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There does not seem to be much about helmets as far as armor class or items PCs can purchase. However, once in a while the adventurers will stumble on a really nice helmet, possibly magical... and the Druid may want to wear it (maybe it offers a +1 to AC.)

I'm not sure if helmets count as armor since they don't appear in the table of armor items. Would a Druid ever willingly wear a helmet made of metal? Are helmets considered part of the armor?

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According to a dictionary:

Armor, noun

  1. any covering worn as a defense against weapons.
  2. a suit of armor.
  3. a metallic sheathing or protective covering, especially metal plates, used on warships, armored vehicles, airplanes, and fortifications.
  4. mechanized units of military forces, as armored divisions.
  5. Also called armament. any protective covering, as on certain animals, insects, or plants.
  6. any quality, characteristic, situation, or thing that serves as protection: A chilling courtesy was his only armor.
  7. the outer, protective wrapping of metal, usually fine, braided steel wires, on a cable.

As you can read the first definition, a helmet is armor.

If you are still unsure, the description of Plate might be helpful:

Plate. Plate consists of shaped, interlocking metal plates to cover the entire body. A suit of plate includes gauntlets, heavy leather boots, a visored helmet, and thick layers of padding underneath the armor. Buckles and straps distribute the weight over the body.

All of the mentioned pieces make the suit of armor, and every piece is armor itself.

According to page 65 of Player's Handbook: Druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal.

Furthermore, accordingly to an email from Wizards:

Thanks for contacting Wizards of the Coast Game Support.

In general, no, a Druid will not wear any metal accessories or equipment. As with all rules in Dungeons & Dragons, this is not set in stone and you may work with your Dungeon Master in order to find a satisfying compromise. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again. Good luck and have fun!

This means:

A druid will not wear a metal helmet

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that Plate armor also includes gauntlets and boots. Does this also preclude a druid from wearing Gauntlets of Ogre Power made of metal, or Boots of Striding and Springing made of metal? It's important to consider, even if it's the official position of WotC, how much this ruling disadvantages druids and whether or not that disadvantage is reasonable. Also, the email response you received specifies any metal accessories or equipment, which presumably includes rings, amulets, weapons, and even belt buckles. That goes far beyond the original rule. \$\endgroup\$ – Dyndrilliac May 31 '16 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dyndrilliac the last erratawas published in may. I guess we will have to wait a little, until another one shows up. Unless the Game Master is really mean, they could get creative and make such helmets, rings, amulets, bracers, gauntlets from different materials like hardened leather, clay, stone, wood etc. There are countless solutions. \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama May 31 '16 at 12:58
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RAW-a helmet by itself is not armor in game terms. It doesn't appear on the armor list, and a helmet itself provides no change to a characters AC.

Extrapolated from text and from the common understanding of helmet-A helmet is traditionally a piece of armor, and Druids don't encase their bodies in metal armor.

I would rule that any metallic piece of clothing whose design looks like armor, smells like armor and quacks like armor is armor. It should qualify as armor for the purposes of the druid's restriction. Anything else just feels like meta gaming. The restriction is not just a mechanic, but something the character class itself is aware of in-game. They do not willingly do it. A character claiming that he could do it (as opposed to a player making the claim) should require a reason from the character's point of view. The character can't point to the list in the PHB, so if the character wants to violate the restriction, he should have to use an in-game line of reasoning. There is no reasonable in-game rationale for not calling a helmet armor.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for requiring the character to come up with a compelling reason to use a metal helmet, as opposed to the player. \$\endgroup\$ – Dyndrilliac May 30 '16 at 9:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ By your definition, then, are magical helms that don't confer an AC bonus armour? Does a helm of teleportation "quack like armour"? \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher May 30 '16 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Christopher Yes, since it is not "hat" or "cap" of teleportation, but "helm". A helm is traditionally a piece of armor. IDHMBIFOM, so I don't know if there's anything in the description of the magic item that predisposes it to be made of metal, so a DM who wanted his Druid PC to have such an item could easily make one of wood or bone. But yes, and mainly because I want to be perhaps the first person to type this in the English language, "a helm quacks like armor." :) \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis May 30 '16 at 16:02
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Armour is a specifically defined mechanic. The list of what is considered armour can be found on PH pages 144–145.

Plate armour includes a helm, but none of the other armours list a helmet as part of the garb.

Because druids are only restricted in the armour they wear (per PH65), they can wear magical hats, helms1, circlets, tiaras, and any other piece of headwear that is made of metal.

Your Questions

Would a Druid ever want to wear a helmet if it is made of metal?

Yes, there are several magical wondrous items (not armour) that fit on the head that are made of metal.

Are helmets considered part of the armor?

Only with plate armour, where it's specifically called out that it includes a helmet. No other metal armour is noted to include a helm.


1Helms that are not part of plate armour. For example the helm of telepathy & helm of teleportation. They are all categorized as wondrous items, not armour.

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As far as I can tell, the rules are silent on whether a helmet alone is considered "armor".

That means that this is a case where the DM has to exercise common sense. It could be argued that the intention of the rule is that Druids do not want to wear metal at all. That would include helmets.

That said, I assume that there is some mechanical consideration in there as well. Perhaps they worked out that a balance problem would be created if Druids were allowed to wear mail and plate. What that problem might be I have no idea, but the 5e designers knew what they were doing. Magic item helmets would not mess with this balancing issue, so you could allow them on those grounds.

Also, if Druids can't stand metal, why do they wield metal weapons, or wear metal rings and amulets.

Unfortunately, I don't think this question can be answered by the rules. Ultimately therefore, this is up to the DM.

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