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Here is the spell description for Shocking Grasp on page 275 of the PHB:

Shocking Grasp: Lightning Springs from your hand to deliver a shock to a creature you try to touch. Make a melee spell attack. You have advantage on the attack roll if the target is wearing armor made of metal. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 lightning damage, and it can't take reactions until the start of its next turn. The spell's damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).

I am putting an Animated Armor in my campaign, and one of my Players is a Sorcerer who knows the Cantrip "Shocking Grasp".The description says "wearing armor made of metal", but the animated armor is armor made of metal. Can anybody answer my question?

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When going for RAW

The stat block of Animated Armor shows next to his Armor Class that he has natural armor, thus he does not count as wearing armor made of metal.

It makes sense

The advantage from Shocking Grasp against targets wearing armor made of metal does not increase the damage, but the hit probability.

When fighting a living person, you have to aim for his body. When attacking him with lightning his armor is also a valid target, which makes it easier to hit him. (-> Advantage)

When fighting an Animated Armor you actually have to hit the Armor, there is no benefit in it conducting electricity.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you suit the Animated Armor in armor, though, the cantrip would get advantage on that attack. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Aug 13 '17 at 16:02
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By RAW, no.

Shocking grasp grants advantage against targets that are wearing metal armor. The [animated armor] is [a suit of armor] made of metal. Same goes for an iron golem. Shocking grasp does not grant advantage against these creatures.


If I were to rationalize why not, it would have to do how the magical lightning makes it easier to bypass the metal shell and hurt the creature beneath the metal armor (such magic lightning ignores the faraday cage effect, it seems). When you are attacking an animated armor, you are trying to damage the armor, not the person underneath (there is none).

So, while there is no developer statement confirming this (the above is just my speculation anyway), it might be RAI too.

Were an Iron golem or animated armor don a metal armor, then yes. Shocking grasp would grant advantage.


That said, if you are the DM, don't let the rules get in the way of the fun. You can apply the rule of cool and let the shocking grasp gain advantage on metallic creatures. Just keep it consistent. If you think it should, then it should.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the advantage is meant to represent how much easier it is to touch any part of the creature wearing metal armor to zap it. This wouldnt change when fighting animated armor or an iron golem. What you are trying to damage doesnt matter if its not resistant or inuvlnerable to lightning damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Aug 14 '17 at 11:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 because of the inclusion of the importance of rule of cool and keeping things fun. The querent didn't ask for a RAW answer and the intent of the spell certainly seems likely that it's intent would be to provide advantage in this scenario even if the RAW don't support that. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Aug 14 '17 at 12:36

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