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Can a druid be using them while wild-shaped if they had them before they wild-shaped? I'm not sure exactly what the ruling is and I'm being asked by my players.

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The Wild Shape description says:

You choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges into your new form, or is worn by it. Worn equipment functions as normal, but the DM decides whether it is practical for the new form to wear a piece of equipment, based on the creature’s shape and size. Your equipment doesn’t change size or shape to match the new form, and any equipment that the new form can’t wear must either fall to the ground or merge with it. Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form.

Key points:

  • They always have the option of merging gear into the wild shape form. If they do this, they gain no benefit from the gear.
  • They may have the option to wear the gear in wild shape form, but it is up to the DM whether this works given the particular form and the specific gear. If you allow this, they continue to gain the benefits.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd add that most objective way is the anatomy. Specifically for a headband, similar shape and size of the head should be required, because without vertical forehead, or with ears on the top, it's hard to keep it on. And for gauntlets, something like hands should be there, you won't put them on wings. Hardly any animal has all qualities required for various items, so there's little risk of abuse. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 10:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ i don't see why equipement that merges into you would stop functioning. this is just a transmutation effect, it does not suppress the gear. sure, you can't use the attack action of your weapon while it's merged with you, but you technically wear your gear while it's merged into your body. wearing equipement probably is more important if you shape into something like a monkey, who COULD wear armor and use a crossbow \$\endgroup\$
    – clockw0rk
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 11:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ "While transformed, druids use the beast’s hit points, hit dice, Strength ability score, Dexterity ability score, Armor Class, movement speed, senses, attacks, and other features." so the new form overrides the statistics, but magical effects aren't suppressed, like enlarge or enhance ability. why would a gauntlets effect be suppressed? \$\endgroup\$
    – clockw0rk
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 11:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @clockw0rk the equipment stops functioning because the description of wildshape explicitly states this: "Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form" \$\endgroup\$
    – AnnaAG
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @clockw0rk: Even if gauntlets kept working, they'd be boosting the strength of your humanoid form, which is replaced with the beast's strength. For a circlet of intellect, that would still be useful since you keep your mental stats, but the rule specifically states that equipment doesn't work while merged. Pretty hard to twist the wording into a way that lets even a passive effect on your humanoid form keep working. Hmm, if you had a similar item for Con, would your humanoid form lose HP maybe down to 0 if you shifted and it stopped working? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 17:37

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