D&D 5E RAW: Can druids wear studded leather?

WilliamCQ

Explorer
The answers to my question has to be RAW; if your post must contain non-RAW material please make it explicit it does.

I have a druid with some spare TP (treasure points) and some session back he unlocked a Manual of Quickness of Action. He has 14 Dex and has been donning a hide armor. I'm thinking he could redeem the manual making his Dex 16 if he can wear studded leather. I've seen some pages about that but they mostly seem opinions and I need something RAW (asking a gm amount to asking an opinion as s/he could be wrong (and are only required to enforce their best knowledge of RAW), as gms keep changing and its the player responsibility for his/her sheet to be "RAW-compatible"). I'm thinking heat metal wouldn't work on a character donning studded leather so it shouldn't contain sufficient metal to mess with wild-shaping, or whatever prevent druids from donning metal armor.

Using only RAW, can druids wear studded leather?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Kurotowa

Legend
(asking a gm amount to asking an opinion as s/he could be wrong (and are only required to enforce their best knowledge of RAW), as gms keep changing and its the player responsibility for his/her sheet to be "RAW-compatible")

A DM is never wrong. Sometimes they make house rules without intended to, but never wrong. The rules of the table are what they say the rules are. Which is not to say they can't be swayed by bringing their attention to a subsection of the printed rules they might be unfamiliar with, but it's not like that binds them.

So. The restriction on "metal armor" is vague and not mechanically defined. What counts as metal armor at your table is what your DM says it does. Our opinions are those of random strangers and not to be taken as sufficient weight for you to take as rules clarifications in place of your DM's word. Personally I don't think Studded Leather counts, but then again Studded Leather is entirely an invention of D&D with no historical basis, so really anything goes.

Consult with your DM. Don't try to make rules calls on the basis of your own judgment or the advice of random Internet people. Making these rules calls is the job of your DM and no one else.
 

WilliamCQ

Explorer
I'm asking for RAW interpretation, not opinions. By interpretation, I mean quote rules and the PHB # or a post with #al_admin or the like.
 

Purely by RAW, the only thing that we have to go on is what RAW says about the armour in the description of it in the PHB.

Metal is not mentioned once in there. It mentions "Rivets or spikes" but does not specify that these are made of metal.

Therefore, if I was ever willing to countenance either of these abominations (AL and Studded Leather), I would allow a character to purchase a set with bone or similar non-metal studs, or simply rule that the studs of the armour are not a restriction to a Druid any more than the buckles and other fittings are.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Purely by RAW, the only thing that we have to go on is what RAW says about the armour in the description of it in the PHB.

Metal is not mentioned once in there. It mentions "Rivets or spikes" but does not specify that these are made of metal.

Wow, that's actually something I never noticed, mainly because I think the RAW is so badly written that it can legitimately be interpreted as druids CAN in fact choose to wear anything, so I never bothered to look at the studded leather description carefully.

This also means that ring mail is by RAW wearable by druids even if your DM interprets the druid armor fluff as a real restriction.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Fun fact:
Ring Mail is the only heavy armor type that doesn't specify being made out of metal, and could, in theory, be crafted out of Druid suitable materials.

As for helpful information:
http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/rules-answers-march-2016

A druid typically wears leather, studded leather, or hide armor, and if a druid comes across scale mail made of a material other than metal, the druid might wear it.
 

S'mon

Legend
If you count Sage Advice as RAW then druids can wear studded leather.

The actual RAW says (druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal)

Applying this IMCs, druids cannot wear studded leather since it is partially made of metal; they may wear leather or hide.
 
Last edited:

DND_Reborn

Legend
Yeah, nothing says even plate armor couldn't be fashion from a natural source of plates, such as giant ant carapace or something. The rings in ring mail could be made of a petrified or hard wood or even bone or ivory.

I think most of us understand the studs/rivets on studded leather are typically metal, though. However, there are other materials it could be made of but I would have to tell the player it must be custom made (and maybe even have a small side one-session adventure about getting the materials?).
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
If you count Sage Advice as RAW then druids can wear studded leather.

The actual RAW says (druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal)

Applying this IMCs, druids cannot wear studded leather since it is partially made of metal; they may wear leather or hide.

Yet even hide and leather will often have metal buckles and straps connected by metal. Again, anything without metal at all would be custom-made IMO.
 

S'mon

Legend
Yet even hide and leather will often have metal buckles and straps connected by metal. Again, anything without metal at all would be custom-made IMO.

I would take it that druid versions use leather thongs without metal buckles & straps. Indeed
most hide may come from barbarian tribes without leatherworking.
 

Oofta

Legend
Much like ring mail, I'd rule that studded leather has a significant amount of metal and still would not be wearable by druids. Technically the studs don't have to be metal, but realistically they would be simply because little else is as durable or effective. There is no leather armor where you can just put small studs here and there and expect those studs to do anything significant. The only historical equivalent was probably brigandine, which is basically metal armor held together by leather.

If your DM allows "other materials" why bother stopping with studded leather? Be a rules lawyer and throw on ring mail. Or just get that plate made out of a non-metal material that weighs approximately the same while being non-metallic yet formable material that can be easily reshaped. It's called "does-not-exist"ium. Or magic, of course.

In other words, sometimes there is no one true answer, ask your DM.
 

Keep an eye out for people able to work leather withing the adventures or campaign. If you kill a creature or animal whose hide you think might be usable as armour, skin it, go to them, and ask the DM how much they will charge to work it into a suit of armour. That might be an easier method than just trying to find a suit made from natural materials for sale already.

Much like ring mail, I'd rule that studded leather has a significant amount of metal and still would not be wearable by druids. Technically the studs don't have to be metal, but realistically they would be simply because little else is as durable or effective. There is no leather armor where you can just put small studs here and there and expect those studs to do anything significant. The only historical equivalent was probably brigandine, which is basically metal armor held together by leather.
The nonexistence of studded leather armour in real life doesn't really help when adjudicating what it is within the rules of a game in which it does exist.
If you're going to take perfectly good leather armour and introduce points of weakness all over it, making the studs of ivory, bone or even wood is not going to make a huge difference to its effectiveness.

If your DM allows "other materials" why bother stopping with studded leather? Be a rules lawyer and throw on ring mail. Or just get that plate made out of a non-metal material that weighs approximately the same while being non-metallic yet formable material that can be easily reshaped. It's called "does-not-exist"ium. Or magic, of course.
Or even scale mail! Ridiculous concept isn't it?
 

Stalker0

Legend
So if we are going for total RAW.

Every armor in its description says the actual word “metal” in its description, except for the following:

Padded
Leather
Studded leather
Hide
Ring Mail

Studded leather says rivets, but since rivets have no mechanical impact, and the word metal is specifically said with other armors, but not studded leather, than it should be allowed.
 
Last edited:

Oofta

Legend
Keep an eye out for people able to work leather withing the adventures or campaign. If you kill a creature or animal whose hide you think might be usable as armour, skin it, go to them, and ask the DM how much they will charge to work it into a suit of armour. That might be an easier method than just trying to find a suit made from natural materials for sale already.

The nonexistence of studded leather armour in real life doesn't really help when adjudicating what it is within the rules of a game in which it does exist.
If you're going to take perfectly good leather armour and introduce points of weakness all over it, making the studs of ivory, bone or even wood is not going to make a huge difference to its effectiveness.

Or even scale mail! Ridiculous concept isn't it?

I would actually be more inclined to allow scale male made from scales of [insert beast X here] than the other options.

I just think it's a house rule for the scale male and a DM's ruling for the studded leather. Ask you DM they may rule differently. If it's AL and you have a variety of DMs, I'd stick with leather to be safe.
 

Ganders

Explorer
I find the discussion of Ring Mail for a druid rather dubious, since druids don't get proficiency in heavy armor.

The very first sentence of the Heat Metal spell rules out casting it on studded leather. That's as close as you'll get to RAW saying it isn't metal armor.

The second closest thing to RAW is various tweets from the people who write the game. Several tweets have said they do let druids wear studded leather.

On a related note, none of the armor or weapons specify 'steel' either. There are a couple mentions in equipment (steel mirror, flint and steel), and a few mentions in fluff (especially the first sentence under Half-Orc). But for the most part, it could be entirely bronze-age materials and designs.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Since Druids have proficiency in Light and Medium armors, if you take out Studded Leather you are limiting them to Padded, Leather, and Hide only. Seems incredible restrictive to me personally but still when you look at those three armors:

Padded (AC 11, 5 gp, 8 lbs, "bulky" so disadvantage on Stealth)
Leather (AC 11, 10 gp, 10 lbs, no disadvantage)
Hide (AC 12, 10 gp, 12 lbs, no disadvantage)

to Studded Leather (AC 12, 45 gp, 13 lbs, no disadvantage)

Why would you ever take Studded Leather over Hide unless maybe it is magical or something? Studded Leather costs more and weighs slightly more, but offers the same AC. Unless your druid has a high Dex (16+) there doesn't seem much point to choosing it over Hide.

Now, speaking of making armor from other natural materials. We recently killed a Young Adult Black dragon and skinned it. Our DM let one player spend a few months crafting the hide into a special heavier hide equivalent to scale mail (AC 14, 30 lbs., but no disadvantage) that the sorcerer/druid can wear.

Anyway, lots of stuff for Druids if your DM wants to include it one way or another.
 


The problem with the OP's situation is that there is no RAW answer. Studded leader doesn't state that the studs are metal, but most people assume that they are. If the DM assumes that it's metal, then he is right for his game (even AL or other organized play), because DM's are required to make that call. Unless you always play with this DM, I'd suggest buying both and taking the armor that is accepted by the DM on the adventure (make sure to talk to them in advance).
 

S'mon

Legend
The problem with the OP's situation is that there is no RAW answer. Studded leader doesn't state that the studs are metal, but most people assume that they are. If the DM assumes that it's metal, then he is right for his game (even AL or other organized play), because DM's are required to make that call. Unless you always play with this DM, I'd suggest buying both and taking the armor that is accepted by the DM on the adventure (make sure to talk to them in advance).

Or make a DEX 14 Druid in Hide?
 

Why would you ever take Studded Leather over Hide unless maybe it is magical or something? Studded Leather costs more and weighs slightly more, but offers the same AC. Unless your druid has a high Dex (16+) there doesn't seem much point to choosing it over Hide.
Which is exactly the situation stated in the OP. He was wondering if he should use a magic item to raise his dex to 16 and then buy Studded Leather.

--

As other have said, I believe RAI is that druids can wear studded. I also believe that RAW is not clear if studded is considered metal or not, and if druids can actually wear metal armor or if it's just fluff (imo it's a rule, not fluff).

All that said, I would see if AL has made a ruling or statement on this. Hopefully they have, but I can't find one.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top