Most of us picture wizards as frail, spell-slinging bearded characters in flowing robes. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Can wizards wear armor?
Wizards can wear armor in Dungeons and Dragons. Although wizards do not start with armor, they can gain proficiency to acquire and wear armor. Wizards can wear any type of armor. Armor with proficiency does not prevent wizards, mages, or sorcerers from casting spells.
In this article, I will answer the most common questions about wizards and armor.
What Armor Can Wizards Wear?
Wizards can wear any type of armor that exists in official D&D. Wizards can also wear any armor that the DM allows or invents.
Wizards can wear any armor, but that doesn’t mean that wizards are proficient in the armor.
What Magic Resistance Does Armor Give You?
Standard armor does not give you magic resistance in D&D.
Magical armor might provide some level of magic resistance. The strength of the resistance is based on the item and homebrew guidelines permitted by your Dungeon Master (DM).
Can Wizards Wear Light Armor in DND?
Wizards can wear any type of light armor in D&D.
Wizards can wear the following types of light armor:
- Padded leather
- Studded leather
Leather armor is the most common type of light armor and is very easy to purchase and find. Studded leather also exists in D&D.
Wizards can also wear padded leather, a thicker version of standard leather armor.
Studded leather is more durable and offers more protection than regular leather armor—but can cost more.
Can Wizards Wear Medium Armor?
Wizards can wear medium armor in D&D.
Wizards can wear hide armor, breastplate armor, chain shirt, half plate, and scale mail.
The best medium armor for wizards is the breastplate since it offers stealth. Wizards often do not make up the front-line defense or offense in a combat encounter.
Can Wizards Wear Heavy Armor?
Wizards can wear heavy armor in Dungeons & Dragons.
Wizards can wear Ring mail, chain mail, plate armor, and splint mail.
The heavier the armor, the more a wizard’s movement is impacted. I only suggest heavy metal for wizards in rare circumstances.
Can Wizards Wear Leather Armor in D&D 5e?
Wizards can wear leather armor in D&D 5e (Fifth edition).
As long as they gain the correct proficiency, wearing leather armor will not slow them down or prevent them from casting spells.
This is also true in D&D 6e (6th edition)—and likely will be true in all future editions.
Can Wizards Wear Armor if They Gain Proficiency?
Wizards can wear any type of armor whether they have the proficiency for that armor or not. However, anytime a wizard puts on armor in which they are not proficient, they can no longer cast spells.
Their movement, dexterity, and actions will all be impaired.
I don’t recommend any wizards wear any type of armor in which they’re not proficient.
However, there could be a campaign encounter where the creative use of armor by a wizard makes sense. For example, if a wizard lost their spell-casting ability and they find chain mail armor on the floor of a room, then the wizard might put on the chain mail in order to continue fighting.
A wizard might also put on armor to avoid being swept away by a heavy windstorm.
Wizards can gain proficiency for many types of armor based on:
- Thier multiclass
- Thier race
Here is a good 1-minute video on how to build a “Tank Wizard” optimized for armor and battle:
Can Elf Wizards Wear Armor in D&D?
Elf wizards can wear armor in Dungeons & Dragons.
The same general rules and guidelines that apply to any other wizard of any other race also apply to an elven wizard.
Elf wizards do not get any special proficiency with armor.
If you’re looking for a wizard race with built-in armor proficiency, try a mountain dwarf.
Can Wizards Cast in Armor?
Wizards can cast spells wearing armor in which they are proficient.
However, if a wizard wears armor in which they are not proficient, they can no longer cast spells.
In addition, a wizard’s movement and dexterity are impacted by the armor they wear.
If a wizard puts on armor in which they are not proficient, their speed is reduced and any ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that involve strength or dexterity are also done with a disadvantage.
Why Don’t Wizards Wear Armor?
Wizards don’t wear armor because they don’t automatically start from level 1 with armor proficiency.
Even if a wizard has learned how to wear armor by higher levels, they lack often the strength and dexterity to make physical armor worthwhile.
Wizards don’t start with any armor proficiency so they usually choose not to wear it at all.
Wizards have a high intelligence score which allows them to easily cast protection spells even at lower levels.
This often takes the place of wearing physical armor.
Finally, there is a cultural norm or stereotype of wizards wearing cloaks or robes instead of armor.
Where Does the Stereotype That Wizards Don’t Wear Armor Come From?
The stereotype comes from stories and legends that show wizards doing magic without needing armor.
Their magic is so powerful that armor is superfluous.
For example, they might levitate or shoot fireballs from their hands. Wearing armor would only get in the way of what wizards want to do, such as casting spells and performing rituals.
Best Armor for Wizards and Mages?
The best armor for wizards and mages is the highest level of armor in which they are proficient.
The best magical armor for a low-level wizard is the Armor and Shield spells.
Other good protection spells:
- Absorb Elements
- Armor of Agathys
Another option is a magical item or magical armor that allows wizards to wear something very light, like a cloak, yet get the same benefits as the heaviest natural armor.
For example, elven chain mail is historically a decent magical type of armor.
Can a Sorcerer Wear Armor?
Sorcerers can wear any type of armor in D&D just like wizards or mages. The same disadvantages apply if the sorcerer is not proficient in the armor.
Most of the time, it is not worth it for a sorcerer to wear armor.
Can Warlocks Wear Armor in D&D?
Warlocks can also wear light, medium, or heavy armor.
The most important thing to know about warlocks wearing armor is that they need to be proficient in the armor that they put on their character.
Otherwise, warlocks will be severely disadvantaged in a combat encounter.
Is Mage Armor and Sheild Better Than Regular Armor?
Mage Armor is better than the Shield spell because Mage Armor lasts longer and provides slightly more protection than standard light armor.
The Shield Spell requires preparation and only lasts a few combat encounters.
While Mage Armor is better than all light armor types, it is on the same level as medium armor.
Therefore, if a magical character is proficient in medium armor, they can save a spell slot by wearing the armor. Unlike the Armor spell, the physical armor will last as long as they wear it.
Mage armor only lasts for approximately 8 hours of gameplay.
It’s important to note that Mage Armor and Shield do not work if you’re wearing physical armor. Therefore, wizards cannot double down on protection by wearing a physical suit of armor plus casting an Armor or Shield spell.
Final Thoughts: Can Wizards Wear Armor?
The bottom line is that wizards can wear armor, but they probably don’t need to.
Some enterprising wizards may choose to wear armor at certain times in specific campaigns for special purposes.