5E Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented

Ohmyn

Visitor
Unless, the designer felt it did not need to be a cant, wanted to leave it flexible to cover the variety of lore (sometimes contradictory) across editions and setting and they knew it wasnt gonna break anything if a gm decided for their setting it was fine to go with any proficient - as sage replied.

See, its almost like they chose a more GM ruling centered approach as opposed to a one-rule for all for this non-balance bresking element of mis-matching legacy.
If they wanted to leave it flexible to cover a variety of lore, it shouldn't go into the Class Features, but rather go into the lore sections of the class, like they do for every other class, and then actually add some narrative to said lore. The Sage's response was problematic because it didn't actually address anything except say that there used to be such a limitation back in the original PHB before Forgotten Realms lore was even a thing. Sure, of course a DM can rule whatever the heck they want about anything, and saying something so obvious doesn't answer the concerns with how the line is worded and placed into the Class Features. When a question or concern is raised about a ruling, it's lazy for the Sage Advice to just say "Your DM can just ignore it." The Sage Advice specifically said "If you want to depart from your class's story", but they don't actually provide any story within the class as to why there's a taboo against metal, and ignore the fact that there's a deity in the base 5E pantheon that specifically tell their Druids that it's fine to wear metal, and actually highly encourages it.

That is your interpretation. There is nothing in the rules to indicate that. It has the advantage of not being subject to the Heat Metal spell and certain other traps that key of metal.
Actually there is. It says so right in the description of the armor. "This crude armor consists of thick furs and pelts. It is commonly worn by Barbarian tribes, evil humanoids, and other folk who lack access to the tools and materials needed to create better armor." Studded leather is simply better, as it's also a leather armor and therefore not affected by anything that keys off metal, is a light armor, weighs less, has no dexterity cap, and is stated in the Sage Advice to be a common armor for Druids. There's literally no reason to wear hide unless your DM puts you into a poverty campaign, or your DEX is at a +2 or less AND your DM doesn't count encumbrance (with a low base strength, as most Druids have, every pound counts).

The purpose of this rule is because for many people finding non-metallic armour for a druid character is a fun sidequest.
I'm okay with that, and I also encourage players and DMs to do what's fun, but that sounds more like a good reason to place the line into their lore block and not weasel it into the proficiencies of their Class Features block.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Totally agree with the OP, and as far as I'm concerned, the issue addressed in point 1 is offensive enough that the remaining ones aren't even needed.

This whole thing could have at least been partially mitigated if they had inserted the word "most" in front of "druids will not wear".
 
I think you're actually looking at it backwards. It's not that Druids are not-allowed to wear metal armor, it's they are allowed to wear non-metal armor.

Thematically, Druids shouldn't wear any armor at all. AFAIK, there weren't any reports of them wearing it when the Romans attacked them (and bear in mind, the Celts probably invented chainmail, so presumably they would have had access to it).

However, because in D&D clerics were originally somewhat warlike and could use armor, and druids were a subclass of cleric, they were allowed to use leather armor with the justification it was natural. It's a somewhat strained explanation, like how they could use scimitars, but it made sense from a game mechanic point of view and it set them apart from clerics
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
If they wanted to leave it flexible to cover a variety of lore, it shouldn't go into the Class Features, but rather go into the lore sections of the class, like they do for every other class, and then actually add some narrative to said lore. The Sage's response was problematic because it didn't actually address anything except say that there used to be such a limitation back in the original PHB before Forgotten Realms lore was even a thing. Sure, of course a DM can rule whatever the heck they want about anything, and saying something so obvious doesn't answer the concerns with how the line is worded and placed into the Class Features. When a question or concern is raised about a ruling, it's lazy for the Sage Advice to just say "Your DM can just ignore it." The Sage Advice specifically said "If you want to depart from your class's story", but they don't actually provide any story within the class as to why there's a taboo against metal, and ignore the fact that there's a deity in the base 5E pantheon that specifically tell their Druids that it's fine to wear metal, and actually highly encourages it.



Actually there is. It says so right in the description of the armor. "This crude armor consists of thick furs and pelts. It is commonly worn by Barbarian tribes, evil humanoids, and other folk who lack access to the tools and materials needed to create better armor." Studded leather is simply better, as it's also a leather armor and therefore not affected by anything that keys off metal, is a light armor, weighs less, has no dexterity cap, and is stated in the Sage Advice to be a common armor for Druids. There's literally no reason to wear hide unless your DM puts you into a poverty campaign, or your DEX is at a +2 or less AND your DM doesn't count encumbrance (with a low base strength, as most Druids have, every pound counts).



I'm okay with that, and I also encourage players and DMs to do what's fun, but that sounds more like a good reason to place the line into their lore block and not weasel it into the proficiencies of their Class Features block.
"If they wanted to leave it flexible to cover a variety of lore, it shouldn't go into the Class Features, but rather go into the lore sections of the class, like they do for every other class, and then actually add some narrative to said lore."

Or, alternatively, it should be right where it is with no prescribed mechanicals so that the GMs can apply it to varying degrees as they see fit.

See, seems to me this thread started pointing out how uniquely it was but now the argument is that it should be homogenized even down to formatting?

Huh?

Alternative viewpoint, they disagreed with you on this and didn't by mistake put it where it is written how it is but rather, they did it with intent. It's a bit of non-binding permission.
 
Good OP, the restriction is simply a bad design job.

A Druid could go to some sort of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks adventure, find an alien futuristic high-tech armor that's made of plastic-crystal-dark-anti-nuclear-blackhole-matter that is not metal, and wear it without problems.
 

Ohmyn

Visitor
I'm sorry, but you do not get to sit here in 5e & demand that {optional/essentially optional} rules from previous editions must be valid. Besides, I don't see you also demanding that your lv advancement be limited by the Druidicide spelled out in the 1e PHB.

Go ahead, admit it. You don't really want/envision chain or plate wearing druids, you just want a higher AC. Wich every druid player ever has wanted. So just MC a single lv of barbarian for the unarmoured defense....
Or bring it up in a reasonable manner to your DM & see how they feel about it. (though it sounds like you did & got told "No", thus your rant)
I'm not demanding anything. The point is that the Sage Advice says that it's a story feature of the class, but core 5E does not provide any new story for the class, and then throws in a random line in the Druid's proficiencies without any further expansion on either narrative or mechanics. Also, following a deities tenants is not exactly an optional rule outside of the DM arbitrarily denying a deity. Even though the deity originates from older editions, its lore has not changed since its inception in AD&D. If the armor restriction is a story element, as stated by the Sage Advice, then I fail to see how utilizing the lore exactly as written when building a character isn't within the nature of the story.

Also, while it's not relevant enough to address in further detail, just as a note on my idea of Druid for my characters, I envision them as finding it more acceptable to transform the ores provided by the earth versus desecrating the body of a beast by transforming its flesh into something unnatural via methods devised by culture. Even if I were my Wood Elf option with a +4 DEX (good rolls), I'd still take a Scale Mail over Studded Leather on a Druid any day.

As for how you have proficiency in an armor you've never trained in?
Have you ever heard of this thing called m a g i c?
Perhaps it's a divine boon granted by your god
Yes, I've heard of that. That's exactly what deities like Mielikki do, both for Clerics and Druids, but apparently that canon lore goes against the story of the Druid class now, so it's difficult to imagine how it works for them now with no explanation given.
 

Ohmyn

Visitor
Or, alternatively, it should be right where it is with no prescribed mechanicals so that the GMs can apply it to varying degrees as they see fit.
That's exactly what the lore sections are for. The Class Features are for mechanics. The lore is for role playing and GM consideration for story options.

See, seems to me this thread started pointing out how uniquely it was but now the argument is that it should be homogenized even down to formatting?
It's not about formatting. When something is placed into the core Class Features section it is a mechanical rule. The problem falls on putting a mechanical rule into the core features and starting it with a "won't" instead of a "can't", and not addressing it in either lore or mechanics.

Alternative viewpoint, they disagreed with you on this and didn't by mistake put it where it is written how it is but rather, they did it with intent. It's a bit of non-binding permission.


I would say this is the worst possible outcome of them all. If they did it with intent to be where it is and say what it says, then that means they intended point 1 in my rant, which means they actually made a mechanical rule that controls the player's ability to make decisions, which is literally the worst mechanic that could be made. Even the vows in the 3.5 Book of Exalted Deeds could be ignored. Sure, they'd lose them, but the player fully had the choice to act however they saw fit.
 
There's literally no reason to wear hide unless your DM puts you into a poverty campaign
Or for roleplaying, or because you hear that the DM is planning on sending you into White Plume Mountain, or because +3 Hide is better than non-magic scale mail, or the adventure takes place under water, or maybe you just want to train in medium armour. Marines run with backpacks full of rocks. In any case, some stuff is better than other stuff. So what?


I'm okay with that, and I also encourage players and DMs to do what's fun, but that sounds more like a good reason to place the line into their lore block and not weasel it into the proficiencies of their Class Features block.
Sure, it might have been better presented in an optional rule grey box. But it wasn't, and I don't think it matters enough to make it worth while starting that Time Machine Kickstarter in order to fix...
 

Dausuul

Legend
Thematically, Druids shouldn't wear any armor at all. AFAIK, there weren't any reports of them wearing it when the Romans attacked them (and bear in mind, the Celts probably invented chainmail, so presumably they would have had access to it).
There also weren't reports of them turning into dinosaurs. If you want D&D druid lore to line up with actual historical druids... that ship done sailed a long time ago.
 
There also weren't reports of them turning into dinosaurs. If you want D&D druid lore to line up with actual historical druids... that ship done sailed a long time ago.
D&D druids where more closely based on the romantic Victorian reinvention than actual history in the first place.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
1) Personally, my major gripe with the limitation is that it's the only rule I've seen in any edition of D&D that most DMs interpret as literally forcing a decision on a player's character.
.....um.....

..ahh......


MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

*sniffle*

I am not sure that you are using the terms "rule" and "edition" and "D&D" in the same way that most people do.

Allow me to introduce you to the first 25 years of the game.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯



 

jasper

Rotten DM
A druid is hippie wantabe cleric who wanted to get back to nature but was too lazy to use the internet to research gods with a nature domain. A druid is one the few classic classes which has kept it flavor/lore/etc restriction.
Number 4 of no non metal medium armour is the sole reason people hate the restriction. To me people who gripe about the restriction want the cool powers of a druid but not limits.
If I could do a rule change. If druid wore metal armor they would only be able cast cantrips. I will leave up to smarter posters to come with bu beep beep nice lore reason. No non metal medium armours would exist. Ever.
So play a druid and have no medium armor. Or just play a cleric with nature domain god.
 
The main thing I find is that most players in the groups I play in really want nothing to do with gods of any description. Druids outnumber clerics by a factor of infinity.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It's not even a restriction at all in 5e. There's one line where it says that druids won't wear metal armor. Not can't. Won't. Making it a personal choice and not a restriction. What happens if a PC decides that he will? Nothing at all. All of his abilities work just fine with a druid wearing metal full plate and a metal shield.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
It's not even a restriction at all in 5e. There's one line where it says that druids won't wear metal armor. Not can't. Won't. Making it a personal choice and not a restriction. What happens if a PC decides that he will? Nothing at all. All of his abilities work just fine with a druid wearing metal full plate and a metal shield.
Counterpoint-

All druids cannot wear metal, and reek of patchouli.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Good grief. This argument, again? In my campaign there's a simple answer. If your PC wears metal armor, they aren't a druid. Don't like the rule? Change it if you're the DM.

I don't really care about why or what the consequences are, without a house rule to change things if you wear metal armor you can't take the druid class. End of story. Sometimes the answer is simply "no". I'm not going to justify it, argue about it, discuss pros and cons, debate whether it's really a "rule" or just a suggestion. Druids won't wear metal armor. Period.
 

Dausuul

Legend
A druid is hippie wantabe cleric who wanted to get back to nature but was too lazy to use the internet to research gods with a nature domain. A druid is one the few classic classes which has kept it flavor/lore/etc restriction.
Number 4 of no non metal medium armour is the sole reason people hate the restriction. To me people who gripe about the restriction want the cool powers of a druid but not limits.
No, that is not the reason. I mostly play wizards, who get no armor at all, and have to devote a spell slot and a prepared spell to having a non-abysmal AC. But the wizard rules are straightforward: You are not proficient with any armor. You can put it on, but you can't cast spells if you do. If you want to wear armor and cast spells, here are the hoops you must jump through (multiclass, spend feats, or play a race with racial armor proficiency). All that is fine.

If druids were limited to proficiency with light armor and hide, I would have no problem with that. Even if they had an additional built-in restriction saying "You cannot use druid ability X while wearing Y armor, regardless of proficiency," that too would be fine--lots of classes have such restrictions, like monks.

Where I have a problem is a restriction which is presented as if it were a rule, but is not written clearly enough for an actual rule (which armors count as metal? what replacement options exist, if any? what happens if you do wear metal armor?), and when asked for clarification, the designers say "This is just a story thing, you can wear metal armor and it won't affect game balance if your DM is okay with it." Say what? Of course it affects game balance, metal armor is a lot better than non-metal armor! If druids were meant to be medium armor wearers, that ought to be spelled out in the rules and the non-metal restriction clearly presented as a non-binding story element. If not, that should also be spelled out, including details of precisely which armors are forbidden, and consequences imposed for wearing them.
 
Nope, wizards are not restricted. A wizard with the appropiate proficiency (e.g. a dwarf) can wear armour and cast spells. And the game doesn't break. This is because, due to bounded accuracy, AC only has a significant effect if it's over about 20. Wizards and druids are still too squishy to stand in the front row even with breastplates. Druids are actually assumed to default to AC 16 - Barkskin. But it's easy enough to do better by choosing a suitable race - Lizardfolk, Tortle, Warforged etc. So you won't break anything by letting your druids wear breastplates if they want. The only thing you are losing is the fun minigame of Hunt the Non-metal Armour.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Why are you people venting about the metal armor for druids rule when there is a new and perfectly good "they're going to revamp the ranger again!" thread to vent in? At least that thread has the possibility of your opinions having an effect. ;)
 

Dausuul

Legend
Why are you people venting about the metal armor for druids rule when there is a new and perfectly good "they're going to revamp the ranger again!" thread to vent in? At least that thread has the possibility of your opinions having an effect. ;)
I am a forum multitasker. I can complain about druids and rangers at the same time.
 

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