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5E Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Have you come across Jalhera in Baldur's Gate? She is a multiclassed Fighter/Druid and I have seen her stomping about in full plate despite being a faithful druid in good standing.


Video game interpretations of the rules aren’t the best example to cite what the rules of the game are. Video games often change the rules to fit the nature of a video game.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Video game interpretations of the rules aren’t the best example to cite what the rules of the game are. Video games often change the rules to fit the nature of a video game.
Jalhera is also a half-elf.

I don't know what the rules are for 2e (the basis for BG), but the demihuman MC rules in 1e were notoriously messed up.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
As I noted at the beginning, no one complaining about the supposed "badly written" rule is providing an effective mechanism to enforce it. You know, anything from "Druid Explodes" to stating that the PHB rules on non-proficient armor should be enforced (PHB, p. 144).

It's the usual rules lawyering- trying to find a loophole (it's not CAN NOT, IT'S WILL NOT, SEE?) and instead of fixing it, arguing that it therefore is meaningless.

Words, man. What do they even mean?
Nobody is providing an effective mechanism to enforce it because that's not the point. Providing a mechanism to enforce is not RAW, and the RAW is what's being discussed. Providing a mechanism in RAW requires a general guideline of enforcement for the DM to follow. If the rules developers wanted a mechanism to enforce it they would have done so like they did in 1E and 3E, which could have been done either in the PHB or in the errata after it was pointed out to them that no such mechanism existed in 5E. If they simply ruled "Druids can never gain proficiency in metal armor", that would have been a mechanism to enforce it, but the Sage Advice seemed pretty clear that they did not intend for anything like that.

The issue is that it is 100% possible for rules to be written in ways that are busted, as in doesn't work as written or otherwise conflict with mechanics in the overall game system. That's what makes a "badly written" rule. Think of it like when Dwarves had proficiency in throwing hammers, even though that weapon did not exist in any of the books; it was a busted rule (that one has at least been errata'd). Players could RAI it and give them light hammers, but RAW it did nothing.

In this case, the rule is written in a way that all other player decision based "rules" are written, which all other examples assume they can be broken by player decision. We have provided many examples of this already. The only difference in this case versus many of the other examples of similar wording is there's nothing written for what happens when the player has their character goes with a contrary decision, which as per the game system is inherently possible. The rule is busted as written because it is not enforceable within the rules of the game system as written, which is even clarified by the Sage Advice when they stated that nothing in the game system is broken if the Druid ignores the taboo (so long as they adhere to their proficiencies).

It's clarified in the Sage Advice that Druids do not lack the ability to wear it, they are proficient in it, and that nothing in the game system stops them from doing so. Most people seem to rule it to be contrary to the official clarification, which is totally acceptable if a DM doesn't like it in their story, which is their right with literally anything in the game, but to say that ruling is RAW is entirely inaccurate.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Nobody is providing an effective mechanism to enforce it because that's not the point.
I'm sorry, I thought you were the OP. You know, the whole, "Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented"

Implement it better.

If you want to play the RAW, then Druids don't wear metal armor. If you want the Druids to wear metal armor, allow me to quote Sage Advice:

"If you feel strongly about your druid breaking the taboo and donning metal, talk to your DM. ... 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."

See? If you don't like the rule, ask your DM change it.

And if you think it isn't a rule, as has already been pointed out to you as well, then just try doing this at an AL-standard table, or at a convention.

Good luck with your rules lawyering!
 

Ohmyn

Villager
He cited sage advice, and then proceeded to say no rhyme or reason. His own citation provided the reason, he’s just choosing to ignore anything not convenient to him. Just like you’re doing now.

I have no time to debate with people who aren’t going to argue honestly.

“It’s not a rule”
“Yes it is, here’s the definition of a rule and it fits the definition literally”
“Rules are only mechanical”
“No they are not, reread that definition again”

.....

“Here’s sage advice saying there is no mechanical penalty. That rule has no rhyme or reason.”
“The sage advice paragraph you just quoted tells you the rhyme or reason literally right there.”

It’s exasperating when not only do you ignore what everyone has cited for you out of the books, but you’re ignoring your own material you’re citing. What’s the point in continuing?
I already addressed this. I was addressing the book as providing no rhyme or reason, and how people had to ask the game rules developer what the book was referencing, because absolutely nothing was given, lore or otherwise. Many people here still even argue that Sage Advice isn't official, despite WotC saying otherwise, which to them would mean that officially there is no rhyme or reason.

When it comes to the Sage Advice, they also clarified that Druids do not lack the ability to wear metal, that it's a choice, that they are still proficient in its use, and that nothing in the game system prevents them from putting it on. That's the RAW. Reminding that DMs can still say otherwise if it doesn't mesh well with their story is the RAI. The issue here is people saying the RAI portion of the clarification is the RAW portion, and then ignoring the actual RAW clarifications that exist in the answer.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
*edit

You know what, not worth it citing the material, because you probably won’t acknowledge it anyway.
 
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Paul Farquhar

Explorer
Video game interpretations of the rules aren’t the best example to cite what the rules of the game are. Video games often change the rules to fit the nature of a video game.

Actually it was an error in the rules implementation (although possibly a deliberate one), according to 2nd edition rules, multiclassed druids should abide by the armour restrictions.

And Jalhera is wearing studded leather when you first meet her, so you are free to abide by "will" not wear metal armour if you wish.

Her race permits her select that multiclass option, but has no other effect.

Humans are even weirder. In 2nd edition a human can start out as a druid, with the metal armour restriction, then dual class to fighter, and can wear metal armour. But when their fighter level becomes higher than their druid level they get their druid power and restrictions back again.

But I only mentioned Jalhera to throw another log on the fire...
 

Oofta

Explorer
Actually it was an error in the rules implementation (although possibly a deliberate one), according to 2nd edition rules, multiclassed druids should abide by the armour restrictions.

And Jalhera is wearing studded leather when you first meet her, so you are free to abide by "will" not wear metal armour if you wish.

Her race permits her select that multiclass option, but has no other effect.

Humans are even weirder. In 2nd edition a human can start out as a druid, with the metal armour restriction, then dual class to fighter, and can wear metal armour. But when their fighter level becomes higher than their druid level they get their druid power and restrictions back again.

But I only mentioned Jalhera to throw another log on the fire...
Meh. I don't see how a computer game implementation of 2nd edition has anything to do with it. They chose to ignore a rule, just like DMs are free to ignore or alter rules of the current edition.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
Meh. I don't see how a computer game implementation of 2nd edition has anything to do with it. They chose to ignore a rule, just like DMs are free to ignore or alter rules of the current edition.
The human thing is core 2nd edition rules. The computer game goes with something that makes more sense (The dual classed fighter druid can wear any armour). It jumps the other way with cleric weapons though. Your dual classed cleric fighter is merrily choping things up with a sword, then suddenly wham, you level up and you can't hold your sword any more.

The relevance should be obvious.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Out of curiosity: If there were a dwarven druid in your game that focused on Earth Element magics (Move Earth, Magic Stone, Earth Tremor, Spike Growth), and was Circle of the Land (Mountain): Wouldn't the no-metal restriction feel a bit odd for that PC?
I mentioned many pages ago that such would be fine for my games - all player has to provide compelling story tie-in to get to it.

That said, I would also grtbhuy-in that the metal srmor's they csn wesp ste ones made from specpcial sanctified metals, prepared such snd duch a way etc- basuvpcslly "kosher" and worthy of his "divine's notice. So, just run of the mill armor tskrn off corpses or found in typical smiths would not be considered "good enough".

That way we keep the "special" in the druid's special case

Which of course is likely fine since **nobody** is after just open access to metal armor for their druid, right?
 

Oofta

Explorer
The human thing is core 2nd edition rules. The computer game goes with something that makes more sense (The dual classed fighter druid can wear any armour). It jumps the other way with cleric weapons though. Your dual classed cleric fighter is merrily choping things up with a sword, then suddenly wham, you level up and you can't hold your sword any more.

The relevance should be obvious.
No, it's not. A decision made 20 years ago by a DM or a development team for a version that was replaced shortly after has no relevance to the the current version of the game. I'm sure a lot of DMs have ignored the rule over the years, just as they are free to do today. That doesn't make it any less of a rule.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Which of course is likely fine since **nobody** is after just open access to metal armor for their druid, right?
<Raises hand> It's a corny bit of flavor with no real balance impact, and it makes multiclassing with a druid way more complicated than it has to be. I ignore it in my own games, and it should go the way of the "ex-paladin" rules from 3e.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
No, it's not. A decision made 20 years ago by a DM or a development team for a version that was replaced shortly after has no relevance to the the current version of the game. I'm sure a lot of DMs have ignored the rule over the years, just as they are free to do today. That doesn't make it any less of a rule.
As I said, the relevence is obvious (none whatsoever).
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
@Maxperson

For example, you seem to forget the things pointed out to you when you refer back to 1e, everything from the basics (like how proficiency worked) to the more advanced, like how the rule/fluff mechanics worked together.

Once again, we will use the MU as an example.

Why can't a MU wear armor?

Because-
"Furthermore, they can wear no armor and have few weapons they can use, for martial training is so foreign to magic-use as to make the two almost mutually exclusive."

That's right- MUs can't wear armor because they lack .... martial training.

So, what happens if you have dual-classed, human F/MU?

"The character may mix functions freely and still gain experience, although restrictions regarding armor, shield, and/or weapon apply with regard to operations particular to one or both classes. ... [Using the example of a fighter/magic user,] furthermore, the character can now carry (but not wear) armor and weapons not normally usable by magic-users, and resort to their use if the need arises and not be penalized in respect to experience as a magic-user, for he or she has already surpassed in the new class the disciplines of the former."

PHB, p. 33

Woah... wut? That's right, EVEN IF the character trains up and gets martial training, the character still can't wear armor while doing MU stuff (like casting spells) because REASONS!

Because the bit of fluff you keep looking at (spoil magic powers) for the druid is the same as the bit of fluff added to the MU part by Gygax- just extraneous verbiage, not as important as the actual tables and rules.

The MU couldn't wear armor because that was a class restriction. The Druid couldn't wear metal armor because that was a class restriction. Any attempts to retcon with a more modern thinking would necessarily fail.

(To be clear, the rules were not consistent- if you were a demihuman, the rules for edged weapons and armor fell aside, but the their armor rules stayed in place, also because of reasons; the influx of UA just made the bad rules worse)
This is now the strongest statement for what we've been saying. You bolded the wrong portion of the dual/multi class section.

"The character may mix functions freely and still gain experience,although restrictions regarding armor, shield, and/or weapon apply with regard to operations particular to one or both classes. ... [Using the example of a fighter/magic user,] furthermore, the character can now carry (but not wear) armor and weapons not normally usable by magic-users, and resort to their use if the need arises and not be penalized in respect to experience as a magic-user, for he or she has already surpassed in the new class the disciplines of the former."

That section clearly allows druid dual class PCs to wear metal armor, but with exp penalties prior to surpassing the old class(assuming the old class wasn't druid) and without penalty afterwards. The need just has to arise, which is a player decision. If the old class was druid and the new one is fighter, he can wear plate mail from level 1 on without an penalty at all, while still being a druid. He just couldn't fall back on his druid abilities without taking the armor off first.

I see no reason why that shouldn't or isn't the case with a single class druid willing to accept the consequences of not being able to use their magical abilities and take an exp penalty as set forth in the DM for aberrant class behavior.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
So after some consideration, I think the best way to handle this is to treat Druids as non-proficient in metal-based armors. It bypasses all of the other considerations and it matches the simplicity of the 5e design.
 

Ohmyn

Villager
I'm sorry, I thought you were the OP. You know, the whole, "Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented"

Implement it better.

If you want to play the RAW, then Druids don't wear metal armor. If you want the Druids to wear metal armor, allow me to quote Sage Advice:

"If you feel strongly about your druid breaking the taboo and donning metal, talk to your DM. ... 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."

See? If you don't like the rule, ask your DM change it.

And if you think it isn't a rule, as has already been pointed out to you as well, then just try doing this at an AL-standard table, or at a convention.

Good luck with your rules lawyering!
First off, I don't see how saying that the rule is poorly implemented means I need to provide a fix. If they wanted it to be impossible, there's a million and one ways that the rules developer could have changed it, and they shouldn't need my help to do this. For example, saying "Druids can never be proficient in metal armor" would have worked, but the SA points out that they still have the proficiency, so that doesn't seem to have been the intent.

Secondly, I can point out tons of places where AL tables use RAI instead of RAW, or consider SA to be official when they want it to be, but then say it's not when they don't want it to be. AL also hasn't updated its FAQ since early 2017, which the game has had more printings of the physical books in that time, and WotC has changed their ruling on how official Sage Advice is as of the latest published documents in 2019. For these reasons, pointing to AL is not a great argument for whether or not people are enforcing the RAW properly, especially since most people have a bias towards Druids (I'm not saying against Druids). In fact, I'd like to point out that it wouldn't be considered a house rule at an AL table to allow the Druid to wear metal because nothing in the game system inhibits the player's decision to have their character do so. People simply aren't familiar with how the lore of Druids has changed over the years, just as the lore of every other class has, so much so that they find certain Druid concepts to be outrageous, not knowing these concepts actually exist in the canon lore of the D&D worlds (murderous Druids that want to destroy most of nature and the creatures within it are a canon thing).

And let's not ignore what most of the Sage Advice said. First, the part you quoted seems to yet again be intentionally cutting out the sentence after that clarifies what they're saying. You know, this part: "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." The part you are quoting is a reminder to ask your DM so that you don't undermine their story, which is a reminder of what you should always do with every decision. If the Wizard class undermines their story, then no Wizard class for anyone. Whether or not you might undermine their story has nothing to do with RAW. The parts that are RAW are the other 80% of the Sage Advice response, which is that they are proficient in metal armor, they do not lack the ability to wear metal armor, that there is no penalty for wearing metal armor (so long as within their proficiency), and that nothing in the game system prevents them from doing so.

What it means to say "you're not going to break anything in the game system," is that there's nothing in the game system that prevents the Druid from performing the action. A Wizard without any form of multi attack doing two melee weapon attacks in a single attack action is breaking something in the game system. When a Paladin of Devotion lies or cheats, despite the fact that their tenets say they don't lie or cheat, they're not breaking anything in the game system by doing so, they just may face penalties. When a Monk plays as a murder hobo, even though their class description says that as a rule they are not murder hobos, nothing is broken in the game system if they behave like murder hobos, and in this case there are no penalties for doing so. Monks don't need permission to be murder hobos, and Paladins don't need permission to break their tenets, because the game system grants the player the ability to have their character do so.

Point is I'm not saying it's not a rule, but D&D has hard rules, and soft rules. "Do not" and "will not" are soft rules, and appear in a lot of explanations of the rules where implications are not specified, because they are not enforced in RAW unless there's some extra game system mechanic implemented that makes the action impossible or have consequences. The Paladin, yet again, is a perfect example of this. In no edition is the Paladin explicitly granted permission to go against any of their oaths or codes of conduct, nor to go against their class's alignment restriction. Their tenets and alignment restrictions are always presented in such terms, and then penalties are offered for what happens when a character chooses to ignore those restrictions. The rule saying Paladins of Devotion "Don't lie or cheat." does not prevent a Paladin of Devotion from lying or cheating, because this wording does not add anything to the game system that hinders the player's ability to have their Paladin character lie or cheat.

Now if the rules said, "Paladins of Devotion don't lie or cheat. If they attempt to, their commitment overtakes them, forcing them to speak the truth, or to openly declare any efforts to cheat.", that would be a hard rule, because now there's a mechanical implication being provided that removes the character's ability to perform the action. This is why it's important to acknowledge the distinction made in Sage Advice when it's says, "Druids don't lack the ability to wear metal armor." By just saying they "will not perform X action", that's a soft rule that does not prevent the character from having the ability to perform the action in the core game system.

If we're going to rule that "will not" is a hard mechanical limitation that prevents them from having the ability to do so, then does that mean any mind control automatically fails if it orders them to do so? If so, does this also mean that when it's said Paladins of Devotion "Don't lie or cheat", that they can never do it, and thus rules about them breaking their tenets are pointless, because the tenats dictate their behavior? Also, it doesn't say anything about doing so of their own free will, merely that they "will not". I guess the game system needs to grant mind controllers explicit authority to enable them to order a Druid to put on metal, otherwise the controlled Druid does nothing.
 
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5ekyu

Explorer
In a game, if the GM agrees the rules they are using is "druids will not wear metal armor" then that GM wont be mind controlling PC druids to fo do or forcing them into traps where "the only choice" is to do do. That would be violating the agreement, not unlike giving paladins a no-win alignment test in ye olde days.

In a game, if the player agrees the rules they are using is "druids will not wear metal armor" then that player wont opt for donning metal armor as an easier or quicker way around a challenge and will find other ways, other options.

So, in a game where both the players and the gm play by the rules they agree to, the difference between "will not" and "cannot" is nada.

For a forum sock puppet rager tho...
 

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