Dragonscale Husk, from Dragon Magic, is a cool alternate class feature (ACF) for characters with dragon blood and proficiency in heavy armor. It's useful for a lot of reasons: decent defenses that scale with character level, energy resistances, counts as medium armor for class features, and it has no arcane spell failure chance. But the rules for stacking are a bit strange: the bonus is typeless, but doesn't stack with armor, racial features, class features, feats, or "other special abilities that would grant you a bonus to armor class". The noteworthy exception here? Magic items. Most armor boosting items are covered by the no armor clause, but two major exceptions are Bracers of Armor and the Amulet of Natural Armor, both from the DMG. Are these covered under "special abilities", or as magic items that aren't armor do they stack with Dragonscale Husk?


1 Answer 1


RAW: Yes, it stacks with both.

As you point out, the AC bonus provided by Dragonscale Husk is not called out as an Armor bonus:

Your scaled hide grants you a bonus to your Armor Class equal to...

It's prevented from stacking with actual armor because you can't wear both at the same time:

You cannot wear any other armor while your husk is present.

...but nothing prevents it from stacking with other items that provide AC bonuses, including Armor bonuses to AC, like Bracers of Armor. The only line that might argue against this is:

You gain the extraordinary ability to grow a thick, scaly hide that protects you like armor.

If you (or your DM) thinks that "protects you like armor" means "provides the same bonus type as armor," that would mean that Dragonscale Husk provides an Armor bonus to AC. To me, though, that feels like reading more into the sentence than is there.

An Amulet of Natural Amor would also work, since it is not a...

...feat, racial trait, or other special ability that would grant you a bonus to Armor Class.

How I would rule as a DM: It stacks with an Amulet of Natural Armor, but not with Bracers of Armor.

Reading the description of the feature, it's pretty clear that Dragonscale Husk is supposed to be the equivalent of a suit of armor (emphasis mine):

You gain the extraordinary ability to grow a thick, scaly hide that protects you like armor.

Your dragonscale husk is treated as medium armor for the purpose of determining your speed and whether you can use class features or other special abilities.

You cannot wear any other armor while your husk is present.

You can't grant it an enhancement bonus with magic vestment, nor can you imbue it with special properties, as you could a normal suit of armor.

Why the authors of the ability didn't use 3.5's built-in way of preventing things from stacking (making it an Armor bonus) is a mystery to me - maybe the author just forgot that was a thing - but as a DM, I would just house rule Dragonscale Husk to count as an Armor bonus and call it a day.

This would result in the ability still stacking with the bonus from an Amulet of Natural Armor. As far as I'm concerned, this is fine - an Amulet of Natural Armor already stacks with manufactured armor, so I don't see why this would be a balance concern.


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