The lightly armored feat is one that generally hasn’t received a lot of attention, and it’s easy to see why. In 5E there were very few reasons to ever take it unless you had a very specialized builds as the few classes that didn’t have light armor proficiency had better magical means for protection than what light armor would actually provide.
However, this feat is very different with the updated DnD One releases.
The DnD One Lightly Armored Feat gives a player character the ability to use light armor, medium armor, and shields without penalty, combining the 5E feats of Lightly Armored and Moderately Armored into one improved feat for DnD One.
Let’s dive in!
Lightly Armored Feat DnD One Review
The best way to break down a feat is to check out the exact wording.
From Unearthed Arcana:
You gain the following Armor Training: Light Armor, Medium Armor, and Shield.
Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes
Let’s take a look at each individual benefit and how it breaks down.
Benefit #1: Your character gains armor training for light armor.
This is pretty standard as it gives classes like Sorcerer and Wizard that have no armor training to start off the ability to wear armor from level one and still be able to use spells. This definitely increases survivability, and grants more viable options for defense as studded leather armor is a pretty good light armor for characters with a high Dexterity score.
Benefit #2: Your character gains armor training for medium armor.
Making medium armor available opens up the options and at least helps to figure out what to do with medium armor, which was the unwanted stepchild of armors in 5th Edition. This also may have better AC options for characters who aren’t planning on having a high Dexterity score or being particularly stealthy.
Benefit #3: Your character gains shield training.
Shield are a great way to get +2 AC and multiple old 5E builds involved helping a wizard or sorcerer out by finding a way to get them a shield to buff up the defense. Tossing this in is a good way to simplify allowing a character with no armor training to be able to pick up armor and shield training with a single feat instead of using 2-3.
How Does Lightly Armored Feat Measure Up?
While this feat definitely remains situational, it is a massive improvement over the lightly armored and moderately armored feats that were part of 5th Edition. It combines both of those feats into one, and making it a 1st-Level feat actually makes it far more useful than it otherwise would be since now players can grab this immediately.
This means it’s fully viable for a Sorcerer or Wizard at level one to have the ability to use armor and a shield, massively simplifying and improving the armored spellcaster builds that make this viable.
This also provides classes that only start out with light armor like bards and warlocks. Even monks could take this in order to use a shield along with their unarmored defense.
This is a feat that isn’t useful to any class starting out with these armor trainings (proficiencies) like Clerics, Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, etc, but for those classes that don’t having this at Level 1 makes it a legitimately good feat.
Lightly Armored Feat: DnD One Vs 5E
The comparison here is easy. In 5th Edition the Lightly Armored feat gave the ability to use light armor and that was it. DnD One keeps all of this but then adds in medium armor and shields. So from a 5E to DnD One perspective, this is 2 feats in 1.
Related Article: 5E Lightly Armored Feat Guide
The mechanics creating a Level 1 feat makes Lightly Armored even better. This means players don’t have to wait until Level 4 to get this feat. Even human feat variant had to wait until level 4 to get everything this DnD One version of Lightly Armored provides and they had two spend two precious feats to do so.
Lightly Armored Feat is one of the better first level feats for the classes that can use it, and since it is an immediate Level 1 option, that makes it even stronger than before.
Who Should Take the Lightly Armored Feat in DnD One?
The following classes should consider the Lightly Armored feat:
For Sorcerers and Wizards the appeal is obvious, and even casting classes who are used to building with defensive spells can look at this feat as the ability to get a higher AC and open up those spell slots to have more support, utility, or offensive splls.
Warlocks and Bards might choose a shield, or if they’re low on Dexterity the medium armor options might be a touch better than the light armor each starts with.
Monks are interesting. There are arguments for them never taking an armor-based feat, but the ability to get so much armor access right away changes up some of the potential builds out there. If nothing else, adding a +2 shield and having some studded leather armor with that Dex bonus until you can ability score improve your way to a higher unarmored AC can give extra early game protection – when monks are notoriously brittle.
This is a feat that is going to be a better obvious fit for some of these classes versus others, but the great improvement to this feat in the DnD One Unearthed Arcana makes it clearly much better, and even outright good, especially compare to the 5th Edition version.
DnD One Lightly Armored Feat Final Grade
As far as first level feats, this is one of the better one. While only applying to a group of classes, the ones that can take advantage of this are going to find Lightly Armored to be one of the better feat options and opens up a level of builds that just weren’t practical in 5th Edition.
Other Articles of Interest
- 5E Medium Armor Guide
- DnD One Alert Feat Guide
- DnD One Ability Score Improvement Guide
- Detect Magic Spell Guide
- Identify Spell Guide
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.