Wild: The wearer of a suit of armor or a shield with this ability preserves his armor bonus (and any enhancement bonus) while in a wild shape. Armor and shields with this ability usually appear to be covered in leaf patterns. While the wearer is in a wild shape, the armor cannot be seen.

Let's say that my Druid has +1 Wild Hide Armor.
While in human form, obviously, I have an Armor Check Penalty of -3 and a Max Dex Bonus of +3.
And while Wild-Shaped, obviously, I retain the Armor Bonus of +5 from the armor. But while Wild-Shaped, do I keep the penalties, or are they suppressed?

I've seen a few disagreeing speculative answers on this; official references preferred.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A common house rule is that the armor and shield special ability wild when applied to a shield permits the shield to grant its shield bonus (and any enhancement bonus) while the wearer's in wild shape. Technically, the armor and shield special ability wild does nothing when applied to a shield except increase its price. (It didn't do anything in D&D 3.5, either.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 17 '14 at 14:21

You've already quoted the relevant reference:

The wearer of a suit of armor or a shield with this ability preserves his armor bonus (and any enhancement bonus) while in a wild shape.

That's all it does, by RAW. Armor check penalties are not listed, and the rule doesn't say "the armor works normally", so those penalties are treated how they are normally treated while in Wild Shape (they go away).

I've seen people house rule those penalties back in so Druids don't wear Dragonhide Full Plate and avoid the penalties for lack of proficiency by being in Wild Shape all the time.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Wild Armor does not make them come back. Interestingly enough, a point can be made about Armor Check Penalties and Max Dex not vanishing when using Wild Shape in the first place. Polymorph subschool: "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)." If you rule that "bonuses" in this context includes ACP and MDex, they stay. But typing this, I realize that it is a stretch, and I would argue against anyone who did so. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Jul 17 '14 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ One could theoretically also interpret the additional phrase "the armor cannot be seen" as implying that the armor has a physical-yet-invisible presence which would mean that its other properties apply. This is really the root of the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jul 17 '14 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Josh I don't think so. The armor can't be seen because in Polymorph/Wild Shape, the armor melds into the new form and isn't visible. Normally that means the armor isn't functional and does nothing. The Wild property brings back it's armor and enhancement bonuses, but not the other effects. I don't see a reading that works the way you describe. \$\endgroup\$ – Tridus Jul 17 '14 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right.. but that phrase is either fluff (because it's not saying anything that isn't already true about wild-shape-absorbed armor), or it's significant (because it's explicitly stated when otherwise unnecessary). That's where the potential disagreement lies which inspired this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jul 17 '14 at 15:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Josh Could be, yes. I've always read it as fluff, as it's just saying what's already true. A rule that makes the armor penalties come into force that doesn't say that (while it does explicitly say some benefits do) doesn't make a lot of sense to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Tridus Jul 17 '14 at 15:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.