5E What armor can druids wear? Is there a way to get a decent AC?

brehobit

Explorer
Hello all,
My reading of the druid is that of the PHB armors, they can wear leather, padded and hide for certain. Studded leather is unclear (is "made of metal" the same as "has some metal"?)

This seems really painful for a druid--it's hard to build a casting (one who is generally not wild shapped), even with armor feats or multi-classing. The AC is just really low and even barkskin doesn't help much (concentration). Is there anything other than wild shapping that helps? Am I understanding the armor rules correctly?
 

GX.Sigma

Visitor
My reading of the druid is that of the PHB armors, they can wear leather, padded and hide for certain. Studded leather is unclear (is "made of metal" the same as "has some metal"?)
In AD&D 1e, Druids can't wear studded leather armor (because metal interferes with their magic, not for any religious reason). That's the most official answer you can get, because Gygax invented both of those things.
 

MacMathan

Visitor
My current druid wears hide and uses a shield with a decent dex(14) fro an AC of 16 not bad really especially since it is possible at level 1.
 

Saelorn

Hero
Druids just don't have good AC, especially the ones who focus on spellcasting. Sure, they're better off than a wizard who doesn't have Mage Armor going, but worse off than anyone who would actually want to be in melee combat.

Working as intended. If you'd rather have moderate AC rather than terrible AC, invest in Dex and pick up a shield.
 

Andor

Visitor
There is also the 2nd level spell barkskin but the spell description is so odd I'm not entirely sure how it works. Does it stack with a shield for example?

In 3e Druids could make use of the Ironwood spell to make armour out of wood, but 5e doesnt have that. It remains to be seen what options and magic items are in the DMG.

It is very odd that Druids are barred from metal armour but "nature" clerics get heavy armour proficiency.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
There is also the 2nd level spell barkskin but the spell description is so odd I'm not entirely sure how it works. Does it stack with a shield for example?
Barkskin does not seem to stack with anything. If your AC is less than 16 it becomes 16, if your AC is higher than 16 it does not change.

So even cover bonuses don't appear to stack with it.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Barkskin does not seem to stack with anything. If your AC is less than 16 it becomes 16, if your AC is higher than 16 it does not change.

So even cover bonuses don't appear to stack with it.
Actually, looking at the PH it says that your skin takes on a bark-like appearance and that the target's AC can't never be less than 16 regardless of the armor the target is wearing. Doesn't say anything about not allowing the AC to get higher due to other things (shields, cover, dexterity etc.)

The way I read it... you have a floor of 16 for AC due to armor, and it can go up from there with anything else besides armor that normally raises your AC.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
Actually, looking at the PH it says that your skin takes on a bark-like appearance and that the target's AC can't never be less than 16 regardless of the armor the target is wearing. Doesn't say anything about not allowing the AC to get higher due to other things (shields, cover, dexterity etc.)

The way I read it... you have a floor of 16 for AC due to armor, and it can go up from there with anything else besides armor that normally raises your AC.
It says 'Until the spell ends, the target’s skin has a rough, bark-like appearance, and the target’s AC can’t be less than 16, regardless of what kind of armor it is wearing.'

It it worked on your 'Base AC' rather than your 'AC', it would probably have said so. But as [MENTION=3586]MerricB[/MENTION] pointed out in Here it is an anomaly in that it works differently to everything else.
 

Uchawi

Visitor
I believe part of the druids theme is separate hit points through wild shape instead of higher AC. Especially since you go back to the druids hit points when you switch back. The bounds are pretty tight with AC, so don't expect a lot of wiggle room or distinction when it comes to different armor or AC values.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
If you have armour proficiency from some other source, then there is no problem for the druid. And so, a one-level dip in cleric (to keep spells) or fighter (for fighting style) or being a mountain dwarf opens up medium armours.

The druid restriction is not a limit on the nature of the magic (others can pick up druid spells), nor explicitly on druid beliefs (except for the weird anomaly of the wooden shield, which of course doesn't exist in the equipment list as a separate item).


Misremembering armour proficiencies (holdover form the play test?) leads to foolishness. Move along....
 
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jadrax

Adventurer
If you have armour proficiency from some other source, then there is no problem for the druid. And so, a one-level dip in cleric (to keep spells) or fighter (for fighting style) or being a mountain dwarf opens up medium armours.
They already have 'medium armor proficiency', however they also have the note that they 'will not wear armor or use shields made of metal'. So it is not a clear that layering more Medium Armour Proficiency on them actually helps.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
They already have 'medium armor proficiency', however they also have the note that they 'will not wear armor or use shields made of metal'. So it is not a clear that layering more Medium Armour Proficiency on them actually helps.
That serves me right for writing without checking my book. Thanks, and apologies.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
It says 'Until the spell ends, the target’s skin has a rough, bark-like appearance, and the target’s AC can’t be less than 16, regardless of what kind of armor it is wearing.'

It it worked on your 'Base AC' rather than your 'AC', it would probably have said so. But as [MENTION=3586]MerricB[/MENTION] pointed out in Here it is an anomaly in that it works differently to everything else.
Well, quite frankly I have no idea where Merric's getting the idea of "Base Armor Class" from... because in the 4 sections in the Index of the PH where Armor Class is mentioned... pages 7, 14, 144, & 177... it only talks about 'Armor Class' There's no mention of a 'Base'... let alone that a 'Base Armor Class' is or would be different than just 'Armor Class'. So I have no idea why Barkskin would be seen as anything other than just a natural armor that mimics the strength of chainmail, and thus you could add and use all the other AC-raising items and conditions on top of it.

If folks want to hamstring themselves that other way, more power to them... but I just don't see it. Your AC can't be less than 16. But nothing in the spell says it can't be higher either.
 

fba827

Visitor
Actually, looking at the PH it says that your skin takes on a bark-like appearance and that the target's AC can't never be less than 16 regardless of the armor the target is wearing. Doesn't say anything about not allowing the AC to get higher due to other things (shields, cover, dexterity etc.)

The way I read it... you have a floor of 16 for AC due to armor, and it can go up from there with anything else besides armor that normally raises your AC.
That's the way people I game with also interpreted it as ( ie bearskin is replacing your armor) and that shield would grant +2 on top of that, so 18 with bark skin and shield.

But maybe it's a relic in my brain from when there was natural armor and such and this is meant to be more simplified than that?
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
That's the way people I game with also interpreted it as ( ie bearskin is replacing your armor) and that shield would grant +2 on top of that, so 18 with bark skin and shield.

But maybe it's a relic in my brain from when there was natural armor and such and this is meant to be more simplified than that?
Maybe. Or maybe the Basic Game talks about 'Base Armor Class' while the PH doesn't? I have no idea. But in almost every situation I try to find what I think is the most reasonable assumption to what is written, as that is what I figure the designers were actually going for (without them feeling the need to use the most iron-clad language possible that would be impossible for anyone to misinterpret). And for my money, the most reasonable assumption is that all it's doing is giving you a flat AC score as though you were wearing armor (while allowing you to wear better armor over it if you so chose.) And then all the other AC-raising methods that aren't armor still can come into play.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
Well, quite frankly I have no idea where Merric's getting the idea of "Base Armor Class" from... because in the 4 sections in the Index of the PH where Armor Class is mentioned... pages 7, 14, 144, & 177... it only talks about 'Armor Class' There's no mention of a 'Base'... let alone that a 'Base Armor Class' is or would be different than just 'Armor Class'. So I have no idea why Barkskin would be seen as anything other than just a natural armor that mimics the strength of chainmail, and thus you could add and use all the other AC-raising items and conditions on top of it.

If folks want to hamstring themselves that other way, more power to them... but I just don't see it. Your AC can't be less than 16. But nothing in the spell says it can't be higher either.
Mage Armor, PHB 'The target’s base AC becomes 13 + its Dexterity modifier.'

And that is is a spell that works exactly how you are interpreting Barkskin, but look how different the wording of the effect is.
 

Mouseferatu

Visitor
Mage Armor, PHB 'The target’s base AC becomes 13 + its Dexterity modifier.'

And that is is a spell that works exactly how you are interpreting Barkskin, but look how different the wording of the effect is.
This. Or look at the unarmored AC boosts for barbarian and monk.

Barkskin isn't just a slight difference in phrasing, that can be chalked up to natural language. It's dramatically different. As I interpret it, then, anything that adds to your AC simply has no effect while you're barkskinned until it exceeds 16. Thus:

Barkskin = AC 16.
Barkskin + Dex 20 = AC 16.
Barkskin + shield = AC 16.
Barkskin + mage armor = AC 16.
Barkskin + shield + mage armor = AC 17.
Barkskin + mage armor + Dex 20 = AC 18.

IOW, your AC is either determined by barkskin or by everything else, whichever is higher.
 

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