dnd 5e – How should I set up and execute air battles in my session to avoid easy encounters?

Admittedly, Hypnotic Pattern is an unusually powerful spell and one that can tip a combat, especially if the PC’s outnumber the monsters. Before you resort to changing the fundamentals of that spell, though, or “giving immunity” to monsters, make sure you are running the PC’s spells RAW. If you are not paying attention to things like range and timing, but just allowing the players to use spells because they have them, spells like Hypnotic Pattern are going to come off as even more powerful than they already are.

The sky is big – have you checked RAW range?

Unlike a “dungeon” or indoor setting, where most of the participants remain in spell range for the entire combat, the sky is a big, open space.

Mind Sliver has a range of 60 feet.
Polymorph has a range of 60 feet.
Hypnotic Pattern, for some reason, has a range of 120 feet.

But the roc has a flying movement of 120 feet! This means that it has a reasonable chance of remaining out of spell range until its turn, and then moving into range and making its attack, so long as its target is not immediately adjacent to the caster. For example, consider a Hypnotic Pattern caster and an allied PC standing on deck 20 feet away. If the roc approaches from the direction of the ally, it can start its turn at 140 feet from the caster (out of range of the Pattern) and still reach the ally to attack by the end of its turn. If it is a big ship and the PC’s aren’t clustered together, that may even give the roc the opportunity to both attack a PC and get back over the rail before the caster can respond. With a +13 to hit and an automatic grapple, the roc should be taking a PC with it. That should give the players pause – once their companion is over the rail in the roc’s talons, hypnotizing or polymorphing it may mean that a PC will be joining the roc in plummeting a thousand feet.

Casters can, of course, ready actions to cast spells when the roc comes within range. But remember that readying a spell requires casting the spell and then holding the energy, which dissipates at the end of the round. You can have the roc circle the ship a few times before it moves in. Once the casters have burned through a few third and fourth level slots readying spells that are never cast, they may reconsider.

Also, is the ship moving? If it is not hovering in place, but moving at a certain speed and direction, the roc may be able to use that. By grappling the aftmost PC, for example, the ship might move ‘out from under’ the PC on its turn.

Flying combat takes place in three dimensions

Currently 5e movement rules largely indicate two dimensional thinking. But the roc is a creature of the air. What is to prevent it from approaching the ship from underneath, so that the casters cannot see it until right before it bursts on deck and grabs someone? What is to prevent it (besides masts – I’m not familiar with the design of the airship) from approaching the ship from above, and dropping from outside of spell range to the deck, taking some fall damage itself but possibly doing considerable damage to everyone it lands on?

Finally, not RAW but pretty reasonable and supported in earlier editions – the roc could start its turn at a higher elevation than the ship and gain speed by dropping in elevation as it traveled toward the deck, allowing it to move from outside of spell range into its attack range and back off the ship in one turn.

The GM describes the environment

In general, you should avoid changing the details of player’s spells when you find them challenging to deal with. Players often feel a GM is being antagonistic rather than fair if they ‘nerf’ the player abilities – the one thing the players have going for them and can count on. However, it should be expected that the GM describes both the environment and its effects on the combat. Is the airship noisy and the roc a silent glider? Then it can likely sneak up on the ship at night, in a storm, or in a cloud – getting within striking range perhaps in a surprise round. When a roc falls, is it being buffeted by winds or just the air resistance of its massive wings? That could reasonably be considered something that would “shake the creature out of its (hypnotic) stupor” before it hit the ground. Have the players polymorphed an enemy flier into a chicken and thrown it off the ship? Chickens can fly – perhaps not well enough to glide a thousand feet to the ground – but certainly well enough to spiral, collide with the hull, take a point of damage, and resume their original form long before they hit the ground.

Rather than trying to change rules to limit the characters’ spells, try to rigorously enforce pre-existing RAW limits, expand the strategic options of the monsters, and describe the consequences of the environment in ways that don’t favor the players.

dnd 5e – How should I set up and execute air battles in my session to avoid easy encounters?

Combat balance is always tricky, and airship-related elements can make it harder. I’ll try to focus on the novel environment of the airship, since that’s the meat of the question. But for completeness, a few issues about combat balance generally:

  • Combat difficulty estimates (like a hard encounter, deadly encounter,
    etc.) are just that– estimates. And not very precise ones. Further,
    the difficulty of an encounter is mostly defined around the
    likelihood of PC KOs. Even a deadly encounter is one that PC party is
    expected to win
  • Powerful parties are powerful. They have lots of options to deal with
    a variety of situations, and one manifestation of that is that they
    can approach a given encounter in many ways. Some of those ways will
    make certain combats pretty easy for them, such as gaining access to
    Polymorph. With options like that available, an encounter may need to be much harder to suit those powerful options
  • You are running a game for a pretty large party. 5 to 6 party members (and even up to 8!)
    gives a big edge in terms of action economy, and allows for lots of
    synergies between PCs (which tends to make combats easier).
    If you have that many PCs, you likely need to include more enemies
    per combat in order to keep things challenging
  • 3 to 5 hard combats per day is below the number assumed in a typical
    adventuring day, and consequently it’s not surprising if the party
    overperforms

Tweaks to ordinary combat-balance issues are covered pretty well in answers to other questions, and are not quite in scope here.


Airship combat between individual characters and enemies can be tricky to balance

As you’ve discovered! If you can get enemies onto the deck of the ship you can have a pretty typical combat encounter, plus an obvious terrain feature that allows shoving enemies over the side to plummet to the ground.

But if you have flying enemies that menace the ship by flying around it you can start to lose terrain features and tactics that add variety and challenge to combats. For an easy example, consider cover: outside of using the body of the ship, cover is probably going to be hard to come by. This favors spellcasters and ranged fighters, who get to act like fixed turrets.

My preferred approach to combat between PCs on or in a vehicle and enemies that move around that vehicle (this includes airships, regular ships, wagons, mine carts, and so on) tend to focus on treating the vehicle as a unique environment which is a part of the fight(s):

  • A rollable table of ship-related effects is a great tool to have, and
    can really alter player tactics. For example, if the airship suddenly
    rolls to the side PCs may need DEX saves to keep their footing or
    risk falling prone/taking damage/pitching over the side. Rolling a d6
    every round or two to impose environmental effects like that can make
    a combat harder without fiddling with enemy composition, as well as
    adding variety to combats generally
  • Flying hundreds of feet in the air offers unique opportunities and
    dangers. Does the airship have to fly through a thunderstorm,
    possibly creating a risk of lightning damage or driving winds? Can
    the PCs defeat the enemies and survive the harsh environment? Does the environment make certain strategies more or less attractive, by adjusting the potential risks and rewards? Can enemies weave in and out of clouds, breaking line-of-sight and attacking from unexpected angles?
  • What are the enemies’ goals? If they want to kill or otherwise impede
    the PCs, they might as well focus on damaging the airship itself.
    This can change combat from an HP-reduction grind into a race against
    time, and can also keep enemies out of easy reach of spells and
    ranged attacks. If the enemies want something other than slaughter, the fight being relatively easy for the PCs may not be enough to truly “win” the combat encounter
  • Some condition exists that means things get worse until that
    condition is fixed. In one combat I ran, my players were in a small
    ship trying to escape from a massive Orcish warship, which had shot a
    large hauser-connected harpoon into their deck. As long as the ships
    stayed attached, orcs kept climbing across the rope to board the
    ship. The PCs had to fight the boarders and cut through the hauser
    or rip out the harpoon, or else the fight would (effectively) never
    end and they would eventually be overwhelmed

Adventure-day design is a different beast than single-encounter design

Encounter design is always an art, and designing a challenging combat is different from designing a difficult adventuring day. A combat might be tough, but with lots of resources a party might be able to prevail. An adventuring day being tough, in contrast, means more questions about whether or not it’s worth spending resources right now (for an easier current combat) versus keeping something in reserve for potential future combats, and surviving those later combats when the resources are gone.

And however easily your players dispatch threats in a given fight, if they have more fights they will eventually run low on resources and face much greater danger. More combat encounters per day, with fewer opportunities for rest, lead to much greater challenges for the party.

Upgrade Macbook air OS X Yosemite

I am trying to install Skype for business and Microsoft office on my MacBook Air 2015. but need to update to macOS 10.11 for this.

I don’t have any installation updates pending, how can I upgrade?

dnd 5e – Can you push someone upwards into the air?

I think it’s best to start with the relevant tweet from Jeremy Crawford.

Pushing someone away requires the whole move to be away from you. A diagonal push works. Vertical doesn't. If your target is above you, however, you can push them vertically. The point is this: you must push away.

Let’s tackle your questions directly.

Q1: Can you use the second effect to push him away upward diagonal from you?
Q2: If some other mechanics claim push the creature X feet, can you push him those feet vertically? (like an uppercut kind of strike)

These are basically the same question, The answer here is clearly “no”. You can’t push them “diagonally upward”, just “away”.

And no, you can’t just duck down. Halfling Monks don’t get the ability to “uppercut” Medium-sized opponents just because they are shorter.

if so, he takes 1d6 when falling to the ground and get prone?

This is where things get a little complicated.

Let’s say that you were on an incline and your opponent was at the top of the hill. You kick them “away” which results in them going “diagonally up”. Depending on the angle, this could launch them in the air.

The PHB (183) says:

At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, to a maximum or 20d6. The creature lands prone, unless it avoids taking damage from the fall.

Note that damage doesn’t start until the person falls 10 feet. So if you hit them 8 feet in the air, they land cleanly. For this to work for the monk, you need to be on a 60 degree angle adjacent to your target so that “15 feet away” also means 10+ feet in the air. This could work, but it’s also going to be extremely rare.

Taking medicines from USA to India for someone else in air travel

Q1: It is not legal to carry prescription medications for someone else.

Q2: They’re asking you to not tell Customs because they know or suspect that Customs will confiscate the medicines.

Being caught with medicines not your own may also result in your being charged with the criminal offenses of smuggling and/or lying on your Customs Declaration. Any such discovery by Customs will make future entries by you back into India significantly more difficult. None of this would be enjoyable.

All in all…just say no.

air travel – Flying with a desktop computer (as checked luggage)

I personally would take some precautions. First of all, make a backup of your data. Leave on in your home and take another one with you so that you can use it in your destination place. Then when transporting a desktop computer, the most fragile part is almost always the hard disk drive. So I would dismount it if possible and take it into your cabin luggage. You could also do this for other sensible parts like for example other drives, the processor, or the RAM bars. This I would pack into anti-static bags and take it into the cabin.

The tower itself you can put into protected pc transporting bags like this one. This bag will be checked so that you can’t smuggle and weapons or drugs. But you shouldn’t normally fear that this will damage your computer.

And last but not least, you could also think about sending your computer with a carrier. I quote this from a message board:

Send it via a Secured Carrier, RPS(Royal Packaging Service), Which
Delivers Things in the most pristine state Possible. Door to door
Service, White glove care. But i warn you, Its pricey. 15lb =
$200/USD.

air travel – Can I reschedule a Non refundable international Flight ticket (AirFrance+Jet Airways; Barcelona-Pairs-India) with minimal additional charges?

Your ticket is non-refundable, but possibly changeable with a fee. So you probably can change your return date by paying the change fee plus the fare difference. You just need to call the airline office where you bought the ticket from, presumably in India (since you said you will return to India).

Now, before you call them, there’s a bit of homework you can do. If your date is flexible, try to see which date is the cheapest. As I stated before, you will need to pay the change fee plus the “fare difference”. If you’re lucky to find the same fare on the new return date, you will only need to pay the change fee. On the other hand, if you pick a date with only expensive fares left, then you may pay a lot more than you would like.

Nonetheless, you will have to call the airline office or the agency in India to find out the exact amount.

air travel – Can I bring a single shot of live ammunition onto the plane from US to UK as a souvenir?

As an add on to existing answers consider your question

Can I bring a single shot of live ammo onto the plane from US to UK as a souvenir?

as being seen by security authorities as looking something like

Can I bring a single shot informal firearm onto an aircraft if I also carry the single live ammunition round with me but separately from the firearm ?

Seen in this light, without knowing the specific regulations it’s obvious (or should be 🙂 ) that the answer is probably “NO!!!”, or at very best “Only after very large amounts of questions and paperwork, probably not as carry on, probably not without significant pre-application period and, probably, no!”


If you have Facebook access then this page will be informative Bootleg Gunz – The Bazaar of Bizarre Guns will be informative re what can be achieved.

Genuine: 22 LR, Australia

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A “bootleg” / ‘slam-fire’ / … firearm can be implemented in many ways from equipment and material that does not resemble a conventional firearm. The common key component to any such weapon is a live round – if you have that the weapon proper is doable.

Bearing in mind also that if you are able to carry such a round onto an aircraft then Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all) also can and a number of you can then pass your ammunition to someone who has a/the weapon.

air travel – Charged back flight with Condor back in March and now they’re trying to ask for payment. What are my options?

As a follow-up to Can I simply apply for a chargeback on my credit card if my flight was cancelled and I’m unable to reach the airline?, I was contacted by Condor today with the following email:

We have unfortunately had to ascertain that as of today your account
for flight booking / extra service xxxxxxx still shows an outstanding
balance of USD xxx. Please transfer the due amount due to the
following bank, stating the references specified below, by no later
than xx.01.2021:

If you do not pay the claim amount by the deadline mentioned above, we
will ask our service provider TESCH Inkasso Forderungsmanagement GmbH
to take over the processing of the case, without a further reminder
from us, and to pursue our claims plus any charges incurred.

The story is that I had a flight from Seattle to Prague in March that had the Frankfurt->Prague leg cancelled. I’ve called Condor a couple of times, but they’ve refused to do anything about it as they were claiming that the Frankfurt->Prague leg is run by Lufthansa and thus I should contact them for a refund. This was of course complete nonsense (my contract is with Condor, not with Lufthansa), so I asked my US bank for a chargeback which was successful.

Now, I’m 100% sure I’m in the right here as the flight did not happen on time, nor was I offered a rerouted ticket and there’s no way Condor could possibly dispute this. But what should I do about it in the meantime?

  1. Ignore? I live in the US so Condor would have a hard time coming after me, but I’d rather not hire a US lawyer to fight it in case they do somehow.
  2. Pay up? Its a relatively small amount (~300 USD), but for me its a matter of principle not to pay for a service that wasn’t provided.
  3. Try talking to them? Sounds futile based on my previous interactions back in March.
  4. Hire a German lawyer and fight it? Possible, but sounds like I’d waste more than the $300.
  5. Complain to a consumer agency in Germany or the FAA or some other government authority? If so, which one?

I’ve found a similar thread on a German forum so it looks like Condor is now actively pursuing these chargebacks. A good answer would thus be useful to hundreds if not thousands of travelers in the same boat.

Reuse air gapped Raspi used for seed generation?

Would it be wise for an air gapped RasPi used for seed generation be used again online with a new micro SD card? Am i missing anything?