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DM is saying that the armor my Warforged is "wearing" can be removed using magic spells. My question is, what spells would remove armor and would they remove the armor on a warforged with integrated protection?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi and welcome! Good first question, please do have a look at the tour and help center while you're here! \$\endgroup\$ – AncientSwordRage Apr 16 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any idea what kind of spells we're talking about here? I'm not aware of any spells as-such that can forcibly remove armor from a plain old human fighter, even without integrated protection, so it seems like a strange statement to make. Are we talking about those gear-stealing teleporters in the Tomb of Horrors, sort of thing? \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Apr 16 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does my answer solve your problem well enough for a green check? \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Apr 19 at 16:32
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Your armor can only be removed if you are dead.

Integrated Protection states:

While you live, the armor incorporated into your body can’t be removed against your will.

This is not ambiguous. The armor cannot be removed against your will, unless you are dead.

D&D 5e has a specific beats general rule:

This compendium contains rules that govern how the game plays. That said, many racial traits, class features, spells, magic items, monster abilities, and other game elements break the general rules in some way, creating an exception to how the rest of the game works. Remember this: If a specific rule contradicts a general rule, the specific rule wins.

For a feature, such as a spell or monster effect, to be able to remove a warfored's armor, it would have to explicitly create an exception to the Integrated Protection feature. No such features exist.

The spell feign death might work, but it's complicated.

There is a case to be made for the spell feign death creating a loop hole here. Feign death states:

You touch a willing creature and put it into a cataleptic state that is indistinguishable from death.

For the spell’s duration, or until you use an action to touch the target and dismiss the spell, the target appears dead to all outward inspection and to spells used to determine the target’s status.

One could argue that being in a state that is indistinguishable from death implies that I should not be able to determine you are alive by being unable to remove your armor.

But even if this is the case, the creature must willingly submit to the effect of feign death, so it probably couldn't be used by a hostile creature to remove a warforged's armor without significant deception.

This does raise the question, "can an unconscious creature be willing or unwilling?" Rather than rehash the discussion here, I'll call "up to the DM" and direct you to these Q&As for further guidance:

So this comes down to choosing which feature to make weaker. Do you make Integrated Protection susceptible to feign death, or do you make feign death not as good for warforged? Discuss this with your DM if you anticipate these features ever interacting.

Warforged aren't magic anyway, so effects and spells that stop magic wouldn't work anyway.

The Sage Advice Compendium contains detailed guidance for determining if a feature is magical:

Determining whether a game feature is magical is straightforward. Ask yourself these questions about the feature:

  • Is it a magic item? [No]
  • Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description? [No]
  • Is it a spell attack? [No]
  • Is it fueled by the use of spell slots? [No]
  • Does its description say it’s magical? [No]

On the last point, nowhere in the race description of warforged found in Eberron: Rising from the Last War is it stated that warforged are inherently magical.

So a spell or effect such as the one created by antimagic field would not bypass Integrated Protection, because Integrated Protection isn't magical. It's just good mechanical construction.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Does 5e have the rule where effects that target the “willing” can also target unconscious characters? That could be an issue for this in, say, 3.5e (which has such a rule). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 16 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan That's up for debate: Can unconscious characters be willing?, Can unconscious characters be unwilling? \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Apr 16 at 16:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ What about the spells Bigby's hand, chain lightning, control water, fire bolt, melf's acid arrow, mordekain's sword, scorching ray, storm of vengeance, and disintegrate? \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Powell Apr 16 at 18:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JustinPowell Those spells only help remove a warforged's armor if they make the warforged dead. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Apr 16 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JustinPowell Those spells can't even remove a human fighter's armor, never mind a warforged. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Apr 16 at 19:47
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The armor can't be removed against your will.

The rules are pretty clear that nothing can remove the armor unless you allow it. When you integrate armor, you "incorporate it into your body". It's not just gear anymore, it's a part of you, as much as your arm or leg.

However, there are no spells in the book that can remove armor from anyone, Warforged or not. The only things I can think of that might do that are a few unique magical effects that I wouldn't classify as spells.

As an example, in the Tomb of Horrors, there is a famous teleporter trap that moves the character to one room and all their equipment to another room. My reading of the Integrated Protection ability would be that the armor stays with the Warforged in that case -- the Warforged has a racial ability that specifically says their armor can't be removed, and since it's literally part of their body, taking it out would be tantamount to having the teleporter remove your hand.

Some spells can still probably destroy armor.

Armor can, in theory, be damaged or destroyed by certain spells that can target objects but don't specifically say "objects that are not being worn or carried". Some examples are chain lightning, fire bolt, and disintegrate. Integrated Protection doesn't change that; while the armor can't be removed against your will, it can still be damaged.

It's very much up to the DM to determine how that will work, though. For example, disintegrate says it can automatically disintegrate an object, but from the context it seems like it's talking about things like doors and walls rather than a piece of equipment on a creature, and it would be up to the DM to determine how that should function if targeting a creature's armor. It seems absurd that shooting a creature would allow a dexterity save, while shooting the armor the creature is wearing somehow doesn't, and somehow counts as a different thing than shooting the creature itself.

That said, outside of the unique case of disintegrate, any spell attack that wrecks the armor you're wearing still doesn't remove the armor. If the armor becomes non-functional due to damage, some or all of the pieces are still attached to you (or being worn, in the case of a non-warforged) in the same way that you can be holding the broken end of a destroyed sword, and potentially use it to cut a very important ring off some evil lord's hand.

The DM can make up any rules or effects they want to.

All of this said, the DM can pretty much do whatever they want to. They shouldn't just override this racial trait, but they can -- in the same way that a DM could just decide to rule that an Elf isn't immune to this one specific sleep effect even though their Fey Ancestry says they are. If your DM decides his custom armor stealing spell can steal your armor, then he's correct, it can. He shouldn't do that, but it's technically within his purview.

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