5E Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It is not railroading to insist that a player adheres to the accepted themes of a world. It is poor form for a player to try to ride roughshod over said themes however. A DM has the right to veto anything, a good DM will use the veto sparingly, and a good player would ensure the DM never needs to use this veto.
Yes it is. If you are forcing the players to go down the rails you provide(the game does not make it impossible for druids to put on metal armor), then you are in fact railroading that player.

My comments about Cthulhu was pertaining to Middle Earth, not D&D, I am aware of the existence of both S3 and WG4. If a player tries to play a Cthulhu cultist in Middle Earth, then refer to my point above.
And the point goes flying over your head. D&D has precedent for allowing things in that "break the rules," so forbidding exceptions goes against that tradition.

I am curious, though. Are your paladins human only? Do female characters cap out at 17 strength? Can demihumans not go to max level? Those are all traditions every bit as old school and strong as the druid one.

RAI is clear to me - a Druid will not even attempt to wear metal, it is against his or her ethos. If a player cannot accept that they they won't be playing a Druid. The player should not even try to push this.
Your rails are squeaking. Maybe you shouldn't have made them out of metal.
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
RAW + sage clarification makes it the best implementation I could want. It's there for theme, not balance, meaning I can ditch it whenever I want, if it doesn't fit my homebrew game, and I can also put dragonscale mail or other similar loot in my adventures without being afraid of messing the intended power level of the druid in our party. I understand that this could be an issue for people playing in OP, though.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
It is not railroading to insist that a player adheres to the accepted themes of a world.
Yes. Yes it is. That is EXACTLY what railroading is.

It is poor form for a player to try to ride roughshod over said themes however.
True.

However, saying "you can't do that" is not how you deal with it. If the player is causing a real problem, then "you try to do that, angering Silvanus. You take 20d6 lightning damage. Your character is dead, bye bye don't slam the door on your way out." Is a better way to deal with it.
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
Yes. Yes it is. That is EXACTLY what railroading is.



True.

However, saying "you can't do that" is not how you deal with it. If the player is causing a real problem, then "you try to do that, angering Silvanus. You take 20d6 lightning damage. Your character is dead, bye bye don't slam the door on your way out." Is a better way to deal with it.
So if I run a game of 1890s Call of Cthulhu and someone asks to play a Computer Hacker and I refuse because it doesn't fit the world - I'm now 'railroading'?

Nope.

'Railroading' is not limiting player choices in terms of character options to ensure they fit a game world, it is running a game in which the choices that they DO have (and the actions that they take) do not matter as events are pre-ordained.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
So if I run a game of 1890s Call of Cthulhu and someone asks to play a Computer Hacker and I refuse because it doesn't fit the world - I'm now 'railroading'?
They could play as Ada Lovelace*.

But the thing is, there is a reason a player can't be a computer hacker in the 1890s - computers haven't become sophisticated enough yet. If you want a player not to be able to put their hand into a gauntlet, something almost anyone could reasonably expect to be able to do, you need to give a reason.

No one is saying "you are wrong to enforce metal armour restrictions on druids in your game". But the way you suggest doing it is pretty much a perfect example of poor DMing.

*She was dead by then, but if she faked her death she could still be alive in the 1890s.
 
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JonnyP71

Explorer
Yes it is. If you are forcing the players to go down the rails you provide(the game does not make it impossible for druids to put on metal armor), then you are in fact railroading that player.



And the point goes flying over your head. D&D has precedent for allowing things in that "break the rules," so forbidding exceptions goes against that tradition.

I am curious, though. Are your paladins human only? Do female characters cap out at 17 strength? Can demihumans not go to max level? Those are all traditions every bit as old school and strong as the druid one.



Your rails are squeaking. Maybe you shouldn't have made them out of metal.
Looks like you don't understand the concept of railroading - it's where in game choices do not matter, it has nothing *whatsoever* to do with insisting that characters fit a game world in a thematic way.

My point about a world having pre-determined themes seems to have evaded you too. Yes D&D has always been a tweakable framework, but the clear RAI expectation for Druids has been pretty consistent. Just as there are expectations for a CofC game, or a Conan game, or Paranoia. If a 5E DM wants to ignore that then fair enough, the game won't break, but it's going against the existing ethos of the class and to claim otherwise is just plain false.

And a DM sticking to the aforementioned ethos is not railroading anybody. A player insisting on trying to push their luck though, is being disrespectful.
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
They could play as Ada Lovelace*.

But the thing is, there is a reason a player can't be a computer hacker in the 1890s - computers haven't become sophisticated enough yet. If you want a player not to be able to put their hand into a gauntlet, something almost anyone could reasonably expect to be able to do, you need to give a reason.

No one is saying "you are wrong to enforce metal armour restrictions on druids in your game". But the way you suggest doing it is pretty much a perfect example of poor DMing.

*She was dead by then, but if she faked her death she could still be alive in the 1890s.
Maybe a computer hacker was a poor example (though I clearly meant it in the modern sense - there was no internet in the 1890s!) - the point was about a character not fitting with the setting.

Saying 'no' is not poor DMing, trying to force a DM to say 'no' however is poor play. I'm running a sandbox 2E game at the moment in a world which currently only has Humans and Halflings as playable races, there's a story reason for this. It's ridiculous to then expect a player to be allowed to play a Dwarf or Elf due to fear of saying 'no', or to brand the DM as 'poor' for placing the restriction. Thankfully I have good players at my table who embraced the game setting and play has been fantastic. Same goes for Druids. Respect the game lore.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
Maybe a computer hacker was a poor example (though I clearly meant it in the modern sense - there was no internet in the 1890s!) - the point was about a character not fitting with the setting.
It doesn't matter what example you use, you still need a reason why a player can't do that thing.

Saying 'no' is not poor DMing
Yes it is. The player tells the DM what they are going to try and do. The DM then narrates the success or failure of that action. If a player insists on trying to fly over a chasm despite their character having nothing that gives them that ability, the DM does not say "No", they say "your character does a spectacular swan dive onto the rocks at the bottom of the chasm and takes 20d6 bludgeoning damage".

trying to force a DM to say 'no' however is poor play.
If a player wants to be difficult then they are going to find a way to be difficult whatever you do. The only thing to do is remove them from the game.

But we are not talking about players who are trying to make trouble. The druid in my campaign follows the restriction and does not wear metal armour (they are currently wearing dragonscale). However, if, for whatever reason (disguise maybe?), they tried putting on metal armour, they would find that what happened would be exactly nothing.

But if I was playing strict FR lore, I would have them loose their spells for 24 hours. Not because it is a rule of the game, but because it is a rule of the setting - in the Forgotten Realms divine magic comes directly for personal deities (or their intermediaries) and if you annoy them they will take your toys away. That would also apply if they otherwise went against their deity - disrupting the balance (Silvanus), burning forests, etc. However, in Eberron druids do not get their power from personal deities, so they are free to do pretty much what they like, including being refluffed to gain their power from a dragonmark.
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
If the state of the game lore regarding Druids is clear from the beginning, and the player agrees to that lore (by choosing to play a Druid), then no, it is not poor DMing for the DM to veto the action (I would take the player to one side and reiterate the lore and the fact that they agreed to by choosing the class). If they refused to change their chosen course of action then yes, one option would be leaving the game. The other would be to start a new character, as they would not be playing a Druid any more.... but it would be a red flag hanging over their level of respect for the game.

If that makes me a bad DM in your eyes then so be it. I make my position on the subject clear during session 0, and by choosing to play in a game with me as DM, the player is agreeing to abide by the rules I choose to apply. I firmly believe in working with the established Lore of a setting, as it gives us all more inspiration in terms of game and character depth.

(I don't run games in either Eberron or FR for the very reason that neither setting resonates with me in the slightest)
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Wanting to play a Space Marine in a standard D&D setting is not equivalent to a Druid wanting to don a breastplate for a disguise, and neither is equivalent to the players of a half orc and an elf wanting their characters to get along.

If something doesn't exist in a setting, then it doesn't exist. It's a restriction of the meta. A DM can make allowances for a player (okay, you can be the only elf in the world but you also have complete amnesia) but is under no obligation to do so. If we agree to play 5e, that means we're not playing Warhammer 40K. A player who insisted on playing a Space Marine after agreeing to play 5e would be in the wrong, IMO. A player who politely asked the DM whether there's any way he could play a Space Marine because he's got a really cool idea for a Space Marine but accepts the DM's decision like an adult regardless of the outcome is fine.

On the other hand, the druid limitation against metal armor is an in-game restriction deriving from the game's lore. I suppose the DM could come up with their own explanation for why druids CAN'T wear metal armor, such as a Geas woven into the fabric of their pact with the land, that literally makes them incapable of forcing themself into metal armor. It's a touch heavy handed for me, but as long as the players have some understanding of the in-game justification, I'd say it's fine. Personally, however, if I were to go this route I'd simply say that they can do so but lose their druid powers for X amount of time. I'd much rather give them the option than not, even if the option is so terrible that 99 times out of a hundred they'll choose not to do it. (As I've established however, my preference is to simply have in-game consequences for breaking the taboo.)

Lastly, you have half orcs and elves hating each other, which is really just an in-game stereotype. (Unless, of course, you have some physiological or magical explanation for why they always hate each other without exception. Something like that might be interesting in one particular instance, but trying to justify all behavior via this route would almost certainly come across as extremely heavy handed.) Assuming that it is a stereotype, there will be individuals who do not conform to the stereotype. I see no reason why the PCs cannot be such nonconformists. I would expect adventurers not to conform to the norm more often than not.

Humans and halflings only is a meta restriction. Druids won't wear metal armor is an in-game lore restriction. Both are fine but they are not the same type of restriction. If you want your druids to never touch metal armor, in my opinion you need a better reason than "because I said so" or even "because the book says so". It could be "because you will instantly die" or "because you will permanently lose all of your druid powers" but there needs to be something. Otherwise, IMO, the DM is overstepping their role by dictating the behavior of PCs. The DM creates the world and controls all its workings, but the players should always have final say in what their characters do (barring magical compulsion and the like). The DM can certainly advise (this is why druids don't wear metal armor and that is what you've been told will happen to a druid who does) but should never take away control of a player's character without a strong in-game justification (magical compulsion).
 

Ohmyn

Villager
To me it's the fact that extracting and refining significant enough quantities of metal to fashion armor isn't easy. It reeks of civilization.
I'm totally fine with someone having that interpretation, but I'm sort of just pointing at the fact that each Druid is an individual, so it would be silly for "no metal" to be a universal concept in a world where it has no penalties. "No metal" means no gold or silver armor, even though you can literally grab it right from nature. Considering the fact that it can even be shaped with magic, and Druids literally have spells like "Heat Metal", I don't see why metal armor made from magical means using natural materials would really be any more a symbol of "civilization" than a Druid using Shillelagh on a stick. In my eyes, it would be totally understandable for a Druid in a grove to have a taboo against wearing metal, because they've been taught that all their life, but then as they travel the world, learn how metal is crafted and used, and consider that it's not as "unnatural" as they once thought.

Leather, by comparison, is fairly easy to fashion. While I'm not a hunter myself, I have it on good authority from a friend of mine who is that basically all you need to tan a deer hide is the deer's brain. (But please keep in mind that there can be prions in the brain that can lead to death if someone isn't careful when using this method, so he also told me that it's not something he'd recommend to anyone in the modern day.)
Well that falls within the point that I made before, in that leather is not made conceptually different, since they're both just merging and refining natural materials, one is just easier. Druids are also allowed to wear very high quality "masterwork" (I know it's not a term anymore, but conceptually I'm sure it still applies in lore) armors, which would reek of civilization as well, as they'd require exceptional tanning methods and craftsmanship to make, which would not appear "primitive" at all.

IMO, it's not so much about metal being bad, since druids can use metal tools, as what armor represents which is civilization. Uncivilized tribes are capable of fashioning leather, but armor made of metal would be largely beyond their means.
Sure, but then that becomes sketchy at best in the RAW when a Druid can dual wield a warhammer and a light hammer, or a battleaxe and a handaxe, regardless of materials. Heck, a Druid can take a feat and dual wield warhammers, but they have taboo against a warhammer and a metal shield. Druids can also gain proficiency in smith's tools, and perform their own blacksmithing, so they can make a metal shield, they just can't wield what they've made.

I wanted to clarify, since my previous post was a bit rushed (we were in the middle of a game session but had paused to grab some dinner).

A druid IMC can worship and serve a god, however it's somewhat like a fighter who serves a god. Unlike a nature cleric, whose power flows from their god, a druids power flows from the primal forces that the god embodies.

It's like a rushing mountain stream that feeds into a calm lake. It's the same water essentially, but the druid is drinking from the stream whereas the cleric drinks from the lake. The druid is closer to the source.
And again, I agree that's all fine. You have a world fleshed out and it has its mechanics. That's exactly why the Sage Advice specifies that players should still ask the DM, because they might undermine their story if they disagree with the implications of their response that nothing in the game system prevents it. My only issue with that aspect is that people assume the whole "make sure you verify with the DM that you're not undermining their story" means that the taboo is a mechanical restriction, and not story fluff, when all they're doing is reminding the reader that you can't just throw the rules at the DM and force them to adhere by them.

If the DM had a reason that Wizards do not exist in their world, then nobody can make a Wizard. I'd never say a single word about that to a DM, except maybe question the implications that has with other magic classes that may be similar, but I will contest the claim that something is RAW when I don't believe it is.

I see what you mean about the PHB saying that druids can gain their magic from a nature deity. That's a bit strange to me, in that why is the druid distinct from the nature cleric when their power comes from the same source. I suppose if a druid player wanted to gain their power from a nature deity, I would have them worship the old aspect of the god, whereas the nature clerics would worship the newer, more humanized face of the deity. Sort of like how the Greek primordial deity Gaia became the goddess Terra in the Roman pantheon.
I would agree it's strange if we assume the 1E lore, but the classes have simply changed. Now Clerics don't actually have a mechanical requirement to pick a deity at all, and Paladins are more like knights than divine agents. As per the fluff in the rules, a Druid can now essentially be considered a Cleric of the Old Faith. In this edition you can get the same power from different sources, or different powers from the same source. You could be a true neutral Cleric that worships a good deity that grants the War domain, and focus your magic on things like Spiritual Weapon and Spirit Guardians, or choose that same deity and gain the Life domain, focusing your magic on healing and restoration and never once learning attack magic.

The classes and races are no longer shoehorned into one concept, not even ones that otherwise make all of the same mechanical choices. It's fine if a DM wants to say they are, but as per the RAW of the core material, it's not the case. That's the only point I'm making.

I wouldn't have dryads coming out of the woodwork to attack the party you've described (unless for some reason the dryads were hyper-aggressive and inclined to attack anyone they felt distrustful of). However, with most druids the dryads would be favorably inclined. Being fey, the dryads are closer to the primal source than most, and they can sense a kinship of sorts with the druid. Think of it as a reaction roll that defaults to a favorable result. In the case of a metal armored druid however, it's like seeing someone you recognize as a soldier for your side wearing the enemy's colors. Automatic unfavorable reaction. They won't necessarily attack, unless it's in their nature to do so, but they certainly aren't likely to help the druid either. As for the cleric and the paladin, that's pretty much just a normal reaction roll. Despite their relationship with nature, they aren't as close to the primal as either the dryad or the druid. They basically have a foot in each world, essentially a serving as intermediaries between the primal and civilized worlds. Basically, the dryad will default to assuming that a non-metal wearing druid is on her side, but she's going to be less sure about the other two. Maybe they'll choose her side or maybe they'll favor the townsfolk. Obviously, this all precludes pre-existing reputations and relationships.
My only concern is that DMs tend to automatically make these creatures know they're a Druid, even when they try to make the claim that "Cleric" and "Druid" are just character sheet titles, and not what NPCs will refer to you as, unless you self-proclaim to be such, like a knight, priest, or samurai likely would. For a silly example, a Nature Cleric, Oath of the Ancients Paladin, and a Druid all walk into a bar, wearing their nature ordained half plates/full plates and metal shields that the Druid himself crafted with his smith's tools proficiency. They present themselves as the "Fey Knights", which is apparently a common title for Oath of the Ancients Paladins, and the whole team likes it so they adopt it. A Dryad walks over and spits in the cup of the Druid, because, "Screw that guy. I sense he's way too classy to be wearing all that nonsense." Personally I feel like the Dryad would assume that person to have the deepest connection to nature out of the three, thus making them the most trustworthy, as opposed to having immediate distrust, but I suppose ultimately it's a DM call.

Just out of curiosity though, in your campaign, if the Druid was aware that a Dryad would not be as open to a Druid in metal, what if the Druid knew he was going to have to interact with a Dryad very soon, and removes the metal out of respect prior to the interaction? Would the Dryad know they've went against the taboo of their order? If not I feel like that penalty could typically be circumvented with some proper planning and forethought, and the Druid could even take note of this and let the Rogue or Bard in the party actively disguise the Druid during typical travels so as not to offend any mystical woodland beings. The Druid doesn't have to feel shame, but I feel it would be like a Tiefling wearing a cloak because they believe other humanoids would distrust them.

But at the end of the day, I don't make it too hard to create armor made from alternate materials, and I don't recall ever having had a DM who did so either, which makes it largely a moot point. It usually involves a mini quest to track down a craftsman and/or a creature with a sufficiently tough hide. Plenty of times though, the PCs come across a proper creature simply as part of their adventures. If there is a craftsman in the party, they might not even need to locate an NPC. So the level of effort might vary a bit, but it's generally something that you can accomplish within the first few levels with a little help from the party.
My issue is that something like "hunting down a creature with sufficiently tough hide" sounds like something more opposed to the nature of a typical Druid than tracking down some iron ore. Most descriptions of Druid say they typically only hunt for survival or self preservation, and I don't find wanting stronger armor to quite fit so well into either of those categories. I could understand if they just so happened to have to take such a creature out, and utilized the hide after killing it, but to hunt something purely for its hide sounds very not Druid to me.

This ignores the fact that I find that following the Druidic lore exactly makes it unlikely the Druid would ever be an adventurer for more than one story arc to begin with, since if they're so typically neutral in alignment and against the tenets of civilization and are so for protecting nature, it sounds odd they'd ever participate in some entry level adventure like being paid by some king to stop goblins from attacking some villages. I feel like a Druid that is not an exception to their order would most likely be completely disinterested in such a trivial thing unless the DM made sure to add an extra hook that made it bad for the balance of nature. The Druid has to be an exception to the rule in some way, otherwise they quite frankly just don't give a damn about anything the other player characters care about, unless those characters also just want to protect the natural balance.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
My only concern is that DMs tend to automatically make these creatures know they're a Druid, even when they try to make the claim that "Cleric" and "Druid" are just character sheet titles, and not what NPCs will refer to you as, unless you self-proclaim to be such, like a knight, priest, or samurai likely would. For a silly example, a Nature Cleric, Oath of the Ancients Paladin, and a Druid all walk into a bar, wearing their nature ordained half plates/full plates and metal shields that the Druid himself crafted with his smith's tools proficiency. They present themselves as the "Fey Knights", which is apparently a common title for Oath of the Ancients Paladins, and the whole team likes it so they adopt it. A Dryad walks over and spits in the cup of the Druid, because, "Screw that guy. I sense he's way too classy to be wearing all that nonsense." Personally I feel like the Dryad would assume that person to have the deepest connection to nature out of the three, thus making them the most trustworthy, as opposed to having immediate distrust, but I suppose ultimately it's a DM call.

Just out of curiosity though, in your campaign, if the Druid was aware that a Dryad would not be as open to a Druid in metal, what if the Druid knew he was going to have to interact with a Dryad very soon, and removes the metal out of respect prior to the interaction? Would the Dryad know they've went against the taboo of their order? If not I feel like that penalty could typically be circumvented with some proper planning and forethought, and the Druid could even take note of this and let the Rogue or Bard in the party actively disguise the Druid during typical travels so as not to offend any mystical woodland beings. The Druid doesn't have to feel shame, but I feel it would be like a Tiefling wearing a cloak because they believe other humanoids would distrust them.



My issue is that something like "hunting down a creature with sufficiently tough hide" sounds like something more opposed to the nature of a typical Druid than tracking down some iron ore. Most descriptions of Druid say they typically only hunt for survival or self preservation, and I don't find wanting stronger armor to quite fit so well into either of those categories. I could understand if they just so happened to have to take such a creature out, and utilized the hide after killing it, but to hunt something purely for its hide sounds very not Druid to me.

This ignores the fact that I find that following the Druidic lore exactly makes it unlikely the Druid would ever be an adventurer for more than one story arc to begin with, since if they're so typically neutral in alignment and against the tenets of civilization and are so for protecting nature, it sounds odd they'd ever participate in some entry level adventure like being paid by some king to stop goblins from attacking some villages. I feel like a Druid that is not an exception to their order would most likely be completely disinterested in such a trivial thing unless the DM made sure to add an extra hook that made it bad for the balance of nature. The Druid has to be an exception to the rule in some way, otherwise they quite frankly just don't give a damn about anything the other player characters care about, unless those characters also just want to protect the natural balance.
The dryad wouldn't know just by walking into the bar, but she would sense the druid's connection to the primal if they interacted. She wouldn't consider him trustworthy because it would be like seeing a priest wearing the vestments of a good deity, but wearing the holy symbol of Asmodeus around his neck. It screams something isn't right.

If the druid knew in advance of his interaction he could indeed remove the armor and suffer no consequences. However, unless this druid is impossibly careful, word will get around eventually. And if the druid has a reputation in the natural circles for being a heretic, taking off his armor isn't necessarily going to help him. But sure, if he somehow is so careful that he never gets found out, there will never be any consequences of wearing metal armor. Although, having to go through the precautions of never getting caught is effectively a consequence in itself.

Hunting down a creature for it's hide is only as undruidic as you make it. Sure, if you have the druid whack some poor rhino who was just minding his own business eating grass, that's not a very druidic act. On the other hand, if you have the druid hunt down the bulette that's been single handedly depopulating large swaths of the wilderness because it's an insatiable and unnatural creature, that is (IMO) proper druid behavior. If you have the druid hunt down a dragon whose poison has been seeping into and twisting the forest around it, again an appropriate act. There are plenty of monsters in D&D with thick hides that can act contrary to a druid's interests.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Looks like you don't understand the concept of railroading - it's where in game choices do not matter, it has nothing *whatsoever* to do with insisting that characters fit a game world in a thematic way.
Railroading is about removing choice. If I were in your game and I told you that my druid puts on the suit of platemail in order to sneak into the castle looking like a knight and you told me no I can't do that, you are railroading me. You have removed my choice based on nothing that has ever existed in D&D. Druids have ALWAYS had the choice to put on platemail if they wanted to accept the loss of abilities.

I'd be pissed if you denied me based on a fiction you made up.

Yes D&D has always been a tweakable framework, but the clear RAI expectation for Druids has been pretty consistent.
ROFL Consistent? Let's look at druid consistency.

1e: Must be true neutral.
2e: Must be true neutral.
3e: Can be any neutral varient.
5e: Can be any alignment they feel like.

No consistency there!

1e: Must have wisdom 12 and charisma 15.
2e: Must have wisdom 12 and charisma 15.
3e: No stat restrictions.
5e: No stat restrictions.

No consistency there!

1e: Shapechange at 7th level 3x day. No more than once per animal classification, avian, reptile or mammal. Heal 10-60% of hit points when you change. Size from bullfrog to black bear. No time limit.
2e: Same as 1e.
3e: Shapechange at 5th level 1x day, gaining more as he levels. No limit on animal types(ie can be a bear three times if he wants). Size small or medium animals. Time limit 1 hour per level. Can eventually turn into plants and elementals, and large sizes. Heals differently than 1e and 2e.
5e: Wildshape at 2nd level 2x day. Limits on what you can change into based on CR and abilities. Time limit 1/2 druid level in hours. Revert back at 0 hit points with full druid hit points.

Still no consistency!

1e: Can wear metal armor with the only effect being loss of magical abilities.
2e: Forbidden to wear metal armor with no explanation.
3e: Can wear metal armor with the only effect being loss of magical abilties.
5e: Can wear metal armor with no effect whatsoever.

Dude. The only consistent thing about druids is the lack of consistency.

And a DM sticking to the aforementioned ethos is not railroading anybody. A player insisting on trying to push their luck though, is being disrespectful.
Nope. He just understands druids better than you do.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
The dryad wouldn't know just by walking into the bar, but she would sense the druid's connection to the primal if they interacted. She wouldn't consider him trustworthy because it would be like seeing a priest wearing the vestments of a good deity, but wearing the holy symbol of Asmodeus around his neck. It screams something isn't right.
I'd still argue the possibility that the dryad thinks the Druid is possibly doing something right, as opposed to something wrong. Something like "These people all claim to be defenders of nature, but I sense a strong proclivity in this one." If the Druid does not present himself as a Druid, and merely makes claim of being a member of his Fey Knight crew, they'd maybe be suspicious, but the only thing they have to go off of is a strong connection to the primal forces. If he's truly a worshiper of the natural deities, it could appear as if he somehow has more of the deity's favor versus what they would sense from the Nature Cleric and the Oath of the Ancients Paladin with similar but different abilities. Ultimately it's DM call, but an argument could be made that the situation could be more curious than suspicious, and that would probably prevent the Druid from outright gaining favor, but I wouldn't see it universally applying that they'd immediately be distrustful of them, or treat them with more distrust than someone in metal armor that they don't sense such a strong connection with.

If the druid knew in advance of his interaction he could indeed remove the armor and suffer no consequences. However, unless this druid is impossibly careful, word will get around eventually. And if the druid has a reputation in the natural circles for being a heretic, taking off his armor isn't necessarily going to help him. But sure, if he somehow is so careful that he never gets found out, there will never be any consequences of wearing metal armor. Although, having to go through the precautions of never getting caught is effectively a consequence in itself.
I'd feel that wearing a closed metal knight's helmet and never interacting directly with any natural creatures of the Feywild (unless taking down evil ones like hags), instead first leaving that to your party unless you felt it necessary to later take the precautions to meet with them individually, would actually cover it quite well. I look at it like being a Cleric of a specific deity, but you're not preaching and waving your holy symbol at everyone you meet. If any information did leak out it would likely take a long time to put the pieces together, as individually the only thing the creatures would have to go off of is that they witnessed some knight that seemed to have a particularly strong link to nature, and they wouldn't even have a face to describe.

Also yes, I'd agree that having to take such precautions is a consequence in itself, but it's far less inhibiting than DMs that make reality momentarily cease if a Druid tries to put on metal, because "the rules". Natural beings distrustful of them is effectively the same as a Tiefling interacting with literally anything if the DM utilizes the "mutual mistrust" fluff from the PHB, and is a consequence that literally any action or decision a player makes can cause. Even a Half Orc may suffer that if they have to deal with Elves for a while and the DM makes them hate each other by default.

Hunting down a creature for it's hide is only as undruidic as you make it. Sure, if you have the druid whack some poor rhino who was just minding his own business eating grass, that's not a very druidic act. On the other hand, if you have the druid hunt down the bulette that's been single handedly depopulating large swaths of the wilderness because it's an insatiable and unnatural creature, that is (IMO) proper druid behavior. If you have the druid hunt down a dragon whose poison has been seeping into and twisting the forest around it, again an appropriate act. There are plenty of monsters in D&D with thick hides that can act contrary to a druid's interests.
Yes, I agree with this, but that's what I meant by, "I could understand if they just so happened to have to take such a creature out, and utilized the hide after killing it, but to hunt something purely for its hide sounds very not Druid to me."

Heck, just as a side note, I could argue even that to be not Druidic if we follow their lore exactly from their original concepts. They believe in maintaining the natural balance and have a distaste for the unnatural creations of civilization. It could be argued by another Druid to be contrary to that idea to tan an animal hide into leather, since tanning is a result of civilization (albeit more primitive civilization than converting ore to metal), versus leaving it to decompose and be reused naturally by nature itself.

The more I think about Druids the more holes I see in the beliefs that could be interpreted either way, which is why it's silly to me that DMs feel the need to control Druid characters in their actions, as far as making certain actions as simple as strapping on a shield into something literally impossible, even though D&D has taken great strides over the years to indicate that no action is impossible unless the character simply lacks the capability. An 8 strength Gnome Wizard cannot lift a house, and would be super hindered by full plate, but the distinction there is that the DM would not say they can't put in the effort to try. Of course they'd fail to life a house, and they'd be super slow in the armor and unable to cast spells due to the mechanical implications hindering them, but they can do it. When it comes to Druids, however, DMs simply want to take their choices away if it doesn't match the fluff of the class, despite the fact that the fluff has change in its entirety since the class was first introduced, just like everything else.

Your story implications are fine, and something I'd have no trouble with, outside of some small differences of opinion that wouldn't matter anyway because I know my opinion doesn't outweigh the opinion of an NPC any more than it does that of any real person. It just irks me to see DMs enforcing taboo without mechanical implications as mechanical limitations, especially when Paladins have tenets that can have strong mechanical implications, but I've never met a DM that contests them performing actions against their oaths.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
The more I think about Druids the more holes I see in the beliefs that could be interpreted either way, which is why it's silly to me that DMs feel the need to control Druid characters in their actions, as far as making certain actions as simple as strapping on a shield into something literally impossible, even though D&D has taken great strides over the years to indicate that no action is impossible unless the character simply lacks the capability.
I agree insofar as it shouldn't simply be impossible for a druid to strap on a metal shield without some kind of in game justification.

However, belief systems are based in belief, and not necessarily logic. At the end of the day, people believe their belief systems, often in spite of a lack of proof. Belief systems can be self contradictory, and people will still believe in them. Just because we can poke holes in an in game belief system from outside the game, doesn't mean that the NPCs in game don't believe it with all their hearts. It doesn't mean that they wouldn't die for their beliefs. Possibly even kill for them.

So you can have a belief system that says metal armor and shields are taboo, but swords are fine, and it's okay. It's a belief system. As long as the people believe it, it isn't necessary for it to make logical sense. That's not it's purpose.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I agree insofar as it shouldn't simply be impossible for a druid to strap on a metal shield without some kind of in game justification.

However, belief systems are based in belief, and not necessarily logic. At the end of the day, people believe their belief systems, often in spite of a lack of proof. Belief systems can be self contradictory, and people will still believe in them. Just because we can poke holes in an in game belief system from outside the game, doesn't mean that the NPCs in game don't believe it with all their hearts. It doesn't mean that they wouldn't die for their beliefs. Possibly even kill for them.

So you can have a belief system that says metal armor and shields are taboo, but swords are fine, and it's okay. It's a belief system. As long as the people believe it, it isn't necessary for it to make logical sense. That's not it's purpose.
It's not even that belief system that I'm bothered by. It's that some people here think it's literally as impossible for a druid to wear a suit of platemail, as it is to exceed the speed of light. It's absurd.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
I agree insofar as it shouldn't simply be impossible for a druid to strap on a metal shield without some kind of in game justification.

However, belief systems are based in belief, and not necessarily logic. At the end of the day, people believe their belief systems, often in spite of a lack of proof. Belief systems can be self contradictory, and people will still believe in them. Just because we can poke holes in an in game belief system from outside the game, doesn't mean that the NPCs in game don't believe it with all their hearts. It doesn't mean that they wouldn't die for their beliefs. Possibly even kill for them.

So you can have a belief system that says metal armor and shields are taboo, but swords are fine, and it's okay. It's a belief system. As long as the people believe it, it isn't necessary for it to make logical sense. That's not it's purpose.
The point I was making is that the PHB specifies that belief and worship vary between the Druids, so Druids are inherently already not all in agreement. There is no taboo or faith system that remains uncontested indefinitely, and when the idea is full of holes, that is when it is at highest risk of being contested. Even the wording in the Sage Advice continues to use words like "typically", "choose" and "choice", when it refers to metal armor and Druids. Yes, that's a typical belief system of Druids, but player characters are not typical members of their class and/or race, and even if they were, people's beliefs and choices can change over time. If players were just a paragon of their race and class and their actions must follow that at all times, there'd be no reason for them to play the characters because the choices and actions would be predetermined. Monks say in their description that as a rule they will not be murder hobos, but no DM stops them from being murder hobos because that's just fluff without any RAW penalty.

Just because a Druid believes something may be wrong, or has been taught that it is wrong, does not mean that they will believe it forever. Even in 1E Paladins would irrevocably lose their Paladin status forever if they performed certain actions, but they were still allowed to do it, because nothing stops someone from going against taboo. The only thing to stop player characters from going against fluff in modern Dungeons and Dragons is mechanical penalties that inhibit their ability to perform certain actions, making the choice unsound. They can still do it, but the risks deter the choice.

Druids do not have such risks anymore, so even though it's a taboo, in terms of a player character, that is only fluff so long as there is no mechanical limitation stopping them. Anything beyond that is full discretion of the DM and not a rule as written into the game. Saying they "can't" wear metal armor, when nothing says they can't, is literally the DM imposing their own RAI as opposed to RAW.
 
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JonnyP71

Explorer
Railroading is about removing choice. If I were in your game and I told you that my druid puts on the suit of platemail in order to sneak into the castle looking like a knight and you told me no I can't do that, you are railroading me. You have removed my choice based on nothing that has ever existed in D&D. Druids have ALWAYS had the choice to put on platemail if they wanted to accept the loss of abilities.

I'd be pissed if you denied me based on a fiction you made up.



ROFL Consistent? Let's look at druid consistency.

1e: Must be true neutral.
2e: Must be true neutral.
3e: Can be any neutral varient.
5e: Can be any alignment they feel like.

No consistency there!

1e: Must have wisdom 12 and charisma 15.
2e: Must have wisdom 12 and charisma 15.
3e: No stat restrictions.
5e: No stat restrictions.

No consistency there!

1e: Shapechange at 7th level 3x day. No more than once per animal classification, avian, reptile or mammal. Heal 10-60% of hit points when you change. Size from bullfrog to black bear. No time limit.
2e: Same as 1e.
3e: Shapechange at 5th level 1x day, gaining more as he levels. No limit on animal types(ie can be a bear three times if he wants). Size small or medium animals. Time limit 1 hour per level. Can eventually turn into plants and elementals, and large sizes. Heals differently than 1e and 2e.
5e: Wildshape at 2nd level 2x day. Limits on what you can change into based on CR and abilities. Time limit 1/2 druid level in hours. Revert back at 0 hit points with full druid hit points.

Still no consistency!

1e: Can wear metal armor with the only effect being loss of magical abilities.
2e: Forbidden to wear metal armor with no explanation.
3e: Can wear metal armor with the only effect being loss of magical abilties.
5e: Can wear metal armor with no effect whatsoever.

Dude. The only consistent thing about druids is the lack of consistency.



Nope. He just understands druids better than you do.
Railroading is NOT removing choice, it is removing the impact of character actions on the events in the game. In my experience, restricting mechanical choices actually has the effect of focussing the players on creating something more compelling within the environment presented - some of the best, most compelling, most innovative roleplaying I've seen has come in Basic D&D, where mechanical options were severely limited. Also is a 1E DM 'railroading' when they choose to abide by the class restrictions regarding demi-humans, armour restrictions regarding other classes, alignment restrictions for Paladins, Monks, Rangers and Bards, or adhering to the level caps in that edition? What about Monk trying to use burning oil, a Thief trying to wield a 2-handed sword (the book says they may not), or a Cleric wanting to use an edged weapon (the PHB states they are 'forbidden'), so it's more than simply them not being able to be proficient in them in these cases. It's not railroading if a DM insists on using these restrictions as written.

By choosing to play a Druid, you will have agreed to abide by the no-metal restriction - just as a Thief player in 1E will have agreed to abide by 'no 2 handed swords'. If you then decide to break that agreement, then no, I am not railroading you by denying that choice. You (the player) is simply being difficult, and somewhat disrespectful. If you don't agree to the lore, you don't play the class. If you try to push it, you don't play full stop.

Throughout D&D Druids have been leather armour clad spell casters who share a number of spells with regular clerics, who derive their power from nature, who have the shapechanger ability at some point, and who utilise simple or 'tool' inspired weapons - that IS pretty consistent. In 3 editions they had a neutral component to their alignment, but as 5E (sadly) reduced the impact of alignment mechanics that was lost. Being pedantic about the level they get to shape change proves nothing.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
It's not even that belief system that I'm bothered by. It's that some people here think it's literally as impossible for a druid to wear a suit of platemail, as it is to exceed the speed of light. It's absurd.
Amusingly it is possible to exceed the speed of light using the mechanics, but these same people would not allow it because using the rules in that way doesn't make sense. It's a neat little double standard.
 

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