While running a campaign of D&D5e, one of my players wanted a helmet to give him a bonus AC. I told them that in D&D5e wearing a helmet doesn't give you an AC bonus. He pointed out in the D&D wiki that there is an article about a rule called partial armour.

I have to admit that I never heard or read about that rule until now (my bad as a DM I should at least know about it), and a quick search in my DMG and PHB didn't find it.

Can anybody tell me if this is this an optional rule and, if so, where I can find it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Read D&Dwiki with extreme caution. It is mostly home-brew and has a lot of untested and "not good" stuff... hope I said that nicely enough :). \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 16:22
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Related questions on adding helmets and armor stacking \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 16:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Regardless of its name, dandwiki is NOT the official D&D wiki site, and it is NOT affiliated with WotC. Content on there might be taken from the official SRD, but it might also be entirely homebrew. The dandwiki site has a very poor track record when it comes to indicating which is which, and an even worse record regarding their ability to curate, improve, or filter out the lower-quality stuff. If you're new to the game, you want to stick to official content, or you're just not confident in your ability to assess design and balance of homebrew, do NOT use content from that site. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 10:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do not answer in comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


No. This rule isn't official at all. It is a homebrew variant.

Neither the PHB nor the DMG contain any mention of partial armor. XGtE (which itself is official but optional) does not cover it either. This does not seem to be an optional rule, but rather a 3rd party/homebrew rule.

The partial armor homebrew rule on dandwiki (note the large "Homebrew Page" banner across the top) will make the equipment part of your game much more complicated. In 5e, you simply pay the price for or find a set of armor and wear it to get an AC which accounts for all of you armor (excepting Shields which can be added). Tracking a lot of armor is more suited to video games. It's much simpler to just track a suit of armor and add in any magic armor that you find (Helms, Gauntlets, Boots, etc.) which will provide magical bonuses but not AC bonuses (unless specifically detailed).

Also note that the rule shifts game balance quite a bit in favor of lightly armored martial types (including monks and barbarians!). It allows light armor users to achieve a much higher AC than allowed for under the rules without any penalty:

Normally a Ranger with +4 Dex would stick with Studded Leather for a 17 AC (12+5) rather than Half-Plate for 17 AC (15+2) since that incurs a Stealth penalty. Plate armor would grant 18 AC but requires a minimum strength and hurts your stealth.

With the partial armor rule, the Ranger could stick with Studded Leather and pile on a bunch or partial armor to easily exceed 20 AC (without a Shield), which is pretty unfair to the Paladin wearing Plate and a Shield.


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