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5E Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented

Ohmyn

Villager
Especially odd since the definition of a rule includes “a principal that guides conduct”. It’s LITERALLY including a choice as what a rule is defined as, because a person’s principals are choices. I’ve seen people argue some silly things in the past, but I have to admit, I’ve never seen it get this ridiculous. So far, we’ve had him argue that the definition of a rule isn’t a rule, how any DM that uses rules in the rule book (rule is even in that name of what those books are called lol) are tyrants, and another poster say that using that rule to make decisions is an arbitrary decision (the opposite of what arbitrary means).

Is it opposite week and I missed it or something?

But you know what? Go to an AL game with a Druid wearing plate mail and tell the DM you are allowed if you want based on some of the reasons given here. Let me know how that works out for you.
Sure, a principal that guides conduct, not a principal that controls or dictates conduct. Paladins of Devotion have a rule against lying built into their design. Clerics have the worship of deities built into their class description, and Monks have a rule against being a murder hobo built into their class description. All of these can be ignored, and only the Paladin has further rules expanding upon what happens if they choose to do so. The thing about rules with no mechanical penalties that are ruled only through personal choice is that they stop being true as soon as you make the other choice. Halflings don't suddenly gain a fly speed because they decide they want to fly. If they jump off a building and start flapping their arms, they're only going downward.

And the arbitrary decision comes from a DM saying the Druid cannot put on the armor. The official rules clarification is that they can choose to do so, because nothing in the game system stops them. The only thing stopping them is if the DM decides it infringes on their story (which is nothing more than a reminder of something inherent to the game as a whole), but in my experience, 90% of campaigns have nothing involving Druidic lore by default. If you say a Druid can't perform an action that the lead designer of the game has said there is nothing in the game system to prevent, and you cannot point at something in the game system that says otherwise, then to say it's impossible is arbitrary. Period.

And it doesn't matter what people at AL say, for reasons I've already explained before. It's also true that there are some AL tables that allow it, and it's legal for them to do so, because it doesn't require a house rule to make it legal as per RAW. The ones that make it illegal as per RAW are simply bias and clinging to the lore of Druids from older editions, especially since their ruling goes against what the lead rules designer says is true. If they tell me SA is official when it comes to iterating the intent of Conjure spells, but then tell me it's not official when clarifying the rules as written in regards to the Druid in metal armor, then I'm assuming arbitrary rulings based on what the DM wants, and not what the book says.

If the developer (via Sage Advice) and publisher (via publishing the Sage Advice as official rules on their site) says something is true, and a DM tells me otherwise, I'm not taking the DM's word for it. The DM has final say in enforcement at their table, but that doesn't mean they're right about what the rules say.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
Threads like this make me realize how lucky I have been. I’ve gamed with hundreds of people all over the world over the past almost four decades. There have been disagreements, and the odd rules lawyer here and there, but not once did I ever have a player demand to change a rule, and if I didn’t, I was a tyrant or railroading them. Not once. And not to toot my own horn, but the overwhelming feedback I’ve gotten as a DM has been largely positive (after every session with new players, like at an AL game, I always ask for feedback).

If a player came to my table and said they could wear plate mail as a Druid, and gave me the reasons why that were given in this thread, I would say that it’s not allowed because it is in fact a rule, and if they wanted plate mail, there are other ways to achieve that. The second they called me a tyrant or accused me of railroading, id thank them because they let me know I dodged a bullet, then send them on their way.

And people wonder why DMs are in high demand and hard to find. It’s because most of us don’t want to deal with troublesome players who disrupt the table. The game is for everyone*, but the DM does a lot more work. It’s why they get to make the rulings. I have never forced anyone to play at my table. I guess I’m lucky because I’ve always had more than enough willing players to play in my games.

*IME, when a player says they should be able to do whatever they want because “the game is for me too”, what they usually mean is “the game is for me, cater to me, and I don’t care what any other player wants”
It's because those experiences are at game tables, not a forum in a thread discussing the rules. It shows a further lack of capacity to grasp concepts when you can't separate the two in terms of expected behavior.

Also, if someone played a Druid in your campaign, would you stop them from being an iron miner and blacksmith? Nothing in the rules against it. Because I do like Druids, so that's what I plan to make any time a DM says they can't wear metal or use a metal shield due to the little bit of fluff added to proficiencies. There's nothing stated in the rules about them mining and smelting, and their skill and spell list makes them quite suited for mining.

EDIT: Oh, and nobody is requesting that a rule be changed. The request is that the rule be enforced as clarified by the rules developer of the game, and not just based on the reader's interpretation of the random blurb in the PHB that provides no further clarification.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
And it doesn't matter what people at AL say, for reasons I've already explained before. It's also true that there are some AL tables that allow it, and it's legal for them to do so, because it doesn't require a house rule to make it legal as per RAW. The ones that make it illegal as per RAW are simply bias and clinging to the lore of Druids from older editions, especially since their ruling goes against what the lead rules designer says is true. If they tell me SA is official when it comes to iterating the intent of Conjure spells, but then tell me it's not official when clarifying the rules as written in regards to the Druid in metal armor, then I'm assuming arbitrary rulings based on what the DM wants, and not what the book says.

If the developer (via Sage Advice) and publisher (via publishing the Sage Advice as official rules on their site) says something is true, and a DM tells me otherwise, I'm not taking the DM's word for it. The DM has final say in enforcement at their table, but that doesn't mean they're right about what the rules say.
Just pointing out the following things-

(1) Apparently, it doesn't matter what anyone says. AL or otherwise.

(2) As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, following is the relevant text from the Sage Advice Compendium:

A druid typically wears leather, studded leather, or hide armor, and if a druid comes across scale mail made of a material other than metal, the druid might wear it. If you feel strongly about your druid breaking the taboo and donning metal, talk to your DM. Each class has story elements mixed with its game features; the two types of design go hand in hand in D&D, and the story parts are stronger in some classes than in others. Druids and paladins have an especially strong dose of story in their design. If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class


To be clear, then, you believe the developer and publisher, except when the RAW disagree with you, and except when the Sage Advice says that if you don't like the rule, ask your DM to change it.

Other than that, you totally believe them! :)
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Just pointing out the following things-

(1) Apparently, it doesn't matter what anyone says. AL or otherwise.

(2) As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, following is the relevant text from the Sage Advice Compendium:

A druid typically wears leather, studded leather, or hide armor, and if a druid comes across scale mail made of a material other than metal, the druid might wear it. If you feel strongly about your druid breaking the taboo and donning metal, talk to your DM. Each class has story elements mixed with its game features; the two types of design go hand in hand in D&D, and the story parts are stronger in some classes than in others. Druids and paladins have an especially strong dose of story in their design. If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class


To be clear, then, you believe the developer and publisher, except when the RAW disagree with you, and except when the Sage Advice says that if you don't like the rule, ask your DM to change it.

Other than that, you totally believe them! :)
If we start a thread titled "You might be a tyrant GM if..." will Foxworthy sue?

:)
 

Ohmyn

Villager
Just pointing out the following things-

(1) Apparently, it doesn't matter what anyone says. AL or otherwise.

(2) As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, following is the relevant text from the Sage Advice Compendium:

A druid typically wears leather, studded leather, or hide armor, and if a druid comes across scale mail made of a material other than metal, the druid might wear it. If you feel strongly about your druid breaking the taboo and donning metal, talk to your DM. Each class has story elements mixed with its game features; the two types of design go hand in hand in D&D, and the story parts are stronger in some classes than in others. Druids and paladins have an especially strong dose of story in their design. If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class


To be clear, then, you believe the developer and publisher, except when the RAW disagree with you, and except when the Sage Advice says that if you don't like the rule, ask your DM to change it.

Other than that, you totally believe them! :)
Sure, so long as you cut out the parts that contradict or clarify the snippet you added. It starts by saying that Druids do not lack the ability to wear metal armor. It then says they typically wear certain armors. As for the part that you bolded, but then didn't add the clarification for:

"If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class. As long as you abide by your character’s proficiencies, you’re not going to break anything in the game system, but you might undermine the story and the world being created in your campaign."

They say that you're not breaking anything in the game system so long as you abide by your proficiencies. This means there's nothing in the game that prevents them, as stated earlier by the statement that Druids do not lack the ability to wear it. The reason you're told to ask your DM is so that you don't "undermine the story and the world being created in your campaign." This is just a reminder that DM has final say, because their story trumps the game system as written. It's also true that if you want to make a Wizard, make sure you okay it with your DM, because Wizards may not exist in their story, or may be too rare to be a player character.

The fact that it may not fit into the DM's story, so ask them first before making a decision, is RAI. The fact that there are no penalties, and that nothing in the game system prevents it from happening if the player chooses to do so, is RAW. I don't see why people want to reverse these two in priority when discussing the RAW.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Sure, so long as you cut out the parts that contradict or clarify the snippet you added. It starts by saying that Druids do not lack the ability to wear metal armor. It then says they typically wear certain armors. As for the part that you bolded, but then didn't add the clarification for:

"If you want to depart from your class’s story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class. As long as you abide by your character’s proficiencies, you’re not going to break anything in the game system, but you might undermine the story and the world being created in your campaign."

They say that you're not breaking anything in the game system so long as you abide by your proficiencies. This means there's nothing in the game that prevents them, as stated earlier by the statement that Druids do not lack the ability to wear it. The reason you're told to ask your DM is so that you don't "undermine the story and the world being created in your campaign." This is just a reminder that DM has final say, because their story trumps the game system as written. It's also true that if you want to make a Wizard, make sure you okay it with your DM, because Wizards may not exist in their story, or may be too rare to be a player character.

The fact that it may not fit into the DM's story, so ask them first before making a decision, is RAI. The fact that there are no penalties, and that nothing in the game system prevents it from happening if the player chooses to do so, is RAW. I don't see why people want to reverse these two in priority when discussing the RAW.
So, yeah, are we now all happy in agreement that it's there in the official rulebook that druids will not wear the metal armor, it's there in the official ruling that the gm might allow a PCdruid to wear medium metal anyway but that it's their choice as GM, period and that even applies to whether or not the GM uses those official rulings at all?

If so, doesnt that put us all happily away from tyrants or railroading when GM makes those decisions - even if they say "no"?
 
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lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
The fact that it may not fit into the DM's story, so ask them first before making a decision, is RAI. The fact that there are no penalties, and that nothing in the game system prevents it from happening if the player chooses to do so, is RAW. I don't see why people want to reverse these two in priority when discussing the RAW.
Let's be quite clear.

If you want to wear metal armor, under RAW or RAI, as a Druid, you need to get permission from the DM. Period.

There is no reasonable dispute about that.

Now, if you want to use Dexterity as the spellcasting stat for your Magic User, you also need DM's permission. Period.

...are you understanding this.

Of course you can change any rule with the DM's permission. That you don't like "lore rules" (a holdover from earlier versions of D&D) doesn't make them, magically, not-rules.

You are more than welcome to campaign against it, and play as you want; but people will draw the line at you re-defining rule as not-rules.

Good luck!
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Let's be quite clear.

If you want to wear metal armor, under RAW or RAI, as a Druid, you need to get permission from the DM. Period.

There is no reasonable dispute about that.
But there kind of is - isn't the whole point of this discussion that there isn't anything physically preventing a druid from donning some metal armor? Regardless of what's in the proficiency block.

It seems to me to be the main point: "Druids won't wear metal armor" - okay, but my character is putting some on (for whatever purpose), what happens in the game world at this point? Are there repercussions? Is my character literally unable to put it on?

And if the answer is there aren't any repercussions and my character can, indeed, put it on, then... do you see?

For the record, I don't think druids should be running around in metal armor, but I have to admit that I don't see any reason (RAW) why they *can't* vs. *won't* other than DM fiat.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
Let's be quite clear.

If you want to wear metal armor, under RAW or RAI, as a Druid, you need to get permission from the DM. Period.

There is no reasonable dispute about that.

Now, if you want to use Dexterity as the spellcasting stat for your Magic User, you also need DM's permission. Period.

...are you understanding this.

Of course you can change any rule with the DM's permission. That you don't like "lore rules" (a holdover from earlier versions of D&D) doesn't make them, magically, not-rules.

You are more than welcome to campaign against it, and play as you want; but people will draw the line at you re-defining rule as not-rules.

Good luck!
Yes, because if you want to do anything, RAW or RAI, as any class, you need to get permission from the DM. Period. You are correct there is no reasonable dispute about that. The dispute is about whether or not their ruling is RAI, or RAW. More AL DMs will rule that Druids can't wear studded leather (despite the PHB saying it's leather and not metal) than the amount that accept there's nothing in the game system that prevents the Druid from putting on metal armor, even though the official rules clarification disagrees on both of these points. People are simply bias against Druids based on the lore of past editions. RAW, nothing in the game's rules stops them if they choose to don metal. If you can find a ruling that says it's impossible for them to don metal armor, or that they're not proficient in its use, or that they suffer any penalty if they wear it, please point it out. No such rule exists, which is iterated by the Sage Advice twice in their response. The only thing that stops them if they choose to do so is if the DM cuts them off because it undermines their story, which is true of literally everything in the game. Just because the DM has authority to say anything they don't want is not permitted, does not mean it is impossible to do as per the game's written rules.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
But there kind of is - isn't the whole point of this discussion that there isn't anything physically preventing a druid from donning some metal armor? Regardless of what's in the proficiency block.

It seems to me to be the main point: "Druids won't wear metal armor" - okay, but my character is putting some on (for whatever purpose), what happens in the game world at this point? Are there repercussions? Is my character literally unable to put it on?

And if the answer is there aren't any repercussions and my character can, indeed, put it on, then... do you see?

For the record, I don't think druids should be running around in metal armor, but I have to admit that I don't see any reason (RAW) why they *can't* vs. *won't* other than DM fiat.
What you describe as "DM Fiat" is what I would say is "A Player Following the Rules."

And not only is there a printed rule in actual rulebooks, but there is a further explanation that this is the way it is, UNLESS your DM allows it.

So .... yeah. I mean, I get that people love to argue, and I understand that younger gamers unused to the history of the game are unfamiliar with how rules have worked in the history of D&D, and therefore don't grok the concept of a lore rule, but there it is.

I mean, these are the same people that are arguing with me about OD&D and 1e, despite obviously having little idea of what they are talking about.*

*I have to admire anyone whose argument is, "Yeah, but no one then understood how rules worked, becase TEH INTERNETZ!" That's either chutzpah, or gaslighting, depending on your perspective.
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
People are simply bias against Druids based on the lore of past editions.
Are we?

It's one of my favourite classes - always has been, versatile, with an interesting array of spells... but that's not why I like them.

I like the feel of the class, the Lore associated with it, the history, their pagan roots. I couldn't care one jot about whether the game attempts to justify the rule. It doesn't need to. Same goes for mechanical punishments, rules for penalising contravention of the rules, etc, they not matter. The Lore does. Respect it.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
But there kind of is - isn't the whole point of this discussion that there isn't anything physically preventing a druid from donning some metal armor? Regardless of what's in the proficiency block.

It seems to me to be the main point: "Druids won't wear metal armor" - okay, but my character is putting some on (for whatever purpose), what happens in the game world at this point? Are there repercussions? Is my character literally unable to put it on?

And if the answer is there aren't any repercussions and my character can, indeed, put it on, then... do you see?

For the record, I don't think druids should be running around in metal armor, but I have to admit that I don't see any reason (RAW) why they *can't* vs. *won't* other than DM fiat.
Just like there may not be anything preventing PVP yet many games manage to run a non- PVP game without a hitch.

But here, for some, the rule being actually in print in the rules somehow makes it seem **less binding** than the table no-pvp rule would be.

To me, you agreeing to play by the printed rule is as binding as you agreeing to play by the table rule.

But apparently to some that's tyranical.
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
Session 0... everyone agrees to a no PvP game.

Session 1, player A tries to stab player B's character
The DM tells the player he can't do that, they agreed to no PvP
Player A cries 'whaaa, stop railroading meeeee!!!'
Random people on the internet tell the DM to stop being a tyrant!

Give me strength!!! ;)
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Session 0... everyone agrees to a no PvP game.

Session 1, player A tries to stab player B's character
The DM tells the player he can't do that, they agreed to no PvP
Player A cries 'whaaa, stop railroading meeeee!!!'
Random people on the internet tell the DM to stop being a tyrant!

Give me strength!!! ;)
The added level of surreal to me is that the RAW hands the GM a far, far more "power of the GM" tool of oppression specifically for Druids in the utter lack of any guidelines for how many and which beast forms a druid has "seen" at any point of a campaign.

Yet, it's the smackdown on auth-ori-tye caused by saying "no" to waiving "will not" that earns you your tyrants-r-us rewards card.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
What you describe as "DM Fiat" is what I would say is "A Player Following the Rules."

And not only is there a printed rule in actual rulebooks, but there is a further explanation that this is the way it is, UNLESS your DM allows it.
Just like there may not be anything preventing PVP yet many games manage to run a non- PVP game without a hitch.

But here, for some, the rule being actually in print in the rules somehow makes it seem **less binding** than the table no-pvp rule would be.

To me, you agreeing to play by the printed rule is as binding as you agreeing to play by the table rule.

But apparently to some that's tyranical.
I'm not saying it's tyrannical, nor am I saying it's not a rule.

The point is that the rule says "won't" - in English, that does NOT mean "can't."

Would a player that refuses to abide by this rule be out of line, assuming that the DM did not explicitly exempt them from it? Absolutely.

Would a DM that tells a player their druid character absolutely cannot put on metal armor ever, even briefly as a disguise, be equally out of line? Without a damned good explanation, in my opinion, they certainly would be.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I'm not saying it's tyrannical, nor am I saying it's not a rule.

The point is that the rule says "won't" - in English, that does NOT mean "can't."

Would a player that refuses to abide by this rule be out of line, assuming that the DM did not explicitly exempt them from it? Absolutely.

Would a DM that tells a player their druid character absolutely cannot put on metal armor ever, even briefly as a disguise, be equally out of line? Without a damned good explanation, in my opinion, they certainly would be.
So, again, without prying, I think at least part (but not all) of the divide is when you were exposed to the rules.

I did a separate thread checking other people and their experience with "lore" rules (clerics can't/won't use edged weapons, monks can't/won't use oil, druids can't/won't use metal armor) from OD&D/1e, and the experience was the same-

that's just the way it was.

To the extent these lore rules are increasingly odd in 5e, I can understand that, and I appreciate that.

But to me, the weird thing is people who argue that rules without penalties ... aren't rules.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I would add that my first post here stressed that if a player came to me with a particular concern, of course I would work with them. But there is nothing in the world worse than a rules lawyer that grinds the game to a halt; luckily, these players usually quickly self-identify for rapid, and TYRANNICAL, removal.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Are we?

It's one of my favourite classes - always has been, versatile, with an interesting array of spells... but that's not why I like them.

I like the feel of the class, the Lore associated with it, the history, their pagan roots. I couldn't care one jot about whether the game attempts to justify the rule. It doesn't need to. Same goes for mechanical punishments, rules for penalising contravention of the rules, etc, they not matter. The Lore does. Respect it.


The Druid IS my favorite class. The shapeshifting has the greatest appeal to me. Along with the versatility as you mention. Even going back to 1e days. Way more appeal than a cleric. But the rules or the Sage advice don’t say what he thinks they say. Disagreeing with them doesn’t make us “haters” or anything.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
What you describe as "DM Fiat" is what I would say is "A Player Following the Rules."

And not only is there a printed rule in actual rulebooks, but there is a further explanation that this is the way it is, UNLESS your DM allows it.

So .... yeah. I mean, I get that people love to argue, and I understand that younger gamers unused to the history of the game are unfamiliar with how rules have worked in the history of D&D, and therefore don't grok the concept of a lore rule, but there it is.

I mean, these are the same people that are arguing with me about OD&D and 1e, despite obviously having little idea of what they are talking about.*

*I have to admire anyone whose argument is, "Yeah, but no one then understood how rules worked, becase TEH INTERNETZ!" That's either chutzpah, or gaslighting, depending on your perspective.
The further explanation is in the Sage Advice, which the community requested because the PHB did not provide the clarification necessary to enforce any limitations on their ability to wear metal armor. If you read the Sage Advice in its entirety, as opposed to clinging to any specific sentence, it can be summarized as this:

Not wearing metal is a choice. Druids do not lack the ability to wear metal armor. If you wish to wear metal armor, talk to your DM, because even though nothing in the game system prevents it, you may undermine their story.


Notice how it specified in the "ask your DM" portion, that they reiterate the fact that nothing in the game system is broken if a Druid puts on metal armor? This is because in the RAW, nothing actually stops them if the player makes this decision. There isn't even a penalty for doing so. They are very, very clear on this. Again, the reason they tell you to ask the DM is NOT because it's not an option as per the rules, but because your DM simply may not like it in their story. Saying that the DM may prevent it because it doesn't fit their story is not an interpretation of the RAW. Saying that nothing in the RAW prevents it, is.

Also, yes, inherently many people did not understand how the rules worked before the internet. People were not able to get clarification on the rules, and when something can be interpreted in multiple ways, but you can't get clarification from the game designer, then many people are simply going to get it wrong. Just look at how many rule clarification questions exist today, which can be addressed by the game developers officially and almost immediately because of the internet. Heck, most AL DMs still enforce rules contrary to what the game designer says the rules say, even if we exclude this particular issue. People are more capable of learning how to cook than ever before thanks to the internet, just as people are now more capable of getting clarification of the RAW in any game system thanks to the internet. Just look at how people are able to rip through MMO game systems compared to how they could in the 90s or early 2000s before official armories, character builders and wikis existed. People simply did not know how to play MMOs then as they do now, even though they were still playing the same style of game, simply because interaction between players, communities and developers has increased.

Availability of information makes people more knowledgeable. To say people understood RAW even remotely as well as today, before they were able to easily verify and discuss the information with other members of the community, or even the developers themselves, is a ridiculously silly notion.
 

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