Lightly Armored 5e

Published on October 13, 2022

Are you a light-footed skulker or a subtle spellcaster? If so, you might want to stick to armor on the lighter side of things.

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What Is Lightly Armored 5e?

While shiny, clunky metal armor and sleek, tight-fitting leather medium armor is the common trope for fantasy settings, there is still a third option. Flowy, breezy light armor allows players to have zero penalties for their sneaking. They’re quick to don/doff and cheap to boot.

Most classes already have access to light armor, but some still need to find a way.

Enter: Lightly Armored.

How Does Lightly Armored Work?

Once you’ve snagged this feat, you get two key benefits:

  • You can increase your STR or DEX by 1 to a max of 20.
  • You are now proficient with light armor.

It seems pretty simple, right? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Is Lightly Armored Good?

We gave Lightly Armored a C Tier rating In our 5e Feats Tier List, making it a below-average feat in D&D 5e.

This half-feat can be useful for casters who want to save spell slots instead of casting Mage Armor each day. That said, caster classes don’t get a lot of ASIs, so taking this feat comes at quite the opportunity cost.

Lightly Armored 5e Interactions

The feat is pretty self-explanatory, but we’re going to dive a little deeper than our typical feat guides for this.

Only three classes don’t start with proficiency with armor: monks, wizards, and sorcerers. Monks have a class ability to add to their AC, while the other two have access to mage armor, which is equivalent to the best light armor you can buy. Also, Draconic Bloodline sorcerers get additional AC too.

This basically leaves wizards as the only class who might take it, resulting in a pretty underwhelming feat. However, wizards can choose to play as a hobgoblin or a githyanki and pick up light armor proficiency without spending a feat for it.

Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Lightly Armored?

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Lightly Armored 5e feat is for a specific class/subclass.

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Lightly Armored is best on builds that don’t have innate access to light armor proficiency and don’t have an innate class ability to boost their AC, such as Draconic Resilience.

Artificer: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Barbarian: Already has access to light armor at the start, plus Unarmored Defense is better in most cases.

Bard: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Cleric: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Druid: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Fighter: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Monk: Monks don’t have access to light armor, but their kit benefits from a lack of armor anyway. Like barbarians, Unarmored Defense is the better option in most situations.

Paladin: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Ranger: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Rogue: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Sorcerer: One of the three classes without the proficiency, you can easily replace this feat with just a single mage armor. Plus, Draconic Bloodline sorcerers get access to their own AC-boosting ability.

Wizard: Like sorcerers, wizards can easily bypass this feat by just casting mage armor. This is pretty much a skip unless your campaigns are incredibly combat-heavy.

Warlock: Already has access to light armor at the start.

Conclusion

Light armor might not be that great in most cases, but it still warrants a need so players can progress from no armor to heavy armor. However, this is a massive step away from making an optimal character, so most players are going to skip it.

How do you feel about this feat? Are you a big fan of light armor, and don’t care for mage armor? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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