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5E Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented

Ohmyn

Villager
Agsin, the rule is that druids will not wear metal armor.

If there was a rule at the table which said fire wizards eont become ice wizards, that would apply too.

If the table rule is " PC will not attack other PCs " would that be fluff your character can choose to change their mind on mid-scene when convenient?
Table rules and rules as written are not comparable discussions, so that doesn't really require addressing.

As for the rule that Druids will not wear metal armor, it's a rule about character choice that has no penalty for ignoring. A rule denoting character choice, and a rule that places physical restrictions, are two different things in Dungeons and Dragons.

Paladins swear an oath, but they can choose to break their tenets any time they want, because nothing in the game system stops them. Warlocks form a pact with a greater being, but they can tell that being to piss off, because nothing in the system says they have to keep their end of the pact. Clerics worship a deity, but nothing in the mechanics says they have to, so they can tell the gods to piss off. Druids have a taboo against metal armor, but nothing in the system prevents them from having the ability to don metal armor. With the exception of the Paladin, none of these have any mechanical implications listed in the books, and thus any penalties applied would be house rules.

We're going on 5 years into the release of 5E, and have had 10 separate printings of the PHB. Sage Advice addressed this issue over 3 years ago. If Druids were intended to have a mechanic that prevented them from having the ability to wear metal armor, as opposed to just having a taboo against it, it would have been written into the game system by now. Instead the lead rules developer has given an official response confirming that nothing in the game system stops them if they choose to do so, and that the only limitation would be if the DM felt it didn't fit in their story, which is just a reminder of something that is true for everything in the game.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
I think you are talking about the difference between a law like "thou shalt not kill", which is broken all the time, despite having been written by god on a stone tablet; and a law like the laws of Physics, which cannot be broken unless you are an engineer called Scotty.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
I think you are talking about the difference between a law like "thou shalt not kill", which is broken all the time, despite having been written by god on a stone tablet; and a law like the laws of Physics, which cannot be broken unless you are an engineer called Scotty.
Yup. Both fall under the qualifications of being a rule, but one can be ignored, and the other can't. When a rule exists only as a choice, then actions can defy it. If a taboo holds no penalty for defiance then it has no weight as a taboo, and thus can safely be ignored.
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
Maybe you should have read further to proficiencies.

"At the start, your character will be able to employ but a limited number of weapons. The number is determined by class. When the character moves up in levels of experience to the next higher combat melee table, he or she is assumed to have acquired proficiency in an additional weapon. The new weapon is of his or her choice. Note that proficiency with a normal weapon is subsumed in using a magical weapon of the same type. If proficiency with any given weapon is not held by the character it is used at a penalty as shown on the table which follows."

The bolded portion says that he can use it with a penalty if he is not proficient.

In 1e can't did not mean "impossible" no matter how much you wish it did.
No, the bolded section does not says anything of the sort. And to claim it does is wrong. You're clutching at straws.

I'm still waiting for any text specifically stated a Druid CAN wear metal if they choose to in 1E, or a Thief CAN wield a 2 handed sword. All I've seen so far are wilful misinterpretations of clear wording in order to attempt, and fail, to prove a point.

You know, a single line saying something like "A character may utilise weapons other than those listed as allowable for their class. Doing so will involve applying the non-proficiency penalty." If you can find this stated ANYWHERE in a 1E rulebook then your point stands. If not, then it carries no weight. Whatsoever.
 
No it isn't, but all other things being equal, a better AC makes you flat better than a worse AC.
In the absence of any other factors. But there ARE other factors.

You mean Conjure Animals? The spell that in 5e has been nerfed to require concentration, so when you are hit (which you will be if the DM denies you anything better than hide armour) everything vanishes?
No, summoning full stop. Conjure Animals is merely the lowest-level and easiest to use such spell in 5e. Conjure Woodland Beings can be used to summon a swarm of pixies, for example - who can all cast confusion, polymorph, etc albeit with a low save DC. Conjure Elemental specifically allows the caster to control type and is an excellent choice for cramped environments. The risk of being hit is frequently easy to mitigate by hiding behind other targets (aka allies), if not the summons themselves; ducking behind full cover; or if all else fails dropping prone.

Light and Tempest clerics are well ahead of druids in terms of blasting, and they can do it in half plate/full plate.
Not even close. Light clerics remain competitive through a combination of a couple excellent spells (e.g. fireball) and their target-selective channel divinity. Tempest clerics can spike damage once or twice via channel divinity, but lack the area (i.e. number of targets) / variety of energy types / and generally damage of druid blasting spells. Druid blast spells tend to synergize very well...for example Thorn Whip or Thunderwave coupled with Spike Growth. Or Tidal Wave coupled with Conjure Animals. Of course, if you're going to throw in specific domains it's dishonest not to compare them to druid circles. A tempest cleric just doesn't compete with Lightning Bolt (Mountain terrain) or Cone of Cold (Arctic); not to mention fewer spells slots because of the Natural Recovery feature. Circle of Dreams / Shepherd can still typically blast more because they have other class abilities that mitigate the need to use spell slots elsewhere. The clerics' Spirit Guardians / Spiritual Weapon tricks aren't bad but still ultimately pale to a well-played blasting druid.

Well behind Life clerics in half plate, and in-combat healing is pretty inefficient use of an action anyway.
Nope. In combat-healing is horribly inefficient if it can be avoided. But out of combat healing is often important for maintaining combat viability. Druids get Goodberry which is more efficient than Cure Wounds for any non-life cleric even at max wis; and frequently better than cure wounds for a life cleric with max wis, because the berries can be divided between the wounded. And Healing Spirit, which puts all cleric healing spells to shame for out of combat efficiency. Circle of Dreams druids can not only heal for MORE than max health...but don't even lose the ability to cast a non-cantrip spell that round since their healing ability isn't actually a spell.
 
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ccs

39th lv DM
We're going on 5 years into the release of 5E, and have had 10 separate printings of the PHB. Sage Advice addressed this issue over 3 years ago. If Druids were intended to have a mechanic that prevented them from having the ability to wear metal armor, as opposed to just having a taboo against it, it would have been written into the game system by now. Instead the lead rules developer has given an official response confirming that nothing in the game system stops them if they choose to do so, and that the only limitation would be if the DM felt it didn't fit in their story, which is just a reminder of something that is true for everything in the game.
Hmm. 5 years & 10 printings of the PHB you say?
And yet the book STILL tells you that Druids will not wear mettle armor. But doesn't elaborate on it.
They've even changed the wording on a few things due to errata in later prints.... So it's not like they're locked into never actually altering the sacred texts.

And yet that bit about mettle armor is still there, right in the PHB. The PHB. Which for the vast majority of the people playing this game is as far as they'll ever look for rules.
That tells me exactly how the designers envision the game working more so than Sage Advice post from 3 years ago.
 

FarBeyondC

Villager
It's against the spirit of the game for a druid to wear full plate long enough to sneak into a castle? I don't think so. The game has always been about ingenuity. That action is entirely within the spirit of the game.
I know there's a principle thing going on here (one I don't agree with), but I'm thoroughly confused as to why people keep trying to get the druid to get into the metal armor to sneak into the castle. Like, why not turn into a rat or some other innocuous little creature and ride in another player's pack or something?

What about if a druid decides they don't want to be a druid any more and becomes a fighter? According to 5e rules multiclass characters retain all the abilities from both classes.
If a character decides they don't want to be of a given class anymore, you wouldn't use the multi-class rules for that. You know, because those rules don't actually remove the class in question? However the player and DM decides to mechanically and narratively enable the change from druid to fighter (and this would be a custom thing, as there's currently no rules for doing such a thing in the books if I recall correctly), the end result would be that said character would have some levels in fighter and no levels in druid.

It has occured to me that a druid restricted to hide armour has about the worst AC in the whole game. Thanks to Mage Armor and Shield Wizards and Sorcerers are probably packing an AC of around 20 - not all the time, but when it counts; and rogues are probably going to max out dex early for an AC of 17 in studded leather - not to mention the other defences available to rogues.

Some warlocks might be worse, but in exchange they are very good at blasting.
Hide armor and wooden shield is up to AC 16
Leather armor and wooden shield is up to AC 18
Studded Leather and wooden shield is up to AC 19
 

DM Dave1

Present
I know there's a principle thing going on here (one I don't agree with), but I'm thoroughly confused as to why people keep trying to get the druid to get into the metal armor to sneak into the castle. Like, why not turn into a rat or some other innocuous little creature and ride in another player's pack or something
This. There should always be a few ways to go about solving a challenge. If the DM is forcing the Druid to don metal armor to sneak into a castle, that’s some serious choo choo there.

Yup. Both fall under the qualifications of being a rule, but one can be ignored, and the other can't. When a rule exists only as a choice, then actions can defy it. If a taboo holds no penalty for defiance then it has no weight as a taboo, and thus can safely be ignored.
Of course, we are talking about a *game*. Any rule can be safely ignored. But, a critical part of the game is the DM making rulings. Ignore those rulings and the game can start to break down. Don’t like a ruling? Talk to the DM between sessions.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Agsin, the rule is that druids will not wear metal armor.
And again, a choice isn't a rule. You can keep repeating rule until you are blue in the face, but it's not going to magically change that one fluff line into a rule.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
If a character decides they don't want to be of a given class anymore, you wouldn't use the multi-class rules for that. You know, because those rules don't actually remove the class in question? However the player and DM decides to mechanically and narratively enable the change from druid to fighter (and this would be a custom thing, as there's currently no rules for doing such a thing in the books if I recall correctly), the end result would be that said character would have some levels in fighter and no levels in druid.
Sure you could do that (although, speaking as someone who has had several different professions, one doesn't immediately forget everything you learned just because you decide to do something different). The point is, there are no RULEZ for it*. Nothing on changing or removing a class. Nada. Zilch.

What gets me is the hypocrisy of people who want to burn people at the stake for interpreting something differently, but are quite happy to invent rules wholesale in order to support their position (very much like RL religion).

* There are optional rules for changing subclass, and I could see value in creating an oathbreaker druid subclass similar to the oathbreaker paladin.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
No, the bolded section does not says anything of the sort. And to claim it does is wrong. You're clutching at straws.
Having trouble understanding what, "any given weapon" means? Here's a hint, it includes two-handed swords.

I'm still waiting for any text specifically stated a Druid CAN wear metal if they choose to in 1E, or a Thief CAN wield a 2 handed sword. All I've seen so far are wilful misinterpretations of clear wording in order to attempt, and fail, to prove a point.

You know, a single line saying something like "A character may utilise weapons other than those listed as allowable for their class. Doing so will involve applying the non-proficiency penalty." If you can find this stated ANYWHERE in a 1E rulebook then your point stands. If not, then it carries no weight. Whatsoever.
We've already pointed you to it in the DMG. It clearly allows engaging in behavior that is aberrational to the class. Wearing metal armor is aberrant behavior for druids, just as using a two-handed sword would be aberrant behavior for thieves. Pull your head out of the sand.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
I know there's a principle thing going on here (one I don't agree with), but I'm thoroughly confused as to why people keep trying to get the druid to get into the metal armor to sneak into the castle. Like, why not turn into a rat or some other innocuous little creature and ride in another player's pack or something?
I was wondering when someone would realize that. ;)

It's just an example that requires putting on metal armor briefly to do something. I'm sure we could figure out a better example, but this one is sufficient to show my point.
 

Oofta

Explorer
I'm sure that someone somewhere in some game at some point someone has had their PC put on metal armor to sneak into a castle. But there are sooo many issues with that hypothetical. Like ... does the 8 strength wizard put on full plate? Guess you aren't using the variant encumbrance rules. Hope nobody notices the dwarf in a castle run by orcs. That fighter with the +1 plate is going to swap out for the chain mail that's standard for the guard, right?

When I've run across similar scenarios, someone polymorphed, did an illusion of some kind, hid in a bag of holding, pretended to be a prisoner, climbed a rope the others threw down, or one of a hundred other ways of dealing with it.

This scenario will never happen in any game I ever run and over decades of running and playing games with more DMs and players than I can count I've never seen it. But it still doesn't matter. The DM not giving you an option? Like I said before, they're being a **** DM. It's their game they can make something else work. Even then, we know that according to the rules a Druid will be unwilling to wear metal armor.

But let's say the druid ignores the clearly stated rule is willing to wear the armor in this one oddball niche scenario and the DM allows it. So what? That doesn't mean he will wear armor any time else. Sneaking into a castle does not justify wearing the armor at other times. A vegetarian will not eat meat ... but if he's starving to death and there's no other option they may make an exception. But if he continues to chow down on burgers after other options are available they're no longer a vegetarian.

Like I've said before, I wouldn't allow it because in all but a couple of cases I follow the rules. I don't see a justification for it, if someone playing a druid wants better armor we'll work on an alternative. I wouldn't have a metal armor wearing druid in my game any more than I'd have a 7 ft tall halfling. If someone tells me I'm not the boss of them and I can't enforce the rules of the game I will let them know that not only am I not their boss, I am not their DM.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
In the absence of any other factors. But there ARE other factors.

No, summoning full stop. Conjure Animals is merely the lowest-level and easiest to use such spell in 5e. Conjure Woodland Beings can be used to summon a swarm of pixies, for example - who can all cast confusion, polymorph, etc albeit with a low save DC. Conjure Elemental specifically allows the caster to control type and is an excellent choice for cramped environments. The risk of being hit is frequently easy to mitigate by hiding behind other targets (aka allies), if not the summons themselves; ducking behind full cover; or if all else fails dropping prone.

Not even close. Light clerics remain competitive through a combination of a couple excellent spells (e.g. fireball) and their target-selective channel divinity. Tempest clerics can spike damage once or twice via channel divinity, but lack the area (i.e. number of targets) / variety of energy types / and generally damage of druid blasting spells. Druid blast spells tend to synergize very well...for example Thorn Whip or Thunderwave coupled with Spike Growth. Or Tidal Wave coupled with Conjure Animals. Of course, if you're going to throw in specific domains it's dishonest not to compare them to druid circles. A tempest cleric just doesn't compete with Lightning Bolt (Mountain terrain) or Cone of Cold (Arctic); not to mention fewer spells slots because of the Natural Recovery feature. Circle of Dreams / Shepherd can still typically blast more because they have other class abilities that mitigate the need to use spell slots elsewhere. The clerics' Spirit Guardians / Spiritual Weapon tricks aren't bad but still ultimately pale to a well-played blasting druid.

Nope. In combat-healing is horribly inefficient if it can be avoided. But out of combat healing is often important for maintaining combat viability. Druids get Goodberry which is more efficient than Cure Wounds for any non-life cleric even at max wis; and frequently better than cure wounds for a life cleric with max wis, because the berries can be divided between the wounded. And Healing Spirit, which puts all cleric healing spells to shame for out of combat efficiency. Circle of Dreams druids can not only heal for MORE than max health...but don't even lose the ability to cast a non-cantrip spell that round since their healing ability isn't actually a spell.
That's all very subjective and DM dependant. Especially summoning spells, even the ones that are too high level to appear in actual play. All of which require concentration, and summon what the DM says, not what the player wants. What's the first thing that happens whenever summons appear on the battlefield? Every intelligent enemy targets the druid with everything they have (and they are easy to pick out since they are the one who isn't wearing metal armour). Hiding behind allies might count as soft cover if the DM is feeling generous, and +2 AC might help stop you getting shot full of arrows if your AC didn't suck in the first place. Hiding round the corner? Even assuming there is a convenient corner available, how are you going to command your summons if you can't see what is going on? In my actual gameplay experience summons rarely last longer than a round.

As for out of combat healing, that also depends on the DM, and how frequently they allow long and short rests between fights. I can't think of any occasion when I have felt our healing wasn't sufficiently efficient.

So given that all this stuff is highly subjective, depending on player, DM and situation the only fair option is to treat it as equal (even though personally I would choose a cleric spell list for combat any day).
 
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Paul Farquhar

Explorer
I'm sure that someone somewhere in some game at some point someone has had their PC put on metal armor to sneak into a castle.
I remember a 1st edition game when the MU had to use a magic sword because it was the only weapon that could harm the enemy and the fighter was dead.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
Studded Leather and wooden shield is up to AC 19
If the druid maxes out dexterity. Aren't they going to max out wisdom first? And "they could max out both by level 16" isn't an answer, since the game isn't actually played at such high levels (and they get more mileage out of constitution to help with concentration anyway).

You are actually better off spending an ASI to pick up Magic Adept for Mage Armour or Shield.

Or playing a Tortle, Lizardfolk, Warforged or whatever those elephant dudes from Ravnica are called.
 
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5ekyu

Explorer
What about if a druid decides they don't want to be a druid any more and becomes a fighter? According to 5e rules multiclass characters retain all the abilities from both classes.
5e rules do not by default allow a character to "no longer be" a class. You can add a class thru multiclassing.

Do, "dont want to be a druid" (or an assassin or a barbarian ) would have to be worked out by the player and GM.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
5e rules do not by default allow a character to "no longer be" a class. You can add a class thru multiclassing.

Do, "dont want to be a druid" (or an assassin or a barbarian ) would have to be worked out by the player and GM.
I think I said that.

But there is also a destinction to be made between a player who doesn't want to play a class any more, and a character who for role playing reasons looses thier faith.
 

Sadras

Explorer
It has occured to me that a druid restricted to hide armour has about the worst AC in the whole game. Thanks to Mage Armor and Shield Wizards and Sorcerers are probably packing an AC of around 20 - not all the time, but when it counts; and rogues are probably going to max out dex early for an AC of 17 in studded leather - not to mention the other defences available to rogues.

Some warlocks might be worse, but in exchange they are very good at blasting.
I think a holistic approach should be taken when comparing, particularly if you're going to mention that last comment about warlock blasting.

Rogues, Sorcerers and Wizards have no innate healing except out of combat HD of which the latter two classes use a d6 and begin with a lower hp base.

Druids have access to healing spells as well as the shapechange ability which acts a hp buffer, they also use a d8 for HD and begin with a reasonable hp total.
 

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