18
\$\begingroup\$

The DMG says under Multiple Items of the Same Kind (DMG p.141):

Use common sense to determine whether more than one of a given kind of magic item can be worn.

I see a lot of posts about D&D stating that you can't wear two of the exact same item (a ring of protection say) and gain the benefits of both for reasons such as as you can't stack the same benefit from the same magical source, but I see no RAW being quoted that says this about magic items.

So can a creature gain both benefits from wearing two rings of protection, i.e. +2 AC and saving throws? How does this work for other items?

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a question and answer that I have just found (after writing this) that has this answer in it, but the question and answer are not quite the same, being specifically about save bonuses in Adventure League: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/95651/… \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Dec 11 '17 at 10:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I asked/answered this question as I only just learnt this myself while answering another question and there is no clear question that targets this rule directly that I have found. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Dec 11 '17 at 10:56
26
\$\begingroup\$

No you can't, but not for the reason very often stated, that "you can't stack bonuses from the same magical source", which isn't stated as RAW anywhere that I know of.

The actual reason is the following rule:

Attunement (DMG p.137)

Additionally, a creature can't attune to more than one copy of an item. For example, a creature can't attune to more than one ring of protection at a time.

So you cannot attune to more than one copy of an item, with the specific example given of two rings of protection. You only get the benefit(s) from the one you are attuned to.

This means if you have two of the same item (whatever their bonus is) and they require attunement, then you can only attune to one of them and therefore only get one of their benefits.

The incorrect statement often used as to why you can't benefit from two rings of protection (for instance) appears to comes from the assumption that the combining magic effects rule applies, but this is for spells only.

Combining Magical Effects (PHB p.206)

The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect—such as the highest bonus—from those castings applies while their durations overlap.

The belief is perhaps also a holdover from previous versions of D&D which had rules about how many rings you can wear and the combination of magical items.

DMs should be aware and careful of this, as if items that do not require attunement (for example special rings of protection) are given out to PCs, then there is no RAW that says that their bonuses do not stack if two were worn by the same creature. I've looked through the magic items in the DMG and it looks as if the designers have been very careful in this regard to ensure that you can't get stacked bonuses in this way due to what must be attuned to.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ AD&D used same bonus source stack limitation, where any "Magical defense" would never stack. Be in boots, ring, armor, only one can take place. 3.5e uses a similar logic. Also they have a large variation in bonus types. (Magical protection, insight, deflection, luck, etc) So the belief is truly most likely to come from previous editions. \$\endgroup\$ – Elindor Dec 11 '17 at 17:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Elindor I agree and made a note to that end in the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Dec 11 '17 at 17:44
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ "The incorrect statement ... appears to comes [sic] from the assumption that the combining magic effects rule applies..." It comes from a related rule in the DMG errata called Combining Game Effects. "...But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them - the most potent one - apply while the durations of the effects overlap...Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items." \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Dec 11 '17 at 20:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "The belief is perhaps also a holdover from previous versions of D&D which had rules about how many rings you can wear and the combination of magical items." That is almost certainly the case. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael W. Dec 11 '17 at 21:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Doval If I understand that correctly, the effect won't stack from two items called "X of protection". But if I have an Ioun Stone of Protection and a +2 shield simply called "Stone Shield", both giving bonuses to AC, they should stack, right? \$\endgroup\$ – Kapten-N Jan 17 '18 at 11:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.