A friend recently came up with a druid 5/fighter 1. He took the fighter level to allow himself to use heavy armor. He has a full stone plate and a wooden shield, and he uses Wild Shape to change into a dire tiger. Apparently, the armor and shield get absorbed into his new form, and stack with the dire tiger's natural armor to get him around 28 AC at lvl 6, with the ability to cast spells (with the natural spell feat).

Is this legal? I'm having a LOT of trouble imagining a druid in heavy armor and a shield, casting spells with no penalty whatsoever. I know druid can be broken with the natural spell feat, but this seems a bit too ridiculous to be legal.

This is standard Pathfinder with no 3rd party rules.


A quick search on Paizo's source reference document tells me that the Wild Shape class feature of the druid works just like the Transmutation spell Beast Shape.

Transmutation spells are described here and this is the relevant part:

When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function).

Unless some special feature like Wild lets him, your druid should not be gaining those bonus.
Wild armor is expensive (16000gp worth of enchanting) and I don't know how a 6th level character could buy it.

As @ZeDemonPyro makes me notice, that druid can't possibly turn into a dire tiger, because of the limitations in size and hit dice of the creatures a druid can wildshape into.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget that having armor and a shield also increases spell failure when in normal form \$\endgroup\$ – Ze Demon Pyro Feb 19 '14 at 15:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ZeDemonPyro I don't believe that applies to the Druid, as it's a divine spell caster. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 19 '14 at 15:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Noted. Also, the dire tiger is not legal. He's not high enough level to turn into something that big. \$\endgroup\$ – Ze Demon Pyro Feb 19 '14 at 17:51

A druid who wears prohibited armor or uses a prohibited shield is unable to cast druid spells or use any of her supernatural or spell-like class abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter. Copypasta from d20pfsrd.com

You would not get Shield bonus from a shield even if it has wild enchant on it but a Wild Heavy armor would be legal and useable in wildshape.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Wild: The wearer of a suit of armor or a shield with this ability preserves his armor bonus... while in a wild shape" (DMG 219). I'm certain the intent of that +3 bonus is to "preserve" the shield bonus, too, but, yeah, that's weird. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 23 '14 at 18:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hey Zixx, welcome to the site. Firstly, I believe neither the armor or the shield count as prohibited (one is stone, the other wood), so the point about losing spells is a bit moot. Second, when you have time, take a look at the tour! \$\endgroup\$ – kravaros Feb 23 '14 at 22:01

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