Item familiar says it can be applied to any magical item (including weapons and armor as it shows examples of both) with a minimum +1 Enhancement and a magical effects the user understand ds and can use.

Would I be able to designate my warforged composite plating as the item familiar provided it meets the conditions magically?

I've seen two sides to this.

Some say no as it's a racial feature/feat others say yes as it's still considered armor since it takes up that slot permanantly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can someone add a system and edition tag to this question please? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Jun 26, 2016 at 8:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wibbs The feat Item Familiar (UA 170) is, I think, unique to D&D 3.5. Combined with the accepted answer, I think that tag's accurate. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2016 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


Strictly speaking, the rules say that composite plating can be treated as an armor item for the following purposes only:

  • Taking up an equipment slot

  • Magical enhancement

  • Class abilities that allow arcane spell failure to be ignored in light armor

So as far as the rules are concerned, composite plating is not an item, it just behaves like one for these very specific situations. Being designated an item familiar is not one of these.

On the other hand, it is unlikely that the authors of Eberron Campaign Setting were considering a variant from Unearthed Arcana when writing the warforged,1 and it’s absolutely certain that the authors of Unearthed Arcana did not consider the warforged when writing item familiars.2 Thus, the absence of a rule here is unsurprising, and suggests that there conceivably should be one.

Personally, I dislike the item familiar rules wholesale; the investing mechanics are clunky and (often) they put the DM in an unreasonable position since they allow a character to do things they could not ordinarily do at their level.3 This is “balanced” by the risk of losing the item—because if that happens, the things invested in the item are forever lost to that character. This is a bad situation all around, and is kind of a lose-lose for the DM: either he leaves the item alone, and the character is overpowered, or he takes it away, and the character is underpowered. Neither is great, and either can cause strife at the table.4

So I do not allow the item familiar rules at my table. Would I allow a warforged to designate their composite plating if I did allow item familiars? I’m inclined to say yes. Composite plating is often seen as a drawback,5 and frankly, the fact that the composite plating isn’t going to be separated from the warforged ever makes the item familiar rules a little more predictable, at least. But a DM who feels that risk is important might see it as a very good reason to not allow it, as the risk is nullified.

  1. And even if they considered it, it’s quite likely that any text relating to a variant would not make it through editing anyway.

  2. Since warforged did not yet exist.

  3. Most notably achieve very-high skill checks.

  4. E.g. if the item is left alone, he may have other players objecting to a character being more powerful than he should be, but if he takes it away, then he has that player complaining that his character is less powerful than he should be. Or even if the player is mature enough to accept that he gambled and lost, there could still easily be a negative impact on his enjoyment of the game, which is still not good.

  5. It’s free, but it prevents you from simply buying better armor—you have to burn a feat to improve your armor, and that’s a lot more expensive than any of the mundane armors in the game. In a campaign that will never leave low levels, though, it can be an advantage as you can have Adamantine Body at 1st, while adamantine full plate is not affordable until 6th and not reasonable until 8th.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright that answers that lol. I read somewhere about warforged components. I'm trying to find the info on the but I'm only coming up with a couple and none of the list I find have all the things the other list have. Any idea where I can find an extensive list or perhaps a min max board warforged handbook? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Jun 25, 2016 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zakier I don’t know of any such list or handbook, unfortunately. It would be useful. Minmaxboards.com is probably your best bet for finding something like that, though Giant in the Playground’s 3.5 board is also possible. Or it might be on one of the places that archived threds from Wizards’ forums (which they deleted), like ENworld. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 25, 2016 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I showed my DM your answer here and he has agreed to allow it for my warforged d composite playing because as he says it be magically enhanced. He's requiring me to meet the requirements before taking it and treating it as a warforged component :) thank you for all the insight \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Jun 27, 2016 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ eberron.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_warforged_components \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Jul 1, 2016 at 19:09

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