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The second bullet of the Dragon Hide feat (XGtE, p. 74) gives a way to calculate AC:

While you aren’t wearing armor, you can calculate your AC as 13 + your Dexterity modifier.

Does this feature count as wearing armor for the purposes of the Monk features Unarmored Defense and Unarmored Movement?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take the tour when you get the chance. It's important to remember that there are thousands of RPGs out there; can you tell us which game and edition you're asking about? \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Mar 15, 2022 at 0:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve added the [dnd-5e] tag since you mentioned several 5th Edition features by name, as well as reorganized the question a bit. Is this correct? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2022 at 0:29

1 Answer 1

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The Dragon Hide feat does not count as wearing armor.

The second bullet of the Dragon Hide feat says:

  • While you aren’t wearing armor, you can calculate your AC as 13 + your Dexterity modifier.

If this counted as wearing armor, then it would turn itself off, since it only works when you are not wearing armor. Therefore, it does not interfere with the Monk’s Unarmored Movement feature, because it also says:

while you are not wearing armor…

Both of these features, Dragon Hide and Unarmored Movement, have the same prerequisite, so if one works the other works (shields notwithstanding).

However, the rules for Armor Class state:

Some spells and class features give you a different way to calculate your AC. If you have multiple features that give you different ways to calculate your AC, you choose which one to use.

So you cannot benefit from both Unarmored Defense and Dragon Hide, you must choose one to use for your Armor Class.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't disagree with this answer (I'm pretty sure it's correct), but I think the semantic conclusions are debatable. For example, you could say "You can don plate mail as long as you're not wearing armor". But that doesn't mean that you're still not wearing armor after donning it. Similarly, there could be spells having the prerequisite of not wearing armor already, that magically create armor around you that DO count as actual armor. Just my 2 cents... :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Opifex
    Mar 15, 2022 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Opifex You comparison is not parallel. "You can don plate mail as long as you're not wearing armor" means you are now wearing armor, and you cannot don a second set of plate armor. In fact, you must be wearing plate armor for it to function! The "while" used in both descriptions means that you must continue to not be wearing armor for the feature to function at all. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2022 at 15:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, you are only wearing armor after you don it. Not before. So indeed, the "not wearing armor" ends after the donning. The second example is a clearer parallel. Imagine a spell (similar to Mage armor, but not really. Using MA as an example would open up more debate) that surrounds you with magical armor. It would state that you can cast it while not wearing armor. However, once you have cast it the precondition is no longer true for other spells. (But once again: I did not disagree with the conclusion of your answer. It was correct.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Opifex
    Mar 15, 2022 at 15:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @justhalf We can get more technical here. "While" is being used as a conjunction here, having definition: "during the time that; at the same time as", indicating a continuous state of not wearing armor, given as a conditional antecedent to "you can calculate...". If calculating your AC with Dragon Hide then means you are wearing armor, then it is no longer "during the time that; at the same times as" you are not wearing armor. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2022 at 16:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @justhalf We can intuitively compare to how programming languages use while loops: while(condition){ execute(procedure) } then, if condition is ever false, execution is halted. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2022 at 16:04

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