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Reading Robe of the Vagabond (Complete Champion 141) it says that the body slot is "torso".

In the Rules Compendium page 83 and the Dungeon Masters Guide page 214 it is written that armors and robes go on the body slot called "body". Thus only one can be worn.

Can I wear Robe of the Vagabond under armor or not? Which source should I follow?

I have ignored the answers to this question as it is 5e.

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Torso and body are separate slots, and you can wear torso items along with armor, e.g. a vest of resistance under +1 chain shirt or whatever. However, robes are defined as body-slot items in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, not torso-slot. In that book—which is the primary source on magic items—individual items don’t even list a slot per se. The robe of eyes on page 265, for example, doesn’t mention any slot at all. Instead, it’s a body-slot item just because it is a robe.

In later books, they started including slots in each item, just to be clear. Not a lot of people know what a “chasuble” is, for example, and even if one does, it’s not immediately clear what slot it should use (my first guess would have been body, but it’s actually throat, oddly enough). But the problem here is that we know what slot a “robe” is—the Dungeon Master’s Guide explicitly tells us that’s a body-slot item.

So now we have Dungeon Master’s Guide saying all robes are body-slot items, and Complete Champion describing a robe of the vagabond as a torso-slot item. The game does have rules for adjudicating discrepancies like this, saying you should go with the rule in the “primary source.” Which is (explicitly) the Dungeon Master’s Guide for magic items in general—if Complete Champion said robes in general were torso-slot items, we’d ignore it, because Dungeon Master’s Guide is primary for that. But Complete Champion is the primary source—the only source—for the robe of the vagabond. That is a conundrum.

It basically comes down to this: do you believe that Complete Champion was explicitly saying that this robe was special, and used the torso slot instead of the usual body slot? If so (and if the DM agrees), then yes, you can wear it with armor. If not, however, and you think this was just a mistake, you should ignore it and treat it as a body-slot item—and then you can’t wear it with armor. Considering that its text description makes no mention of this special property, I for one think it is most likely that this was just a mistake.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there no "specific beats general" rule (or even general guideline) in 3.5e? \$\endgroup\$
    – trlkly
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 12:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trlkly Of course there is. If robe of the vagabond says explicitly that this is a special robe that uses an unusual slot, there would be no issue with that under the rules. But here, there is nothing in the text about it, just the entry in the stat block (which are generally secondary, as there is a “text trumps table” rule, though of course there is no text here). That makes things less clear that this was meant as a special robe, and not just a mistake—which the errata rules back up by making the DMG the primary source on magic items in general. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan thank you as always for your prompt reply. Needless to say that the players in my campaing have an opposite view to your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Digius
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Digius For what it’s worth (more circumstantial evidence), the custom magic item guidelines suggest a value of 4,500 gp for an item that gives a +1 luck bonus to AC and saving throws, which is 50% more than the robe of the vagabond (and which I also consider to be too low, personally—non-resistance saving throw bonuses should are worth more than that). And that ignores its potential as a part of the garb of the vagabond set (which is probably fair to ignore, really). That discount suggests to me that it was kinda meant to have the big drawback of “you can’t wear armor.” \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ And for everyone else that doesn't know what a "Chasuble" is and doesn't want to go somewhere else it is "a sleeveless outer vestment worn by a Catholic or High Anglican priest when celebrating Mass, typically ornate and having a simple hole for the head." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 15:36

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