In D&D 4e, a piece of armor Alchemical Defense Nodes has the following property:

  • You can stow up to three consumable alchemical items within this armor.

While you can stow items in it, there is no mention of retrieval, but also no mention of consumption, is the ability to retrieve implied?

I am also interested in the general case.

For reference, here are possibly relevant rules for retrieving/stowing items from Manipulating Objects in the Compendium's Glossary section:

Retrieve or Stow an Item

Action: Minor action.

Easily Accessible: A creature can use this action to retrieve an item from someplace on its own person, most commonly in a belt pouch or a backpack, or to stow an item in such a location.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In this case the question should probably be specifically about this armor as it's a special case where it is actually unclear if retrieval is possible. Most items specify the action type of both stowing and retreiving. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Aug 14 '12 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a note, I wouldn't be quite so clear to accept an answer. Usually it's good form to wait a day or so just to see if you get a better answer. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Aug 14 '12 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate the lesson in etiquette. That sounds very reasonable. Maybe someone disagrees with you! \$\endgroup\$ – user2525 Aug 14 '12 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ For reference, wizards.com/dndinsider/compendium/glossary.aspx?id=653 is the set of rules regarding manipulation of objects, including "stowing" \$\endgroup\$ – user2525 Aug 14 '12 at 18:26

The description of the item here is unclear. However we can make a couple of inferences that should lead us to the solutions:

  • There is no statement that the items cannot be removed. D&D 4e is an exception based rules system. If there is no rule that says you can't then you probably can.

  • There is no indication that the items are consumed, in fact they can be used for the same purpose over and over and do not have to be refreshed. Implying that the armor merely reflects their properties, not consumes their effectiveness

Based on these assumptions then I'd say that it's possible to remove an item from the armor. However, that leaves us with the question of what kind of action it would be to remove the item. Since inserting them does not seem to be a combat action, I'd rule that you can take any item out while you are not in combat. If you remove the item that is currently giving the armor it's resistance then you will break that resistance. If one were to make the case that it is a combat action (perhaps by describing the device that contains the nodes) then a standard action would be reasonable (same action as stowing/equipping a shield).

An argument could be made, that since drawing and stowing (the word specifically used here) are classified as minor actions, that they remain minor actions with this armor. I'm not completely sold on this logic, but it's certainly a viable argument.

However (because the rules here are unclear), whether you can remove an item, in or out of combat (and what the effects are when you do), is pretty much left up to the DM here. You should work with her to determine what kind of action it is or if it is even possible.


Looking at the definition of stow, I would be inclined to think that there are places within the armor you can keep items for easy access.

I would rule that you can keep 3 consumable items that are easily accessible during combat, and that you incur no penalty for retrieving these items during combat, rather than any penalty for storing the item in a backpack or other (relatively) inaccessible location

  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. Mostly because at least one of the items is imbuing the armor with a damage resistance. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Aug 14 '12 at 18:24

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