Allowing Disengage for free

I’m the DM, and I’m concerned that combat feels pretty static.

As I understand it in RAW:

  • Once you’ve reached melee range, moving further away will provoke an opportunity attack, unless you disengage
  • disengage costs an action (unless you have a feature that lets you do it for free)

This seems to mean adventurers who get within 5′ of an enemy stay there until the enemy is dead, to avoid getting an opportunity attack.

This seems to make combat rather static, which I find irritating. It seems static compared to my martial arts experience (HEMA), or to say video games. (I realise 5e is a different thing to these, but it leads me to wonder if combat is unintentionally static, given the disengage action has been provided).

Some recent instances which annoyed me –

  • In a recent encounter, the tank threw the halfling at a slime (it was on the ceiling, out of reach…). They succeeded appropriate rolls, and after the combat I asked where they’d want to land. They placed themselves adjacent to the slime, as they’d be hit by an opportunity attack otherwise. I left it, as I wasn’t sure I wanted to set a precedent, but I felt that they should probably land further away.
  • A mounted character charged into combat. Despite having plenty of move left, they ended turn next to the enemy. It feels more RP that they should pass the enemy and end turn out of melee range?
  • A large enemy tied down most of the players; even those which were badly wounded stayed in combat, aiming to defeat the enemy before their next turn, rather than pulling out and letting the other characters handle it. It feels unnatural that if a large monster is fighting ~4 players in melee, they’d be free to get an opportunity attack if one moves out of range – particularly if that character has moved to the back/side.

I’m thinking of:

  • Allowing a free disengage if a player enters combat ‘with some momentum’ (e.g. mounted or otherwise moving faster than normal). Probably I’d limit this to the initial charge into combat for the mounted character. (This When a controlled mount takes the Disengage action, does the rider still provoke an opportunity attack if he or she does not also Disengage? seems to suggest this would be OK for mounted characters?)
  • Allowing a free disengage from behind a (large+?) creature if other players are also in combat with it and thus presumably distracting it.

Does this break things? Is there anything else I should be doing to make the combat more dynamic?

Allowing Allies to free one from Entangle and Web

SZEGA pointed out an error on my part – I am currently editing this question

Among spells that restrain creatures, most require those restrained to free themselves while others expressly allow allies to free them or to assist.

I suggest that allies be explicitly allowed to free restrained creatures from both entangle and web.

Spells that provide an explicit mechanic for allies to free those restrained: Ensnaring strike (1st), Snare (1st)

Spells that allow one to free oneself on an ability check rather than a save: Entangle (1st), Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp (2nd), Web (2nd)

Spells that require those restrained to free themselves without assistance: Evard’s Black Tentacles (4th), Flesh to Stone (6th), Imprisonment (9th), Mental Prison (6th), Prismatic Spray (7th), Prismatic Wall (9th), Telekinesis (5th), Watery Sphere (4th), Whirlwind (7th level), Wrath of Nature (5th)

The problem I have with the second category, those in which using the Help action is an option, is that it relegates the Help

The webbing of the giant spider monster permits allies to cut free those restrained – this seems like a good model for the web spell.

The net weapon allows allies to either pull one free or cut one free – this seems like a good model for the entangle spell.

Am I missing a balance issue, a design intent, or an errata?
Or am I correct that entangle and web should have been written like other first and second level spells to allow restrained creatures to be freed by allies?

A comment including any spells that restrain that I have missed would be appreciated as well.

What would be the balance implications of allowing multiclassing with the same class (e.g. for access to multiple subclasses)?

The rules for Multiclassing on page 163 of the PHB state:

With this rule, you have the option of gaining a level in a new class whenever you advance in level, instead of gaining a level in your current class.

By RAW, it seems clear you cannot start out at level 1 again in your current class in order to achieve something like a Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline) 1 / Sorcerer (Divine Soul) 1.

Would it be balanced to allow this anyway? Which problems would occur?

Assume that all other rules for multiclassing remain intact, such as the spell slot calculation or the limitation of multiple instances of Extra Attack.

Related: the same question for Pathfinder, clarification that this is not allowed by RAW

Best guidance for allowing users to connect via HTTP in case of a certificate error

I’ve coded my app to use https, but if a https transaction fails for any reason, I assume it’s because the server isn’t configured for https, and thereafter start all transactions with http. Seems like that’s a vulnerability. Likewise, a script kiddie using a proxy to intercept the traffic on his client hardware would be able to make all https transactions fail.

I’m told that if someone tries to MITM your app’s HTTPS request then the request should fail (invalid certificate) and your app should fail with an error, not fallback to HTTP. In a world where SSL is reliably available, sure, but maintaining valid SSL certs is a task in itself. For example, letsencrypt recently revoked some of their certificates and forced renewal of same because of some security problem. Aside from revocations, certs are short term and have to be renewed, and the renewal process involves a lot of stitchware, and can fail. If SSL goes down, I don’t want my site to go dark.

What is the best guidance for either:

  1. More reliably maintaining certificates (such that if they do fail, the resulting downtime falls within the "five nines" SLA unavailability window) without it being such a manual headache, or

  2. Allowing the site to continue to work if SSL has failed? Is it easy to allow most activity to proceed using http, but allow known-critical transactions to require https.

Note that no browsers are involved in the scenarios that concern me.

Allowing your party to plan their own mission

Based on some feedback from my players, I’m going to allow them to plan their next mission, which will be a ‘seemingly’ straight forward heist affair onboard a moving vehicle (limiting their geographical range).

What I’d like advice on, is how can I impose limitations on their plans to prevent them from going completely off-track?

Narratively, I’ll provide them with the objective and some key facts and stats, but what’s the best way to try and ‘plan for the unthinkable’ from my perspective? Normally as the DM, I can react to the team going off-road within the context of a quest because I can generally foresee the branches they might take, but in this instance, giving them the ability to map out their approach might make things tricky for me to manage.

Hope this question isn’t too vague!


What are the potential vulnerabilities of allowing non-root users to run apt-get?

There are two ways I can think of doing this:

  1. On a system with sudo, by modifying /etc/sudoers.

  2. On a system without sudo (such as a Docker environment), by writing a program similar to the below and setting the setuid bit with chmod u+s. apt-get checks real uid, so a setuid call is necessary.

... int main(int argc, char **argv) {     char *envp[] = { ... };     setuid(0);     execve("/usr/bin/apt-get", argv, envp);     return 1; } 

I have two questions:

  1. What are the potential vulnerabilities of allowing non-root users to run apt-get?
  2. My goal is to allow people to install/remove/update packages, given that apt-get lives in a custom non-system refroot and installs from a custom curated apt repository. Are there safer ways to allow non-root users to run apt-get on a system without sudo?

What would be the effects of allowing dual Pact Weapons?

I have been considering a Hexblade Warlock with a houserule to allow two Pact Weapons, so that they could dual-wield. What would the effects of such a houserule be? It is an extra option for Pact of the Blade, but is it stronger than things they can already do? It doesn’t seem like it to me, except maybe with the Improved Pact Weapon invocation giving two +1 weapons. But even that doesn’t seem too bad considering Polearm Master could basically do the same thing.

Would allowing Wizards to use Wisdom for AC be unbalanced?

I find myself frustrated that Wizards have high incentive to invest in Dexterity and Constitution so that the aren’t quite so squishy whereas they have little incentive to increase Wisdom except to help their Wisdom saves. Wisdom, however, seems much more in line with the common imaginings of a Wizard than Dexterity.

I am considering house-ruling that wizards can choose to add their Wisdom modifier to their AC instead of Dexterity but I want to check whether that would be balanced.

A relevant aspect to this change is that wizards have Wisdom Saving throw proficiency so this would allow them to be really good at Wisdom Saving throws more easily. On the other hand Dexterity saving throws are also quite common so giving up points in Dex also has a high cost even without AC.

Would allowing Path of the Storm Herald to change aura type after a rest unbalance the class?

I’m currently playing a Path of the Storm Herald barbarian (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p. 10-11).

Would allowing my character to change aura type after a long rest make the class unbalanced?

I figured this would give my character some more versatility without really adding power.

Would allowing Primeval Awareness to specify numbers and directions make the feature unbalanced?

The 3rd level class feature of the ranger, Primeval Awareness, says:

Beginning at 3rd level, you can use your action and expend one ranger spell slot to focus your awareness on the region around you. For 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend, you can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of you (or within up to 6 miles if you are in your favored terrain): aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.

Of all the rangers I’ve played myself or seen played by others, I have never seen this feature get used. One of the things that stops me (at least) from using it is that last line (“This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.“), which seems to make the feature overall pretty useless.

It seems that at least someone else agrees with me enough to level this criticism at Crawford:

Jonathan Longstaff:
@JeremyECrawford Also Primeval Awareness is arguably the worst class feature in the game. It’s so not worth a spell slot.

Jeremy Crawford:
@pukunui81 It’s definitely situational. In my recent Ravenloft game—heavy on investigation, light on combat—Primeval Awareness was pivotal.

Jonathan Longstaff:
@JeremyECrawford The fact that it covers a large area and doesn’t even give you a direction is the main issue for me.

Whilst I’m curious to know if anyone thinks this feature isn’t useless as-is and can explain why it’s actually useful, that’s not what I’m going to ask here (people can always link me to forum posts about such things in the comments below, if such forum posts exist).

Instead, my question is, assuming that I continue to believe that this feature is useless because of that last line, what are the balance implications of removing that last line from the class feature’s description? So the feature would read the same but excluding “This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.

My main concern is that it might end up being basically a better version of locate creature, which is a 4th level spell and therefore a RAW ranger wouldn’t be able to do this until level 13. On the other hand, this would only last a few minutes at most rather than up to an hour like locate creature.

Would allowing this feature to specify numbers and directions (bearing in mind that it only lasts a few minutes at most) make it overpowered, or would it merely increase its power enough to make it actually useful?