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I have a character with dragon wings and I would like to make a dramatic entrance with her in the game. Are there rules that specify whether wings can be hidden under a cloak? If so, where?

When I asked the DM he said he didn't know.

I'm also not sure if there are any restrictions to back items that would prevent wearing a cloak when you have wings.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please only use comments to clarify or improve the question. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 2 '15 at 19:35
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Sango Productions's answer provides sufficient RAW information. This answer is a bit more frivolous, and goes over the in-fiction reasoning our table used when this came up.

Bat Wings

We allowed bat-like wings to be concealed beneath cloaks (or even to be used as cloaks) on the basis that it looked pretty cool on Gargoyles:

Goliath in the rain, by vp1940
Source

In real life, bats have very flexible wings (but not as flexible as the gargoyle above). With dragon wings being modeled on bat wings, this seems like a reasonable example to use.

This little guy could pretty easily hide his wings under his cloak:

Bat with wings folded

Although with his wrists that high it would probably be clear that he was hiding something (hunched back, armored shoulder-pads, back mounted weaponry, etc.), or that he had a very thick cloak.

Bird Wings

For bird-like wings, it's worth noting that while the typical representation of bird wings are quite large while folded:

X-Men's Angel
Source

Actual birds can usually fold their wings quite close to their bodies, with their wrists not much higher than shoulder level:

Diving Cormorants
Source

DM Buy-in

Of course, this all pre-supposes that the DM is okay with it and just looking for a reasonable explanation. There are plenty of reasons that this may not hold true in any given campaign:

  • The DM feels that dragon wings are more muscular / less flexible than bat / bird wings.

  • The DM feels that the square-cube law should be in effect, resulting in crazy-huge wings for humanoids.

On Cloaks

Since there does appear to be a bit of a vocabulary mixup for this word, here's what I mean by a cloak:

Ned Stark in a cloak
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It is a subset of capes, designed to wrap entirely around the body when necessary.

It is distinct from a robe, in that it is open in the front and worn over other clothing.

It is distinct from a coat, in that it generally doesn't have sleeves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I approve for sake of completeness and examples given. \$\endgroup\$ – SangoProductions Apr 9 '15 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ You win. Sorry, other guy. Also, the main difference between bird wings and bat wings is that bird wings have 1 joint while bat wings have tons. That's why bird wings are so bulky. \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Apr 10 '15 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jean-LucNacifCoelho Not true, actually! Both birds and bats have an arm-like structure to their wings: Shoulder, elbow, wrist. Bats have very long, wide-spread "fingers," where birds have shorter ones. But birds make up for that difference with pinions. See this site for a comparison of the bone structure. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Apr 10 '15 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the main problem is humanized bird wings then. They don't bend like regular bird wings do. \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Apr 10 '15 at 13:23
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This is not something the rules declare, explicitly or implicitly. Trust me, I've tried looking through the rules for such a thing. This is a purely DM fiat thing. When I played a Winged Elf, my DM said that my wings' flexibility was based on Dexterity, and I could hide them under a robe at 16 Dex, and under clothes at 20.

EDIT: I was thinking robe, not cloak. Where I'm from they mean the same thing. I apologize. I don't think you could reasonably hide a 10 foot wing span (what winged elves have) behind a strip of cloth without it being obvious. Perhaps with much greater Dex?

EDIT AGAIN: OK, Robe and Cloak mean almost the same thing. God darn it! I was semi right then completely wrong. Erg! I just can never catch a break can I? Just you wait, they're going to change the definition on me.

However, no, it does not take up the back slot for having wings, by RAW. It's available to everyone, unless a specific rule where it describes the wings says otherwise (since specific > general).

There are rules on needing custom-made clothing and armor in order for it to fit properly (thus taking up to...50% more gp I believe it was), but that isn't really the question you're asking.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Mind that "cloak" doesn't mean strip of cloth either (that's "cape"). A cloak can be more voluminous than robes. The difference is that a cloak is over-clothing, and parts in the middle. Cloaks can vary from long cape-like things to all-covering cloaks that look indistinguishable from robes at a glance. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 2 '15 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ ah, ok. That makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – SangoProductions Apr 3 '15 at 0:41

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