View Full Version : Monks and Gnomish Battle Cloaks [3.5]

2010-04-12, 07:36 PM
Monks lose their AC bonus from Wisdom when "carrying a shield".

However, it is argueable that because the Gnomish Battle Cloak from Races of Stone is not carried in a hand but worn, it can be used by monks without losing the penalty, despite the fact that it provides a shield bonus to AC. After all, magic items or spells that provide a shield bonus do not count against the Monk's AC.

Equally arguable is the fact that it because it requires Exotic Shield Proficency (which Fighters can trade their Tower Shield Proficency for) and that is listed underneath "shields", it does supercede the Monk AC bonus.

If this is the case, however, how do monks and the variety of exotic shield+weapon combos work? In particular I note the Gnomish Tortoise Shield, also from Races of Stone, and the Manople from Sandstorm. Does a monk wielding these weapons count as carrying a shield?

2010-04-12, 07:45 PM
Some questions to ask yourself:

Is it normally equipped in a shield slot?
Do you wield it with your hands?

If the answer to the above is "no," then it is not a "shield" per se, and should stack with the monk's bonus AC.

***N.B. This does not count the "Animated" shields, which, IMO, should not override the monk's bonus. But, RAW, I believe it does.

2010-04-12, 07:55 PM
So if you hand a Monk a shield and he puts it in his pocket, he loses the AC bonus? Interesting.

2010-04-12, 09:02 PM
Eh, it's listed under "shields" in RoS, and then goes on to say that it's not really a shield.

I'm going to put this in "poorly defined - ask your DM" territory. =/

2010-04-12, 11:37 PM
Personally, I'd allow it. It's very clearly not actually armor, and wielding one seems to fit in well with the sort of fighting style monks encourage.

It isn't like monks are breaking down any power walls thanks to a slightly higher AC, anyway.

2010-04-13, 07:04 AM
It isn't like monks are breaking down any power walls thanks to a slightly higher AC, anyway.

Amen to that one. :smalltongue:

The reason for this was an exercise in high AC without magic items or buffs(because that trivializes the experiment). A character with high Dexterity, high Wisdom, some natural armor, using a Gnomish Battle Cloak to get a shield, using Divine Shield to burn Turn Undead attempts to add his Charisma bonus to his shield AC, and Dodge and Combat Expertise feats.

Am I missing anything?

2010-04-13, 07:12 AM
I've always thought that monks should be able to use Gnomish Twistcloth. For stylistic reason that is. There's no RAW implication that Twistcloth is anything but armor.

If you wanted to get a bit more armor go with Swordsage instead of monk. They can wear light armor and get their Wis to AC. Still no shields though, but if you're going to allow the Battle Cloak for monks it works for Swordsages.

2010-04-13, 08:11 AM
That would be a good idea, if the character's Dexterity wasn't already so high as to make even Padded Armor an overall AC penalty. That, and by using the Fighting Style Monk feats from Unearthed Arcana, I can grab the feats I need to.

2010-04-13, 09:16 AM
If your dex is so high that any armor is restricting go with the gnomish twistcloth I mentioned. Its max Dex is "-". If your proficient then its +1 AC bonus applies to touch attacks, but I believe even a non-proficient wearer gets the basic armor bonus. (This all only applies to the Swordsage though.)

2010-04-13, 09:59 AM
From a RAW perspective, I would say that a Monk cannot use a Gnomish Battle Cloak or Animated Shield without losing their Wis AC bonus. (They're also not proficient, which might lead to other penalties).

But from a DM perspective, I'd allow it unless the PC was making a Tashalatora-ish build. The Monk needs all the help he can get.