Are Ogres allowed to become Priests of Vaprak?

The Complete Book of Humanoids allows for PC Ogres with a level limit of 3 in Shaman and no other divine spellcasting class allowed.

Monster Mythology provides details for Vaprak’s (the god of Ogres) priesthood, with a level limit of 3 for Shamans and a level limit of 7 for Speciality Priests.

My understanding of Specialty Priests is they are something that can be taken instead of Cleric. Is my understanding of Specialty Priests flawed or is there something else RAW that addresses this?

Monster Mythology additionally states in the intro that other races can become a Specialty Priest for any given god, but if they are not the god’s race they have the same level limit as the Shaman. It seems clear the intention was to allow Ogres to get to level 7 Priests under Vaprak, which is how I’m ruling it in my game, but I’m hoping to find something RAW to further justify that decision.

When using the evocation wizard’s Sculpt Spells, can you protect fewer creatures than the maximum you are allowed?

The Evocation Wizard’s Sculpt Spell ability allows the wizard to protect some creatures from their own evocation spells:

When you cast an Evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell’s level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their Saving Throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

Does the number of chosen creatures need to be exactly equal to 1 + the spell’s level, or can it be lower?

For example, if an evocation wizard casts Fireball, can they choose 1, 2, or 3 creatures to be protected from the spell, or do they need to select either zero or exactly 4 creatures?

Not allowed to use Acrobatics vs Grapple Ankheg

Now, I know this sounds like something small, but it did annoy me. We were fighting an Ankheg. We killed one, and after combat ended the DM had another one come up from the ground and grapple me with no checks to find it (we even have a player with a passive perception of 21). It had its full turn attack and movement, then he had it start at the top of initiative after that giving it effectively two rounds in a row.

This was a little bad, but I’m okay with this. He then would not let me us acrobatics to escape because it was a vice grip, so only athletics as a ranger halfling. It seemed weird, but I wasn’t sure if it was something with the creature. I checked after and couldn’t find anything. Also, the creature was put to sleep by a spell, but he said that still in its sleep it would keep me in its grip for only athletics checks. I enjoy the game, but I get very frustrated when the DM changes the rules to punish the players. Please let me know if I am crazy here or if I’m just being a big baby about it. He consistently does this type of thing, and I’m starting to get kind of worried for the future of his sessions, but perhaps it is just me.

Are monks only allowed to use non-unarmed weapons as off-hand when two-weapon fighting?

Do the special rules regarding monks’ unarmed strikes prevent monks from using unarmed strikes as off-hand weapons when using two-weapon fighting?

The monk class’ unarmed strike section states:

There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed.

The context of this is dealing with 1x vs. 1/2x strength, but as a side effect, does it mean a monk must use a weapon rather than an unarmed strike when using two weapon fighting to generate more attacks per round?

Two-weapon fighting states:

If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon.

It then states later on, confirming that unarmed strikes may normally be used:

(An unarmed strike is always considered light.)

Is a Medium-sized Paladin allowed to use a summoned Mastiff as their mount?

The Paladin spells Find Steed (Player’s Handbook pg.240) and Find Greater Steed (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything pg.156) list the following creatures that are valid targets to be summoned as mounts:

Find Steed

  • a warhorse
  • a pony
  • a camel
  • an elk
  • or a mastiff

Find Greater Steed

  • a griffon
  • a pegasus
  • a peryton
  • a dire wolf
  • a rhinoceros
  • or a saber-toothed tiger

However, of these options, the Pony, Mastiff, and Peryton creatures are classified as "Medium" creatures. And per the Mounted Combat rules found in the Player’s Handbook (pg.198), a valid mount must be a size bigger than its rider:

A willing creature that is at least one size larger than you and that has an appropriate anatomy can serve as a mount, using the following rules.

The description for Find Steed stipulates that the summoned creature serves as a mount for the creature that summons them:

Your steed serves you as a mount, both in combat and out, and you have an instinctive bond with it that allows you to fight as a seamless unit.

Is this a case of Specific Beats General, where a medium-sized creature very well could ride on these magically-conjured medium steeds, or is such a creature still bound to obey the restrictions placed on them by the Mounted Combat rules?

A related question about Perytons being summoned by Find Greater Steed touches on this issue, but is scoped around questioning whether the statistics of a summoned Peryton are different from a normal Peryton. As a result, I don’t think it’s a duplicate of this question: What happens if I summon a Peryton with Find Greater Steed?

How am I supposed to check Defender’s capability when it trusts me blindly after I mark a test malware file as “allowed”?

With enormous amounts of fighting with Windows/Microsoft Defender, I finally managed to download the "test virus" file from https://www.ikarussecurity.com/en/private-customers/download-test-viruses/ onto my desktop.

However, Defender (on the command line) still just says:

Scanning C:\Users\John Doe\Desktop\eicar_com.zip found no threats. 

No threats? You just had me work for 30 minutes straight to make you not remove the file before it ever even landed on my desktop, and now you consider it to not contain any threats? Is this just because I have "allowed" it?

My entire point of downloading this file was to check if Windows/Microsoft Defender returns a "1" code instead of "0" when it detects a virus (and what it says as text output), but now I can’t even test that because it thinks that the file is not "harmful" just because I allowed it to exist temporarily on my system for the purpose of testing this?

Bottom line: I can’t see any way to test Defender’s output/return code for an actual malware-detected file because it doesn’t even allow me to have the file on my desktop without "allowing" it, which apparently makes it believe me blindly as an authority.

What kind of terrain is allowed for Mirage Arcane?

The spell mirage arcane is problematic in that much is left undefined, or unclear. It is a 7th level spell, so its powers are unexpectedly great. Nonetheless, there must be some limitations to the spell. I’m specifically interested in the type of terrain that the local one can be changed to.

Jeremy Crawford once unofficially tweeted that targets could drown in an imaginary lake, or fall off an imaginary cliff, so we can assume that spawning a lake in the middle of nowhere isn’t too far-fetched.

The mirage arcane spell gives you tremendous latitude in how you make the affected terrain look and feel. The altered terrain can even hurt someone. You could drown in the spell’s illusory lake, for example, or fall off an illusory cliff.

1. Can extraplanar terrain be used? Places like the Elemental Plane of Fire are inherently dangerous to humans. Could you use Mirage Arcane to summon typical terrain from that plane, like a sea of fire (for example)?

2. Do acid lakes, toxic bogs, and active volcano calderas count as terrain? I’m inclined to say that if one can drown in an illusory lake, then surely one can melt in an illusory acid lake. The toxic bog though, it’s more debatable if its terrain components are the deadly ones. And I’m not sure if a big lake of lava is terrain.

3. Does the allowed terrain depend on location? Perhaps summoning a lake of lava in the middle of a calm meadow is a bit extreme (then again, perhaps not for a 7th level spell). However, surely if one were to use this spell in a volcanic landscape, then it would be appropriate?

The DM allowed me to wield two shields, how can I get the most AC and HP, as a Bear Barbarian?

I’m making new character, a level 5 Lizardfolk using two spiked shields. I want to build him as a wall of HP and AC but not sure how best to do this.

So i’m thinking of being a Bear Totem Barbarian until level 5 then maybe going Fighter to level 3 so I can get Battle Master for some battle field control. With more Fighter levels I can get more ASI/feats: Sentinel and Dual Wielding and Tough. The party already has a Wolf Barbarian so some fighter levels may bring something new to the table

At level 5 my stats will be including the lv 4 ASI.

  • STR – 18
  • DEX – 16
  • CON – 20
  • INT – 12
  • WIS – 16
  • CHA – 13

The DM is letting me stack the AC and have proficiency to attack with shields and they count as light weapons.

I’m looking to build out to level 15+, avoiding magical classes, focusing primarily on defense with damage and control as secondary objectives.

Is an Adventurers League DM allowed to adjust an encounter to max out the combat XP reward?

I DM an AL group of four. They agree to create new level 1 characters (they are experienced), but ask me to adjust the combat to give maximum possible XP in an adventure, in case they miss out the non-combat XP reward, so they can advance more quickly.

The easiest to do this is by increasing the number of enemies, especially the less threatening ones, like kobolds, zombies, etc.

I try to search AL DMG and found this part (emphasis mine):

You can also adjust the adventure on the fly, beyond the guidelines given in the adventure, or make other changes as you see fit in order to insure your players have a good time.

AL FAQ (emphasis mine):

Sometimes characters fall behind the adventure’s expected level. In these situations, there are two main methods of supplementing character experience. […]

Random Encounters. You can’t grant players roleplaying experience to make up the deficit; however, they may add random encounters as needed (assuming the adventure provides a list of random encounters). See below for more guidance on random encounters.

[…]

The FAQ states that to give more XP to players, you can only use two methods, one of them is giving random encounter, if the adventure has a list of random of encounter.

This makes me think that adding more enemies (or changing the enemies with more XP ones) for the sole reason of guaranteeing maximum XP for each adventure is not in line with the spirit of AL, and wondering if this is ever within the bounds of AL DM “empowered to alter an encounter”.

Is giving more enemies than the guidelines (for very strong) or changing the types, for the reason to guarantee max XP, allowed for an AL DM?

Relevant: What are Adventurers League DMs empowered to do for encounter scaling purposes?

Is it allowed to store 8-digit BINs outside of CDE

If I store 8-digit BINs and truncated (6/4) PANs separately outside of my CDE, do I remain PCI compliant?

Truncated PANs are no more than the first 6 and last 4 digits of PAN, compliant to the standard’s section 3.4, but it only says:

The intent of truncation is to permanently remove a segment of PAN data so that only a portion of the PAN is stored.

from which I am not sure if it’s still allowed to have the first 8 digits separately, for other purposes, let’s say, to maintain a mapping from BIN to bank name.

Current standard: https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/PCI_DSS_v3-2-1.pdf

I checked related Q&As, none of which mentions 8-digits:

  • Storing last 6 digits of payment card vs 4 digits
  • Minimum requirements for storing last 4 digits of credit card number?
  • Is PCI-DSS compliance required for non-credit card payment source?
  • Creditcard store first six digits PCI reference
  • PCI Compliance requirement when storing card data on user's device
  • Does transmitting first 6 and last 4 digits of the card number and expire date require PCI DSS compliance?