Does Mage Armor counts as armor in the sense of Monk's Martial Arts or Unarmored Movement requirements? Both features require you to not be wearing armor. (I already know that Mage Armor and Unarmored Defense do not stack but this is a different situation.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ It really shouldn't - mage armor is a "magical force" that adds zero encumbrance, while at least for a monk's unarmoured defense, we're told in flavour text that it's due to their reflexes/intuition. Therefore, a magical force should have no effect on the monk's ability to use wisdom/insight to increase their AC... it actually used to be this way in 3.5, a lot was nerfed to "balance" the game: web.archive.org/web/20040603034824/http://www.wizards.com/… \$\endgroup\$
    – ifiht
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


Unarmored movement says

... your speed increases by 10 feet while not wearing armor

Martial Arts says

... you gain the following benifits while you are unarmored ...

Mage Armor says

... a protective magical force surrounds it until the spell ends ... ends if the target dons armor or ...

This spell does not give you armor—it gives you a protective magical force—so it has no effect on these abilities.

Note that it does not stack with unarmored defence—you get whichever is better.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd suggest you to clarify in your answer why it does not stack by referencing the last paragraph of the "Armor Class" section in page 14 of the Player's Handbook. \$\endgroup\$
    – GonArrivi
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 16:20

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