I'm new to this, and I'm still looking for a group to play with, but I have it set in my mind that the first D&D character I'd like to play as is secretly animated armor.

Would this be possible and accepted? I've tried looking up information about animated armor but I can hardly find anything about it. I'm not talking about haunted armor, just enchanted armor with a will of its own.

Then if I'm allowed, how would I level my character?

In short these are my questions:

  • Am I allowed to play as Animated Armor?

  • And if "yes" how would I go about making such a character stronger?

I don't have any particular D&D edition to choose from yet, as I have yet to find a group, but let's just say the latest edition (5th) if we must pick one. But if this is more easily possible in a different edition, I would rather know that.

The only information I could find on Animated Armor is here.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Answerers: if you're considering answering with homebrewed material, remember that you need to include someone's experience with how well the homebrew works in practice. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5 '15 at 18:57

Answer for D&D 5th Edition

  1. Am I allowed to play as Animated Armor?
  2. And if "yes" how would I go about making such a character stronger?

Answer 1 to Question 1

You'll have to work with your DM, and perhaps consider a Warforged character.

There is no Player Character Class in the Players Handbook with the description of animated armor you called out, but the Warforged seem similar. During your discussion with your DM, explore how a Warforged character might fit your idea. This race is for the Ebberon setting, and is ported in from earlier editions of D&D (3.5e). Now that the Eberron: Rising From the Last War is published, it may fit better.

Warforged Traits {Germane to the question; other traits snipped for brevity}
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.
Constructed Resilience.
You have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and you have resistance to poison damage.
You don’t need to eat, drink, or breathe.
You are immune to disease.
You don’t need to sleep, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Integrated Protection. Your body has built-in defensive layers, which can be enhanced with armor:
You gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class.

This gives you a point of departure in your discussion with your DM, and could apply to any class in the Players Handbook. Keeping it a secret might not be possible, if you take that option.

Answer 2 to Question 1

Since you may be referring to a construct from the Monster Manual, Animated Object, (p. 19-20 of MM; p. 9 Basic Rules, DM) then you need to proceed as follows:

Discuss this in detail with your DM, since you wish to create a monster as a playable character. In all editions of D&D this can be fun, but it brings with it some risks of not fitting with the rest of your party, and balance issues run amok. In the DMG Chapter 9, the Dungeon Master's Workshop, some tools are available for you both to work with.

In order to "make it stronger" (I presume by that you mean gain capability as you progress in level) apply the same XP goals as other characters for levels 1 through 20, then agree on the special skills and traits that accrue as levels progress: you'll want to fit in special abilities at levels 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 14, 18, and maybe 20. (Or, drop one of the later ones, that may be a bit much ...)

By level six, your homebrew character should look something like the stats of "Animated Armor," which has six hit dice.

Animated Armor (Medium construct, unaligned)
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 33 (6d8 + 6)
Speed 25 ft.
Abilities: STR 14(+2) DEX 11(+0) CON 13(+1) INT 1(−5) WIS 3(−4) CHA 1(−5)
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius)
Passive Perception 6
Antimagic Susceptibility. The armor is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the armor must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.
False Appearance. While the armor remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal suit of armor.
Multiattack. The armor makes two melee attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

This suit of magically animated plate armor clamors as it moves, banging and grinding like the vengeful spirit of a fallen knight.

Conclusion: Stealth checks at disadvantage, if even allowed. Good luck keeping this a secret.


  • How much stronger can you make this? Look at all of the immunities. Perhaps look at resistances or saves with advantage.
  • How playable is this? Look at the penalties to Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma. During character creation, discuss with you DM how to adjust this to make the A.A. more playable.

These strengths and weaknesses need to be addressed before you make it into a playable race.

Working with your DM is critical for two reasons:

  • Retain balance within the DM's campaign
  • Your indication that you might want to keep this a secret, presumably from the other players.

Answer to Question 2

This answer depends on how you and your DM answer Question 1. Your decision on a Warforged character, or a playable suit of animated armor (monster/construct) as a PC will result in a homebrew character. Any homebrew (which can be great fun!) must (I repeat must) be compatible with:

  • your DM's campaign
  • your DM"s world
  • the players at your table

This takes us back to answer 1:
Work with your DM to see how you can fit this idea into his campaign.

Warning: if anyone succeeds in giving your character a heart, you may turn into a flesh and blood human being! Be wary of picking up the wrong magical axe, young girls with dogs, lions, and scarecrows. :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you've updated the answer to reference the E:RftLW version (which also appears in the most updated version of WGtE), you may want to remove the reference to the initial Eberron UA. Also, given that the final version of the warforged is non-free/non-SRD content, you should probably remove the extended quote of almost its entire set of racial traits, and quote only what's necessary/relevant to answer the question (i.e. which parts of it match what OP's looking for). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    May 10 '20 at 23:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Yeah, needs a clean up. Agree. \$\endgroup\$ May 10 '20 at 23:52

ANY edition?

Really Old Stuff: Ask your DM. This can't be done without homebrewing and a lot of work. Much of the rules are expected to be homebrewed, though, and it's expected the GMing will involving significantly more work making rules than in later editions.

AD&D 2e: Same as above, but with somewhat less cultural support.

3.0/3.5/Pathfinder: You can do this, but it will involve a lot of work putting various rules together. Probably some 3pp material somewhere that makes it easier.

4: Yep! You can totally do this, because fluff doesn't matter and you are explicitly allowed to change it in 4e. Note that environmental interactions will be wonky cause the game will still think you are a human/elf/other race you reskinned, unless you pick a reasonable base race (like Warforged) and/or take powers that make your character work.

5th: Kinda like AD&D 2e, but with Warforged.

Note that sentient animated non-undead armor exists/can exist easily in all editions, but usually only as an item/enemy/ally and not as a PC. In many editions the rules for PCs are so radically different from those for 'monsters' that converting a monster to a PC race is very difficult to do well.

How you level up is basically non-answerable, because we don't even know what edition you are playing yet.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. Given how wide open the question was, this is answer covers a lot of ground with not too many words. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6 '15 at 1:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ A link to this question in the 3.PF paragraph would not be amiss. Perhaps on the words "a lot of work putting various rules together", as it does show how much it is. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6 '15 at 2:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ For 4E, you can get around most of the wonkiness by being a Warforged, which is basically a golem. Sounds like you can do that in 5E as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Aug 6 '15 at 19:59

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