5E RAW: Can druids wear studded leather?

Seramus

Explorer
RAW a druid can wear metal armour, but chooses not to. It's a matter for the player to decide how far they are willing to compromise their code.
This. There is zero mechanical consequence for a druid that chooses to wear metal armor.

But if you want to avoid drama with Adventure League DMs, just don't do it. There is no RAW answer regarding the composition of Studded Leader.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
And really, how often does an AL DM actually ask about what armor any PC is wearing anyway? Any time I've run games at conventions, I've never once grilled a player on their weapon or armor choices.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
And really, how often does an AL DM actually ask about what armor any PC is wearing anyway? Any time I've run games at conventions, I've never once grilled a player on their weapon or armor choices.
While I agree, I would also say it was cheating. A lie by omission is still a lie.

It doesn't really matter that much, we're talking about a single point of AC for a PC that will likely never be in melee unless they've turned themselves into some beast. But as with claiming that ring mail doesn't count as metal armor because it doesn't specifically state that it's made of metal (really?), I'd rather not try to fudge the system.

Have some respect for your DM and ask because there is no clear cut RAW on this one.
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
But as with claiming that ring mail doesn't count as metal armor because it doesn't specifically state that it's made of metal (really?)
Because we are going as RAW as possible, we are are going old school 3e rules lawyering.

The word metal is not defined specifically and is not a keyword anywhere (which would be the best finding).

We go to the next tier, descriptions. Most armors do in fact literally say the word metal in their descriptions...the actual word. They don’t imply, they state.

Ring mail does not. It’s that simple. Now could it simply be an oversight? Of course. But since we have both a class restriction and a spell restriction (heat metal), we have to assume that the word metal is not arbitrary and start with the basis that the rules are correct, and the writers did their jobs.

In which case they choose to define certain armors as metal, and others as not.

That is all we have to go on with our limited descriptions, it is the strongest argument that the rules provide us. I think there are lots of other reasonable interpretations...but this one is closest to the literal words on the page.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Because we are going as RAW as possible, we are are going old school 3e rules lawyering.

The word metal is not defined specifically and is not a keyword anywhere (which would be the best finding).

We go to the next tier, descriptions. Most armors do in fact literally say the word metal in their descriptions...the actual word. They don’t imply, they state.

Ring mail does not. It’s that simple. Now could it simply be an oversight? Of course. But since we have both a class restriction and a spell restriction (heat metal), we have to assume that the word metal is not arbitrary and start with the basis that the rules are correct, and the writers did their jobs.

In which case they choose to define certain armors as metal, and others as not.

That is all we have to go on with our limited descriptions, it is the strongest argument that the rules provide us. I think there are lots of other reasonable interpretations...but this one is closest to the literal words on the page.
The PHB is not a technical document. The rules don't state what a longsword is made of, yet unless it's specifically stated otherwise I'm going assume Heat Metal would work on it. Many, many things are left to common knowledge.

I don't like rules weasels. I would call it out at the table, I'll call it out in a forum. Since this is in response to someone playing AL I'm just letting the OP know how I would respond. It may vary in your home campaign, but I'd call BS.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
The PHB is not a technical document. The rules don't state what a longsword is made of, yet unless it's specifically stated otherwise I'm going assume Heat Metal would work on it. Many, many things are left to common knowledge.

I don't like rules weasels. I would call it out at the table, I'll call it out in a forum. Since this is is in response to someone playing AL I'm just letting the OP know how I would respond. It may vary in your home campaign, but I'd call BS.
Yeah.

This is the same argument that says a candle doesn't need to be lit in order to provide light because the entry doesn't say so.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
Is it? The wiktionary definition and wikipedia page for "rivet" don't include a single instance of the word "metal".
Try Merriam-Webster or some other dictionary. A rivet is made by pressing a rod of metal so hard it forms a head. You can't do that with bone, wood, or stone without the aid of magic which, as you pointed out, certainly means it's possible in a fantasy setting.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
1) By RAW, the player says what their character attempts to do (PHB p.6). By RAW, I can't find anything to suggest that the DM can control a PC's actions (while certain effects may allow an NPC to control another character's actions, that's not quite the same). So your druid could certainly attempt to wear metal armor.

2) If there is a chance of failure, the DM calls for an ability check (PHB p.174; see also, [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]'s Ph.D. thesis, Adjudicating Actions). It's hard to see how the druid would face any physical chance of failure putting on armor. But some DMs might rule that when a character attempts to do something against their alignment, bonds, ideals, etc., that the character needs to make a Wisdom check in order to force themselves to do it. However, I would argue that this violates point #1, above: the failure condition suggests that the DM, not the player, is saying what the character will attempt. That is, if a die roll represents a PC struggling against themselves, then they are both attempting to wear the armor and attempting NOT to wear the armor, and that second attempted action came from the DM, not the player. One could argue that the player did, in fact, announce an attempt to not wear metal armor when they chose the druid class, but that denies a player's right to change their mind, and at some point that line of reasoning will devolve into pure silliness.

3) Nor can I find anything to suggest that the DM fiat can spontaneously cause class features to stop working, which is another common response to a druid's attempt to wear metal armor. Obviously a DM can override RAW; but for that statement to make sense, it implies that there are things the DM can't do according to RAW (see D. Vincent Baker's Ph.D. thesis, Apocalypse World).

4) You know what the DM does control? THE ENTIRE REST OF THE MULTIVERSE (DMG p.1-320). So if a DM has an issue with a druid player wearing metal armor, they could control the reaction of NPCs, creatures, and even the natural world. Maybe animals shun the druid, and plants begin to wither in their presence. Maybe other druids are hostile and attack the apostate. Eventually, powerful fey or elementals or primordials might show up to eliminate the corrupt metal-wearing druid. Some DMs might use these techniques in a heavy-handed way to enforce their view on their players. But other DMs might mine it for rich story-telling potential. That's a matter of DM personality and is beyond the reach of RAW.
 

Mistwell

Hero
As I've heard, since I don't actually play AL, Sage Advice is NOT official for AL, even JC's twitter and other stuff, only errata. This makes a level of sense, because DM's don't have to keep up with the latest "ruling," especially if/when JC changes his mind on twitter. However, I believe that it would be wise for AL to make their own interpretation of common issues, and institute them league wide.
It's not official for AL because there is one official rule for AL - the DM decides, like always. But it can be persuasive in making your case to the DM, which is what's being asked for. Which is why I said it's as official as you can get (without being official).

There is no official AL list of decisions and I think it would be a bad idea for there to be one, for this particular type of edition. The DM needs to make a call. That's how this edition is intended to function, and that should not change just because it's at an AL game. It's not Magic, the Gathering. These are not competitive tourneys.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
1) By RAW, the player says what their character attempts to do (PHB p.6). By RAW, I can't find anything to suggest that the DM can control a PC's actions (while certain effects may allow an NPC to control another character's actions, that's not quite the same). So your druid could certainly attempt to wear metal armor.

2) If there is a chance of failure, the DM calls for an ability check (PHB p.174; see also, @iserith's Ph.D. thesis, Adjudicating Actions). It's hard to see how the druid would face any physical chance of failure putting on armor. But some DMs might rule that when a character attempts to do something against their alignment, bonds, ideals, etc., that the character needs to make a Wisdom check in order to force themselves to do it. However, I would argue that this violates point #1, above: the failure condition suggests that the DM, not the player, is saying what the character will attempt. That is, if a die roll represents a PC struggling against themselves, then they are both attempting to wear the armor and attempting NOT to wear the armor, and that second attempted action came from the DM, not the player. One could argue that the player did, in fact, announce an attempt to not wear metal armor when they chose the druid class, but that denies a player's right to change their mind, and at some point that line of reasoning will devolve into pure silliness.

3) Nor can I find anything to suggest that the DM fiat can spontaneously cause class features to stop working, which is another common response to a druid's attempt to wear metal armor. Obviously a DM can override RAW; but for that statement to make sense, it implies that there are things the DM can't do according to RAW (see D. Vincent Baker's Ph.D. thesis, Apocalypse World).

4) You know what the DM does control? THE ENTIRE REST OF THE MULTIVERSE (DMG p.1-320). So if a DM has an issue with a druid player wearing metal armor, they could control the reaction of NPCs, creatures, and even the natural world. Maybe animals shun the druid, and plants begin to wither in their presence. Maybe other druids are hostile and attack the apostate. Eventually, powerful fey or elementals or primordials might show up to eliminate the corrupt metal-wearing druid. Some DMs might use these techniques in a heavy-handed way to enforce their view on their players. But other DMs might mine it for rich story-telling potential. That's a matter of DM personality and is beyond the reach of RAW.
Your druid PC wearing metal armor? Then obviously they are not a druid. How do I know? Because the rules state clearly that druids won't wear metal armor. Period, end of story. If the PC can do anything the player says they can do, then my first level fighter can cast wish. While the DM doesn't make the rules for the PCs, the PHB and associated books do and they are clear. Want to run it differently in your home campaign? Feel free.

The DM enforces the rules, the players don't.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
.... There's just not enough material to sustain a real discussion. At best we could do a deep history dive into how previous editions defined the Druid metal armor restriction, and even that's only informational context for RAI, not RAW.

That's why most of the replies are variations of "ask the DM you're playing with" with a side order of anecdotal "in previous games I've played in". There's very little else substantive to say.
Yet the thread continues to ramble doesn't it? :)

It doesn't matter what they are "supposed". That's the RAI, but the OP is asking for RAW.

We should give OPs more respect, and comments like "in my games", "ask your DM" or "it doesn’t matter because you can then do this other thing" don't really help the OP figure out a RAW starting point, which is what he's explicitly asking for.
+1

If I want to have a dungeon master go to all the trouble of running a game for me, I tend to talk things over with him and accept his final ruling.
If I want to play RAW only, I may as well play a computer game.
Such responses don't help the OP at all. And are just what the OP asked not be discussed.

... While the DM doesn't make the rules for the PCs, the PHB and associated books do and they are clear. ...
Except the PHB is not clear if Studded Leather is "Metal Armor". Heat Metal seems to indicate it might not be. Typically we think of studs as being made of metal. But does that mean it's metal armor? The PHB just doesn't say.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Except the PHB is not clear if Studded Leather is "Metal Armor". Heat Metal seems to indicate it might not be. Typically we think of studs as being made of metal. But does that mean it's metal armor? The PHB just doesn't say.
Hence my original posting. Sometimes the rules are not clear and it comes down to a DM's ruling. I know how I would rule, other DM's would rule differently. Show some respect for the person willing to judge your game and ask them. Just don't expect the same answer from every DM or make assumptions that they will agree with what you want.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
If the PC can do anything the player says they can do, then my first level fighter can cast wish.
Please read more carefully. The PC can ATTEMPT anything the player wants. Your first-level fighter can certainly ATTEMPT to cast wish. Please make a DC 50 Intelligence check.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Please read more carefully. The PC can ATTEMPT anything the player wants. Your first-level fighter can certainly ATTEMPT to cast wish. Please make a DC 50 Intelligence check.
The DM enforces the rules of the Gam, which includes the rule that druids will not wear metal armor. Cry "You aren't the boss of me" all you want, but when it comes to enforcing rules they are.

Some rules tell you what you can do, others tell you what you cannot.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Some rules tell you what you can do, others tell you what you cannot.
Exactly! Rules tell you what your character can and can't do. They don't tell you what your character will and won't do. That's explicitly the player's task, by RAW (PHB p. 6).

If the character can't do it, it's the DM's job to say so. But there is no rule that says druids can't wear metal armor.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Exactly! Rules tell you what your character can and can't do. They don't tell you what your character will and won't do. That's explicitly the player's task, by RAW (PHB p. 6).

If the character can't do it, it's the DM's job to say so. But there is no rule that says druids can't wear metal armor.
It's right there in black an white: "druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal". It couldn't be clearer. If your PC is wearing metal armor, obviously it is not a druid. Since you have not made a valid class choice, come back to the table when you have one.

Buh-bye.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
What if I've been playing at your table for a year, and the party is level 8, and we're trying to sneak into a castle by impersonating guards, and the only feasible way is for my druid to don a set of chain mail, temporarily? Is my character just physically incapable -- like magnetism causes the chains to fly off my body? Or does the DM take over my character and decide that I won't do it? Or something else?

I am genuinely curious how you would rule in this situation. (Assume for the sake of argument that other options like wild shape into a mouse or disguise self are off the table -- maybe there's an anti-magic zone involved -- and that a successful ruse is really super important.)
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
What if I've been playing at your table for a year, and the party is level 8, and we're trying to sneak into a castle by impersonating guards, and the only feasible way is for my druid to don a set of chain mail, temporarily? Is my character just physically incapable -- like magnetism causes the chains to fly off my body? Or does the DM take over my character and decide that I won't do it? Or something else?

I am genuinely curious how you would rule in this situation. (Assume for the sake of argument that other options like wild shape into a mouse or disguise self are off the table -- maybe there's an anti-magic zone involved -- and that a successful ruse is really super important.)
If you refuse to follow the rules of a druid, I'd ask you to bring another character. If you refused, I'd ask you to leave. If you're trying to sneak into the castle, come up with a different plan. If there is no other option, I've failed as a DM. A druid will not wear metal armor.

Same as in my home campaign where I'm up front about no evil characters in my game. I've warned people once or twice that if they do something, it will be irredeemably evil and their PC becomes an NPC. I don't have much patience for people that [EDIT: knowingly] violate the rules of the game (even if they are house rules). It's only ever been an issue a handful of times in 40-ish years of DMing, even then a simple warning/reminder is normally enough.

But yes, as I think I mentioned in another thread, I've stopped inviting someone who wanted to play only evil characters. So if you insist on playing a druid in metal armor I don't run the game for you.
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
It doesn't matter what they are "supposed". That's the RAI, but the OP is asking for RAW.

We should give OPs more respect, and comments like "in my games", "ask your DM" or "it doesn’t matter because you can then do this other thing" don't really help the OP figure out a RAW starting point, which is what he's explicitly asking for.
Right, except in this case, the RAW is that you need to ask your DM. Druids won't wear metal armor, it's ambiguous whether studded leather counts as metal, and the OP can't find supporting rules within the book. That's why they created this thread in the first place. They want some RAW answer that isn't just "ask your DM".

And that answer flat-out doesn't exist, because the RAW answer is that you must ask your DM. It may not be a very satisfying answer, but that's all there is to it. The OP has already found all of the relevant evidence, which is why they're uncertain about this point in the first place.
 

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