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I am wondering what should, if any, be the side effects on a Druid if he were to choose (or be forced) to wear metallic armor.

For example:

  • Could such an armor prevent the Druid from casting his spells?
  • Would Wild Shape be prevented?
  • Would other special abilities be lost?
  • Would the Druid stop earning Experience Points?
  • Could it be that the Druid will be outcast by other Druids if they were to learn of the dreadful behavior?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Whether a metal helmet is considered metal armour is also a separate question, so I've removed that. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 28 '16 at 20:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ [Related] Can a druid wear Elven Chain? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 28 '16 at 20:51
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Let me reply to your question with a related question.

My cleric worships Pelor, the god of goodness, healing, and the sun. What happens if my cleric wakes up at midnight and decides to draw runes in demon blood on his forehead and sacrifice a goat to Asmodeus?

I think the answer to this question is pretty clear. According to the Rules As Written, nothing bad happens. There are no rules about this situation, so the ritual has no effect and there are no consequences for your cleric.

However, that doesn't actually mean nothing bad happens. Your cleric has offended Pelor, and it is the DM's responsibility to tell you what consequences your cleric will suffer. The lack of rules just means the DM has to make something up.

In the same way, if a druid is forced to wear metal armor, it is the DM's responsibility to tell you what consequences that brings. As Dale pointed out, there are no rules for this situation -- but that doesn't mean nothing bad happens, it just means the DM makes something up.

As for what the DM should make up: the DM might start by looking at previous editions of D&D, such as this quote from D&D 3.5: "A druid who wears prohibited armor or carries 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."

I would also propose that the druid's animal companion tries to prevent him from equipping the armor, and while the druid is wearing the armor the animal companion does not recognize the druid (it treats the druid as a stranger).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, it is great to know that there is some lore about this situation in at least some previous editions. I think that helps greatly. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke May 29 '16 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also consider adding that if your druid is multi-classing, they don't have to follow the rules of only one specific class. For example, a Sorcerer can cast spells, but if they're multi-classed Barbarian, they can't do it while Raging thanks to the penalty imposed. Wearing metal as a druid has no such penalty connected to it by the book. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli May 30 '16 at 4:04
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From page 65 of the PHB:

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields (druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal)

So, RAW a druid will never choose to wear metal armor or use metal shields, so the main thrust of the question is based on a flawed premise.

If a druid were forced to wear such items then, as soon as they were able, they would choose to remove them. In the meantime, there is no suggestion that they would suffer any disadvantages.

For example:

  • Could such an armor prevent the Druid from casting his spells?

In general, no. If it were heavy armor and the druid was not proficient then yes but this is true even if the armor is non-metal

Would Wild Shape be prevented?

No. Indeed, it would be one of the quickest ways for the druid to shed the offending items.

Would other special abilities be lost?

No

Would the Druid stop earning Experience Points?

No

Could it be that the Druid will be outcast by other Druids if they were to learn of the dreadful behavior?

I really can't speculate on how any given DM would handle any specific NPCs reactions.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What if the druid is multi-classed? For example, my Ranger has 3 levels of Druid, but wears chainmail because he's 17 levels of Ranger. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli May 30 '16 at 4:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli I think "druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal" is pretty clear - there is no subclause there saying "unless they are a multiclass ranger" \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M May 30 '16 at 4:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli Its not a question of proficiency - the druid is already proficient in medium armour, some of which are metal - its a question of this class doesn't do that. Can your Cleric 3/Ranger 17 stop worshiping a god because that is not a requirement for the ranger? \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M May 30 '16 at 4:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli, there is a question, If I multiclass from ranger into Druid, can I still wear metal armor?, which has an answer saying that once you become a Druid you would willingly lose the use of metallic armor... \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke May 30 '16 at 7:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli I think that's why they left it a bit open in the book, so that your DM can make the decision which makes most sense for their adventure and which will be the most fun. \$\endgroup\$ – deworde May 30 '16 at 9:31

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