system agnostic – How can you find a balance between effective/optimised characters and creative characters?

Everyone is responsible for the overall health of the game

That means everyone is responsible for finding a place for themselves and their characters within the game. If the game is focused overcoming an extremely challenging tactical position and saving the world despite the massive resources and power of your opponents, then it may be that a certain amount of power is mandatory for a character to participate. And if that’s the case, then it is the individual responsibility of every participant to ensure that they come to the table with a character that fits within that game.

Likewise, if a game is focused on the social interactions of the characters within the society of the town, and violence is all-but-verboten as a solution to problems, then it may be mandatory for every character to have a deep enough background, with fleshed-out social connections to the town, in order to play. It becomes every player’s responsibility to come to the table with such a character.

Characters from the first game won’t fly in the second game, and vice versa. A character with no backstory and whose only notable feature is the ability to one-shot-kill a god might be entirely appropriate for the first, but utterly inappropriate for the second. That character would, most likely, be rejected by that society and thus unable to participate. A character with tons of influence and social standing, but with no survival skills or combat ability, sounds like a perfect fit for the second, but would not be appropriate in the first. That character would be one of the people the first group are trying to protect, and would be left behind in whatever safety is available, and would not be able to participate.

No one has a right to play whatever character they want, the expectations of the game and table be damned. It is every player’s responsibility to come to the table with something that fits the game.

The problem comes when you have games that aren’t as clear-cut as my two examples—and you have people at the table disagreeing about what sort of game it is. When you have an epic quest to save the world, making friends along the way, one player might see this as closer to the first game, while another might see it as closer to the second. This doesn’t have to be a problem, of course—the really important thing is that everyone enjoys the game, so as long as everyone gets an appropriate amount of time in the spotlight, and there are situations where both players’ characters can shine, there isn’t a problem.

So in the end, it becomes a question of what kind of game does everyone want to play, or think they are playing? Is everyone on the same page? If not, is the DM comfortable catering to both as appropriate, and is everyone comfortable with there being segments of the game that perhaps interest them less or interact with their character less?

If you want to play a lower-power character, are you accepting that you are lower-power, and so will have less opportunities to shine in hard mechanical situations? Or are you demanding that everyone else get to the same place as you, just so you can play the character you want? The former is fair and reasonable; the latter is not.

If you want to play a higher-power character, are you accepting that you are higher-power, and the game will have segments where that does not matter and that will highlight what the other characters have going on? Or do you want your optimization to mean you “win” and get to have the spotlight on you all of the time? The former is fair and reasonable; the latter is not.

In the specific case of you wanting to play a lower-power character, and other players objecting to the character on the grounds that it is too weak, that needs to be the discussion that you are having: is this a game that mandates higher-power than your character is offering? And if the other players think it is, why do they think that—what are they concerned about losing if the game is tweaked to allow your character to participate? Note that there are valid concerns that might exist here. It’s not the case that they are simply wrong—it might be, but it also might not be. You have to be open to that, because you have a responsibility to engage with the premise of the game and this is part of it.

  • Other players might—reasonably—point out that their characters couldn’t, in good conscience, bring someone as vulnerable as your character along on their quest.
  • Alternatively, they may simply be interested in greater mechanical challenges, and be worried that the presence of a lower-power character will require the DM to water down the challenges, or force one of the higher-power characters to “babysit” the lower-power character.
  • If the game has a “master” player, who is responsible for the challenges the party faces, that player may well object to the simple power disparity as making their job too difficult.

And so on. You can discuss these, determine if these—or others—are concerns that the other players have, and then determine whether or not those concerns are valid in the particular case of the game you are all seeking to play. If they are valid, you can consider how they could be remedied—whether it means a different character, or tweaks to the system to allow the same character to move upward on that graph you have, or whatever else.

But nobody has a “right” to play. This is a voluntary, cooperative activity for fun—your ability to participate is entirely predicated on the voluntary cooperation of those you would play with. You can’t make them play something they don’t want to play; they can’t make you play something you don’t want to play. The only way anyone gets to play is if everyone gets along and agrees to play—and agrees to play the same game. That’s all it really comes down to.

Is there any native Mac OS X 10.15.3 keyboard layout that contains all ASCII characters plus č, ç, è, ǩ, ò, š, and ž?

I am creating a conlang that uses all ASCII characters plus č, ç, è, ǩ, ò, š, and ž. Is there any natively supported Mac OS X 10.15.3 keyboard that contains these special characters?

Special characters directory issue

I have a cpanel server and when I use special characters in directories , I will not be able to access the files in that directory.

Here … | Read the rest of

How can I search for a keyword with special characters in Google Search?

Write it out:

-f: perldoc -f -X. If no file name is specified (as is the case here) checks if $_ contains the name of a plain file

>: Checks if the RHS is greater than the LHS

@+: In scalar context, returns the number of elements in @+

?: the conditional operator

*<: The glob for main::<

.: String concatenation operator

-&'_: Invokes a subroutine main::_. FYI, ' is the perl4 style package name separator. Try perl -MHTML'Template -e 1.

: : Continuing with conditional operator

$# : The output format for printed numbers

/ : Division operator

%! : %ERRNO; see perldoc perlvar

So, it is not impossible to understand if you put a little effort into it. Clearly, this is not how anyone should write programs, but there some benefit from people pushing the boundaries.

dnd 5e – How would you challenge a party of 8 players characters without killing them?

Large parties can be diffcult to run for any DM. You have a couple options to deal with this.

Force split the party

Pitfall traps, haunted houses with secret rotating doors, dopplegangers inflitrating the party, Magic maze, etc. By dividing the group, they can handle a lot less at once. This allows you to use creatures such as goblins, zombies and other lower CR monsters that a large party of even low level characters would normally step on as well as make sure each player gets to do something in a combat or have time to shine in a RP session.

Big monsters

As the party levels up, especially with 8 or more players, they will be able to take down higher CR monsters much quicker than a normal sized party of 4 or 5. Or you can send more creatures their way at one time. Orc war bands, gangs of Grimlocks, etc. Dropping characters is not the same as killing them, with 8 party mates someone is bound to be able to do some sort of healing. 5e is very forgiving with its death saves and low chances of insta death, keep in mind your players do have the option to run when things are tough, so don’t be afraid to gauge their strength and reward good teamwork.

Red flag

I have a party of 8 players and more continue to join (against my wishes).

This is concerning to me as you are the DM. Ultimately, you can only handle so much. I don’t know your situation but extra players joining eithout the consent of the DM is INCREDIBLY rude. You have to work hard to make sure everyone is having a good time. You have the right to cap off a campaign. If it gets too full then no one will have a good time. Perhaps these new people can play if and when you start a new campaign, or have another game going among themselves. To be blunt, if your game is full, say it’s full and be firm.

dnd 5e – What could a semi-malicious npc do with a player characters voice in a jar?

A merchant npc has been selling wares to my pc’s. In their most recent encounter, one of the pc’s was just a little short of the gold required to purchase a magical item he really wanted. Improvising, I had the merchant offer the pc a deal – all he had to do was say his own name into a little copper jar, and the merchant would discount the item enough for the player to purchase. The player, obviously, accepted.

For flavor, the pc found himself mute for a few seconds afterwards, and when questioned the merchant simply claimed he’d “taken a piece of his voice – not the whole thing, mind you, just a couple crumbs.”

While this encounter was colorful enough on its own, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for how it could come back to bite the party in the rear. I was considering having the merchant use the voice to make a deal with (and trick) a demon, and then have the party encounter that angry demon later on, but I’m not 100% sold on the idea.

beginner – Count characters, words, and lines in files (wc in rust)

I wrote a barebones version of wc in rust. wc is a program that counts the number of characters, words, and lines in a file and outputs those values to the command line. Here is an example of the output:

   9   25  246 Cargo.toml
  52  163 1284 src/
  61  188 1530 total

My version currently lacks the proper output alignment, and it doesn’t print the total (it also lacks the command line options, and it panics when fed a directory). But I would like to get some feedback before I go any further.

use std::env;
use std::fs::read_to_string;

struct InputFile {
    words: u32,
    lines: u32,
    characters: u32,
    name: String,

impl InputFile {
    fn new(name: &String) -> Self {
        let content = read_to_string(name).unwrap();
        let (mut characters, mut words, mut lines) = (0, 0, 0);
        let mut spaced: bool = false;
        for c in content.chars() {
            if c as u8 != 0 {
                characters += 1;
            if c != ' ' && c != 'n' {
                spaced = false
            if c == 'n' {
                lines += 1;
                if !spaced {
                    words += 1;
                    spaced = true;
            if c == ' ' && !spaced {
                words += 1;
                spaced = true;
        Self { lines, words, characters, name: name.to_string() }

impl std::fmt::Display for InputFile {
    fn fmt(&self, f: &mut std::fmt::Formatter) -> std::fmt::Result {
        write!(f, "{} {} {} {}",
            self.lines, self.words, self.characters,

fn main() {
    let files: Vec<String> = env::args().collect();
    for f in &files(1..) {
        println!("{}", InputFile::new(f));

Word VBA – Counting Characters in Tables – Error on Public Variable

I have looked at tutorials and Q/A on here and there and have tried what I have read to no avail. I have this Word document. example below

There will be text in O1 and the VBA will count it (characters, spaces + paragraphs) and output it in C1, and the C1 fill changes red or green if over/under the character limit. The same for A1 and C2 and so on for any number of following tables.

The VBA options are as follows:

  • Count the “Objective” O1 text for the selected table: Sub TableCharCount_Obj()
  • Count the “Accomplishment” A1 text for the selected table: Sub TableCharCount_Acc()
  • Count both the Obj O# and Acc A# texts in each table, for all tables: Sub TableCharCount()
  • Delete the Obj and Acc texts and the char counts and clear the fill in the C# cells: Sub ClearCount()
  • plus an additional module w/ code that inserts a new page and new table at the end of the document (vba not included)
  • plus a userform to call the macro above (vba not included)

The VBA was working for the actions above when I had the row/columns hard coded into various places in the code. If rows/columns were ever added/deleted from the tables, it would be simpler if the row/column numbers were in one place and referred back to as variables, so I changed the row/col #s to public variables. In the code, I track what becomes of orow (output row) & chcct (character count col) and both are 0 as it runs, despite both being initialized as 3 in Sub Row_Col_Num().

My public variables are the top of the module before a Sub() and denoted as Public. Sub Row_Col_Num() which contains the variable assignments is also Public.
I tried putting the Sub() name in front of the variable when it is used, e.g. Row_Col_Num.orow, in Sub TableCharCount_Obj(). The produced the error “Expected Function or variable” at line:

 Call TableCharCount(Row_Col_Num.oRow, Row_Col_Num.oRow)  

I tried the module name in front of the variable as well, e.g. Module1.orow.

Both using nothing before the variable and using Module1.orow resulted in the macro counting the wrong row and outputting to the wrong cell.
All 3 cases orow and cchct both continued to be 0.

The only solution I can think of is to

Call Public Sub Row_Col_Num()  

Before every

Call TableCharCount()  

In every procedure that calls the main code.

If it’s not obvious, there was some mission creep as I added more capability which resulted in not having a clear end state in mind. For now, if I could get the public variables to work, I would be happy with it. Appreciate any suggestion to get these variables to work. VBA below:

'Overall - These macros are for counting # of characters (w/ space) +
# of paragraphs in tables... '...displaying that # in a cell in the table & removing the count.

'NOTE:  If rows (or columns) are deleted/added in the tables, will need to change numbers in macros below. 'Row changes will break #1-4.  Column changes will break #1 and #5.

'****************************** '#0 -- This creates variables for column and row number used in all the macros.  Only need to change row/col number here if row/col are added/deleted Option Explicit

 Public oRow As Integer      'row with "Objectives" text  Public aRow As Integer      'row with "Accomplishments" text  Public cOnA As Integer      'column that both obj and accmp text are in  Public cChCt As Integer     'column that the char count is output to

Public Sub Row_Col_Num()
    oRow = 3
    aRow = 5
    cOnA = 1
    cChCt = 3 Debug.Print "cchct pub sub: " & cChCt End Sub

'#1 Sub ClearCount() 'This will clear/delete the char counts in ALL tables in the document.

Dim xRng As Word.Range Dim y As Integer Dim tcount, tbl As Integer

Application.ScreenUpdating = False tcount = ActiveDocument.Tables.Count For tbl = 1 To tcount
    For y = 2 To 4 Step 2           'row #'s hard coded
        Set xRng = ActiveDocument.Range(Start:=ActiveDocument.Tables(tbl).Cell(y, cChCt - 1).Range.Start, _
                    End:=ActiveDocument.Tables(tbl).Cell(y, cChCt).Range.End)        'Range contains text "#char" and char count from their respective cells
        Selection.Delete                                                         'delete the text
        xRng.Shading.BackgroundPatternColorIndex = wdGray25                      'Change cell color back to grey
    Next y Next tbl Selection.GoTo What:=wdGoToSection, Which:=wdGoToFirst Application.ScreenUpdating = True End Sub

'#2 Sub TableCharCount_Obj() 'Run character count for the "Objectives" in the SELECTED table Debug.Print "orow = " & oRow Call TableCharCount(oRow, oRow)   'provide it 2x to make IF and FOR loop End Sub '#3 Sub TableCharCount_Acc() 'Run character count for the "Accomplishments" (row 5) in the SELECTED table Call TableCharCount(aRow, aRow)   'provide it 2x to make IF and FOR loop End Sub

'#4 Sub CharCount_AllTab() 'Run character count for "Objectives" & "Accomplishments" for ALL tables in the document. Call TableCharCount(oRow, aRow) End Sub

'#5 Option Explicit Sub TableCharCount(ByVal a As Integer, ByVal b As Integer) ' 'Macro created by Jason Ryals 'Counts total characters in a cell w/in a table and outputs the number to a different cell, and colors the cell red or green if over/under the... '.......the maximum number of characters.

Dim charCount, charWSCount, paraCount, charTot As Double Dim iRng, oRng, txtRng As Word.Range Dim i, max, s, t, x As Integer Dim tcount, tbl As Integer Dim DocT As Table           'for active doc tables

Debug.Print "cchct1= " & cChCt 'Debug.Print vbCr & "-----START-------" & vbCr Application.ScreenUpdating = False

If a <> b Then
    tcount = ActiveDocument.Tables.Count
    tbl = 1                 'used in FOR loop, start w/ table #1
    s = b - a     '"STEP" used in FOR loop = # of rows between objectives text and accomplishments text Else
    On Error GoTo ErrMsg    'handles expected user error of not selecting a table to execute on
    tbl = ActiveDocument.Range(0, Selection.Tables(1).Range.End).Tables.Count       'ID the table that is selected
    tcount = tbl            'prevents FOR loop from trying to run again
    s = 1    '"STEP" used in FOR loop = # of rows between objectives text and accomplishments text / do not set to zero = infinite loop End If

'Debug.Print "# of Tables: " & tcount

For t = tbl To tcount                       'loops thru the tables
    Set DocT = ActiveDocument.Tables(t)
    For x = a To b Step s                   'loops thru the applicable row(s) in the table
            'Debug.Print "x @ start = " & x
            'Debug.Print "table " & t
            iRng = DocT.Cell(x, cOnA)
        '-Alternative way of counting // not output into document----- '            charCount = Selection.Characters.Count        'does not count bullets or the 'space' between the bullet and first letter / does count line breaks (paragraphs)
            'Debug.Print "selected char#  " & charCount
        'Count used in output
            Selection.MoveLeft wdCharacter, 1, wdExtend     'computerstats requires the text itself selected, characters.count can use the whole cell selected
            charWSCount = Selection.Range.ComputeStatistics(Statistic:=wdStatisticCharactersWithSpaces) 'counts bullets & space after bullet / not line breaks (paragraphs)
            'Debug.Print "Comp statchar#  " & charWSCount
            paraCount = Selection.Range.ComputeStatistics(Statistic:=wdStatisticParagraphs)
            'Debug.Print "#paras = " & paraCount             'need count of paragraphs to add to #char IOT get a closer total to MyBiz
            charTot = charWSCount + paraCount
        'Output to table cell
            i = x - 1                           'output cell is 1 row above cell that is counted
            Set oRng = DocT.Cell(i, cChCt).Range    'Char count ouput row,column
    Debug.Print "cchct2= " & cChCt
            oRng.Text = charTot
            Set txtRng = DocT.Cell(i, cChCt - 1).Range    '"# Char:" location row,column
            txtRng.Text = "# Char:"
        'Maximum # of char allowed in a cell.  Used to change cell fill red or green.
            max = 2000                              '"Accomplishment" row (row 5) has a max of 2000
            If i = 2 Then max = 1500                '"Objective" row (row 3) has a max of 1500
        'Change color of cell to indicate over/under max # of characters
            If charCount < max Then
                oRng.Shading.BackgroundPatternColor = wdColorBrightGreen
                Else: oRng.Shading.BackgroundPatternColor = wdColorRed
            End If
            'Debug.Print "x @ end = " & x
            'Debug.Print "--------Next x--------------"
    Next x
    'Debug.Print "------Next Table------"

Next t

ActiveDocument.Tables(tbl).Select       'attempt to move to top of 1st table if using CharCount_AllTab() or just to the top of the selected table for the other macros Selection.GoTo What:=wdGoToBookmark, Name:="Page" Selection.StartOf

Application.ScreenUpdating = True Exit Sub

ErrMsg: Msgbox "Select a table by placing the cursor anywhere in the table.  Press OK and try the macro again numnuts!", _
    vbOKOnly, "Table not selected"  
End Sub

dnd 5e – Do Player characters know they are under the effect of a Death Tyrant’s Negative Energy Cone?

At least, not until specific things occur as a result of being in the cone.

Targets (of spells) PHB 204

Unless a spell has a perceptible effect, a creature might not know it
was targeted by a spell at all. An effect like crackling lightning is
obvious, but a more subtle effect, such as an attempt to read a
creature’s thoughts, typically goes unnotice, unless a spell says

While the Negative Energy Cone isn’t a spell, it is a magical effect, and so it is reasonable to apply the same logic.

Death Tyrant MM 29

The death tyrant’s central eye emits an invisible, magical 150-foot
cone of negative energy. At the start of each of its turns, the tyrant
decides which way the cone faces and whether the cone is active.

creature in that area can’t regain hit points. Any humanoid that dies
there becomes a zombie
under the tyrant’s command. The dead humanoid
retrains its place in the initiative order and animates at the start
of its next turn, provided that its body hasn’t been completely

Nothing in the description of the ability describes any obvious effect, other than when trying to regain hit points or dying, so creatures won’t notice it unless either of those two things occur.

DMs may allow checks to notice where the central eye is looking

Given that the cone is emitted by the central eye, a DM may reasonably allow a character to try to determine where the cone is being directed, if said character is aware that such a cone exists. However, this is totally up to the DM as there is no specific guidance on this.

Official rules concur

The Sage Advice Compendium contains additional detailed guidance on perceiving spell effects, so again, the logic applies to our magical effect here:

Do you always know when you’re under the effect of a spell?

You’re aware that a spell is affecting you if it has a perceptible effect or if its text says you’re aware of it (see PHB , under “Targets”). Most spells are obvious. For example, fireball burns you, cure wounds heals you, and command forces you to suddenly do something you didn’t intend. Certain spells are more subtle, yet you become aware of the spell at a time specified in the spell’s description. Charm person and detect thoughts are examples of such spells.

Some spells are so subtle that you might not know you were ever under their effects. A prime example of that sort of spell is suggestion. Assuming you failed to notice the spellcaster casting the spell, you might simply remember the caster saying, “The treasure you’re looking for isn’t here. Go look for it in the room at the top of the next tower.” You failed your saving throw, and off you went to the other tower, thinking it was your idea to go there. You and your companions might deduce that you were beguiled if evidence of the spell is found. It’s ultimately up to the DM whether you discover the presence of inconspicuous spells. Discovery usually comes through the use of skills like Arcana, Investigation, Insight, and Perception or through spells like detect magic.

dnd 5e – Does Iron Flask work on player characters?

The flask has no effect on most PCs while on the Material Plane

When you target a creature with the flask:

If the target is native to a plane of existence other than the one you’re on, the target must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or be trapped in the flask.

This effect only happens for creatures not native to the current plane. No effect is specified for a target that is native to the plane of existence, which means that if you are on the Material Plane and target a creature native to the Material Plane, the flask has no effect. The vast majority of playable races are native to the Material Plane, so they generally cannot be trapped by the flask under normal circumstances. However, there are exceptions, such as Eladrin (mechanically a sub-race of elves), who are “native to the Feywild”. An eladrin on the Material Plane can be affected by the flask.

However, if the party were to make an excursion to another plane, such as the Feywild, the PCs would indeed be vulnerable to the flask’s effect while they are not on the Material Plane. Conversely, an Eladrin PC would be immune to the flask while on the Feywild, since it is their native plane.

It may even be beneficial for a PC to use the flask on another PC under some rare circumstances, since the requirement to obey another PC’s orders might help override an enemy charm or mind control effect. This would obviously require quite a lot of trust, both in and out of character.