Roleplay the Bard College choice and the game-strategically chosen spells [on hold]

Regarding group composition, what are reasonable spell and college choices?

After a 10 year hiatus, I just got back into rpg-ing and built my first caster. I am playing a Human Bard with the Ritual Caster Feat. At the end of our last session we had a level-up and I am a bit lost where to steer the character with the pending decisions. (I am asking several questions, which might be better answered in separate questions. However, as they rely a bit on each other, I kept them together. If I should divide them up in separate threads, please tell me.)

I am a sucker for fluff and I am toying with the idea of going for College of Whispers, which i think would work nicely with the background story (see below), but I am afraid to leave the group hanging by giving away advantage gained by following College of Lore.

With Bonus Proficiencies of CoL I could choose additional skills that I could up with the regular Bard Lvl 3 Expertise. This seems too good to pass up on (How many skill proficiencies does a College of Lore Bard have?).

The PHB states about CoL that

The college’s members gather in libraries and sometimes in actual colleges, complete with classrooms and dormitories, to share their lore with one another. They also meet at festivals or affairs of state, where they can expose corruption, unravel lies, and poke fun at self- important figures of authority.

We will start our next session in Baldurs Gate and with respect to How to explain Bard getting College education suddenly? I think she could try meeting other bards in the city or get information about a criminal, highly connected, and partially government-protected group she wants to bring down.

  • What would be a good way to RP that college? Where could she go in Baldurs Gate to find reliable information on this gang (see backstory)?

Additionally, there’s the spells I have to choose. At Level 3, my character knows 6 spells. With the Ritual Caster Feat, she picks two Rituals from the Wizard class (Alarm, Find Familiar)

  • These Ritual Caster spells of the Wizard class do not count into my 6 known Bard spells, right?

My current spell setup is Minor Illusion and Vicious Mockery for Cantrips and Bane, Dissonant Whispers, Healing Word, and Tashas Hideous Laughter for Level 1 spells (forgot to choose the 5th).

At Level 3, my Bard knows 6 spells, and I am debating which two of the following would be most helpful. She usually does buff/debuff and engages from a distance. Aside from magic, she is using a crossbow.

  • Which two of the following spells would complement my character and backstory the most, and a strategically sensible?

Level 1 spells

  • Unearthly Chorus
  • Comprehend Languages
  • Heroism (every round!)

Level 2 spells

  • Blindness/Deafness
  • Cloud of Daggers
  • Crown of Madness (120ft, nice to get a surprise attack)
  • Enhance Ability
  • Hold Person
  • Invisibility (great! but I cant attack and we have a Rogue)
  • Phantasmal Force (Damage dealing zombie ravens? Nice)
  • Suggest (Could be really powerful to manipulate alliances/foes out of fight action)

Backstory: My character is a Shou from Westgate and worked as an apothecary, selling more or less potent healing and love potions. On one of her errands she had an unlucky run-in with the local mob of the Nine Golden Swords who ambushed a local hero. She unsuccessfully tried to help the guy and they killed him anyway. She had to run afterwards, leaving her grandparents behind to an unknown fate (they were warned but we don’t know if they ran, too or stayed). (Travelling and meeting the hero group) I would like for her to start collecting information about the Nine Swords, gather alliances and eventually bring them down. So, a more cloak and dagger sort of road, dealing in whispers of corrupted officials who protect the mob bosses ect. She has a Raven Familiar, who gained a cult-following with some of her party. I have not decided yet, how she found out she could use magic (for more than her potions). Maybe her grandfather played a mighty lute or she met a bard when she ran.

How many copper coins fit inside a cubic foot?

I have a Wizard who is level 5, currently running in a pirate campaign (homebrew), and I thought about some scams I could pull to earn the ship some extra coinage whenever we touched port to resupply or whatever. I have the School of Transmutation, and I was thinking of turning copper coins into silver ones using Minor Alchemy. In the Player’s Handbook it states that I can take a cubic foot of non-magical material and transform it into a different listed substance (wood, stone, iron, copper, silver).

Now, I talked to the DM and he said that that would be acceptable, as long as I do not abuse it. At later levels, I might (if this works, and assuming the DM approves) take it up a notch, like copper coins to gold coins.

However, we got to talking: just how many copper coins would it take to make a cubic foot? We know that 50 coins equal a pound, but… That is about it.

Is there any official rulings that I am missing or something really obvious I am overlooking?

How can I handle players killing my NPC outside of combat?

My players tried to capture one of my bosses (they didn’t know it was a boss) and after a few rolls they succeeded. They started to interrogate him (the NPC is a human) and after obtaining the information they wanted he was stabbed in the chest. Basically, imagine having one of the most powerful warriors of the kingdom killed by a throat cut because the rogue rolled 19 on Stealth.

Now here’s the thing: how do I handle realism and one-shotting bosses out of combat? Because I can think of excuses but I don’t want my players to feel discouraged or think that their actions are meaningless if the DM wants this NPC to fight them.

Are positive and negative energy from their respective planes inherently good and evil?

Are positive and negative energy from their respective planes inherently good and evil? I am talking about the positive energy plane and negative energy plane from the great wheel model, which includes them as encircling the cosmology.

In my campaign, due to the wide variety of situations that the players will go through, I am wondering whether they are thought of as good and evil due to an inherent alignment, or the fact that the alignment of the user means they tend to find more uses, such as the fact that evil characters could come up with more uses of negative, while a good character would have fewer uses for negative, but could come up with more for positive. As they are not mentioned commonly, radiant and necrotic damage are part of what I am asking, so feel free to use those in your explanation.

Can an attached stirge deal no more than 10 HP of damage before it detaches?

An attached stirge deals 5 (1d4+3) HP of damage at the start of its turn each round. The statblock states:

The stirge can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. It does so after it drains 10 hit points of blood from the target or the target dies.

The monster description later states:

A stirge attacks by landing on a victim, finding a vulnerable spot, and plunging its proboscis into the flesh while using its pincer legs to latch on to the victim. Once the stirge has sated itself, it detaches and flies off to digest its meal.

Assuming rolling for damage rather than just applying average damage, should the damage be capped at exactly 10, at which point the stirge detaches? Or should the full damage from the damage roll that puts the total over 10 still apply?

Can a persistent spell cast using the Sorcerer’s Metamagic Twinned Spell affect both spells?

The description for the Sorcerer Metamagic Twinned Spell says:

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell’s level to target a second creature in range with the same spell (1 sorcery point if the spell is a cantrip).

To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level. For example, magic missile and scorching ray aren’t eligible, but ray of frost and chromatic orb are.

The general upswing is the Sorcerer can cast two Mage Armor or two Suggestion spells. Something with instantaneous results. But what happens when the spell has follow up abilities?

The situation came up when a Cleric/Divine Soul Sorcerer cast a Twinned Spiritual Weapon (in the form of a hammer).

As a bonus action on your turn, you can move the weapon up to 20 feet and repeat the attack against a creature within 5 feet of it.

Can the Sorcerer move and attack them independently? Or use one Bonus Action to move attack one round and wait until the next round to move/attack the other?

I found a similar spell, and this one directly effects a creature: Dominate Beast.

You can use your action to take total and precise control of the target. Until the end of your next turn, the creature takes only the actions you choose, and doesn’t do anything that you don’t allow it to do. During this time, you can also cause the creature to use a reaction, but this requires you to use your own reaction as well.

Can the Sorc control both beasts in the same round?