• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

5E Why the Druid Metal Restriction is Poorly Implemented

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Nothing in the rules state that, and the response in Sage Advice clarifies it as a preference in the lore and not a requirement. You can rule it that way, but it does not say that anywhere.
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!
 

Ohmyn

Villager
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

Villager
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.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
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.
Are you every curious why people may not view your analysis of rules as overly credible?

So, let's just review this.

Here is EXACTLY what I wrote that you quoted:

"2. Sage advice is just RAI."

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


Good?

Then, trying to rebut, you stated the same thing everyone else knows, which is:

"Official rulings on how to interpret rules are made here in the Sage Advice Compendium ..."

Still following? The section you just quoted says that Sage Advice is ... wait for it ... Rules as Interpreted. Some might call that ... RAI.


Now, pulling this together, you then misunderstand the DIFFERENCE between the RAW (which includes the text of the PHB and the errata) and RAI.

I can't make this any more clear to you.

I could go into how to analyze texts, read things in pari materia, we could discuss canons of interpretation and construction, but if you keep conflating RAI and RAW, you're not going to get to more advanced stuff.


Finally, this doesn't matter, because .... it's not the RAW. Your screed (and or list of grievances) and $4 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, but no return invitation at any reasonable game. I would recommend selling crazy somewhere else, or, you know, just working with people instead of demanding that they accept your idiosyncratic definitions as authoritative.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
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.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
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.
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?
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
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

Villager
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.
 
Last edited:

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
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

Villager
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.
 
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.
Don't wanna get too deep into this mire of arguments, but your post strikes me as very persuasive. I started out on the "druids can't wear it, sorry" school of thought, but now... yeah, I agree with your take on the rules.

But I would argue that even if you're right on the rules, trying to be a plate wearing druid is going to cause disharmony at many tables simply because most people will (and do) read the rules differently. Is it worth fighting on the point?

Regarding the OP, I agree completely. They should have left that sentence out.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Druids will not wear metal armor. Therefore a PC that wears metal armor is not a druid.
Says who? That PC can still shift shapes. Can still cast druid spells. Can still use the druid circle feature. And will still achieve Timeless Body when the metal wearing "non-druid" hits 18th level. Who says that PC is not a druid? Other druids? Sure, they can say that, but that doesn't necessarily make it true.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Let's see-
Druid:Class Features:proficiencies:
"Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields (druids willnot wear armor or use shields made of metal)"

P. 65, PHB

Seem like a not rule to me!

Wait, let's look at the MULTICLASSING PROFICIENCIES GAINED!

Druid:
"Light armor, medium armor, shields (druidswill not wear armor or use shields made ofmetal)"

p. 164, PHB

Seems like a not rule to me! I mean ... a muticlassing not rule.

In fact, this "not rule" is also in the SRD. You know- the standard reference document for, um, not rules!


Wait, let's keep going because this is ... fun?
Sure. Let's keep going!

Page 145 of the PHB. Chain mail, scale mail, breastplate and half plate. All medium metal armors that druids have proficiency with.

Page 167 of the PHB. Heavily Armored feat. Doesn't say anywhere that druids can't take it.

There is no rule in the PHB that restricts druids from wearing metal armor. There is only the blurb in the class that makes it a choice that the class generally makes. Individuals can choose to ignore that to whatever consequences may or may not come from fellow druids who feel strongly about the issue.

You're right. You don't cease to be a druid, because per RAW, you will not put on the armor.
RAW is silent on the issue as there is no written rule about it. There is a blurb of fluff only.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
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.
It also clarifies what is plainly written in the PHB. Specifically that there is no restriction on wearing metal armor. Rather, it's a choice that druids make based on the line of fluff in the proficiency section.
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
Heavy Armour Clerics and Medium Armour Bards have been in the game for a while now so you're kind of late to the party there.

But while Moon Druids can use their animal forms for combat, and the other Druid Circles can stay in the backline, Druids of the Circle of Spores, more than anybody else, need that extra AC. Their subclass features all but outright state that they're meant to be kn the front lines like a War Cleric or a Swords Bard or a Bladesinger Wizard, but the only things they get to increase their survivability are 4 temp HP per level and critical hit immunity at Level 14. The Temp HP I guess gets better when you have more of I, but at lower levels, assuming a standard array or point buy build, they're only gonna have 14 Ac with studded leather, 16 with sl and a shield. They're gonna get chewed up pretty quick if they brawl on the front, but they can't use their Halo of Spores or their Fungal Infestation if they aren't on the front, which is where a lot of their combat power comes from. They need the Medium Armour.
This is because Druids are not front-line-fighters, unless wildshaped.
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
So, you don't allow clerics in your game? Even those that don't get heavy armour proficiency by default are probably packing an AC of 19, and that is before they start casting Shield of Faith on themselves.

And it's not that hard to get an AC over 16 on a wizard, sorcerer or bard without magic items. And in my experience it makes little difference. AC only matters if attacks come your way.
This is not what I am saying. [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87)]да, this is true​, but it should not be so. I allow clerics, but I certainly don't think they are correctly balanced.[/COLOR]
 

Psyzhran2357

Villager
This is because Druids are not front-line-fighters, unless wildshaped.
I'm talking Spores Druids specifically here.

Halo of Spores

Starting at 2nd level, you are surrounded by invisible, necrotic spores that are harmless until you unleash them on a creature nearby. When a creature you can see moves into a space within 10 feet of you or starts its turn there, you can use your reaction to deal 1d4 necrotic damage to that creature unless it succeeds on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC. The necrotic damage increases to 1d6 at 6th level, 1d8 at 10th level, and 1d10 at 14th level.

Symbiotic Entity

At 2nd level, you gain the ability to channel magic into your spores. As an action, you can expend a use of your Wild Shape feature to awaken those spores, rather than transforming into a beast form, and you gain 4 temporary hit points for each level you have in this class. While this feature is active, you gain the following benefits:

When you deal your Halo of Spores damage, roll the damage die a second time and add it to the total. Your melee weapon attacks deal an extra 1d6 poison damage to any target they hit.

These benefits last for 10 minutes, until you lose all these temporary hit points, or until you use your Wild Shape again.

Fungal Infestation

At 6th level, your spores gain the ability to infest a corpse and animate it. If a beast or a humanoid that is Small or Medium dies within 10 feet of you, you can use your reaction to animate it, causing it to stand up immediately with 1 hit point. The creature uses the zombie stat block in the Monster Manual. It remains animate for 1 hour, after which time it collapses and dies.

In combat, the zombie’s turn comes immediately after yours. It obeys your mental commands, and the only action it can take is the Attack action, making one melee attack.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

 

Ohmyn

Villager
Don't wanna get too deep into this mire of arguments, but your post strikes me as very persuasive. I started out on the "druids can't wear it, sorry" school of thought, but now... yeah, I agree with your take on the rules.
Glad to hear it. Hearing that makes me feel slightly less like I'm wasting my time.

But I would argue that even if you're right on the rules, trying to be a plate wearing druid is going to cause disharmony at many tables simply because most people will (and do) read the rules differently. Is it worth fighting on the point?
Argue rules at a table? Definitely not. Argue rules online? Most definitely.

You should never "fight" over rules at a table, because DM gets final say regardless; however, players should not be afraid to discuss rule concerns at their table. Sure, maybe many people will read the rules differently, but that's why it should be brought up before play. It should be totally acceptable for a player to bring up an official rule as written, explain their interpretation of it, allow any other players to provide additional feedback, and then allow the DM to pass judgement. Druids especially require a lot of this, from knowing ahead of time how the DM handles blindness and heavy obscurity in combat if I cast Fog Cloud, to how certain class and race mechanics work in combination with Wild Shape, to what "will not" means in relation to them wearing metal armor, especially since the game developers say they "can".
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
I'm talking Spores Druids specifically here.

Halo of Spores

Starting at 2nd level, you are surrounded by invisible, necrotic spores that are harmless until you unleash them on a creature nearby. When a creature you can see moves into a space within 10 feet of you or starts its turn there, you can use your reaction to deal 1d4 necrotic damage to that creature unless it succeeds on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC. The necrotic damage increases to 1d6 at 6th level, 1d8 at 10th level, and 1d10 at 14th level.

Symbiotic Entity

At 2nd level, you gain the ability to channel magic into your spores. As an action, you can expend a use of your Wild Shape feature to awaken those spores, rather than transforming into a beast form, and you gain 4 temporary hit points for each level you have in this class. While this feature is active, you gain the following benefits:

When you deal your Halo of Spores damage, roll the damage die a second time and add it to the total. Your melee weapon attacks deal an extra 1d6 poison damage to any target they hit.

These benefits last for 10 minutes, until you lose all these temporary hit points, or until you use your Wild Shape again.

Fungal Infestation

At 6th level, your spores gain the ability to infest a corpse and animate it. If a beast or a humanoid that is Small or Medium dies within 10 feet of you, you can use your reaction to animate it, causing it to stand up immediately with 1 hit point. The creature uses the zombie stat block in the Monster Manual. It remains animate for 1 hour, after which time it collapses and dies.

In combat, the zombie’s turn comes immediately after yours. It obeys your mental commands, and the only action it can take is the Attack action, making one melee attack.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.
Well, I admit that this is unfortunate. I would fix this by granting an AC bonus while the Halo of Spores is active. However, I stand by my assertion that Druids should not be frontlines.
 

Advertisement

Top