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The gaseous form spell's description has the following relevant text:

You transform a willing creature you touch, along with everything it's wearing and carrying, into a misty cloud for the duration. [...]

[...]

While in the form of a misty cloud, the target can't talk or manipulate objects, and any objects it was carrying or holding can't be dropped, used, or otherwise interacted with. The target can't attack or cast spells.

The first sentence of the spell description makes it clear that the affected creature's equipment is included in their new form, and the latter paragraph makes it clear that the creature cannot actively use equipment. However, it's unclear to me to what degree they benefit from their equipment's passive benefits.

Does a creature retain the benefits of equipment while affected by gaseous form?

  • As a mundane example, say that the creature had a suit of plate mail and a shield equipped – do they gain the AC benefits from both, only the armor, or neither?
  • What about if they have an active magical effect like the darkvision bonus from goggles of night? Can they still see in the dark while transformed?
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They get mundane but not magical benefits

Gaseous Form is quite clear that objects cannot be “used”. The rules for magic items are equally clear that “using” one means gaining the benefits of it.

Using a magic item's properties might mean wearing or wielding it.

This is different from, and a superset of, activating an item.

This is different from the rules on armor:

The armor (and shield) you wear determines your base Armor Class.

You only have to “wear” armor (and shield), you don’t have to “use” it.

Strictly speaking, the interaction between the general rule for armor and the specific rule for magic items means that you only get the non-magical benefits magical armor (and shield) while gaseous. That is, +2 plate mail gives you an AC of 18, not 20 while gaseous.

Now, if you don’t like that and want to allow ‘passive’ magical items to keep working, I’m not going to stop you. That is, you want change “use an object” in the spell description to “activate an object”.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The use of armour is as protective clothing, so is wearing not using it for its intended purpose? How does a cloud still count as wearing anything? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 13 at 7:38
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There are no goggles of night.

For the duration of the spell they are transformed into a misty cloud. As such there is nothing creating an effect anymore, and even if there was, you cannot "otherwise interact with it" which would include wearing, thinking about, wielding, activating or whatever else is required to get those benefits.

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