D&D (2024) Druid metal armor restriction gone?


Entropic Good
What I feel it comes down to is that its some combination of:
1) its a rule that keeps you from doing something you want to do (have medium armor AC), for no real reason, benefit or balance. It hurts the character that abides by it in a way that mechanically isn't justified or interesting.
2) its a rule that is fully circumventable (either trivially having wood armor or with some mechanics that exist solely to undue/circumvent/ameliorate this one mechanic) and has no actually effect in play.
3) its a rule that lets people feel like Druids now days are proper druids, like they were in the old days.

And with that feeling, I am fully in support of not half-baking the idea of 'no metal for the druid' into the class.

The version of this rule I would like to see is: "Druids that do not wish to wear metal armor don't have to; here are some options...."

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I honestly though the designers leaned into curved blades like sickles and scimitars because they resemble the crescent moon, which is a common druidic theme.

But sickles, hatchets, and machetes, those are all important wilderness tools. Druids absolutely will cut down vegetation if they have a valid purpose, whether for collecting herbs and plant samples for poultices, or collecting larger vegetation for building tools or shelter. They just have to honor and respect the lives of the things they cull, just like they do when hunting beasts for food and materials.
But now, they can, uh, bludgeon them with maces?

From a simplicity perspective, I get that class's having either simple OR simple/martial (with one class having simple plus finesse) is easier, but many does it ruin some archetypes: bards with rapiers, druids with scimitars, monks with shortswords. Most of those classes are going to be stuck with maces, spears, or daggers as weapons now.

But now, they can, uh, bludgeon them with maces?

From a simplicity perspective, I get that class's having either simple OR simple/martial (with one class having simple plus finesse) is easier, but many does it ruin some archetypes: bards with rapiers, druids with scimitars, monks with shortswords. Most of those classes are going to be stuck with maces, spears, or daggers as weapons now.
Maybe more of these classes need a L1 "order"-like option (like clerics and druids get) to opt more into either a more martial or magical focus?


I think people have raised the biggest reasons why the non-metal armor restriction wasn't working well in D&D 2014 -- it wasn't well explained, clearly delineated as how it was supposed to work, used an otherwise-not-used-this-edition 'character won't' form of restriction, etc. Also a major issue (IMO) is that no two DMs had the same ideas on how easy it should be to acquire non-metal breastplates or half-plate or the like. That means any discussion related to how impactful this limit is has an inherent overwhelming variance upon it that plenty of people did not want.

At the same time, Clerics used non-edged weapons by default for a long time (minus all the exceptions, of course), and the game changed this to clerics (by default) not getting to use the best weapons with little negative effect. If there was a blurring between clerics and paladins in 3e (CoDzilla taking over a paladin's schtick), it was because of the massive number of combat self-buff spells clerics got, not whether they could use longswords or not.

It's not clear to me exactly what the druid's non-metal armor rule was originally meant to be. Thematics is a prominent guess, but they still can use metal weapons*. Balance is another, although there's been so much change to go alongside it in terms of whether druids are more or less powerful than alternatives in each edition. Also confounding that is how much in each edition playing a often-attack-targeted druid meant changing into another shape instead of relying upon armor (and whether your armor matters when changed into another shape). *side note: using scimitars as the weapon of choice seems to have already dried up in 5e, but because of favoring Dex over Str, but also because Shillelagh (and Bear) are options.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that, while I don't in any way disagree with what you've said, I think the lore and overall vibe of the class has changed anyways, and I'm not sure whether keeping the non-metal armor bit would actually help that in any way, especially since the rest of the context of weapons and armor use has so radically changed.
it was legacy cruft that once had a mechanical reason to exist and an eventual level appropriate back door. Back in 3.5 barkskin gave a natural armor bonus as opposed to the enhancement bonus given by almost every other magical AC bump. That made it incredibly powerful Eventually a druid could cast a somewhat high level spell to transform a piece of armor to "ironwood" (which was wood not metal) . In the 2014 5e druid wotc kept the limit in place and dumped the reason along with all of the mechanics needed to support the reason but continued to design a lot of druid stuff around legacy elements no longer present as if they were.

Getting rid of the cruft is good


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
It doesn't seem to be in the playtest.

What do you guys think about this? I'm guessing the majority will appreciate this.
My hope is the final version says something like, "Druids can have access to non-metal variations on armor that more typically contains metal. These are made from bone, giant insect carapace, ironwood, and a variety of other more unusual substances" in a sidebar or something.
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I think armour should just be designated by AC+weight (5 lbs +5 lbs/level, so AC 11 weighs 10 lbs and AC 20 weighs 55), along with the light, medium or heavy property. Then give a bunch of descriptors of potential materials for light, medium, and heavy armour, and let players decide what their armour is actually made of - leather, chain, plate or pieces of plate, chitin, wood, densely woven fabrics, hide, shell, whatever.

So if a player wants to decide that their AC 12 is made up of a mix of leather, woven fabrics, and a few pieces of turtle shell at vulnerable spots, more power to 'em. From the gameplay perspective, what matters is that it is AC 12, light, and weighs 15 lbs. It's a fantasy game, not a historical reenactment game. Just standardize the stats and let the players/DM figure out the flavour. Then, if druids wearing metal is a problem, the players and DM can simply choose alternatives.

Edit: I guess cost is the other thing that matters from a gameplay perspective, but again, standardize it by AC level.

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
I am glad the "rule" has gone: it was too vague and subjective.

It always needed a judgment. For me, the rule said "Gives proficiency in Light armor and Hide; if you have proficiency from Dwarf or another class, that's fine" -- but I don't think I ever found someone with the same reading.

I don't mind constraints, especially when they are thematic. But it needs to be spelled out clearly, and if they won't do that, then the current choice (=regular proficiency in Light with medium available) is fine.


I celebrated when it was gone.

I'm not against having people (not just druids!) using armor made of giant insect chitin, or wood from the Jewel Adam Tree, or stone carved with mythic runes of protection. That stuff can be really cool, but many times it was made intentionally worse than metal armor just because. Now we can reflavor armor and not worry about this bizarre and pointless flavor mandate.

Armor flavor is free as far as I'm concerned.

I always figured the 5e design team tried to balance the druid using the metal restriction to eliminate some of the obvious ways of boosting AC, on the theory that the enormous amount of temp HP granted by wild shape needed to be offset by making the non-wild-shaped druid easier to hit.

It didn’t work, but I assumed that’s what they tried to do.
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