Is using stunting and pranks to gain advantage instead of stealth mechanically sound?

I would like to break the stereotype that rogues are always super stealthy sneaky types that appear from the shadows and strike and then disappear, for me that makes the flavor of the game not as fun and reduces the amount of decision making in-game. This is the reason I haven’t considered playing rogue ever.

I am selecting the thief rogue archetype in order to be able to take advantage of the use an object bonus action, and combine it with free actions for maximum effectiveness to allow for stunting and debuffing to gain the advantage required for sneak attacks. Is this a mechanically sound way to reliably trigger sneak attacks?

Ways this could potentially be implemented in practice:

  • Throwing dust into the eyes of an enemy
  • Using tinderbox to light their clothing, hair, or fur on fire
  • Using ten foot pole or quarter staff to poke and harass them
  • Using ropes and whips to attempt to trip them up or lasso them
  • Throwing caltrops, ball bearings, or oil, under their feet
  • Pantsing them or messing with their clothing in a similar way

Does a creature under the effect of Motivational Speech still get advantage on their next attack if the spell ends for them?

The spell motivational speech (Acquisitions Incorporated, pg. 77) says:

For the duration, each affected creature gains 5 temporary hit points and has advantage on Wisdom saving throws. If an affected creature is hit by an attack, it has advantage on the next attack roll it makes. Once an affected creature loses the temporary hit points granted by this spell, the spell ends for that creature.

So when the effected creature is hit by an attack, the spell grants the creature advantage on their next attack. But getting hit by an attack is going to be accompanied by damage – and 5 points seems like it will very often be gone with a single attack.

Does a creature hit by an attack still get advantage on its next attack if that attack dealt 5 or more damage? Or does the spell end for them immediately and they do not get advantage on the next attack?

It just seems like this effect is going to be self-defeating a lot of the time – the thing that grants the advantage is the thing that takes it away. Am I missing something?

Note, temporary hitpoints are always lost first, so no holding on to them while subtracting damage from your standard hitpoint pool. Sorry Jim, it was a clever thought.

Can a Changeling with the actor feat have permanent advantage and performance and Deception checks?

So the changeling’s shapeshift ability says that

As an action, you can change your appearance and your voice. You determine the specifics of the changes, including your coloration, hair length, sex, height and weight. You can make yourself appear as a member of another race, though none of your game statistics change. You can’t duplicate the appearance of a creature you’ve never seen, and you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs that you have. Your clothing and equipment aren’t changed by this trait.

So basically, as long as the person you are changing into is/ was a real person, you are always passing yourself off as a different person.

The Actor feat says

You gain +1 CHA, you have advantage on Deception and Performance checks when trying to pass yourself off as a different person, and you can mimic the speech of another person or the sounds made by other creatures that you have heard (for at least 1 minute).

So the way I read it, a changeling would always have advantage on Deception and Performance checks because they are always trying to pass themselves as a different person. Or is the meaning of the Actor feat that they only have advantage when they are trying to prove that they are a different person not in other situations? Really curious if this is kinda broken because a bard or rogue with expertise and advantage on all deception checks could be a crazy good liar.

Do racial features which grant advantage on specific ability/skill checks provide a benefit skill checks made with different abilities?

The rules for making skill checks are usually cut and dried. If a character is making a check to see if they can swim against a current, this would usually be a Strength (Athletics) check.

But the rules allow for unique circumstances to require skill checks with atypical abilities.

For example, if you have to swim from an offshore island to the mainland, your DM might call for a Constitution check to see if you have the stamina to make it that far. In this case, your DM might allow you to apply your proficiency in Athletics and ask for a Constitution (Athletics) check.

Certain races afford the character advantage on specific checks (most commonly Wisdom (Perception) checks that involve smell or vision).

I can imagine a situation where a DM might request an Intelligence (Perception) check to see if a character is able to identify which of two glasses of wine is poisoned or a Constitution (Perception) check to see if a character can keep their eyes on something flying very close to the sun without squinting.

In these atypical scenarios, does the creature’s racial benefit still give them advantage on the check in spite of the fact that the fundamental ability being used with their skill is not the one explicitly cited in the description of their racial feature?

When Perception contests Stealth, how do you know which side gets advantage or disadvantage?

When we run skill contests, especially Stealth contested by Perception, we sometimes struggle to work out whether to apply advantage to one skill or disadvantage to the other. It matters for two reasons:

  • multiple advantages and disadvantages don’t stack for any single skill check
  • advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out

An example may serve to illustrate:


Example

The dwarven fighter became separated from the rest of the party and was stuck in a long dark tunnel with three human cultists bearing down on her; they were carrying lights but she was still in darkness. She made a Stealth check to hide from them because she wanted to shoot at them with advantage. Here’s how I ruled advantage and disadvantage would stack up on the respective Stealth and Perception checks:

  • The fighter‘s Stealth check had advantage owing to being heavily obscured in the darkness
  • The fighter’s Stealth check had advantage due to her boots of elvenkind
  • The fighter’s Stealth check had disadvantage due to her armour
  • The fighter made a standard Stealth check because the advantage and disadvantage cancelled out; the second advantage did not come into play
  • The cultists‘ Perception check had advantage because they had already been attacked by the fighter, they knew she was hiding in the darkness up ahead of them, and they expected further attacks to come from that direction.
  • The net result was that a standard Stealth check was contested by an advantaged Perception check.

Reviewing the PHB rules on Light and Vision afterwards, I realised I should have made the heavy obscurement into a disadvantage for the cultists. That would have changed the skill contest as follows:

  • The advantage to the fighter‘s Stealth check granted by being heavily obscured would have become a disadvantage to the cultists’ Perception check.
  • The fighter would still have made a standard Stealth check because she would still have had advantage and disadvantage, which would cancel out
  • The cultists‘ Perception check would have had disadvantage because the fighter was heavily obscured from them
  • The cultists would now have made a standard Perception check because their existing advantage would have been cancelled out by the new source of disadvantage
  • The net result would then have been: a standard Stealth check was contested by a standard Perception check.

I’d given the cultists an unwarranted leg-up.


So the question is, for the factors that affect the Stealth vs Perception skill contest, which do you apply to the Stealth check, and which do you apply to the Perception check?

Your reply should address some or all of the following factors, saying which check each applies to, and why:

  • movement of the stealthing or perceiving creature
  • obscurement
  • cover
  • camouflage
  • attention or distraction of perceiving creature
  • ambient light, noise or smell

Taking advantage of subdomains for refresh token rotation in SPAs

Say I have three components in a system:

  1. An identity service, hosted at identity.mydomain.com
  2. A single page application, served from app.mydomain.com
  3. An API, protected by requiring a bearer token signed by identity.mydomain.com

In the single page application, would it be considered secure to keep an access token in memory, and a rotating refresh token (set by identity.mydomain.com, marked with all the expected security attributes as well as SameSite=strict) in a cookie? The refresh token would rotated similarly to this auth0 article here: https://auth0.com/docs/tokens/concepts/refresh-token-rotation

My thinking for the flow would be as follows:

  1. User visits app.mydomain.com
  2. The SPA sends a request to the token endpoint of identity.mydomain.com
  3. identity.mydomain.com returns 401 because there is no refresh token cookie
  4. SPA redirects user to identity.mydomain.com
  5. User authenticates
  6. identity.mydomain.com sets a refresh token cookie (with HttpOnly, Secure, SameSite=Strict) valid for .mydomain.com (all subdomains)
  7. User is redirected back to app.mydomain.com
  8. app.mydomain.com sends a request to the token endpoint of identity.mydomain.com
  9. identity.mydomain.com receives the cookie, because it is on the same overall domain.
  10. identity.mydomain.com sets a new refresh token cookie, invalidates the old one, and returns a very short-lived access token
  11. app.mydomain.com can then store that access token in memory and use it to call the API at service.mydomain.com.
  12. access token expires, so the SPA sends another request to identity.mydomain.com/token to refresh the tokens and the cycle continues.

I can’t see a way this would be particularly vulnerable – the refresh token wouldn’t be available to JS due to its protected attributes, and even if it is retrieved somehow the rotation should ensure it’s not used more than once. The SameSite=true attributes should also protect against CSRF. I’d make the refresh token also a signed JWT so the identity service can validate it and make sure it is issued by the correct authority as well.

If this is insecure, I’ve definitely misunderstood something somewhere down the line – so please could you explain why?

Advantage of saving term translations with polylang?

Ok, so I’m trying to automate the generation of posts and custom taxonomies in different languages, and it’s all working.

What I did (summary):

  • create posts with wp_insert_post()
  • set language of posts with pll_set_post_language(), for each
  • associate respective post translations with pll_save_post_translations()
  • create taxonomy terms with wp_insert_term()
  • set language of terms with pll_set_term_language(), for each
  • Associate custom taxonomy terms to custom post types with wp_set_object_terms(), for each

I completely see the use of these six functions.

Now, what I wonder is: What would be the advantage of additionally associating taxonomy term translations with pll_save_term_translations()? Given that, when you switch the website’s language, the posts will be displayed in the according language, with this also comes the switch of their taxonomy terms to the corresponding language, simply because it’s another post. So, in this case, what’s the benefit of using pll_save_term_translations()? I only see benefits in associating translated taxonomy terms with each other if you want to display their name separately and indepently from other wordpress objects which carry them language – specifically, such as posts. Is that the sense of it, or am I missing something, and pll_save_term_translations() is indeed mandatory for what I want to do? (which is programmatically prepare posts and their taxonomies, such that a post gets always displayed with its taxonomy terms in the right language, which is currently chosen by the language switcher)

Is it reasonable to let Inquisitive Rogues get advantage on Perception and Investigation outside combat?

I am DM in a campaign and recently my players reached level 3. The Rogue chose to take the Inquisitive archetype.

I am looking at the Eye for Detail feature, which allows the rogue to make a Perception check to look for hidden things or an Investigation check to uncover or decipher clues as a bonus action. At first glance I interpret this as an extension of the Cunning Action feature (similar to the Thief’s Fast Hands or Mastermind’s Master of Tactics), by giving the rogue more things to do with their bonus action.

The Eye for Detail feature definitely has uses in combat. Bonus action Perception checks are an excellent counter against foes which like to hide (which my players face semi-regularly). Investigation is more situational, but not useless.

However, outside combat the action economy is not so important. If you are acting on the timescale of minutes rather than seconds it is not practical to track individual actions. But on the same timescale of minutes (rather than hours) you can, in principle, track things by individual actions.

By this reasoning, an Inquisitive Rogue can make twice as many Perception or Investigation checks in a given time-frame as any other character (assuming that is the only activity they are doing, and that the checks fall under the specifications for the Eye for Detail feature). They are able to search faster so, given a fixed time-frame, can search more thoroughly, or search a wider area.

Of course, I don’t actually want to track actions round by round for a search which would take a few minutes. That would involve a stupid amount of die rolling and completely skews the statistics. But I was wondering whether the Inquisitive’s Eye for Detail should still provide some benefit.

Would it be reasonable, under appropriate circumstances, to grant an Inquisitive Rogue advantage on Perception and Investigation checks outside combat? Or would this be unbalanced?

‘Appropriate circumstances’ being cases where simply searching more would plausibly improve chances of success (e.g. hide and seek), the timescale of the activity is short enough to make an intensive effort practical (but long enough to not be measured in rounds), the check pertains to the activities described in Eye for Detail, and the rogue is not dividing their attention between other actions.

My rationale behind this is that, in combat, a rogue can roll twice as many checks as someone else, so rolling advantage is essentially equivalent to that. I figure that a small circumstantial non-combat buff which emphasises the archetype’s strengths is acceptable.

My concern is that this might be too advantageous. This greatly extends the usefulness of the feature by allowing it to be useful outside combat, and advantage is a large bonus. If this makes the archetype far more powerful than it should be, or has unintended interactions, then I should be wary about granting such regular advantage. I have not had much experience with Inquisitive Rogues; if they are a powerful archetype then such a buff would be unneeded, although if they are a weak archetype then this buff might be beneficial.

Note that I am not planning to explicitly modify the Eye for Detail feature. Rather, I will use my latitude as DM to grant advantage based solely on the implied usefulness of the Eye for Detail feature. But I wish to discern whether such a ruling is wise or unbalanced before setting a precedent.