Last Updated on November 9, 2023
Dragon Scale Mail
Armor (scale mail), very rare (requires attunement)
Dragon scale mail is made of the scales of one kind of dragon. Sometimes dragons collect their cast-off scales and gift them to humanoids. Other times, hunters carefully skin and preserve the hide of a dead dragon. In either case, dragon scale mail is highly valued.
While wearing this armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC, you have advantage on saving throws against the Frightful Presence and breath weapons of dragons, and you have resistance to one damage type that is determined by the kind of a dragon that provided the scales (see the table).
Additionally, you can focus your senses as an action to magically discern the distance and direction to the closest dragon of the type of armor within 30 miles of you. This special action can’t be used again until the next dawn.
Basic Rules, pg. 165
Based on its rarity, Dragon Scale Mail armor typically costs 4,000 gold pieces, according to our Magic Item Price Guide, although this is just a guideline, and the final decision is up to your Dungeon Master.
What Is Dragon Scale Mail in DnD 5e?
Dragon Scale Mail is armor forged from the discarded or harvested scales of one kind of dragon. When attuned to, it not only grants the wearer +1 to their Armor Class and advantage on saving throws against dragons’ Frightful Presence ability but also resistance to a damage type.
Depending on the type of dragon whose scales were used to make the Dragon Scale Mail armor, this item can grant you resistance (meaning you take half damage) to Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Poison damage.
The rarity of dragon scale mail lies in the need to acquire a not-inconsiderable number of intact dragon scales (of a single type) to make a functioning set of armor.
Some dragons bestow their cast-off scales upon humanoids as gifts to turn into armor. Other times, dragon hunters carefully skin and preserve their prey’s glittering armor as just another valuable part of the treasure hoard.
Who Can Wear Dragon Scale Mail in DnD 5e?
Any character can technically don a suit of Dragon Scale Mail armor and even attune to it. Scale mail has the following basic properties in addition to being considered medium armor.
This armor consists of a coat and leggings (and perhaps a separate skirt) of leather covered with overlapping pieces of metal, much like the scales of a fish. The suit includes gauntlets.
|Scale Mail||50 gp||14 + Dex modifier (max 2)||—||Disadvantage||45 lbs.|
Obviously, there’s no specific requirement for attunement that says a character needs to be proficient in the item in order to be able to attune to it.
However, if you are proficient with Medium Armor, you can gain the full benefits of Dragon Scale Mail once you attune to it.
Any character who values high AC and has at least a 14 in Dexterity (to increase the armor’s AC to 17) will benefit from Dragon Scale Mail, including Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, and even Bards from the College of Valor.
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I played my first tabletop RPG (Pathfinder 1e, specifically) in college. I rocked up late to the first session with an unread rulebook and a human bard called Nick Jugger. It was a rocky start but I had a blast and now, the better part of a decade later, I play, write, and write about tabletop RPGs (mostly 5e, but also PBtA, Forged in the Dark and OSR) games for a living, which is wild.