dnd 5e – How do I find my Spellcasting Ability for my D&D character?

Wisdom is the druid’s spellcasting ability. The details are located on p. 66, Paragraph 6 of the PHB (Player’s Handbook) under the Spellcasting header.

Your DC will be 8 + your proficiency bonus (which is +2 for a level one character) + your Wisdom modifier. Let’s say you have a Wisdom score of 14; that means your modifier is +2. That puts your total spell save DC at 12 (8+2+2).

Your spell attack modifier is equal to your Wisdom modifier + your proficiency bonus, which equals +4 in this case.

This means that if you cast a spell that requires a spell attack roll, you will roll a d20 and add 4 to it.

Here is a link to a video about casting spells in Dungeons & Dragons that you might find useful.

If you don’t have the PHB, here is a link to the basic rules; you should find everything you need under the druid tab in classes.

dnd 5e – Is this Hexblade 6th level ability replacement balanced?

A frequent complaint with the Hexblade Warlock is that its 6th level ability Arcused Specter feels out of place. All of the other Hexblade abilities revolve around the Hexblade’s Curse and single target damage; Accursed Specter, by contrast, is totally disconnected from Hexblade’s Curse and provides a “pet” that does nothing to fit the Hexblade Warlock’s theme of “enhancing oneself at the expense of another”. What’s more, adventures rarely face humanoid adversaries at higher levels, meaning that the Hexblade Warlock is often forced to forgo using the ability if they wish to avoid wanton murder.

In the following replacement ability, I’ve tried to keep the theme of exploiting a death, while connecting it to the subclass’s core themes and Hexblade’s Curse ability.

Capture Soul

At 6th level, when the target of your Hexblade Curse dies, you can use your reaction to capture the target’s soul as if you had cast the spell Soul Cage with the following modifications:

  • The spell affects creatures of any type except undead and constructs.
  • The soul can be only be exploited a number of times equal to half your proficiency modifier, rounded down. Once used, you can’t use this
    ability until you finish a long rest.

This ability functions as a significantly weakened version of Soul Cage, allowing only 1-3 uses, compared to the normal 6. It has the bonus of being able to be used on any target, a direct improvement to Accursed Specter, but requires a reaction and that the target be affected by Hexblade’s Curse.

Overall, compared to Accursed Specter, this spell has much less combat utility but much higher out-of-combat utility, and scales better at higher levels. I like this ability because it gives the Hexblade something they can use for storytelling utility, rather than pure damage.

Is this balanced with respects to the original ability and the rest of the Warlock subclasses?

accessibility – Patterns for adjusting settings which may hinder the user’s ability to adjust that same setting again

This question is about those self-referential settings where the ability of the user to control a device, say:

  • using a mouse cursor, or
  • viewing it on a monitor screen

is itself affected by the setting they’re changing:

  • adjusting the mouse speed, or
  • configuring monitor settings

Consider these predicaments:

  • The user sets their mouse speed too fast that they can’t click anything in order to set the setting back to slow.
  • The user positions their multiple monitors in such a way they can no longer find the window or their cursor so they can’t undo the change.

This class of problem is particularly prevalent in the context of assistive devices, where the user’s interface to a device is inherently limited to begin with.

One UX pattern I’ve seen that addresses this is to apply the change and then start a countdown (say, 10 seconds) that will revert the change when the countdown reaches 0. That is, unless during this countdown phase the user is able to click a certain button, proving that the change is acceptable and they are not in a predicament as described above. Ubuntu uses this UX strategy for monitor and display settings, but I have not come across a name for it.

My question is: Are there other UX strategies for dealing with these self-referential settings which risk putting the user in a pinch?

And have people found the UX pattern described above to be successful, or flawed?

(In case it’s helpful to state, my current concern is indeed an assistive device, and mouse speed is the setting on top of mind.)

dnd 5e – For creatures that have a “Death Burst” ability, is it triggered if they are summoned and then reduced to 0 HP?

Death burst applies… somewhere.

The rules on hit points in the Monster Manual (p. 7) and Basic Rules state:

A monster usually dies or is destroyed when it drops to 0 hit points.

The conjure minor elementals spell description states:

An elemental summoned by this spell disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.

This is more specific than the Monster Manual ruling, but doesn’t state that the creature doesn’t die (or get destroyed). So because neither precludes the other, they both happen, but the order is not clear, since they both happen on the same “trigger”.

On page 77 of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the section entitled “Simultaneous Effects” states:

In rare cases, effects can happen at the same time, especially at the start or end of a creature’s turn. If two or more things happen at the same time on a character or monster’s turn, the person at the game table – whether player or DM – who controls that creature decides the order in which those things happen.

So the person controlling the creature on whose turn the steam mephits get destroyed determines the ordering of the interaction. This might result in incentivizing the summoner to “pop” his own monsters if he fears they’ll be destroyed the next round, to get their death effect.

dnd 5e – What defines a harmful effect or ability?

There is no official description of “harmful” so let’s break down the condition. The complete Charmed condition is:

  • A charmed creature can’t attack the charmer or target the charmer with harmful abilities or magical effects
  • The charmer has advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the creature.

I would take this condition to mean that the charmed creature is favorably disposed towards the charmer and would take no action to cause the charmer to come to harm. Like a family member (well, usually). The Charmed condition is a stronger version of the Friends spell, so the target will regard the charmer as a really good friend. You don’t make bad things happen to a friend. Also note that the Friends spell results in bad feelings after it’s over and the charmed person learns they were charmed. It makes people mad, presumably because people feel like they have been harmed.

I would separate “abilities or magical effects” into three categories:

Good for the target

Obvious buffs or ability gains to the target. Fly, Guidance, Healing Word, Polymorph but only if used with intent to help, such as how it might be used on a party member, to give them hit points or abilities. These would be okay to target the charmer with.

Neutral to the Target

Utility spells that normally wouldn’t be used in combat, like Telepathy or Rary’s Telepathic Bond. I’m having trouble coming up with more, but these or similar would be fine to target the charmer.

Bad for the target

I put in this anything that would be used against the target or anything that would hurt the target in combat or disadvantage the target in interactions. Fairie Fire, Magic Missile, Friends, Polymorph if used with a target save, Bane, etc..

I would not allow rules lawyering to include AoE spells like Fireball, either. You wouldn’t throw a Fireball at your children.

It doesn’t seem hard to know as a DM what the intent of a spell is. If it is bad for and is targeted at the charmer, it would not be allowed. This would not prevent spells that are target at the charmed creature itself, like Armor of Agathys or Invisibilty, even if useful in combat against the charmer.

dnd 5e – If a PC’s ability score increases due to an item, does it increase the corresponding modifier for the ability score or any skills/attacks?

The modifier is directly linked to the stat, so a STR of 19 has a modifier of +4. That just happens automatically.
STR based attacks will therefore benefit from the higher modifier.
Skill checks will improve if they use the STR modifier as it has improved.

Basically, the modifier instantly increases to match the new total of the stat then that flows over into attack rolls, damage rolls and ability checks/saves that use that modifier.

From the SRD:

When a character makes an attack roll, the two most common modifiers to the roll are an ability modifier and the character’s proficiency bonus. When a monster makes an attack roll, it uses whatever modifier is provided in its stat block.

Ability Modifier. The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack
is Strength

custom post types – WP Plugin for product RFQ (with both listed and unlisted product ability)

I’m upgrading my old WP website from having static product attribute/variants tables and a basic contact form (which has served me well last 5 years), to a more interactive RFQ (Request For Quote) ability.

I first tried to achieve this with a combination of WooCommerce and a few different plugins which morphed woo plugin into an RFQ capability, but they all had some significant limitations, possibly because they were just trying to turn off woo’s pricing and change the cart & checkout into an RFQ list and email … which is not too bad, very close result to what I want to achieve, but it lacks the most important capability I need, which is to allow the users to also add a ‘custom unlisted product’ of their own specifications to the RFQ list before it is posted.

As I have not been able to find any purpose developed RFQ plugins (with ‘custom unlisted product’ options) which are not simply ecommerce plugin modifiers, I decided to develop my own plugin from scratch with little experience.

Features I’m looking for are to:

  • Have a back-end interface similar to woocommerce for the website user to more easily interface CRUD the SQL DB for existing & new products with complex layers of attributes/variations without needing to go back into the code.
  • Have the front-end work a little like ecommerce for selecting product & attributes/variations as listed items and be able to populate them to an RFQ list (no prices, cart or checkout or payment gateway required).
  • Ability for front-end users to add custom unlisted products to the RFQ on the fly before posting the RFQ

My ability level is lower-intermediate ability in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, SQL & WordPress but very much a beginner in WP plugin development, so needing some direction for best approach and preferably any suitable video learning material.

dnd 3.5e – Denying (NPC) divine casters the ability to regain spells

So, I am playing an epic D&D 3.5e PC in a medium-optimization (for epic 3.5e, as I understand it, at least) game:

  • Most regular spells are available to the party (modulo those labeled Evil), although Wish/Miracle are significantly nontrivial in cost
  • Magic item creation isn’t something that can be relied on beyond scribing scrolls
  • Epic spells are seriously limited (I suspect most high-optimization epic casting is off-limits due to achievable spell DCs being limited to the sub-100 range after party spellslot contributions modify the DC, and even some basic epic spells like the SRD’s Soul Scry are a no-go)

and my character (don’t ask me how) and their party, consisting of:

  • My char: arcane gish, basically (the precise build details aren’t terribly important)
  • Party member A: another arcane gish (lower level than my char but not by too much)
  • Party member B: sneaky archer cleric (epic caster, but in the low epics)
  • Party member C: another cleric (capable of 9th circle casting, but not into epics yet)
  • Party member D: an epic FS (again, low epics AFAIK)
  • and Party Member E: a rangerish/roguish sort

are up against a problem in the form of a band of hostile NPC Lolthite priests that are going to need significant “softening up” done to them before we can carry out much else operationally speaking. Considering that simply going in and being stabby isn’t really an option (again, don’t ask me how we know this), what approaches are there to preventing said spellcasters from regaining spells over an extended period of time (a tenday or more in the in-character timeline)?

So far, using Daylight cast repeatedly through Eye of Power and direct castings of Symphonic Nightmare have come up from my research, but I would like to know if there are other options out there I haven’t seen, especially ones that’d be more optimal (harder for divine casters to enact countermeasures against and/or requiring less invested effort) for long-term targeting of divine casters.

dnd 5e – Does this magic item require that you already have the ability to use the feature that it modifies?

Last night the party was adventuring in Curse of Strahd.
In the previous session they had acquired the module-specific magic item

Icon of Ravenloft

This item can be attuned to by a good creature. In last night’s session an NPC was able to attune to the item, unlocking its powers (emphasis mine):

Augury. You can use an action to cast an augury spell from the icon, with no material components required. Once used, this property can’t be used again until the next dawn.

Bane of the Undead. You can use the icon as a holy symbol while using the Turn Undead or Turn the Unholy feature. If you do so, increase the save DC by 2.

Cure Wounds. While holding the icon, you can take an action to heal one creature that you can see within 30 feet of you. The target regains 3d8 + 3 hit points, unless it is an undead, a construct, or a fiend. Once used, this property can’t be used again until the next dawn.

If I am reading this item correctly, anyone that can take an action can use Augury or Cure Wounds feature. The power is written in the format, ‘if you have an action, you use the action and the item grants you this ability’, even if you could not previously cast an augury or cure wounds, or even if you did not have Spellcasting ability.

However, it appears to me that what is granted by the Bane of the Undead feature is not the ability to Turn Undead, but rather a modification of that ability (+2 DC, use this as a holy symbol), to creatures that already have that feature. That is, in this sense “can use” and “can take” are granting you the ability, but “while using” requires that you already have the ability to do so. (This was important since the NPC in question did not inherently have the Turn Undead feature).

Am I interpreting this language correctly?

A good answer will show a similar example in a less ambiguous case. While this question is specifically about the 5e Curse of Strahd, I am open to an answer showing how that particular item ‘is supposed to work’ in a previous version of the module.

pathfinder 1e – How should a player and GM handle an ability that necessitates a player seeing a GM’s roll?

the player needs to see the GM’s die roll, which to my knowledge is generally frowned upon,

This is not really true—it’s frowned upon by some, but standard operating procedure for others. Either way can work, and individual GMs/tables can and do make their own decision on that. The existence of abilities like this (and misfortune is not alone) suggests that Paizo generally endorses GM rolls in the open, however.

Clearly, at tables where showing the GM’s rolls is the norm, there is no problem using this ability in conjunction with this ability. So I’ll consider the question answered for such tables, and focus the rest of my answer on tables that don’t normally reveal things.

The primary reason to avoid revealing GM rolls is to prevent metagaming—if players know a roll has been made, they can start guessing why even if their characters would have no particular knowledge that any event took place. Likewise, with the number, they can start to guessing that, say, a high number means they just made a hidden saving throw and avoided some danger they didn’t know about, and a low number means they just failed a Perception check to notice some hidden danger. If players have difficulty separating player knowledge from character knowledge, hiding those rolls can have value.

The secondary reason for hiding GM rolls is that it allows for fudging rolls. Generally speaking, fudging rolls is done to avoid wrecking things for PCs when it wouldn’t improve the story for that to happen; fudging things to ruin things for PCs is generally frowned upon.

Luckily, in the case of misfortune, both of these concerns are considerably reduced: since enemies roll saving throws in response to PC actions, there is a lot less for players to learn that their characters shouldn’t. They already know the target is making a saving throw—that was the point of subjecting them to an effect that required one. They do learn, if the roll is poor but the target succeeds anyway, that the target has a much stronger save than they were perhaps expecting—but frankly that sort of thing should be getting described by the GM anyway (e.g. “the orc struggles to move its muscly bulk out of the way of the blast, but mostly manages to do so, taking only half the damage” for a difficult but successful Reflex save against fireball, compared to “the cultist laughs at your feeble attempts to sway him from his devotion, as your dominate person spell finds no purchase at all,” say).¹ And fudging rolls has a lot less justification if you’re doing it to prevent the PCs from succeeding where they otherwise would.

So I would recommend, in such cases, that revealing these rolls has few of the problems that might lead one to hiding most rolls. It would be fairly safe to reveal these rolls, even if it’s every single one. (If an enemy for some reason is forced to make a saving throw when the PCs aren’t aware of it, I think it’s fair that the oracle couldn’t use misfortune anyway.)

But if you’re really devoted to not revealing rolls, the answer is to provide enough description of the target’s attempt to save to hint at whether it was a good roll or a bad roll, so that the oracle has something to base their decisions on. Really, you should be doing this anyway, as I suggested above, but now it becomes particularly crucial.

  1. And, it goes beyond the scope of this question, but, really, D&D and Pathfinder in general really ought to be revealing a lot more about enemies’ capability to PCs—I have had conversations with numerous martial artists who suggest that things like BAB, Strength, overall level, and so on, should be readily apparent just from seeing someone shape up and assume a fighting stance. We can presume similar cues for spellcasters. Something to consider here—I often try to go beyond what the rules suggest for PCs recognizing the abilities of their foes. (All of this assumes, of course, that the enemy isn’t actively trying to disguise their ability; if they are, all of this goes out the window, at least if the enemy can succeed on their Bluff check.)