log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E "Wearing Armour" and shields

Eric V

Hero
Situation came up in our game and I was wondering how people here would interpret things.

A character with a high charisma got an item that added his CHA bonus to AC when he wasn't wearing armour. He got rid of his armour but argued using a shield didn't count as "wearing armour." Technically, it isn't listed under "armour" and I'm not sure one "wears" a shield, but I also am unclear about RAI here.

What do you all think? SHould the magical item work when he uses a shield?

-E
 

log in or register to remove this ad

pukunui

Legend
Armor and shields are generally referred to separately in the game rules. One "wears" armor but "wields" a shield.

Look at the wording used for both versions of the Unarmored Defense ability. A monk must be "wearing no armor and not wielding a shield" in order to gain the benefits, while a barbarian can still "wield a shield" and gain the benefits.

I think you need to ask yourself what kind of feel you were going for with the item. Do you want it to make the character to be more like a monk (shield = no) or more like a barbarian (shield = yes)?
 

EvanNave55

Explorer
I think the item can work with a shield, as pukunui mentioned above the monk and barbarian both have similar class abilities but it specifically specifies not allowing shields with the monk whereas it says the are allowed with the barbarian, so unless it says no shields I'd allow it.
 

Coredump

First Post
There are several entries in the PHB that treat the shield as armor, and others that treat is as not-armor. You cannot get a firm answer.

If you assume it is not armor, then anyone can use it, since there is no penalty for non-proficiency. If you assume it is armor, then it stops working with a lot of combos it is meant to work with. (Mage armor, etc.)
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Personally, I'd go with shields as armor due to the shield being treated as type of armor throughout the equipment section. Penalties for non-proficiency, dealt with under the heading "Armor Proficiency" are obviously intended to extend to the shield. As pointed out, shield proficiency is meaningless otherwise. The shield is also listed as a type of armor on the Armor table, and as a category of armor on the Donning and Doffing Armor table.

Since shields are generally referred to as armor in all of these cases, I would interpret the prohibition on wearing armor to include shield use unless it is explicitly allowed, as in the Barbarian version of Unarmored Defense.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
There are several entries in the PHB that treat the shield as armor, and others that treat is as not-armor. You cannot get a firm answer.

If you assume it is not armor, then anyone can use it, since there is no penalty for non-proficiency. If you assume it is armor, then it stops working with a lot of combos it is meant to work with. (Mage armor, etc.)

How is Mage Armor intended to work with a shield? Wizards and Sorcerers are not proficient with shields. Where does this come from?
 

KarinsDad

First Post
There are several entries in the PHB that treat the shield as armor, and others that treat is as not-armor. You cannot get a firm answer.

If you assume it is not armor, then anyone can use it, since there is no penalty for non-proficiency. If you assume it is armor, then it stops working with a lot of combos it is meant to work with. (Mage armor, etc.)

How do you know that a Shield is supposed to work with Mage Armor?

"Armor Class (AC). Armor protects its wearer from attacks. The armor (and shield) you wear determines your base Armor Class."

"Mage Armor: Armor Proficiency. The target’s base AC becomes 13 + its Dexterity modifier. The spell ends if the target dons armor or if you dismiss the spell as an action."

It appears that base AC is either Armor (and Shield), or Mage Armor, (or some other base armor like Monk or Sorcerer).


As to whether a shield is armor, there are a lot of indications in the Armor section that it is:

"Anyone can put on a suit of armor or strap a shield to an arm. Only those proficient in the armor’s use know how to wear it effectively, however."
 


Mage armor and its like set your base armor class. Shields then add a bonus to your base armor class. Seems pretty straightforward to me. The one oddity is barkskin, which is worded weirdly.
 

Coredump

First Post
I think I have found a 'solution' that solves all the problems and discrepancies....


Shields *are* armor.

But the writers/designers make a distinction between 'armor you wear' (light, medium, heavy) and 'armor you wield' (Shields) So when Mage Armor states "isn't wearing armor" that is exactly what they mean. You are not have armor that is worn.... but you can still have armor that is wielded.

I think we were trying to lump everything together, and they were being more precise. Everything I have checked falls into place with this assumption. (but there may be things I have not checked.)
 

Gillywonka

First Post
Put RAW and RAI on the shelf, next do what works for you and your game then toss in a little common sense. Having a CHA mod effect your AC, cool (assuming it's good). Now why would using a shield prevent the use of your CHA bonus to AC? That doesn't pass the common sense test to me so the rules be damned, they're just guideline IMHO. I would let the PC be able to also use the shield and be done with it.
 

chibi graz'zt

First Post
Situation came up in our game and I was wondering how people here would interpret things.

A character with a high charisma got an item that added his CHA bonus to AC when he wasn't wearing armour. He got rid of his armour but argued using a shield didn't count as "wearing armour." Technically, it isn't listed under "armour" and I'm not sure one "wears" a shield, but I also am unclear about RAI here.

What do you all think? SHould the magical item work when he uses a shield?

-E
You should consider submitting this to Sage Advice ;-)
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top