D&D 5E Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented


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Ohmyn

First Post
That's not true: Sage Advise is a set of advise to Dungeon Masters, and not binding in any fashion.
2. Sage advice is just RAI.

Sage Advice is official documentation that goes alongside the errata. Errata changes rules, Sage Advice further clarifies them. The official documentation from WotC says this:

"Official rulings on how to interpret rules are made here in the Sage Advice Compendium by the game’s lead rules designer, Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford on Twitter).The public statements of the D&D team, or anyone else at Wizards of the Coast, are not official rulings; they are advice. Jeremy Crawford’s tweets are often a preview of rulings that will appear here.

A Dungeon Master adjudicates the game and determines whether to use an official ruling in play. The DM always has the final say on rules questions.
"

They are pretty clear in that the official interpretation of the rules is indicated in the Sage Advice compendium. Of course DMs are always free to ignore the official rulings, because that is always their right as the DM, but the Sage Advice is the official ruling of the game's designers. DMs are also free to ignore the PHB completely, or free to ignore any errata, but at that point they're not following the core rules as written by the developers. This is fine, but this aspect of the rules is not relevant when discussing the mechanics as officially stated.
 

paintphob

First Post
To be fair to Salvatore, Drizzt was rules legal.
Unearthed Arcana came out in '85 & allowed A) all elves but the Wild Elves to be Rangers, B) Drow as PC options.
Crystal Shard came along in '88.

I admit I was incorrect, the Drow Ranger was legal, but the dual wielding scimitar was not. In 1e, you could only dual wield with a dagger or an ax in the off-hand. The ranger as a dual wielder did not come along until 2e, in '89.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
1. The rules do say that. Period.

2. Sage advice is just RAI. So best case scenario, you're still wrong. And you're not reading the RAI correctly (which says you have to ask the DM, just like any other house rule). Bad cherrypicking is still cherrypicking.

Good luck!

What the Sage Advise does do is let the DM considering it know that the Druid is not balanced around the no metal assumption, and it own't break combat if the DM is cool with the story.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Completely agree.

Well ... mostly agree. I think that, like a lot of Sage Advice, it's poorly considered. Even the Sage Advice in the compendium which tends to be less stupid than most SA.

I could start by saying that I don't care that much about "balance," but the real issue for balance is the whole Moon / Land Druid thing; I don't think that they really paid much attention to that.

Nevertheless, they probably would have just stopped this whole debate if, instead of being clever and funny with their answer* (You'll explode! It's just like being a vegetarian!) they had just said that a druid can never be proficient in metal armor. Period.

Then you could apply the non-proficiency armor rules (you know, disadvantage on everything, no spells, etc.)

Problem would be solved, but I'm sure people would complain anyway. That's why it is so very very important to make Druids spontaneously combust.


*Really- when have rules lawyers ever appreciate either cleverness or humor?

IIRC, WotC tested partial proficiencies in the big Next playtest (Fighters get all the weapons, while Paladins get X, Y, but not Z) and people haaaaaaaaated it. Passionately. So they moved into what people wanted, working with the broad categories only whenever possible.
 

Ohmyn

First Post
So, just so we are clear, we all know that RAI is not the Italian TV Broadcaster, but instead means Rules As Interpreted.

No, RAI = Rules as Intended. RAW = Rules as Written. Intention != Interpretation. That's not even just semantics, they are literally definitively different. Rules as Interpreted would be synonymous to Rules as Written. Rules As Intended means bypassing the Rules As Written in favor of enforcing what is perceived by the DM as the heart of the rules, not the mechanical interpretation of the rules. That is not the same as the developer declaring the official interpretation of the RAW. If an official RAW rule in the book is questionable in its wording, the Sage Advice exists to provide the official explanation (interpretation) of the RAW. If something can be read in two or more ways, the Sage Advice declares which way is official.

The Sage Advice does contain some RAI, but they are always sure to point out when they're making a note of the intended implications versus what the actual ruling is.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Vegetarians will not eat meat. If my vegetarian nephew eats steak he is not a vegetarian. If a PC wears metal armor they are not a druid.

It's not a word game. It's the way the class is written. There is no restriction. But okay, so the PC is a non-druid wearing metal armor, that can shapechange into animals, cast druid spells, etc.
 

Ohmyn

First Post
Nevertheless, they probably would have just stopped this whole debate if, instead of being clever and funny with their answer* (You'll explode! It's just like being a vegetarian!) they had just said that a druid can never be proficient in metal armor. Period.

Then you could apply the non-proficiency armor rules (you know, disadvantage on everything, no spells, etc.)

But they didn't do this. They actually did the opposite of this, which says a lot about what you're saying versus what they have stated.

The original wording in the PHB was flimsy because it said they will not wear metal armor, and people wanted clarification as to what that means. This is why it appeared so quickly in the Sage Advice Compendium. Some people interpreted it as meaning it's a personal choice for the class that can be bypassed by story reasons, largely because the Druid still has proficiency in the armor and there were no mechanical implications saying they can't wear metal armor. Other people interpreted that as meaning Druids absolutely can't wear metal armor, although that had no further clarification behind it that could be interpreted from the rules as written. The developer of the game responded, declaring the official interpretation to be that there's nothing in the game that prevent Druids from having the ability to wear metal armor, that it's just a choice, and that there's no penalties in the rules for choosing otherwise, unless of course the DM wants to use their discretion.

From the SA:
"The idea is that druids prefer to be protected by animal skins, wood, and other natural materials that aren’t the worked metal that is associated with civilization. Druids don’t lack the ability to wear metal armor. They choose not to wear it. This choice is part of their identity as a mystical order."

They say there's nothing stopping the Druid from doing it, that they possess the ability to do it, and the book says they are proficient in it. There is nothing in the game system that prevents it, or that is broken, if a player character just so happens to make this choice differently. Heck, a Druid could denounce their grove, or even the mystical order in its entirety, just as a Monk can denounce the monastery that has always been a part of their identity, or a Cleric can denounce the church that has always been part of their identity. There are many role play reasons why this could be the case, from corruption to a change of morals, but they do not lose their class as a result. This could of course lead to potential role play consequences if you were ever to encounter members of the order you separate yourself from, but there is nothing in the rules that say the Druid itself suffers any consequences for this decision, or that anything stops them from making it.

Applying a rule that says a Druid can't wear metal armor after the official statement of the developers is that they can would be nothing more than DM fiat, which their advice does say the DM is free to do, but that's just a reminder as it's literally true of everything in the game.
 

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