I currently I am playing as a Draconic Sorcerer in our campaign. The group found the following items and I am the only one that can use them for their AC bonus abilities:

  • Bracers of Defense (DMG page 156)

    While wearing these bracers, you gain a +2 bonus to AC if you are wearing no armor and using no shield.

  • Black Dragon Mask

    Draconic Majesty. While you are wearing no armor, you can add your Charisma bonus to your Armor Class.

The DM says I can wear either one or the other since they would count each other as armor, and he will allow them to stack with Draconic Resilience which reads as follows (PHB page 102):

When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC equals 13 + your Dexterity modifier.

Since Draconic Resilience does not consider either as armor in order to stack, why should they identify each other as armor? Shouldn't the AC of both pieces count?


3 Answers 3


Technically, you can use both the mask and bracers, as well as the Draconic Resilience. The Resilience is just your 'armor' and everything else past that is magical effects, stacking like the AC on Haste or Shield of Faith would. But, if your DM wants you to only use the AC bonus of one, that's his call, but RAW you're good to go.

AceCalhoon said it better than I did here: Combining various AC-providing clothing and armor

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ That helps a lot. I can accept my DM ruling that way, just wanted to make sure that I understood the RAW aspect of it. Bonus points for the link :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Felslayer
    Dec 30, 2016 at 15:43

TL;DR: Yes, you should be able to get all these bonuses, provided you have the attunement slots available.

In general, you are only allowed one equation to calculate your AC. These equations might be:

  • 10 + Dex

  • Armor Base Value + Dex

  • Armor Base Value + Dex (Max of 2)

  • Armor Base Value

  • 13 + Dex

  • 10 + Dex + CON

  • 10 + Dex + WIS

You might have multiple of these, but can only use one to calculate your AC. A multi-classed Barbarian, Monk, Dragon Sorc could calculate their AC any of the following ways:

  • 10 + Dex (No Armor Bonus)

  • 13 + Dex (Draconic Resistance)

  • 10 + Dex + CON (Barbarian)

  • 10 + Dex + WIS (Monk)

You can also increase your AC by getting bonuses to your AC. They might come from:

  • Equipping a shield (+2 AC)

  • Wearing a magical item (+1 ring of protection, +1 cloak of protection, etc...)

  • Wearing an enchanted armor (+1 Plate Mail, +2 Studded Leather Armor, etc...)

  • taking a feat or class feature which increases your AC (fighting style, dual wielding, etc...)

You are allowed to add as many of these as you can equip. Standard equipping rules apply: You cannot wear more than one cloak, pair of boots, etc... You gain no benefit for wearing half of something (if you wear two magical gloves with different enchantments, you get no benefits from either). You cannot equip two of the same item (you can have a ring and cloak of protection, but not two rings)

While one might say that if you remove the boots or gloves or helmet from a suit of plate mail, it's no longer good, but normally, you are allowed to swap out peripheral parts (bracers, boots, etc...)

In your case, the bracers would not count as armor (there is no similar item on the armor table in the phb), so they could be used with your draconic resistance.

The mask, however, is a bit trickier. Adding an ability modifier is more along the lines of a new formula for calculating AC (AC = 10 + DEX + CHA) rather than getting a static bonus. However, the way it is worded makes it seem like a static bonus that changes only when your CHA changes.

Given that your new AC (assuming 14 DEX and 18 CHA) with everything equipped would be:

AC = 13 + DEX + CHA + Bracers

13 + 2 + 4 + 2 = 21

I personally would be inclined to make the mask and Draconic resistance mutually exclusive (the Dragon mask is another way to calculate AC). However, RAW, I think you can wear everything. Remember that this will take up two of your three attunement slots, so you will only be able to use one other magical item that requires attunement.

That being said, your DM has the right to make either ruling.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer, but there are a couple of things that should probably be cleared up of we are talking RAW (since as you rightly mention, the gm has final say on the rulings at the table): 1) there is no restriction on how many rings one can wear, with the exception of not being able to benefit from two of the same item (ie. One can't benefit from two "Rings of Protection"); and 2) a character actually has three Attunement slots, rather than the two implied at the end of your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrNattious
    Dec 30, 2016 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oops. That's what I get for going from memory and not double checking those things before posting... \$\endgroup\$
    – Shem
    Dec 30, 2016 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ No problem. Happens to everyone hey? :) \$\endgroup\$
    – MrNattious
    Dec 30, 2016 at 20:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Key word differences for the RAW: Draconic resistance is your AC equals... thereby setting it explicitly while BDM is ... add your charisma bonus to your AC. thereby modifying whatever the existing value is. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2016 at 23:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ If your first list is going for completeness, rather than examples, throw on Medium Armor Master feat's Armor Base Value + Dex (Max of 3). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 31, 2016 at 5:26

Draconic Resilience

Draconic Resilience offers an alternative way to calculate your base Armor Class. You may use either this method or the default method (10 + dex + armor), whichever gives you the higher benefit.

Other Bonuses

Neither the Bracers of Defense nor the Black Dragon Mask provide you with an armor score or alternative way of calculating your base AC. Both of them simply provide an untyped bonus to your AC, so they should stack.

That Pesky Reality

Unfortunately for you, the DM is the final arbiter of the rules. As such, it's his call whether or not they stack.

Fortunately, magic items are still rare and valuable (literally priceless) things, and can be traded for favors from your local Baron/Earl/Archmage.


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