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Xanathar's Guide to Everything includes this fun magical armor variant, Cast-Off Armor, which can be doffed in a single action (see XGE p136):

You can doff this armor as an action.

This is generally simple to understand and use, until we get to Warforged (from Eberron: Rising from the Last War). Warforged have the interesting racial ability to integrate armor into themselves, as shown below:

Integrated Protection. Your body has built-in defensive layers, which can be enhanced with armor:

  • You gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class.
  • You can don only armor with which you have proficiency. To don armor, you must incorporate it into your body over the course of 1 hour, during which you remain in contact with the armor. To doff armor, you must spend 1 hour removing it. You can rest while donning or doffing armor in this way.
  • While you live, your armor can't be removed from your body against your will.

Assuming that a Warforged is proficient with a piece of Cast-Off Armor, are they able to use the Cast-Off ability to doff the armor in one action, thanks to it being a magical property of the armor? Or does their Integrated Protection render the magic of the Cast-Off Armor effectively moot?

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The specific beats general concept does not seem to help here. We have two specific rules that override the general rule: A warforged takes an hour to integrate or remove armor, and Cast-Off Armor can be doffed as an action.

As in many cases of conflicting special rules, the fallback position is simply to ask the DM how it's going to work at your table. There's no clear answer to the question, so it's going to be a judgement call.

Personally, I would have a magic item override a racial limitation like this, but another DM might feel that bolting armor to your body makes it impossible to remove quickly, even by magic, and they aren't wrong for ruling that way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One possibility is the DM could also rule that a warforged doffing the armor would do so in a proportionate amount of time. Normal PC wearing normal armor takes 10 rounds to doff light/med armor. With cast-off armor it takes a tenth of the time. So warforged could take a tenth of an hour. And 5 times faster for heavy armor. \$\endgroup\$ – Shane Aug 29 at 19:53
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I would argue that Warforged's Integrated Protection takes priority.

Armor normally takes a certain amount of time to don/doff. Magical armor that features the Cast-Off Armor feature is much quicker to doff, taking only an action. This represents armor that is about 1 to 5 minutes faster to doff than normal.

It is important to keep in mind that this timing pertains to wearing the armor normally. The Warforged has the ability to do something special with armor and integrate it into its body directly. This is a unique procedure that is wholly different from wearing the armor in the typical sense. As such, it is more involved and takes a lot longer to do.

Because of this, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison to say that the Cast-Off Armor's feature works for the Warforged in the same way that it does for non-construct creatures.

I personally don't think a Warforged would benefit from the Cast-Off feature because they are not using the armor in the way that the Cast-Off feature would typically provide benefit. A quick-release mechanism wouldn't be so quick-release if the armor is welded on.

Moreover, for context, it isn't unusual that magical items are unusable by characters because they are not the correct class, race, or alignment, etc. (For example: Dwarven Thrower can only be used by dwarves.) In the case of Warforged and Cast-Off Armor, just one feature is unusable on a set of armor that is otherwise of benefit.

Obviously, if a DM sees fit, they can rule in any way they want. Perhaps a Warforged can remove it with an action. Or perhaps it takes less time than the usual full hour to doff the Cast-Off Armor.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think whether you can quick-release welded-on armor depends on what you believe the cast-off mechanism is. It's a magic item, so while you could describe it as a series of quick-release straps and latches, it could equally be a magical effect that makes the armor briefly incorporeal so it passes through you and falls to the ground, or transforms the armor into a silvery liquid that flows off your body and reforms the armor at your feet, or teleports the armor three feet to the left without you. Magic isn't necessarily limited by the physicality of integration. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Aug 31 at 13:53
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You can doff the cast-off armor in one action.

Specific beats general. At first glance, it seems like they're both specific, and would normally be up to the DM.

But the specific racial trait refers to general armor. Since Cast-Off Armor is armor that was magically enhanced, it becomes more specific than general armor, and therefor overrules the racial stipulation.

And, for what it's worth, it makes sense that armor that magically phases through bodies or melts off or whatever, would be able to be, ah, un-incorporated from a warforged.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It seem to me that you could as easily argue that cast-off armor refers to all characters in general, while this one character in particular has a specific racial trait that overrides the usual effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Aug 28 at 21:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is definitely a case of two specific rules overriding each other, not one specific and one general. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Aug 28 at 21:08

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