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

sithramir

First Post
Since druids can wear armor isn't this spell a lot about being used in wildshape? I really think the intent is they can wear armor and cast this spell and then use wildshape. I really think the minimum isn't meant to stack and the armor reference is exactly so they can wear armor normally but use this spell to wildshape or in case they don't have other means to get some decent AC?

Just my thoughts.
 

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dwayne

Adventurer
Since druids can wear armor isn't this spell a lot about being used in wildshape? I really think the intent is they can wear armor and cast this spell and then use wildshape. I really think the minimum isn't meant to stack and the armor reference is exactly so they can wear armor normally but use this spell to wildshape or in case they don't have other means to get some decent AC?

Just my thoughts.

The spell is simple to give a high base armor class, this would denote that in wild shape it would still work and you would go with which ever is the highest. And now were did I say it stacked just that if you wear armor over it you go with which ever is higher the armor or the spell.
 


Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
In my mind, once a character multi classes, then you get to use the most advantageous proficiencies. And so, a Druid character can't wear metal, but a fighter/Druid can.

(argument in brief: the druid restriction is placed among the class "proficiencies"; once the character gains a proficiency from somewhere else (multiclass/feat) then it's no longer an issue.)

Others will disagree of course, and the DM is free to decide what they want. I have seen DMs say that druid spellcasting doesn't work in metal armour (the Magic initiate feat suggests that's not the case). I have not seen, but think it would be reasonable to suggest, that Wild Shape would not work in metal armour.

But really, its the DM's call: the rule is not well motivated or described; it would have been better simply to grant proficiency to druids in light armours and hide.
 

What happens if a Druid says 'screw it' and wears metal armor anyway? Such as a Fighter Druid Multiclass wearing plate?

Covered in the Sage Advice. In short, it's a fluff thing primarily, and if you and your DM are happy, then just ignore it. The narrative of the class excludes metal, not the balance, so it is fine to override that in your campaign world.

It is very distinctive though, and losing it will make Druids and Nature Clerics even closer visually & thematically than they already are, so I'd be inclined to keep it for that reason.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Should have added:

If you go simply based on proficiencies, then Mountain Dwarf Druids can use metal armour, which I think is cool and makes them meaningfully flavourful/distinct.
 

epithet

Explorer
But does that really feel like Barkskin? That's my secondary complaint about the spell (the first being the odd drafting). It doesn't make sense that a character with tough skin wouldn't benefit from a shield or from ducking behind a wall. Intuitively, tough skin and cover should stack. (And doesn't a focus on naturalistic rules means that we should be able to trust our intuition?) Giving a base AC when you have nothing else going for you feels more like a luck or divination spell, not a transmutation.
...

See, this is the biggest problem with would-be rules lawyers interpreting guidelines. Some folks think that asserting "rules as written" is ample justification for the most counter-intuitive and frankly ridiculous readings. I mean, seriously... barkskin doesn't stack with cover? That's completely preposterous.

The description of barkskin isn't particularly vague, if you just read the plain language of the spell instead of trying to parse out something that's too clever by half. The spell is named Bark Skin. Its description begins by saying your skin becomes bark-like. The spell is very obviously designed to provide protection. This is, clearly, a spell that gives you natural armor. Natural armor doesn't stack with regular armor, and the language of the spell is a little awkward because it also isn't intended to stack with other natural armor for a target shapeshifted into a durable beast.

Now, I'll freely admit that the spell is not well written. First, the language is unclear about whether the base AC 16 natural armor is intended benefit from dexterity. Secondly, this is (like the equally questionable stoneskin) a spell which is clearly intended to provide defense in combat for one or more encounters which nevertheless requires concentration. Still, to interpret the spell and the natural armor it clearly provides as somehow not stacking with the protection of a shield or cover is some seriously tortured logic.

Personally, I blame Crawford for this phenomenon. He's been very supportive of this idea of the rules "as written" being distinct from (and, bewilderingly, superior to) their intent, and has even gone so far as to adopt a few questionable interpretations as "official," at least as much as anything published only on social media can be considered official.
 


77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
What happens if a Druid says 'screw it' and wears metal armor anyway? Such as a Fighter Druid Multiclass wearing plate?

Same thing as what happens when a cleric defies their deity, a paladin ignores their oath, a warlock breaks their pact, a chaotic character does something lawful, a monstrous PC acts non-monstrous, etc.

Specifically, Jeremy Crawford shows up with the state police and a warrant for your arrest on charges of crimes against demi-humanity.
 

You know what's odd? The fact that druids have a beef specifically with metal armor. It would make more sense if they had a beef with metal in a general sense (e.g. because forging metal requires industry, and they think industry is a slippery slope) including medallions, bracers, swords and spearheads, keys, clockwork machinery, gold treasure, etc.

According to the PHB, there's nothing wrong with a druid who drapes himself in gold chains like Mr. T., unless he's trying to use those gold chains to protect himself from harm. What does that suggest? Perhaps druids actually find metal precious, and abhor the thought of saving flesh at the expense of metal. Maybe druids "won't wear metal armor" in the same way I wouldn't wear a flame-retardant suit made out of hundred-dollar-bills.
 

schnee

First Post
It's a balance rule.

The flavor to justify it isn't written to pass the Bar Exam, it's made to be plausible when you overhear it at a poker game because you're focused on your hand and not analyzing stuff to death.

oh, yeah

THE WHOLE GAME IS LIKE THAT.

"Oh, really? They just choose not to wear it?"
*rolls dice*
"Sure, cool. 12 points of damage."

Just... roll with it.
 

epithet

Explorer
I agree with [MENTION=6787650]Hemlock[/MENTION]'s post above, it makes no sense at all for a druid to be cool with metal weapons but against metal armor.

I think the real opposition should be iron and steel, like it was back in AD&D (unless I'm misremembering it.) Gold, silver, and even bronze would be just fine.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Barkskin is extremely poorly written.

Not because there's anything wrong with "you gain AC 16"

But because of the total disconnect between description and mechanics.

Either change the mechanics (so cover etc work normally) or change description to something like "lazy fey spirits protect you, but they only work as hard as they have to in order to grant you AC 16."

The thing is that a "static" AC 16 is really VARIABLE if we're going to explain why shield and cover bonuses don't help. And so the description needs to explain this.

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
 

schnee

First Post
Nah, shedding yourself in steel completely removes you from feeling like you belong in the natural world. It's a completely industrial thing. You're a tank.

Hide armor? Pretty damn close. It has some flexibility. It 'breathes' like having fur when it comes to ventilation and temperature. You move and sound like a natural animal that way.

Now, tools? We're tool using creatures, always have been. The steel being on the blade isn't *on* you, it isn't pressing down on your flesh, restricting your body, it's in your hand, it's our version of a claw. No issue there.

This is subjective, but having done a lot of hiking, and also wearing some armor in SCA, I can *totally* agree with the limitation. It doesn't have to be a mechanically punishing thing. They just don't wear it.
 

David Semmens

First Post
If your Druid wants AC some badly, play as a TORTLE. Base AC is 17 and when you add a shield it brings it to 19. Go a Coastal Land Druid, cast Mitror image and Shillelegh and Hey Presto, a Viable Melee Druid
 


Nah, shedding yourself in steel completely removes you from feeling like you belong in the natural world. It's a completely industrial thing. You're a tank.

Hide armor? Pretty damn close. It has some flexibility. It 'breathes' like having fur when it comes to ventilation and temperature. You move and sound like a natural animal that way.
Many metals are far more natural than some of the 'processes' that go into making leather and hide armors. Heck, you can technically mine Mithral straight out of the ground. The whole natural materials thematic kind of ignores the fact that the majority of the world is not on the surface. :p
 

Nothing to say that your scimitar is metal. It could be a wooden weapon comprised of shark/bear/killer rabbit/whatever teeth along its edge. Or obsidian. Or a razor sharp leaf from an obscure and secret tree. Or stone. Or, for the colourful out there, a weapon made from the sharpened flakes of a frost giant’s tears.
It’s your starting weapon so make up something cool and unique.
Sure, subsequent weapons may be harder to find (or a DM may decide to have the weapon imbued with power by someone/thing, making it a +1/vorpal/flametongue/whatever - but, really, with Primal Savagery and good old shape changing, a Druid doesn’t need a metal weapon anyway.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
It is perfectly reasonable to say plate mail is metal.

In this, the common case, the best armor is only scale, and only if you somehow find dragonscale et al.

Druids have horrible AC in these campaigns.
 

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