Is this homebrew exfiltration spell balanced?


Dimensional Anchor

3rd Level Conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: self
Components: V, S, M (a small, leaden nail worth 5gp)
Duration: 1 minute

You pound a nail into a point in the ground, anchoring your being to the nail’s location. During the spell’s duration, you can utter a command phrase as a bonus action and magically teleport to the nail’s location and the spell ends.

You can bring along objects as long as their weight doesn’t exceed what you can carry. You can teleport to the nail regardless of physical distance, planar distance, or obstacles (magical or otherwise, including barriers of magical force) between you and the nail. The effect occurs only if the command phrase is audible.

At higher levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the duration of this spell increases to 1 hour.

The intended purpose of this spell is as an exfiltration tool that must be prepared before usage, with clear differences between Misty Step and Teleportation Circle. I’ve deliberately made its teleportation and escape potential much stronger than the others to offset the setup added cost of this spell, and as a way to reward creative thinking and good planning.

Is this spell balanced?

I’ve prepared a list of balance consideration to help guide analysis.

Balance Considerations

  • I haven’t determined which classes will be able to use it, so for the purposes of analysis, you may assume that any spellcasting class can use it.
  • Comparison with Misty Step:
    • This spell is likely to be used in a similar manner as Misty Step–primarily a means of escaping a sticky situation. The escape potential for this spell is much greater, as it can be used to escape almost any bond or prison.
    • Misty Step can be cast reactively and requires a bonus action, whereas this spell requires a full action and bonus action. Action economy favors Misty Step in almost any scenario , unless the user has specifically approached a situation with a plan in mind.
    • This spell requires a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, while Misty Step requires only a 2nd level spell slot.
  • Comparison with Teleportation Circle:
    • This spell is mainly intended as a short-term, higher flexibility counterpart to Teleportation Circle .
    • Teleportation Circle can be used to access any existing Circle, whereas Dimensional Anchor can only be used to return to a recent location. As such, Teleportation Circle has much higher travel utility.
    • Due to its lower casting time, Dimensional Anchor can be used mid-combat.
  • Comparison with Word of Recall
    • This spell only works for a single creature (the caster) and has a finite duration.
    • This spell is significantly lower in level, meaning that it can be used more often at lower levels to avoid physical obstacles that wouldn’t otherwise deter a high-level player.
    • The return location for this spell does not require special or cleric-related significance. This greatly increases its real-time flexibility.
  • Silence prevents the user from teleporting via this spell.
  • The nail can be moved by any creature–hostile or otherwise.

gmail warns about encrypted PDF file

I recently received a PDF file that, when attached to a gmail message, causes a warning to be displayed as follows:

Encrypted attachment warning – Be careful with this attachment. This message contains 1 encrypted attachment that can’t be scanned for malicious content. Avoid downloading it unless you know the sender and are confident that this email is legitimate.

However, I am able to open the file without getting prompted for a password. I followed the advice given in this security stack exchange question and used the pdfid.py program whereupon I got the below output:

$   pdfid.py ~/Downloads/filename.pdf PDFiD 0.2.7 /home/username/Downloads/filename.pdf PDF Header: %PDF-1.6 obj                  402   endobj               402  stream               401   endstream            401 xref                   0 trailer                0 startxref              1 /Page                  0 /Encrypt               1 /ObjStm               15 /JS                    0 /JavaScript            0 /AA                    0 /OpenAction            1 /AcroForm              1 /JBIG2Decode           0 /RichMedia             0 /Launch                0 /EmbeddedFile          0 /XFA                   0 /Colors > 2^24         0 

It would seem to me that since this file contains no JavaScript it is safe to open and handle. But I am puzzled by the encrypted message that Gmail displays. I guess it is related to the /Encrypt flag that’s set on the above output.

Why is Gmail telling me that the file is encrypted even though I can open it without being prompted for a password and would that, on its own, be reason for concern?

How do I deal with a player wanting to do an activity that takes weeks when the party doesn’t want to?

I’m currently running a campaign with 5 players at level 3, one of which is a Wizard Dragonborn who’s entire character is devoted to becoming a real dragon by the end of the campaign through some kind of magic or holy gift or something.

As part of this, the player has decided that he absolutely MUST have a Pseudodragon and has decided that next session, as the players have finally returned to town after leaving at level 1, he is going to spend a few days resting before setting off alone to explore the forests of the nearby area to find a Pseudodragon.

I explained to him that on foot, sweeping the whole forest systematically (in a frontier part of the world where the majority of the land is forested) will take literally weeks for his character to do, as he has no spells that can assist him except find familiar (which he could use to sweep the air with a hawk).

When I explained that, this would involve him as a player turning up to the session (online) and contributing essentially nothing for extended periods of time over the course of several sessions (my players have decided they will be leaving town soon and our sessions have very little time between them in the world) he decided that he was fine with that.

I really don’t think that he will be and I’d hate to lose one of my players because in two session’s time he decides that he is really bored and doesn’t want to keep playing but on the other hand I really don’t feel like it’s fair for the other players just to give him what he wants immediately because I’m scared to lose a player.

I know he has said that he is fine with it and I’ve explained the downsides to doing what he is planning to do.

As the DM, is there a better way that I can damage control this? I don’t know if I’m making the right choices by not giving the player what they want but I just cannot see a reasonable way that a player could quickly find a rare animal in hundreds of square miles of forest.

Why does TempDB spill happen even though statistics are correct?

I read a great article published by Brent Ozar and came up with some questions related to memory grant. I am unable to address my questions in the comment section of his article, so I thought to get any help from here.

  1. Question: How much data is spilled into disk? 400 MB or 60 MB(7643KB*8)?

in the article he states:

And no matter how many times I update statistics, I’ll still get a ~400MB spill to disk.

I am kinda confused here(

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  1. Question: If everything is okay with estimates, stats are up to date, box has sufficient memory, and no queries were running at that time, then why does spill to disk happen?

look at the estimated number of rows versus the actual number of rows. They’re identical. The stats are fine.

I’m not using a small server, either: my virtual machine has 32GB RAM, and I’ve allocated 28GB of that to SQL Server. There are no other queries running at the same time – it’s just one lonely query, spilling to disk…

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Generalization of The Term “Insider Threat”

A definition of an Insider Threat in enterprises/organizations context is: "A current or former employee or business associate who has access to sensitive information or privileged accounts within the network of an organization, and who misuses this access."

I would like to know if such a threat can be generalized in a broader context so I can say that: "An Insider Threat refers to any user or entity that misuses the delegated access by taking the privilege that it is already authenticated and authorized to the system. The misuse of delegated access can be unintentional such as program flaws and failure, or intentional such as user account compromise."

Is my generalization of the term "Insider Threat" correct?

If it is not, what term is used to designate the type of threat that I defined in my generalization (2nd paragraph)?

How do I run LibGDX’s Particle Editor in Netbeans?

I am trying to run the Particle Editor that comes with LibGDX in Netbeans. The gdx-tools-1.9.10.jar file shows up in my dependencies, and I can see all of the packages and class files inside it:

gdx-tools-1.9.10.jar

Normally, when I want to run a file, I open the file by double-clicking it in the "Projects" panel, right click anywhere in the file, and then click the "Run File" option. However, when I use the same process to try to run a class file in gdx-tools, the "Run File" option appears to be grayed out:

Run File (Shift+F6)

I have also tried using the Shift+F6 shortcut, with no effect. Just as a sanity check, I did also make sure that the class file I am trying to run has a main method:

main method

I have also tried running the Particle Editor from the command line (I’m using Windows). I navigated to the gdx-tools directory using the following command:

cd C:\Users\<user>\.gradle\caches\modules-2\files-2.1\com.badlogicgames.gdx\gdx-tools.9.10\<hash> 

I then tried to run the Particle Editor using the following command:

java -cp gdx-tools-1.9.10.jar com.badlogic.gdx.tools.particleeditor.ParticleEditor.class 

And the result is simply:

Error: Could not find or load main class com.badlogic.gdx.tools.particleeditor.ParticleEditor.class 

How do I run the Particle Editor? I would prefer to be able to run it in Netbeans, but I would be happy to get it to run at all. I am using LibGDX 1.9.10, Netbeans 8.2, and Java (JDK and JRE) 8u111 on Windows 10. I installed LibGDX using their setup app found here.

What happens when someone fills in a contact form on a website?

I am trying to debug a problem on a website I am working on. The contact form doesn’t work. In my quest to find answers it occurred to me that I don’t even actually know what’s going on in the background in order to understand the sites that I’m reading for help!

So basically my question is: what happens when someone submits a form on a website?

I see that my hosting company has provided me a mail box with some arbitrary email address where the form submission gets returned to when it fails. Why? Do all form submissions actually come from this email address? What does PHP or SMTP have to do with this?

Divine Soul. Is it possible to quickened fireball as bonus action + cast cantrip + bonus action a spiritual weapon attack?

So I started playing like a month ago and the DM was nice enough to create a char for me and write me into the story. I’ve never played D&D before but told him I wanted to glass cannon blow things up. So he made me a divine soul sorcerer at level 13. My Metamagics are Twinned, Quickened, and Careful. I’ve been reading up on the rules and just found out before last session that I can quickened fireball and cast fire bolt as my action for extra damage at the expense of 2 sp. My DM gave me spiritual weapon and spirit guardians. So this brings me to my question.

Can I hypothetically on turn one cast fireball, and cast spiritual weapon as bonus action, then have weapon move to/hit bad guy. Then on next turn. Quickened fireball, cast fire bolt, and have the weapon move to/hit bad guy?

I honestly don’t see why not as spirit weapon doesn’t require concentration like something like animate objects. but in the player’s handbook it says:

A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn, provided that you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn. You can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of one action.

The part where it says "provided that you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn" would imply that I can’t. But the part "you can’t cast another spell during the same turn…" leads me to believe I might be able to. Because I am not casting another spell. I am also not concentrating on it. Like if I dominate person and tell the person to attack a bad guy, it’s attacks are not connected to what I do at all. In my opinion it’s a lot like casting conjure celestial and getting a couatl to cast/attack or dominating a monster.

What does the notation $ [ i \neq k ] $ means?

I can’t figure out what the notation $ [x \neq k ]$ means. Here’s a bit of context:

The formula is: $ Pr[A_i^k = 1] = \frac{[i\neq k]}{|k-i| + 1} = \begin{cases} \frac{1}{k-i+1} \text{ if } i \lt k \ 0 \text { if } i = k \ \frac{1}{i-k+1} \text{ if } i \gt k \end{cases}$

and is part of a chapter where the average expected time of operations of a randomised treap are proved.

$ A_i^k$ is an indicator variable defined as $ [ x_i \text{ is a proper ancestor of }x_k ]$ where $ x_n$ is the node with the $ n$ -th smallest search key. That probability comes up because $ \text{depth}(x_k) = \sum_{i=1}^{n} A_i^k$ and $ \mathbf{E}[\text{depth}(x_k)] = \sum_{i=1}^nPr[A_i^k = 1]$ .

I have no access to the pages that explain the notation since I’m studying from a pdf of a few pages taken from a book.