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Can Wizards Wear Light Armor

author
Elaine Sutton
• Wednesday, 04 November, 2020
• 10 min read

\$\begin group\I've just read the D&D 5e basic rules, and I'm not sure I'm up to speed regarding casting spells while clad in armor. Because of the mental focus and precise gestures required for spell casting, you must be proficient with the armor you are wearing to cast a spell.

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Contents

Does this mean that a character who starts out with a single level fighter (or any other class with heavy armor proficiency) can from then on gain levels as wizard and forever more cast spells, without any penalty whatsoever, while wearing full plate? For example, Diatonic Sorcerers get permanent Mage Armor for free at 1st level, which provides 13 + Dexterity Modifier AC.

If you take a mage with high Dexterity, then it only gets worse as the armor gets heavier. In addition, any mundane armor heavier than 20 pounds will give you Disadvantage on Stealth checks, and truly heavy armor won't let you apply your Dexterity Modifier at all.

Furthermore, the only spell casters who have access to meta magic (which, aside from magic gear, was the primary way ASF was mitigated) are Sorcerers, which is also the class that needs heavy armor the least. Magic gear is much harder to come by now, so the likelihood of you finding a magic suit of armor made to be light and maneuverable is much more remote, thus removing yet another way of mitigating ASF.

It is not unbalanced because the there are many ways to increase the AC of a Wizard, from Mage Armor to bracers of defense etc. Of course, you'd be better off taking 1 level of war domain cleric, but the cost of dipping in regard to stat improvements or feats is still there.

It's not a departure from D&D tradition, because in all versions, if you picked the right combinations you could negate the arcane spell failures for all intents and purposes. The only people who missed out were those who lacked the system mastery to create the character concept.

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On the other hand, the generic wizard always had a hard time casting spells in various types of armor, and in this edition is not merely difficult, but impossible to do so unless you choose the correct rule combinations, which allows you to do so. The PUB states in the class entries that wizards and sorcerers do not start the game with armor proficiencies. On page 144 it says this “if you wear armor that you lack proficiency in.

5e Wizards /Sorcerers and Armor Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 10:26:40 pm » And when this first became apparent, there were about a thousand posts on En world and RPG net screaming that the whole game was broken because of it.

And when this first became apparent, there were about a thousand posts on En world and RPG net screaming that the whole game was broken because of it. All I can say is that none of my players were interested in playing a dwarf wizard, so I can 't give you input one way or the other.

5e Wizards /Sorcerers and Armor Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 11:21:40 pm » You know I am quite happy that normal equipment now plays a higher note than magical items.

I love the fact I can complete an adventure with normal weapons and armor even at high level. At 3rd, 4th, and Pathfinder it would be laughable to bring in a mastery crafted sword into a battle pass level 5.

If your having tier problems I feel bad for you son I got 99 problems but caster supremacy ain't 1. Apology's if there is no punctuation in the above post it's probably my autism making me forget. He cannier medium armor and cast spells, and wields a war hammer.

When asked why he wears so much armor, his response would be “potion miscibility” or “blow back” or “exothermic reactions” or something similar. I've been using a warlock that I've been toying with the idea of multi classing to get an armor proficiency.

The group I am DMing for has a dwarves wizard and he's up to plate now I believe without dragging out the notes. If he is not, he will be eventually I suspect if he opts to blow a feat on upgrading his armor range. As for myself.

My current warlock with shield is sticking to medium armor and I do not have any plans to upgrade further as it does not fit how I envisioned the character going. Yeah, there are all sorts of possible combinations anything from multi classing into one of the martial classes for a level or two to just going with an Eldritch Knight or Bard with a feat to the obvious (Mountain Dwarf) or even get even chain somehow. Either way it's appropriate for a Mountain Dwarf to be able to cast spells in heavy armor.

It might be interesting to mix a paladin with a warlock or sorcerer if you don't mind that it won't be all that optimal. I thought the whole Can 't cast spells in armor thing was stupid anyway.

Any Wizard PC can take a feat to be able to wear armor whilst casting spells. And I think that being able to take a feat to cast in armor is a good thing. I was referring to earlier editions of DnD and casters not being able to wear armor.

Wizards gain immense magical power through years of study, which is great, but very boring. Artificers are a decent choice, with spells that are cast using Intelligence and proficiencies in light and medium armor and shields.

You also gain Infusions at 2nd level, including a +1 arcane focus and +1 armor. If you want to take three levels in the class, the Artillery subclass gives you a good use of a bonus action with the Eldritch Cannon.

Bards get Bardic Inspiration, which is a very powerful ability even if you don’t upgrade it. Any abilities that boost different skills can probably be replaced by utility spells that fulfill similar roles.

Cleric subclasses are great, especially those that grant heavy armor proficiencies. The Circle of the Land subclass gives you some always-prepared spells at 2nd level, some of which are very useful to have on hand.

Low levels of Wild Shape isn’t that great if you have a familiar. 1st level gives proficiencies in light and medium armor and shields, along with a little of healing (which goes a long way for a wizard).

Two levels gives Action Surge, which allows a wizard to take one very good turn per short rest. Proficiencies in light and medium armor and shields are great for wizards.

At 2nd level, the Defense fighting style gives you added AC, and Divine Smite lets you use your high-level spell slots to deal a lot of damage. However, applying to smite damage relies on hitting someone with a weapon, and wizards have a lot better things to do with high-level spell slots.

While sorcerers don’t get armor proficiencies, Diatonic Bloodline will boost your AC a little, Divine Soul will help you succeed against saving throws, and Storm Sorcery will help you stay away from enemies. There’s not a lot of things that warlocks give to wizards that other classes don’t, but it can be interesting for role playing purposes.

Hex blade warlocks get proficiency with medium armor and shields, which is good for wizards. Strictly speaking, it provides you with your Armor Class, or AC.

If you don’t wear any armor at all, your AC is 10 + your Dexterity modifier. Wearing armor helps you pump that number up to something a bit more survivable.

You can technically put on any armor, but you try to wear armor you’re not proficient with you suffer a whole laundry list of terrible effects that makes it pretty much impossible to go adventuring with it. If your class doesn’t give you the armor proficiency you’re looking for, there are a couple ways to get it.

Feats are technically an optional rule, but almost every DM I’ve ever talked to uses them. When you get an Ability Score Increase from your class, you can instead choose to take a feat.

So clearly, you can ’t be a wizard and take a level of fighter to gain that sweet heavy armor proficiency… But what if you were a fighter, and started taking wizard levels? Mountain dwarves and a few other races just flat out start with some armor proficiencies, mountain dwarves get light and medium armor proficiency and at level 1 a dwarves wizard gets to wear some tough stuff.

The following race options come with at least one type of armor proficiency: Githyanki, Hobgoblins, and Mountain Dwarves. The limitation is usually cost; better armor costs you more gold pieces, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be spending the loot from your first couple adventures on upgrading your armor.

This armor is terrible, it’s even worse than studded leather but just costs less. This is a decent option if you’re both broke, have medium armor proficiency, and want to be stealthy.

If you’re broke, have medium armor proficiency, and don’t care about being stealthy, scale mail is for you. 400 GP can be a LOT for a low-level character, but if you have the dosh the breastplate is strictly better than scale mail or a chain shirt, wear it if you have the money.

750 GP BS even more gold for a low-level character, but half-plate grants an even higher AC, it does come with the stealth disadvantage though. Wear half-plate if you don’t care about stealth and have money to burn.

Heavy armor adds in another consideration, a Strength score minimum. It shouldn’t really be a problem, since most classes that want to wear heavy armor are Strength-based anyway.

So as long as you have a decent Strength score, you’ll be fine. About the only situation for ring mail is if you’re a fighter, and you haven’t gotten enough gold for better armor.

This is most likely going to be your heavy armor until you can afford splint or plate, or possibly if you’re not up to 15 Strength. You start with chain mail as a paladin, and you’ll likely stick with it until you get through enough adventuring to afford something better.

Splint is an awkward middle step, the only reason to pick it over plate is a lack of money, but it’s still expensive itself. Shields are great for the “sword and board” style fighting, you basically trade a more damaging (two-handed) weapon, in exchange for a +2 AC bonus.

If you’ve got the proficiency, really consider grabbing some extra survivability in the form of a shield. Blue shift Nine, LLC assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the Service.

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