In the echoing corridors of a long-forgotten castle, a suit of armor moves with a life of its own, its metallic steps ringing out a challenge.
Can you wear animated armor in DND?
Players cannot wear animated armor in DND according to official rules as it is an enemy, not an item. However, through homebrew rules, DMs might allow players to don animated armor after defeating it or using methods like disenchanting, a Wish spell, or divine intervention.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about wearing animated armor in DND.
The RAW Rules: No, You Can’t
According to the official Dungeons & Dragons rules, animated armor is categorized as a construct and an enemy, not as an item or equipment.
What does it say?
In the Monster Manual, animated armor is explicitly described as armor brought to life through arcane means to serve as a guardian or soldier.
As per RAW, there’s no provision for a player character (PC) to wear animated armor.
Defeating animated armor doesn’t automatically make it wearable.
Once destroyed, the magic animating the armor is also dispelled.
This renders it into a pile of mundane armor parts. To put it simply, RAW offers no support for PCs wearing animated armor.
How You Can Wear Animated Armor in D&D
While RAW might not allow it, here are the elaborate methods through which characters could potentially wear animated armor in a homebrew setting.
Disenchanting animated armor to make it wearable but mundane is a popular route.
This could involve a specific ritual, a quest for special ingredients, or the assistance of a skilled NPC.
The process would likely be complex and costly, ensuring that this option is not a quick and easy route to powerful equipment.
The Wish spell, being the most potent magic in D&D, can alter reality itself.
Thus, it could feasibly be used to make animated armor wearable.
However, the Wish spell is not without its risks.
It is infamously unpredictable and can result in unintended consequences, which adds an element of gamble to this approach.
Extreme loyalty or service to a deity might lead to divine intervention, allowing a character to wear animated armor.
This could be a reward for completing a significant quest or a symbol of the deity’s favor.
However, such divine intervention would likely come with conditions or expectations.
These conditions serve to balance this powerful gift.
For characters highly skilled in arcane magic, they may try to reverse-engineer the animated armor.
If they managed to do this, they might make it wearable but maintaining some magical properties.
This would be a complex and risky endeavor, however.
It would involve the gathering of rare materials and the casting of intricate spells, adding layers of quests and challenges to the process.
A darker approach involves binding a soul to the animated armor.
Essentially, this turns it into a sentient, wearable item.
This route would significantly affect the narrative.
The bound soul might have its own opinions, emotions, and moral implications, adding a complex roleplaying dimension to the game.
Homebrew Rules for Wearing Animated Armor
For Dungeon Masters (DM) interested in bending the traditional rules, homebrew offers multiple pathways.
Below, we break down various guidelines and limitations.
As a DM, you might consider these “rules” for allowing players to wear animated armor.
A significant cost, either monetary or material, could be involved in disenchanting animated armor.
This may necessitate the help of a skilled NPC spellcaster.
Particularly those capable of performing such a complex magical operation.
The disenchantment process might also involve a quest to find rare ingredients or to gain the knowledge needed for the disenchantment spell.
The cost serves as a gatekeeping mechanism to prevent easy access to such a powerful asset.
Once enchanted armor is converted into a wearable form, its magical properties might be compromised.
To represent this, the armor could have limited durability.
It may also require magical maintenance at regular intervals.
Introducing this limitation balances the advantage of wearing unique armor against the logistics and costs of maintaining it.
Loss of Abilities
Converting animated armor into wearable armor may strip it of some or all of its magical abilities.
Abilities such as resistances to certain types of damage.
This ensures that the armor remains a strong asset but that it doesn’t become an overpowered element.
Players might need to weigh the pros and cons of wearing armor that has lost its magical perks.
To add an element of risk and challenge, the DM could require that players make successful Arcana or Athletics checks to control the animated armor.
Particularly during combat.
This would simulate the difficulty of harmonizing with the arcane energies still resonant in the armor.
Depending on how the armor was disenchanted or otherwise made wearable, there could be ethical or moral implications.
Implications that could enhance roleplay in your game.
For instance, if a soul had to be bound to the armor or if a divine entity disapproves of the action, it might affect the player character’s alignment or relationship with that deity.
As a counterbalance to the armor, it could be made vulnerable to spells like “Dispel Magic.”
The spell would either temporarily or permanently disable its features.
This brings a tactical element to encounters, making players think twice about relying solely on their enchanted gear.
The armor might require a period of attunement.
During attunement, the player character must focus on harmonizing with its residual magical energies.
The armor would then occupy one of the character’s limited attunement slots.
As you might guess, this would require them to choose carefully when equipping magical items.
Helmed Horror: A Close Cousin
When talking about animated armor, it’s essential to bring up the Helmed Horror.
Helmed Horror is a more advanced form of animated armor that can cast spells and has spell immunities.
You can find a detailed explanation of Helemed Horror in the official DND Monster Manual.
Helmed Horrors serve as elite guardians and can’t be worn by players according to RAW.
However, the lore surrounding Helmed Horrors could offer DMs ideas for integrating advanced forms of animated armor into their homebrew campaigns.
For instance, a Helmed Horror could be a prototype or a failed experiment.
One that could, through a complex quest or ritual, be converted into wearable armor with unique properties.
Animated Armor FAQ
Before we go, let’s answer some related questions people ask about wearing animated armor.
Can Animated Armor Be Repaired If Damaged?
Animated armor, by its nature, is a construct brought to life through magic.
If it suffers damage, its physical form can be repaired using typical blacksmithing or metalworking techniques.
However, restoring its magical animation might necessitate more arcane methods.
A spellcaster skilled in the arts of enchantment or a specialist in construct creation would be the best resource for rejuvenating the armor’s magical vitality.
Does Wearing Animated Armor Grant Any Special Abilities to the Wearer?
Animated armor doesn’t bestow its wearer with any inherent special abilities since it isn’t designed to be worn.
However, in homebrew settings, a DM might decide to confer certain abilities, such as increased AC or resistance to specific damage types.
But these should be carefully balanced to avoid overpowering the player.
How Does the Weight of Animated Armor Compare to Regular Armor?
Animated armor, when devoid of its animating magic, is similar to its mundane counterpart in terms of weight and feel.
However, when magically animated, it moves of its own accord.
Its weight doesn’t impact its movement.
If a player were to wear it (in a homebrew scenario), the DM might decide whether it feels lighter due to residual enchantments or retains its original weight.
Can Animated Armor Be Detected By Spells That Identify Magic Items?
Yes, animated armor, being a product of enchantment, would be detected by spells like “Detect Magic” or “Identify.”
These spells would reveal the presence of magic within the armor.
Potentially even specifying the nature of the enchantment that grants it animation.
Is It Possible for Animated Armor to Resist the Wearer’s Control?
There might be instances where the armor’s residual enchantments clash with the wearer’s intentions.
A DM could introduce skill checks or saving throws for the wearer to assert control.
Especially during intense moments like combat, adding an element of unpredictability and challenge.
How Does Animated Armor Impact Stealth?
If a player character wears animated armor, it might pose challenges to stealth due to its inherent noisiness and potential magical aura.
A DM could impose disadvantage on stealth checks.
Or set higher DCs, reflecting the armor’s conspicuous nature.
Can One Customize the Appearance and Design of Animated Armor?
From a lore perspective, animated armor is typically crafted for specific purposes, often as guardians or protectors.
Their appearance reflects this role. In a homebrew setting, though, there’s room for customization.
A character skilled in both metalworking and arcane arts might modify the armor’s aesthetics.
Or even commission a custom design, merging functionality with personal style.
Here is a good video about Animated Armor in DND:
Final Thoughts: Can You Wear Animated Armor
The next time you encounter a moving suit of armor in a haunted mansion, instead of drawing your sword, maybe just ask politely if you can try it on.
Fashion-forward thinking might just save the day.
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