerics, druids, Artificers, and Barbarians. You might as well say that an item that let you attack for 1d10 damage with reach requires attunement because martial weapon proficiency is a feature of fighters.

Using shields isn't something that is unique to one or two classes, it is one of the most common profiencies, and having that proficiency qualifies you for a free +2 AC with no attunement by getting a +2 shield? But having no armor, no shields, ect means that your +2 AC needs to require attunement?

If you're not proficient, no, you can't. The penalties for wearing armor you're not proficient in are severe. You're basically crippled:

Bracers of defense don't impose those penalties. This makes them, for the classes that can use them, infinitely better than a suit of +3 plate armor. We might also note that your argument applies to Frost Brand. It's a rather useless item for a typical STR-dumping sorcerer, worse than a cantrip with its 1d8+1d6-1 damage and weak attack...that is, not unlike a Fighter losing AC if he wears the Bracers, a Sorcerer loses damage if he uses Frost Brand instead of Ray of Frost. But, for a Fighter, it's very good. We should also note that, unlike a Ring of Protection, a Fighter is never going to insist that the Bracers of Defense are rightfully his, due to taking most of the hits in battle. A non-armor class will actually get them, for sure.

There are 3 classes in the game who are not natively proficient in some armor. Monk, Sorcerer and Wizard. And again, we are saying that the +2 AC only requires a attunement when it is being used by a Monk, Sorcerer, or Wizard. Everyone else can use +2 AC on their armor, for free, with no attunement.


And looking at the Frost Brand, it could be any sword, so it could be used by a strength dumping sorcerer, it just needs to be a shortsword. But, what actually makes it qualify for attunement? It is likely the Resistance to Fire damage, the bonus damage could be it, but the Dragontooth Dagger does a +1d6 and it doesn't require attunement, and it is a +1 weapon. And the Frost Brand has two other ribbon abilities that could be useful. That is a lot of power, makes sense that it ends up requiring attunement.

And to your point that the fighter isn't going to want the Bracers, you are right. Because again, any class that can use armor would be stupid to take them. This is one of the things that tells me that the attunement is out of place, because if I removed every requirement from this item... The only classes who would use them are still the Barbarian, Monk, Sorcerer and Wizard. No one else would ever use them. And Barbarians only if their unarmored defense is within 1 point of Half-Plate. Or Breastplate if the game is heavy into sneaking. And if they can't get magical armor.

So, the same classes would try to get them for the same reasons. That leaves the question, is +2 AC worth attunement on its own? And +2 shields and +2 Armor say no. By itself +2 AC does not require attunement. So, then, is there some reason that Monks, Wizards and Sorcerers should be denied +2 AC? I can't think of any.
 

No, you have the math backwards. The number of items you can use in your hand is extremely limited, the number of items you can attune to is irrelevant for the majority of games.

Bracers are one of FOUR magic items you can attune to, a shield is one of TWO items you can have in your hands (three if you have the mage hand cantrip). Further, there are a lot of magic items that don't count against that 4-item attune limit, while every single weapon, every shield and a heck of a lot of other items, both magical and not, account against the number of items you can carry in your hands.

I have regularly had 1st level characters who ran out of hands, I have never had a character below 11th level that ran out of attunement slots. When a player can wield a shield in addition to three other items in their hands, then at that point this argument will have merit.

Attunement is three slots, not four. You are talking homebrew.

Yes, you can only hold two items in combat, or one big item. That is baked into the game already. And it only really matters during combat. And, you get to make the choice. At worse it takes an action, more likely it takes no action. If you want to switch from your greatsword to a bow, you drop the sword (Free) and draw your bow (item interaction as part of the attack)

If you are incredibly concerned about having a free hand, then you are making that choice to not don your shield. But if you want it, then before combat starts, you have your shield. We have rarely had this affect the game. It is a trivial issue the majority of the time.


An 8th level Monk should have an AC of 17. 8th level is about when a character should be able to afford Plate. In 5 years of playing 5E I have never had a 6th-level character that could afford plate and most of those were official campaigns, so we had the proper amount of loot. As a matter of fact both times our party got bracers of defense we got them BEFORE characters could afford plate.

Your second example illustrates my point - a fighter could attune to an item to get the same AC as a Monk who attunes to BOD. The fighter has to overcome the other negatives of plate (disadvantage on stealth, minimum strength score) so he is worse off than a Monk, but he has the same AC WITH ATTUNEMENT

A lot of enemies wear plate. It is far cheaper to strip it and have it fitted than to buy new. And I've never seen a character go all the way til 8th without platemail. Usually they get it around 5th.

And yes, my second example does show the fighter getting the same AC, and a bonus to all their saves, for something that costs at most 500 gold compared to the monk's at most 5,000. So, same AC, more benefits, and a lower rarity so lower price and easier to find. This doesn't show what you think it shows.

You need a free hand to cast spells, to grapple ect. You also can not open doors and then draw your weapon and then attack in one turn. If you open a door, that is interacting with the environment and RAW counts as your interact with an object. You would then need to use an action to interact with a 2nd object (drawing your weapon) and would not be able to take the attack action.

Now if you are not playing by the rules, then certainly having a hand free is not as big a deal.

Right, so you kick down the door, that doesn't require hands. Or you have someone else open it, that doesn't take your item interaction.

Also, normally the door gets open, then we roll initiative. The fighter's turn comes around, and since they clearly didn't open the door this turn, then they have their item interaction back.

Also, if casting spells is that big of a deal, there are a lot of ways to get your weapon as a spellcasting focus.


The fighter could if he has a 18 strength. Most classes, and to be honest even most fighters can't though.

Shields don't requires an 18 strength to wield. Neither does platemail. Even if you are talking about Encumberance, you need far far less than 18 to carry everything. I have zero idea why you think 18 strength is needed. This sounds like homebrew


But only 2 of them can use heavy armor (which is the other part to your arguement) and most of those that can use heavy armor still can't use plate.

Everyone who can use Heavy Armor can use Platemail.

Three of them can get Heavy Armor (clerics are literally 50/50), four if you count the Armorer for the Artificer. Half-Plate is also literally just 1 point behind the heavy armor, and can match with a feat.

Not RAW, this is covered in sage advice. A player with a properly prepared shield can can cast a spell with a shield in one hand and a weapon in the other ONLY when the spell has BOTH a material and a somatic component. If a spell has no material component but does have a somatic component the cleric "needs to put the mace or the shield away, because that spell doesn’t have a material component but does have a somatic component."


Again if you are not playing RAW then having your hands full (literally) is not as big a deal.

Right, so if I'm casting spells that have a material and somatic component (most of them) then I AM playing by RAW. Because between spells that are purely verbal (like Healing Word) that do not require a free hand at all, and spells that require both Somatic and Material you are looking at the majority of the Cleric Spell list.

So, maybe you should roll back your accusations of not playing by RAW.

Yes and taking a feat instead of an ASI to get there.

I never said otherwise. Just showing how many many ways a fighter can get to 19 AC, which seems to be such a big deal for Monks that it requires a magic item costing thousands of gold and a limited attunement slot.

A better way to put it is it gives you the same benefit of studded leather WITHOUT WEARING ANY ARMOR. Why would you wear studded when you could get the same AC without it? The only Rogues that wouldn't wear it are those with medium armor proficiency, magic studded leather or four items they want to attune to. That is some of them certainly. Maybe a plurality.

As for Warlocks, same argument as above except bracers also work with mage armor which would be a full 3 points better than studded leather.

Because wearing studded leather armor is incredibly cheap and doesn't take up an attunement slot? Heck, if I was a 3rd level rogue and had the option between studded leather or Bracers of Defense, I'd keep the armor and sell the bracers for thousands of gold, then potentially buy +1 Studded Leather armor, which is better than the bracers.

For Warlocks, if you use an Eldritch Invocation (which is limited) then you could do that. But, you can't really rely on finding a rare, multi-thousand gold item laying around, and it will take your attunement. But, sure, that would get you 15 + Dex, with a generally low dex.

You could also... get the moderately armored. Half Plate is far cheaper and easier to find, that is 15 + Dex with a limit of 2, then you could wear a shield, that gets you 17 + Dex limit 2. That is the equivalent of a your warlock with a Dex of 18. And it only cost a feat, no attunement, and was far cheaper.

Or you could just be a hexblade, and do all of that without the feat.


I believe bladesingers are as common as PCs that use shields period, not just at my table. I don't know that but I think it to be true.

I would say you are dead wrong. I've seen many, many, many characters with shields. I have seen zero pure bladesingers, and only one I can think of who was a multi-classed monstrosity.

Not for most characters. To start with the vast majority, well over 80% of all characters do not have 4 attunement items they need to attune to. In that case there is no reason not to wear BOD. Heck even the fighter in plate with a shield would wear them if he had them because his AC woudl be better if caught in bed, while not wearing armor.

Basically, unless you actually have 4 attunement items, and all four are better than BOD, any character period will ALWAYS be better off wearing BOD. The same is not true for a shield. Aside from the fact many can't use it, many others would be worse if they tried.

Three attunement slots. And we generally have characters who are giving up great items to get hopefully better items. Attunement gets very limited, and wearing "in case I get attacked in bed" armor is pretty bad use of that sort of rarity of item. This thing is supposed to be as good as The Flame Tongue sword, and the best use a fighter can get from it is "well, what if I'm caught in bed"

Also, Xanathar's allows you to sleep in light armor with no penalty. Studded Leather armor is superior again.

Shield proficiency is never trivial. It requires a feat or a class. Unless he uses an action to sheath it, a player can only sheath a sword on a turn he did not draw it or pick it up on.

The majority of classes in the game, as I have shown repeatedly. And a few subclasses for the classes that don't get it.

And yes, the fighter can sheath or unsheath his sword for free as part of an attack, so, if you desperately need one hand free while exploring, you sheath your sword. Then when combat starts, you draw it as part of your attack. And if you need you hand free again that same exact turn? You just drop your sword.

As noted earlier, bracers are useable by every character. A fighter in plate and carrying a shield can attune to and use bracers of defense, he just does not get the armor bonus while wearing the armor or with the shield donned. Whenever those two things are not the case, he gets the bonus to AC.

The only character that can't use BOD are those already attuned to 4 items.

Also as noted earlier BOD are better than studded leather, because you don't have to wear armor to have a 12 AC. The only cost to a BOD for the super majority of characters are the 1-pound weight. That is hardly a "massive" price tag and as a matter of fact the studded leather you noted has literally 13 times the price the pay.

I meant the potentially 5,000 gold they are worth. And if you want to throw away one of your, again, three attunement slots on something that you will never use... go ahead. But you guys must never get cool magic items if you are willing to use up a slot for no good reason.

Like I said before even with attunement is a no-brainer for the majority of characters of characters of every single class already. If it had no attunement it would be a no-brainer for literraly every single character playing the game.

No, it wouldn't.

Ok to start with that is only true for a fighter with 18+ strength, so that is far from all of them. Second you have two legendary items, a very rare item and three rare items.

No character of ANY level should have the collection of magic items you posted for the fighter. A 20th level character should have 1 legendary, 1 very rare, 2 rare and 2 uncommon permanent magic items (plus a bunch of limited use items). The Monk you posted actually had items consistent what a 20th-level character should have (1 legendary, 4 rare). Redo your Fighter AC using more reasonable magic items, or better yet the same formula you used for the Monk (1L, 4R) and see how their AC compares.

Right, you realized that was a "let's go crazy and show the worst case scenario" example right? The most extreme collection of AC items I could find? I wasn't showing something reasonable by default. That was the point, to show that even in the worst, most extreme case... the Bracers weren't breaking anything that couldn't be broken worse by the fighter.

And, no, that could be a fighter with 15 strength. And, seriously, fighters can start with 16 strength from level 1, why are you acting like 18 strength is even a question when they have two extra ASIs?

There is nothing that breaks the game by keeping them attunement.

You are right. They just suck so hard that no one has ever wanted to use them.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
Attunement is three slots, not four. You are talking homebrew.

Yes, you can only hold two items in combat, or one big item. That is baked into the game already. And it only really matters during combat. And, you get to make the choice. At worse it takes an action, more likely it takes no action. If you want to switch from your greatsword to a bow, you drop the sword (Free) and draw your bow (item interaction as part of the attack)
The reason I didn't have the number right is it is almost never an issue. You get to make the choice which weapons you attune to as well and can sswitch out every short rest.

There is no comparison, you can attune to mre items than you can hold in your hands. That is mathematical fact. The only thing that differs is how you go about changes those.

running out of hands is far more common in the game than running out of attunement slots.

If you are incredibly concerned about having a free hand, then you are making that choice to not don your shield. But if you want it, then before combat starts, you have your shield. We have rarely had this affect the game. It is a trivial issue the majority of the time.
The same principle applies to attunement. If you are concerned about having the +2 AC from BOD take a short rest and attune to it. If you want to attune to three other things attune to 3 other things.

You talk about "RARELY" affecting a game? D&D is RARELY played over 12th level, and 12th characters should only have 3 permanent magic items (1 rare and 2 uncommon). I have ONE PC in 5 years of playing 5E that ran out of attunmeent slots and really all it meant is I gave one of my magic items to a different PC that could use it. I have characters that run out of hands in almost every single battle.

There is no comparison, attunement is rarely an issue.


A lot of enemies wear plate. It is far cheaper to strip it and have it fitted than to buy new. And I've never seen a character go all the way til 8th without platemail. Usually they get it around 5th.
If you are getting plate at 5th level, your DM is either giving out too much treasure or he is not making your players pay for things like, food, transportation, down time, spell books etc. A 4-person party will not have enough money for plate in any of the official campaigns at 5th level unless they pool their funds.


Right, so you kick down the door, that doesn't require hands. Or you have someone else open it, that doesn't take your item interaction.
Kick down the door is an action, typically a strength check, and one that is not automatically going to succeed either.


Also, normally the door gets open, then we roll initiative. The fighter's turn comes around, and since they clearly didn't open the door this turn, then they have their item interaction back.
Doors open and close both before and after initiative. It was your example, I was just pointing out you used it incorrectly. Regardless of the situation, a fighter carrying a weapon and a shield needs to use his object interaction to get his weapon in his hand after doing something with a free hand. There is no way around that. Further it also can complicate AOOs. If the fighter drops his weapon so he can do something else with the environment then he has no weapon for an AOO. A fighter without a shield never has this problem.


Also, if casting spells is that big of a deal, there are a lot of ways to get your weapon as a spellcasting focus.
Not RAW there isn't. I think hexblade can do this, no other charracter can. On top of that some characters can't even use a focus and others can't use a cross-class focus.


Shields don't requires an 18 strength to wield. Neither does platemail. Even if you are talking about Encumberance, you need far far less than 18 to carry everything. I have zero idea why you think 18 strength is needed. This sounds like homebrew
Sorry it is 15, not 18. The plate requires 15 STR and you need that to ge the AC you keep talking about. If you are playing with the variannt encumberance rules you can wear it with a lower strength but typically with a movement penalty.

Everyone who can use Heavy Armor can use Platemail.
Only if they take a speed penalty


Three of them can get Heavy Armor (clerics are literally 50/50), four if you count the Armorer for the Artificer. Half-Plate is also literally just 1 point behind the heavy armor, and can match with a feat.

Can match it with a feat and dexterity. Something a Monk can do too with no armor.


Right, so if I'm casting spells that have a material and somatic component (most of them) then I AM playing by RAW. Because between spells that are purely verbal (like Healing Word) that do not require a free hand at all, and spells that require both Somatic and Material you are looking at the majority of the Cleric Spell list.
You are talking about half of them to be clear.


I never said otherwise. Just showing how many many ways a fighter can get to 19 AC, which seems to be such a big deal for Monks that it requires a magic item costing thousands of gold and a limited attunement slot.
Magic items don't cost gold. You find them. They cost blood and sweat.


Because wearing studded leather armor is incredibly cheap and doesn't take up an attunement slot? Heck, if I was a 3rd level rogue and had the option between studded leather or Bracers of Defense, I'd keep the armor and sell the bracers for thousands of gold, then potentially buy +1 Studded Leather armor, which is better than the bracers.
And it is heavier and you are in armor which you can't wear all the time. There are rules for selling magic items, but it is not something I have ever been able to pull off at my table because we are hot on the trail of the next whoever. Usually unwanted magic items are discarded or donated. If you are selling magic items then you are not out adventuring.

Buying magic items is not RAW and if you are doing it you are spending a lot of downtime and not playing D&D. Obviously it is open to the DM, but the basic rules are no: "Unless you decide your campaign works otherwise, most magic items are so rare that they aren’t available for purchase." Also shopping for mundane normal items in D&D is less fun than going to the mall shopping in real life. I can't imagine how aweful it is to spend multiple sessions trying to offload your magic items .... or worse trying to find a certain one.

At my tables (both as a DM and as a player) there is no such thing as going out to buy +1 studded leather. IMO that is power gaming. Heck I can't even get downtime to buy regular studded leather for my Rogue until 3rd or 4th level in some campaigns. I am playing one right now that is almost 5th and he just got studded last session when he FOUND it in a guardroom dungeon we are in. Now certainly he can afford studded leather, but there has been no time for shopping.

I would say you are dead wrong. I've seen many, many, many characters with shields. I have seen zero pure bladesingers, and only one I can think of who was a multi-classed monstrosity.
I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

Three attunement slots. And we generally have characters who are giving up great items to get hopefully better items.
Because yourDM is giving out way too many magic items then, or you are playing very high campaigns that are nto the normal.


Attunement gets very limited, and wearing "in case I get attacked in bed" armor is pretty bad use of that sort of rarity of item. This thing is supposed to be as good as The Flame Tongue sword, and the best use a fighter can get from it is "well, what if I'm caught in bed"
Attunement is not very limited in the vast majority of campaigns it is irrelevant, and I was merelty pointing out that while of very little use it is a "no-brainer" for even the fighter in plate.

Also, Xanathar's allows you to sleep in light armor with no penalty. Studded Leather armor is superior againd
But why would you when you do not even need to carry it and have the same AC?


And yes, the fighter can sheath or unsheath his sword for free as part of an attack, so, if you desperately need one hand free while exploring, you sheath your sword. Then when combat starts, you draw it as part of your attack. And if you need you hand free again that same exact turn? You just drop your sword.
And your sword is on the ground and the enemy can pick it up for free on his turn as part of his attack, or he can kick it across the room, shove you across the room or do a variety of other things.

Don't get me wrong I drop weapons too, but it is not as good as not dropping them and if you have a shield you are goingto be doing it a lot.

I meant the potentially 5,000 gold they are worth. And if you want to throw away one of your, again, three attunement slots on something that you will never use... go ahead. But you guys must never get cool magic items if you are willing to use up a slot for no good reason.
We get all kinds of cool magic items .... including BOD.

Right, you realized that was a "let's go crazy and show the worst case scenario" example right? The most extreme collection of AC items I could find? I wasn't showing something reasonable by default. That was the point, to show that even in the worst, most extreme case... the Bracers weren't breaking anything that couldn't be broken worse by the fighter.
But it is not "lets go crazy" for the Monk. The Monk you noted has the actual magic he should (at 20th level) and a 28 AC that goes with it. The fighter you compared him to has way more magic than he should.


And, no, that could be a fighter with 15 strength. And, seriously, fighters can start with 16 strength from level 1, why are you acting like 18 strength is even a question when they have two extra ASIs?
You are correct on the 15, I misread a table. Very few dexterity-based fighters that use point buy will have an 18 or even a 15 strength, so yes it is "a question" for a whole lot of fighters, perhaps over half of them. It is also an issue for most Clerics that get heavy armor proficiency too. It is not a question for most Paladins, but for every other class that has the proficiency there will be large numbers of players whos characters can't wear it without severe penalties.
 
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It is also a feature of rangers, paladins, clerics, druids, Artificers, and Barbarians. You might as well say that an item that let you attack for 1d10 damage with reach requires attunement because martial weapon proficiency is a feature of fighters.

It would be entirely reasonable for a magic glaive that gave the wielder Extra Attack, didn't require martial proficiency, and used your spell ability mod instead of STR to require attunement.

Using shields isn't something that is unique to one or two classes, it is one of the most common profiencies

Using spells isn't something that is unique to one or two classes, either, yet items that allow non-magical classes to cast spells frequently require attunement. In fact, spells are one of the most common class features in the game.

, and having that proficiency qualifies you for a free +2 AC with no attunement by getting a +2 shield? But having no armor, no shields, ect means that your +2 AC needs to require attunement?

Yes, class features entitle you to all kinds of things without attunement. That's why they're class features. I don't really understand what your argument here is. Are you arguing that if several classes can do something, a magic item that lets anybody do that shouldn't require attunement?

There are 3 classes in the game who are not natively proficient in some armor. Monk, Sorcerer and Wizard. And again, we are saying that the +2 AC only requires a attunement when it is being used by a Monk, Sorcerer, or Wizard. Everyone else can use +2 AC on their armor, for free, with no attunement.

Yes, magic items that essentially give you access to class features you otherwise don't have often require attunement.

So, the same classes would try to get them for the same reasons. That leaves the question, is +2 AC worth attunement on its own? And +2 shields and +2 Armor say no.

Okay, so if you're a monk, and you find +2 studded leather armor, wear it and see how having disadvantage on all attacks goes for you. Or, if you don't think attuning to Bracers of Defense is worthwhile, because you feel your 17 AC is more than enough fine, sell them for gold. Or give them to a beggar.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
You are completely wrong.

Seriously. You think bladesingers, one specific subclass of one specific class--and the subclass isn't even in the Player's Handbook--are more common than PCs who use shields? I can't even.
I said as common, not more common, but the answer is yes I do believe that. I have been playing 5E for 5 years, I have played with a number of different groups and online and it is rare that our party has a shield-using PC.

As I have said earlier, in the 30+ games I have played, I have had the same number of shield-using PCs (3) as bladesingers (3), and consider bladesinger was not even available when I first started playing 5e. Bladesinger is also not the most common subclass by a long shot. Things like battlemaster and champion fighter, evocation wizard or oath paladin and a slew of different sorcorers and warlocks are far more common than shield-using characters IMO.

Other things that that I would include in this - PCs who use blowguns, picks, pikes, slings, sickles, light hammers or great clubs. These are all common items, usuable by a wide variety of characters yet like shields they are not commonly used by PCs. People don't often use them for the same reason they don't often use shields - there age generally better things to put in your hands.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
...running out of hands is far more common in the game than running out of attunement slots...
...D&D is RARELY played over 12th level, and 12th characters should only have 3 permanent magic items (1 rare and 2 uncommon)...
...There is no comparison, attunement is rarely an issue...
This is not accurate for most of the games in which I've played. Putting aside one shots and short adventures, most of the games extend beyond 12th level, and most have at least once PC being impacted by attunement by 6th level. That usually results in a PC sending an item to another PC that is not up against the limit, even though there are 4 items that would otherwise make sense for them to use.
...If you are getting plate at 5th level, your DM is either giving out too much treasure or he is not making your players pay for things like, food, transportation, down time, spell books etc. A 4-person party will not have enough money for plate in any of the official campaigns at 5th level unless they pool their funds...
While PCs do pool funds, I will point you towards Dragonheist fpr one clear contraindication.to your position.
Magic items don't cost gold. You find them. They cost blood and sweat.
In many games, items can be bought. It doesn't make much sense that items can't be bought. There is a supply and a demand. Basic economics says that there is going to be a potential market.
...There are rules for selling magic items, but it is not something I have ever been able to pull off at my table because we are hot on the trail of the next whoever. Usually unwanted magic items are discarded or donated. If you are selling magic items then you are not out adventuring.
You are in a small minority if your party discards magic items.
Buying magic items is not RAW and if you are doing it you are spending a lot of downtime and not playing D&D. Obviously it is open to the DM, but the basic rules are no: "Unless you decide your campaign works otherwise, most magic items are so rare that they aren’t available for purchase." Also shopping for mundane normal items in D&D is less fun than going to the mall shopping in real life. I can't imagine how aweful it is to spend multiple sessions trying to offload your magic items .... or worse trying to find a certain one.
There are rules in the DMG and Xanathar's explicitly for buying and selling items. It is explicitly RAW. And if you spend 8 hours trying to buy and sell, either your players are really into that part of the game, or you're doing something wrong. Typically, this discussion is only a few minutes of game play at my tables - sometimes a bit longer if there is an interesting angle to the discussion.
At my tables (both as a DM and as a player) there is no such thing as going out to buy +1 studded leather. IMO that is power gaming. Heck I can't even get downtime to buy regular studded leather for my Rogue until 3rd or 4th level in some campaigns. I am playing one right now that is almost 5th and he just got studded last session when he FOUND it in a guardroom dungeon we are in. Now certainly he can afford studded leather, but there has been no time for shopping.
While it is not uncommon for PCs to spend levels 1 and 2 out and about before going to town, it is rare to not have an option to shop before level 3. Further, if the city is big enough, buying magic armor is usually possible (although +1 item, as a rare item, is well out of reach financially for quite a bit).
I could be wrong, but I don't think I am (about shield users)
Your experience is drastically different than many of ours, and is out of alignment with the expectations laid out in the books by the options they present. I've played with about 30 different DMs in the 5E era. I can't think of a single game where we did not have at least one shield using PC.
Attunement is not very limited in the vast majority of campaigns it is irrelevant, and I was merelty pointing out that while of very little use it is a "no-brainer" for even the fighter in plate.
Again, this is a highly unusual view of the game. In all of those campaigns I've played, attunement comes up around level 6.

Let's think this through using average rolls and the DMG guidance.

If you follow the DMG guidance for hordes (which is less treasure than you find in most published modules) for levels 1 to 4, you'll find an average of 4 GP per monster (for roughly 200 monsters over 4 levels- 800 gp), plus 710 gold, ~1250 in gems and about 3 'reusable' magic items and 10 potions/scrolls. That is roughly 2750 gold worth of liquid assets, 3 items and 10 potions and scrolls. Cost of living expenses eat only about 200 of that gold.

At this point, right around 5th level, PCs could pool resources to get platemail for a front line PC. It is 1500, so it would take a lot of effort ... but soon that all changes. Once we hit level 5, those hoards and individual treasures jump. You make an average of three hoard rolls per level at that range, and the treasure is much higher. For individual monsters, the 50 you'll face at level 5 would give you 4000 GP! The three hoards will give you 11,750 gold by level 6. Add in another 2000 gp from gems and art, and then 2 more permanent magic items and 3 more potions and scrolls. Another 50 gp for living expenses.

So, at the start of level 6, accumulated wealth estimate is about 20000 in gold or liquid assets, 13 potions/scrolls and 5 magic items.

The recommended purchase price for magic items in Xanathar's, which is higher than the DMG's guidance, is about 45 gp for a common, 350 for an uncommon and 11,000 for a rare.

A 5 PC party would each get about 1 magic item found, 2 or 3 potions/scrolls and 4000 GP. They can't buy rare items, but they can get up to 10 to 15 uncommon items each! And if they were not saving up funds to buy platemail at levels 1 to 4, they'd have had enough to buy 8 magic items by the time they hit level 5, added to the 3 they found would be 11 magic items for a 5 PC party.

That follows the recommendations for treasure found and buying items in the DMG and Xanathar's.

So - you can see why in a campaign following book guidance will see PCs start to hit attunement limits around level 6.
 
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auburn2

Adventurer
This is not accurate for most of the games in which I've played. Putting aside one shots and short adventures, most of the games extend beyond 12th level, and most have at least once PC being impacted by attunement by 6th level. That usually results in a PC sending an item to another PC that is not up against the limit, even though there are 4 items that would otherwise make sense for them to use.
While PCs do pool funds, I will point you towards Dragonheist one contraindication.In many games, items can be bought. It doesn't make much sense that items can't be bought. There is a supply and a demand. Basic economics says that there is going to be a potential market.You are in a small minority if your party discards magic items.There are rules in the DMG and Xanathar's explicitly for buying and selling items. It is explicitly RAW. And if you spend 8 hours trying to buy and sell, either your players are really into that part of the game, or you're doing something wrong. Typically, this discussion is only a few minutes of game play at my tables - sometimes a bit longer if there is an interesting angle to the discussion.While it is not uncommon for PCs to spend levels 1 and 2 out and about before going to town, it is rare to not have an option to shop before level 3. Further, if the city is big enough, buying magic armor is usually possible (although +1 item, as a rare item, is well out of reach financially for quite a bit).
Can you give an example of the 6th-level character that ran out of attunement?

I don't think the majoirty of games allow buying items. The DMG p.135 states that magic items are normally "not available for purchase", it does leave options for DMs to change this, but it is clear that the default situation is you can not buy a magic item and certainly can't buy a specific item.

I have not played Dragon Heist, but in the WOTC campaigns I have played (TOA, ROF, DIA, DMM, OOA, POA, HODQ) there was no opportunity to buy magic items and with exception of DMM it would have completely derailed the campaign if we tried. In Princes of the Apocolypse it might have been possible without disrupting the campaign, but we would have had to go down a tangent and stop adventuring.

The argument I replied to was "the Rogue can just go buy +1 studded leather". RAW you can not simply go out and buy a magic item you want. In XGE it is at least a week of research time to find anything except scrolls and potions and there is a high probablility you do not find it in 1 week unless it is common.

Using Xanathar's rules; the Studded+1 is is going to take an average (median) of 5 weeks to pass the 20DC check just to find it. It is going to cost between 2000-10,000 gp plus 100 gp per week of research. Then after you find it, there is a straight 30% chance you don't even get to keep or buy it if the DM rolls on the complication table. You can argue this does not make sense and put a magic market in your game where someone can walk up and buy studded +1 off the rack, but that is not RAW.

I agree that it is a relatively simple process to sell magic items RAW, but this still takes a full week in general (less if using the DMG for uncommon and common items). A lot of campaigns are going to allow time for this, but many, including most of the WOTC campaigns won't or won't allow for it very often.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
Can you give an example of the 6th-level character that ran out of attunement?
PC has 3 attuned items and the party finds a 4th item that would make sense for that PC to use, but that requires them to give up one of their already attuned items? That happens a lot.

I don't think the majoirty of games allow buying items. [/quote]Almost all have in my experience - and I've played with a lot of DMs. It makes no sense to not have a market economy for highly useful magic items that are hard to destroy.
I have not played Dragon Heist, but in the WOTC campaigns I have played (TOA, ROF, DIA, DMM, OOA, POA, HODQ) there was no opportunity to buy magic items and with exception of DMM it would have completely derailed the campaign if we tried.
What? You're adventuring under the BIGGEST markets in all of Faerun... you're encouraged to go back and forth to the surface in DotMM. There are multiple NPCs that want to interact with you on the surface. If you carried over from Dragonheist, you may have a business that you're running between adventures into the DotMM. I have not played all of these adventure paths, but most of them I know take you through or near large cities in Faerun. Plenty of opportunity to stop and shop....
RAW you can not simply go out and buy a magic item you want. In XGE it is at least a week of research time to find anything except scrolls and potions and there is a high probablility you do not fine it in 1 week unless it is common.
...and you can hire someone to put in that week of work.
The DMG p.135 states that magic items are normally "not available for purchase", it does leave options for DMs to change this, but it is clear that the default situation is you can not buy a magic item and certainly can't buy a specific item.
Read the rest of the paragraph - in a campaign world that is full of adventurers and high magic (Faerun is known historically for being HIGH MAGIC and full of powerful adventurers - as opposed to a setting like Greyhawk) it is like buying fine art. Where do all the official WotC modules take place?

Everyone has different RPG experience, but in almost every game I've played through 40+ years of D&D, there was a market for magic items. Sometimes it was easily accessible and open - other times invitation only. Sometimes only through brokers, others involved walking up to a stall at the marketplace. However:

Magic items are hard to destroy.
They are extremely useful to a narrow group (adventurers).
These PCs have a limit on how many they can use.

There is a supply, and a demand. There is a reason for there to be an ample supply.

And let us not forget that it is also relatively easy for a PC with downtime and resources to be able to build magic items. It might require a quest to do so, but making low power items at medium and higher level is trivial if you have the time.
 

The reason I didn't have the number right is it is almost never an issue. You get to make the choice which weapons you attune to as well and can sswitch out every short rest.

There is no comparison, you can attune to mre items than you can hold in your hands. That is mathematical fact. The only thing that differs is how you go about changes those.

running out of hands is far more common in the game than running out of attunement slots.

Well, sorry, but you are wrong. I've encountered far far more issue with running out of attunement slots than every had with running out of hands. Heck, other than swapping weapons (which is rare) the only thing most people even need a free hand for is grappling, and most people don't bother grappling because it isn't terribly useful.

The same principle applies to attunement. If you are concerned about having the +2 AC from BOD take a short rest and attune to it. If you want to attune to three other things attune to 3 other things.

You talk about "RARELY" affecting a game? D&D is RARELY played over 12th level, and 12th characters should only have 3 permanent magic items (1 rare and 2 uncommon). I have ONE PC in 5 years of playing 5E that ran out of attunmeent slots and really all it meant is I gave one of my magic items to a different PC that could use it. I have characters that run out of hands in almost every single battle.

There is no comparison, attunement is rarely an issue.

We tend to have way more magic items than that. Heck, we have more than 3 magic items generally by level 8. You guys have taken a mild recommendation and treated it like scripture.

And, do you not realize how hard it is to take an hour rest during an adventure? That is not a trivial thing, compared to a single action outside of combat. Since you see actions and hand swapping as such a big deal, an hour is enough time to use your action to equip or unequip your shield 600 times.

If you are getting plate at 5th level, your DM is either giving out too much treasure or he is not making your players pay for things like, food, transportation, down time, spell books etc. A 4-person party will not have enough money for plate in any of the official campaigns at 5th level unless they pool their funds.

We don't play official campaigns. We rarely get downtime (something I don't like), they generally don't charge food, and if they do it is a few silvers, while we can get multiple gold from a single encounter. Transportation is called "walking" and that's free. Food on the road is generally hand-waved because getting enough food to last is trivial.

And, no one ever buys spellbooks. We've rarely seen spell books or spell scrolls ever.

We still tend to pool money, but we also strip enemies of anything valuable and generally have a character or two who is a sorcerer or a monk or something and doesn't need any money for gear, so we do consolidate funds.

Kick down the door is an action, typically a strength check, and one that is not automatically going to succeed either.

IF the door was unlocked, I don't see why it wouldn't be fairly guaranteed, these aren't modern doors. And the point was simply that you could do it with no hands. Or, you know, walk around with your sword sheathed, so that when you open the door, you can then draw your sword on your turn.

Doors open and close both before and after initiative. It was your example, I was just pointing out you used it incorrectly. Regardless of the situation, a fighter carrying a weapon and a shield needs to use his object interaction to get his weapon in his hand after doing something with a free hand. There is no way around that. Further it also can complicate AOOs. If the fighter drops his weapon so he can do something else with the environment then he has no weapon for an AOO. A fighter without a shield never has this problem.

And what in the environment is worth interacting with? And, I have no idea what you mean by the door opening and closing before and after initiative. Once a door is open, it is open.

You see some grand problem, I see "I can't attack until my turn" which is... how the rules work.

Not RAW there isn't. I think hexblade can do this, no other charracter can. On top of that some characters can't even use a focus and others can't use a cross-class focus.

There is no such thing as a "cross class focus"

Sword Bard

War Caster

Ruby of the War Mage

So, let me just take a quick look at all the casters who can natively use shields. Druids? They can use a staff as their focus, no problem with shield and weapon. Cleric and Paladin? Shield is their focus. Warlock? Hexblade as mentioned.

So, maybe we are talking Eldritch Knights, Valor Bards and Rangers. They might struggle, and they can all take Warcaster, or use spells that are only verbal, or whose component is a weapon.


Sorry it is 15, not 18. The plate requires 15 STR and you need that to ge the AC you keep talking about. If you are playing with the variannt encumberance rules you can wear it with a lower strength but typically with a movement penalty.


Only if they take a speed penalty

If you have a 15 strength, there is no speed penalty. You also can easily carry it with encumbrance. Also, most characters investing in strength like this start at level 1 with a 16 strength.

So... this is kind of a non-issue in every way.

Can match it with a feat and dexterity. Something a Monk can do too with no armor.

Half Plate with a feat is 18 AC. Shield makes that 20

Monks need a 20 Dex and 16 Wisdom, or a 20/20 to match those numbers with no armor. That takes more than a single ASI.

You are talking about half of them to be clear.

Still more than enough, especially considering how few of the other half are combat spells anyways.

Magic items don't cost gold. You find them. They cost blood and sweat.

They can also cost gold. That is why they have a gold cost listed in the book.


And it is heavier and you are in armor which you can't wear all the time. There are rules for selling magic items, but it is not something I have ever been able to pull off at my table because we are hot on the trail of the next whoever. Usually unwanted magic items are discarded or donated. If you are selling magic items then you are not out adventuring.

Buying magic items is not RAW and if you are doing it you are spending a lot of downtime and not playing D&D. Obviously it is open to the DM, but the basic rules are no: "Unless you decide your campaign works otherwise, most magic items are so rare that they aren’t available for purchase." Also shopping for mundane normal items in D&D is less fun than going to the mall shopping in real life. I can't imagine how aweful it is to spend multiple sessions trying to offload your magic items .... or worse trying to find a certain one.

At my tables (both as a DM and as a player) there is no such thing as going out to buy +1 studded leather. IMO that is power gaming. Heck I can't even get downtime to buy regular studded leather for my Rogue until 3rd or 4th level in some campaigns. I am playing one right now that is almost 5th and he just got studded last session when he FOUND it in a guardroom dungeon we are in. Now certainly he can afford studded leather, but there has been no time for shopping.

"You can't do it unless you can do it" is a pretty poor argument.

And, man, you realize how trivial weight is in DnD? Like, seriously, you want to say studded leather is heavier, but it is 13 lbs. That is nothing for basically any character I have ever seen. Even a Strength 8 rogue can carry 90 lbs with no issue.

I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.


You are wrong


Because yourDM is giving out way too many magic items then, or you are playing very high campaigns that are nto the normal.

Maybe higher than you, but so what. I've never seen an issue with handidness or encumberance, but I sure have seen issues with attunement. Maybe you need to consider that your game might not be the norm.

Attunement is not very limited in the vast majority of campaigns it is irrelevant, and I was merelty pointing out that while of very little use it is a "no-brainer" for even the fighter in plate.

No, it isn't. People don't just wear items because they can. And DM's don't just give out items because they can. "This is my pajama armor" isn't a no-brainer, it is completely ludicrous.

Especially since, again, you can wear light armor to bed with no issue, so you can do this with magical studded leather armor just as easily. And that is a no-brainer, since it doesn't require attunement.


But why would you when you do not even need to carry it and have the same AC?

Because attunement is limited.

Also, remember that little chart you cited? "12th characters should only have 3 permanent magic items (1 rare and 2 uncommon)."

The Bracers are Rare, meaning you don't expect to see them until 12 level or so. Studded Leather armor is dirt common, in any city you care to visit, probably a lot of towns too. So, why wait an additional 8 levels for your pajama armor?

And your sword is on the ground and the enemy can pick it up for free on his turn as part of his attack, or he can kick it across the room, shove you across the room or do a variety of other things.

Don't get me wrong I drop weapons too, but it is not as good as not dropping them and if you have a shield you are goingto be doing it a lot.

I would absolutely love the enemy to drop his weapon to pick up mine.

Also, if they are close enough to get into melee range with me... why did I drop my weapon instead of... getting into melee range to attack them? That seems incredibly bizarre and makes no sense, If I can make attacks and defeat the enemy, I think I'd do that first.

But it is not "lets go crazy" for the Monk. The Monk you noted has the actual magic he should (at 20th level) and a 28 AC that goes with it. The fighter you compared him to has way more magic than he should.

But, that IS going crazy for the Monk, because THERE IS NOTHING ELSE. I gave the Monk as many AC boosting items as I could, and that put them "in line". I gave the fighter as many as I could, and that was too much.

So... why is it a big deal to drop BoD from having attunement? Even doing so, I just brought the Monk to exactly where you expected him to be

You are correct on the 15, I misread a table. Very few dexterity-based fighters that use point buy will have an 18 or even a 15 strength, so yes it is "a question" for a whole lot of fighters, perhaps over half of them. It is also an issue for most Clerics that get heavy armor proficiency too. It is not a question for most Paladins, but for every other class that has the proficiency there will be large numbers of players whos characters can't wear it without severe penalties.

I don't see a whole lot of dex-fighters. If a cleric is getting heavy armor they are going to want that 15 to get full plate. The AC is just too good and too valuable.
 

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