D&D 5E The Gloves Are Off?


Magic Wordsmith
Unbeknownst to an unarmored character and despite the DM's sufficient telegraphing, they touched a chest that has been smeared with a dangerous contact poison. The DM describes the greasy feel of the poison and asks for a Constitution saving throw.

"Wait just a minute!" exclaims the player. "I imagine my character is wearing gloves. They have traveler's clothes on."

The DM considers this. There is nothing in the rules that says any clothing set comes with gloves, nor any armor for that matter except scale mail, chain mail, or plate which come with gauntlets at least (none of which the PC is wearing). There are no gloves in the equipment section to purchase, and the character has no magical gloves.

Is it reasonable that the player believed the clothing set they have comes with gloves that they are wearing even though it's not specifically listed on their character sheet? Does the timing of establishing this fact - after touching contact poison - matter to resolving this issue? Do you as DM side with the player's seemingly good faith belief that the character is wearing gloves or are they making that saving throw?

In short, how does this get resolved at your table?

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I cant find anything that says travelers clothes comes with gloves. If the player can show me where it does, Id go with it, but my first call on the field is nope.

Edit: I think the rules for detecting traps and saves are especially designed for this. So, you had on gloves when you came in contact with the contact poison, but then you touched your face. etc... You failed to detect it and so you failed to circumvent it.
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At my table I'd potentially have a series of rolls depending on how the PC approached the chest and what they said they did. I don't use gotcha traps like contact poison often because I don't want to slow down the game. So it's more a question of how careful the PCs are being in general, and the use of passive perception against a DC adjusted by how cautious the group is being to notice that something might be "off". In some cases I want them to be paranoid so they'll know the NPC is known to use poison or there will be some other indication.

But gloves? Sorry. Unless you stated that you put them on before you opened the chest or had some magical gloves of poison immunity it doesn't count.


He / Him
There are a few options:

1) Just go with the player. It's not likely this poison would have had immense consequences on the adventure. So shrug and say, "Okay, but it looks like it's still going to be difficult to open this chest without any of the substance getting on your skin."

2) Roll for it! Have the character make an Intelligence check DC 10 to see if they remembered to put on their gloves.

3) Adapt. The poison starts to soak through your glove. Touching it again will require a saving throw.


I cant find anything that says travelers clothes comes with gloves. If the player can show me where it does, Id go with it, but my first call on the field is nope.
Looking through DDB, gloves and gauntlets don't seem to exist at all in the core game, actually.

Cold Weather cloches are behind a paywall, so no idea what's in that.

Neither do underpants. Everyone is going commando.


Armor comes with gloves. Regular clothing does not (with the possible exception of heavy winter clothing). Light armor comes with something like soft goat or calf skin gloves. Medium armor comes with something like heavy leather gauntlets. Heavy armor comes with leather gauntlets with metal protection for surfaces. Plate comes with metal gauntlets with articulated joints that cover the outer surface of the hand and thumb and soft covering of the inner surface to allow improved grip and articulation.

Unless the character lists gloves on his character, there are assumed to be no gloves unless the character is in the habit of wearing armor everywhere.

Gloves are very annoying to wear and make it difficult to search packs or manipulate fine objects. Unless the character has said that they are using gloves and taken penalties from that before I'd have little sympathy for a player claiming they are wearing the hitherto unmentioned gloves just exactly when it is convenient.

Players that want specific truths about the fiction should establish those truths about the fiction before they become pertinent.
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Looking through DDB, gloves and gauntlets don't seem to exist at all in the core game, actually.

Cold Weather cloches are behind a paywall, so no idea what's in that.

Neither do underpants. Everyone is going commando.
The rules also dont say your bow needs a drawstring at all to fire arrows...

Im not that level of rules strictness, but I dont like cheesing out of things where having gloves doesnt matter until it does. Thats just me.


You have to remove gloves a certain way to avoid contaminating yourself with what they’ve touched. It seems like that would be a fair way to frame the saving throw. Sure, your gloves stop the poison, but can you remove them safely?


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This is a case of miscommunication. The player assumed their character’s equipment included gloves and the DM assumed it didn’t, and neither thought that it was an important assumption to explicitly state until the point where it mattered. Neither are unreasonable assumptions to make given the fairly vague description of travelers’ clothes, nor was it unreasonable not to think it needed to be explicitly stated. Personally, I would assume good faith on the part of the player and move forward assuming the character had been wearing gloves. A couple of people have suggested that the contact poison may be transferred to the gloves, creating a risk that they will touch it when removing the gloves (requiring a saving throw to mitigate), and I kinda like that idea.


There is a lot of things that do not get into, or need, this amount of detail. The effect just happens. What about a PC wearing armor touching something like this. Anyone can be wearing gloves and suffer the same thing.

I kind of place this into the other small things we skip. Things like going to the bathroom or brushing your teeth are skipped. Same with repairing armor and sharpening your sword. Things mentioned earlier about putting the string on your bow every morning or saying you draw your sword when entering the dungeon- good thing you get a free draw now.

Are we going to try saying that wearing plate mail increases your falling velocity so you take more damage, but less damage since it prevents most of the pointy sticks at the bottom from penetrating. This is what to-hit and saving throws simulate.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I haven't had a chance to really dig - but is there any place that breaks out what any of the clothing outfits include? I don't think it would be wrong to just go with whatever the player says they think would be part of the array as long as it isn't completely unreasonable.

I certainly wouldn't assume the outfit didn't include gloves just because gloves aren't on the buyable equipment list. I don't see trousers on the list either and that doesn't induce me to assume the PCs are Winnie-the-Poohing it around everywhere.

I ask for a detailed description of each character, including clothing. And I keep track of what a character is currently wearing. When a player wants to change something they need to get my attention, tell me, and watch me make the note. This is also true of spell effects, magic items and so on. And this is also true when taking things off.

I hate "takebacks" and a set group of players Always try this exploit as they say "Oh my character did this action and this action before they did that action....BUT I DID NOT TELL THE DM, YUK, YUC!" So, yea, I just go with nope: did not happen.

Also, I will typically slow down the game when something ;adventure worthy' happens. I don't like run out into the back yard and yell "just tell me whatever your doing and stuff" and have the player sit inside and say "Oh my character does random vague stuff and opens the chest". Not in my game.

I will slow it down. Describe the area and chest, then ask the player to describe what they are doing in detail. Some times even asking the player to repeat things: "Ok, you are going to touch the Vile Altar of Ultimate Evil with your bare hands and search for a hidden compartment?"


CR 1/8
The opportunity to avoid the poison came at the time of the detecting/overlooking it, imo. Since the PC interacted with the poison, they should suffer the effects, gloves or not. So I'd probably turn it over to the player: "Oh, you have gloves? In that case, you tell me what happened (scratched your eye? glove has a hole? etc) that forced the Con save." *

* If player doesn't come up with anything, obvious fiat is "poisoning by picking their nose".

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