One DnD Medium Armor Master Feat Guide

Medium armor has found itself as being sort of the odd man out when it comes to armor proficiency in DnD. It’s not good enough to overcome a Dexterous character wearing studded leather armor because of the uncapped DEX bonus light armor gets, and it doesn’t compare to the sheer AC that heavy armor brings to the table.

One DnD has continued to fiddle with the traits of Medium Armor Training in an attempt to cover some of this lost ground and carve out a niche that could actually encourage players to wear medium armor.

The One DnD Medium Armor Master feat allows a player to add +1 to either their Strength or Dexterity scores (up to 20) and the ability to add a +3 bonus to their armor instead of +2 when they have a Dexterity score of 16 or higher.

These are nice little bonuses that add on to what a player at the table can do with their medium armor build, but is it enough to justify spending a feat on?

medium chain armor
Get just the shirt and maybe it qualifies as medium armor…and you can see why the stealth checks come in at disadvantage.

Let’s dive in to find out!

Medium Armor Master Feat One DnD Review

The best way to break down a feat is to check out the exact wording. So here is the Medium Armor Feat as presented by One DnD (aka 6E).

From Unearthed Arcana:

4th-Level Feat

Prerequisite: Medium Armor Training

You have practiced moving in medium armor to gain the following benefits:

Ability Score Incrase. Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum 0f 20.

Dexterous Wearer. While you are wearing Medium Armor, you can add 3, rather than 2, to you AC if you have a Dexterity score of 16 or higher.

Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes 2022

Now lets break these down point by point to see how they hold up.

Benefit #1: Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1 to a maximum of 20.

A pretty basic half-feat either/or combo. Nothing too special, makes sense given the middle range of Medium armor, though a good argument can be made that it is actually the weakest of the Strength or Dexterity either/or offerings directly because of benefit 2, which encourages builds that go the DEX route.l

Benefit #2: While wearing Medium armor you can add up to +3 to your AC due to your DEX bonus instead of just +2 when you have a Dexterity score of 16 or higher.

Basically adds a +1 AC to a Dex build which isn’t bad, but not sure why they would restrict it this way. I get the mechanics are set up, but if you’re a Medium Armor Master, why not give them the bonus as either DEX or STR? That would make Medium Armor much more versatile and much more attractive.

As it sits, this means to take advantage you really want a 16 Dexterity in your build if you’re going this route, which may or may not be right for your character.

How Does Medium Armor Master Feat Measure Up?

Unfortunately Medium Armor continues to run into the same problem it had in 5th edition. As we discussed in our 5E Medium Armor Guide, almost every class or build has a better option as opposed to Medium Armor, often for different reasons, but they remain. Lets start with the classes that have Medium Armor Training in the beginning:

  • Artificers
  • Barbarian
  • Cleric (some sub-classes)
  • Druids
  • Fighters
  • Paladins
  • Rangers

Clerics and Fighters aren’t going to stick with medium armor. If they’re up in the lines in combat, as they usually will be, they’re going to go with heavy armor and Clerics will often see the Heavily Armored Feat as a better choice than improving medium armor. Paladins also start with heavy armor proficiency like fighters, so they’re going to take the heavier armor that keeps them alive.

Rangers are almost going to be a Dexterity build, which means the studded light armor with a +5 Dex gives them an AC of 17. Only the Half Plate in Medium Armor can match that, and that imposes disadvantage on stealth checks. This would be a wasted feat to just get what they could anyway, and use that feat for something else.

Barbarians eventually have an unarmored defense better than what any armor can provide them so they want to use ability score improvements to up their DnD core stats as quickly as possible.

Artificers might stick with this, or they might go heavy armor. They also generally have other feats to complete a complex build versus worrying about an extra AC.

Then you have Druids who are maxing out DEX and depending on DM rulings, can only use certain types of medium armor anyway, meaning they’re going to rely on Wild Shape and light armor.

This is a feat with no one left to take it. Except maybe a Mountain Dwarf spellcaster build…but why wouldn’t you use your feats on spell-based feats?

Medium Armor Master Feat: DnD One Vs 5E

The One DnD version of the Medium Armor Feat ads the +1 to STR/DEX which was not in the original 5th Edition version of this feat. One thing the 5th Edition version had was removing the trait that made medium armor masters no longer suffer from disadvantage on stealth checks when wearing Scale Mail and Half Plate.

Related Article: 5E Medium Armor Master Feat Guide

It’s possible this is not going to be part of how armor works in 6E, however since it’s 5th Ed backwards compatible (in theory) this seems unlikely. I don’t understand why they just didn’t keep that bonus, because it would add a little bit to the Medium Armor Feat, and even with that added to the OneDnD version still wouldn’t be a spectacular feat.

In my opinion in practicality the 5E version is better since it opens up the heavier Medium armors to classes like Ranger who need their stealth.

Who Should Take the Medium Armor Master Feat in DnD One?

“Should” is a strong word in this case. If you are obsessed with making a Medium Armor build or have a feat and don’t need anything and are +1 off from an even DEX or STR score, then I suppose there are worse choices but there isn’t a class that I would focus on actually building with Medium Armor.

For that reason there just isn’t much here. Even the 5E Mountain Dwarf Wizard Build I find entertaining probably wouldn’t grab this but would just roll with the medium armor.

DnD One Medium Armor Master Feat Final Grade

This is a D to D-. It isn’t fully the feat’s fault: D&D just hasn’t figured out how to make medium armor work (honestly I think adding +5 to the AC ranges to have less overlap is a start) and because of that an underwhelming power up of that “bastard” armor class is just really hard to make work.

Because even in comparison to other “mastery” feats like the One DnD Heavy Armor Master Feat, it even falls short in comparison, not giving medium armor users the same boost that these other feats manage to give to their users.

Maybe Medium Armor will be figured out sometime in the future, but that time isn’t now.

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