January 2016 Sage Advice - All About AC

There is a new Sage Advice from WotC's Jeremy Crawford posted on the D&D website about Armor Class and how spells interact with it. As always, the Sage Advice Compendium has also been updated with this information. This month, Jeremy discusses how to calculate creature ACs, and how spells like mage armor, barkskin, amor of Agates, and heroism work. Interestingly, it also contains a reconsidered ruling on how barkskin and shields work, and an update to his previous ruling one the Savage Attacker feat.
Find the full column here and the full compiled Sage Advice Compendium PDF here.

Also of note, the Monster Manual errata has been updated and now includes the water elemental and changes to the kraken.


Sage Advice is a monthly column that gives official clarifications of D&D rules. It also sometimes provides reference documents to help your D&D game run smoothly. Despite its official status, Sage Advice doesn’t trump the rulings of a Dungeon Master; the answers and information provided here are meant to assist a DM in adjudicating the game.
 
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Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
The new Sage Advice Compendium clarifies that Savage Attacker doesn't work with unarmed strikes, because Savage Attacker references a weapon's damage die, and an unarmed strike isn't a weapon (as per the PH Errata). So half-orc monks need to use a monk weapon to get the benefit of their racial trait.

Of all the items in this article, the willingness to revisit and revise old rulings is the one that heartens me the most; I'm looking forward to the day that Crawford realizes he got the distinction between somatic and material components precisely backward. (The text of the PH specifies that, if you are able to perform somatic components with a hand, you can access material components with the same hand, but his ruling regarding emblazoned holy symbols presupposes the opposite -- if you have access to a material component with a hand, you can perform somatic components with that hand -- and the apposite interpretation is not strictly supported by the text in the PH.)

--
Pauper
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
From the linked SA compendium:

Savage Attacker
Does the Savage Attacker feat work with unarmed strikes?
No. Savage Attacker relies on a weapon’s damage dice, and an unarmed strike isn’t a weapon (a point that was clarified in the Player’s Handbook errata).
 



Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Interesting to read the ruling on barkskin. That's the way I interpreted it, and that's what it means literally as written. But either way, no wonder there was confusion because of prior tweets. Hopefully this finally puts this discussion to bed ;)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
There is a new Sage Advice from WotC's Jeremy Crawford posted on the D&D website about Armor Class and how spells interact with it. As always, the Sage Advice Compendium has also been updated with this information. This month, Jeremy discusses how to calculate creature ACs, and how spells like mage armor, barkskin, amor of Agates, and heroism work. Interestingly, it also contains a reconsidered ruling on how barkskin and shields work, and an update to his previous ruling one the Savage Attacker feat.
Find the full column here and the full compiled Sage Advice Compendium PDF here.

Also of note, the Monster Manual errata has been updated and now includes the water elemental and changes to the kraken.


Sage Advice is a monthly column that gives official clarifications of D&D rules. It also sometimes provides reference documents to help your D&D game run smoothly. Despite its official status, Sage Advice doesn’t trump the rulings of a Dungeon Master; the answers and information provided here are meant to assist a DM in adjudicating the game.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
Interesting to read the ruling on barkskin. That's the way I interpreted it, and that's what it means literally as written. But either way, no wonder there was confusion because of prior tweets. Hopefully this finally puts this discussion to bed ;)
It is really the only way to read the spell.

Of course, that doesn't change the fact it makes no sense, especially for a spell such as Barkskin...
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
I much enjoy visiting this site to stay at this site. Thank you
I...don't know what that means. I just feel it's a little disrespectful to the content creators to swipe their output and re-post it here. Anyways, two posts on the subject is already too many!
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Of course, that doesn't change the fact it makes no sense, especially for a spell such as Barkskin...

What? Just because your skin takes on a hardened form of pseudo-natural armor that protects you even when you're wearing leather armor over it... but then that protection suddenly disappears once you strap a shield on your arm? How could that NOT make sense?!? ;)
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
What? Just because your skin takes on a hardened form of pseudo-natural armor that protects you even when you're wearing leather armor over it... but then that protection suddenly disappears once you strap a shield on your arm? How could that NOT make sense?!? ;)

For the same reason a warlord can shout a person back to life :D :p
 



I didn't mean to deprive WotC of views to their website (although I didn't think of that until I saw your post) or any disrespect to Jeremy Crawford. I will say that I copied it in its entirety (no editing except for font size) and there is a link a to the original material included in the post. I normally would have just summarized what I found interesting, but it was a short one.
 


Li Shenron

Legend
Makes a lot of sense from a balance point of view to restrict AC vs bounded accuracy.

Won't be so easy to explain in narrative terms to players who don't care about technical balance, at least not the case where Wisdom bonus is incompatible with having a "tough hide".
 

CapnZapp

Legend
What? Just because your skin takes on a hardened form of pseudo-natural armor that protects you even when you're wearing leather armor over it... but then that protection suddenly disappears once you strap a shield on your arm? How could that NOT make sense?!? ;)
Yeah, something along those lines...

It's not that I'm completely opposed to the mechanic used. It could work for some kind of mystic "shadow armor" or somesuch.

But why Barkskin wasn't used to introduce natural armor AC to player characters, we will never know...
 

Funny that the official answer is different to his own ruling in the bark skin case. I also admit defeat and will follow Jeremies ruling instead of the sage's advice.
 

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