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5E Two magical items that give pluses to AC stack?

machineelf

Explorer
Happy new year's! I'm stuck at work tonight, so I'd thought I'd ask this question that came up.

A single character has a +1 ring of protection and a +2 bracers of defense. Is their total bonus to AC +3, or is it treated somewhat like benefits from spells and it is just the highest bonus of the two, so a +2?
 

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Saelorn

Hero
The only bonuses that don't stack are those from the same source, so (for example) shield doesn't stack with another shield spell and a ring of protection doesn't stack with another ring of protection. (Note that a ring of protection does stack with a cloak of protection.)

Since a ring of protection is not bracers of defense, their AC bonuses stack.

One final caveat, for those DMs who like to create custom magical items: If you create a magical item which is essentially similar to an item in the book, you probably don't want to let its effects stack with those of the base item. If you have a ring of protection that also gives you invisibility against undead, then you probably shouldn't let that character also wear a standard ring of protection. That's entirely a matter of DM discretion, though.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Happy new year's! I'm stuck at work tonight, so I'd thought I'd ask this question that came up.

A single character has a +1 ring of protection and a +2 bracers of defense. Is their total bonus to AC +3, or is it treated somewhat like benefits from spells and it is just the highest bonus of the two, so a +2?
I think you're misreading the rule for spells. Bonuses from spells do stack, unless it's the same spell.

While I don't have my DMG handy, I believe the rules work the same way for magic items. So, in your example, you have two different items. They stack and give +3 AC. On the other hand, if you had two of the same item (two rings of protection, say), they would not stack and you'd only get the highest bonus.
 

machineelf

Explorer
I think you're misreading the rule for spells. Bonuses from spells do stack, unless it's the same spell.

While I don't have my DMG handy, I believe the rules work the same way for magic items. So, in your example, you have two different items. They stack and give +3 AC. On the other hand, if you had two of the same item (two rings of protection, say), they would not stack and you'd only get the highest bonus.
Yep, thanks. I was thinking the same spell effect didn't stack, only their duration overlapped. But that's only true if it's from the same spell, apparently.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Happy new year's! I'm stuck at work tonight, so I'd thought I'd ask this question that came up.

A single character has a +1 ring of protection and a +2 bracers of defense. Is their total bonus to AC +3, or is it treated somewhat like benefits from spells and it is just the highest bonus of the two, so a +2?
In 5E, there are no stacking rules like in d20. Everything stacks, with a single exception: two identical thingies (spells, items, etc).

So "yes of course" is the answer here: +1 plus +2 equals +3

Only if you had two items, both granting, say the spell Shield of Faith, would they not stack. Or if the items were the same kind; say, one Bracers of Defense +1* and one Bracers of Defense +2.

*) this item doesn't actually appear in any official module
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Yep, thanks. I was thinking the same spell effect didn't stack, only their duration overlapped. But that's only true if it's from the same spell, apparently.
The key to remember is there are no types of bonuses in 5th edition.

There are only... bonuses. And they all stack (with the one clear easy exception). :)
 

Staffan

Adventurer
And the main reason these bonuses don't get out of hand are the limits on attuned items + concentration. Sure, both a ring of protection and a cloak of protection give stacking +1 bonuses to AC, but those two will take up two-thirds of your attuned item slots. And you can certainly benefit from the AC bonuses from both a haste and a shield of faith, but then that means that two of the party's casters are using up their concentration slots to boost you.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
And the main reason these bonuses don't get out of hand are the limits on attuned items + concentration. Sure, both a ring of protection and a cloak of protection give stacking +1 bonuses to AC, but those two will take up two-thirds of your attuned item slots. And you can certainly benefit from the AC bonuses from both a haste and a shield of faith, but then that means that two of the party's casters are using up their concentration slots to boost you.
Yup. And this is simpler than dozens of items slots (head, neck, chest etc etc) and bonuse types that did or did not stack...
 

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