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Full disclosure, this is a silly question. You may elect not to take it seriously.

Warforged have the following traits worth of note:

You have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and you have resistance to poison damage.

You don't need to eat, drink, or breathe.

Although they do not need to breathe, it is somewhat unclear as to whether they can (whether they have lungs). Perhaps so, due to being able to speak (unless their vocal chords don't require the passage of air to function); perhaps not, due to the fact they are only resistant to poison, and we know that the Last War in Eberron involved a lot of deadly gases being used, leading to believe that perhaps Warforged have been conceived specifically without a breathing function in order not to die from gases.

Now, Ventilating Lungs have the following features worth of note:

When you attune to these lungs, they replace the lungs in your chest, which disappear.

If your attunement to the lungs ends, your original lungs reappear.

If Warforged do, in fact, have lungs, then everything works as per normal. But if Warforged don't have lungs, and one of them somehow decides to attune to Ventilating Lungs, what happens? And then, what happens if they deattune?

It is somewhat humorous, in this situation, to imagine a lungless Warforged, attuning then deattuning to the magic item, and suddenly getting a pair of real lungs from nowhere! Although in reality, that's probably not how it works.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is almost purely theoretical, right? Because warforged seems to already have most of the benefits lungs could provide? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    May 26, 2021 at 7:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara The question is asking whether warforged have lungs, so I'd say it's better to leave the consequences either way to an answer, no? \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    May 26, 2021 at 11:49

2 Answers 2

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DM's Decision

I don't think a definitive yes or no can be given for this question.

The rules obviously can't cover every aspect of anatomy for the various creatures and monsters. Do elves have a pancreas? Perhaps not. Maybe they have something else that performs the role and also grants them their increased longevity!

For us mere humans, we also need lungs to push air through our mouths so we can speak. Warforged may not need lungs to breathe, but perhaps they have an equivalent organ that moves air and allows them to speak? Or maybe they don't and their speech is simply magically generated.

Ultimately, your DM will have to decide whether warforged have a suitable organ that the Ventilating Lungs can replace or whether the Ventilating Lungs could even be attuned by a warforged.

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Since warforged don't need to breathe, they presumably don't have lungs. While warforged are not entirely designed beings, there's no reason to assume they'd have completely unnecessary, nonfunctional organs.

However, if a DM wanted to let a warforged to implant a set of Ventilating Lungs despite their lack of original lungs, I can't see any particular problems or balance issues with allowing it. This would allow the warforged to use the gust of wind effect of the lungs, and I suppose they would gain advantage on saves against any gaseous attacks that don't cause the poisoned condition, such as metallic dragons' alternate breath weapons or a gorgon's breath weapon, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense to become more resilient by gaining lungs you didn't have before.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Breathing is not the only purpose that lungs serve—human speech, at least, also requires them. Speakers are simpler and avoid the need to draw air in, store it, and later push it out, but it is not at all clear that Eberron’s understanding of acoustics is sufficient to justify making those instead of lungs. Usually most initial attempts try to mimic life and only later refinements remove aspects that are unnecessary in the artificial. So your opening paragraph seems a little strong. Warforged might not have lungs for the reasons you mention, but we don’t know that. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 26, 2021 at 20:40

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