How to guide my players into realizing they have multiple options available for an encounter?

For my next session with my PCs, I’m planning to have them witness an attack on an NPC that’s intended to hook them the adventure. The plan is for the party to encounter his daughter, who also has a target painted on her back. I want the players to be making choices throughout the adventure, whether to fight back during an encounter, or to hide, or to flee.

These players are new to RPGs, so I want make sure that they realize that attacking isn’t their only option. So far all we have run is a run of the mill dungeon run.

The initial encounter should guide the player’s expectations. I don’t want trying to rescue the man to seem like the only option but I don’t want it to seem like it’s not an option. How do I help my players realize that they have more than a single option available to them?

What reactions are available to an artificer’s homunculus servant?

The description of the artificer’s homunculus servant states:

In combat, the homunculus shares your initiative count, but it takes its turn immediately after yours. It can move and use its reaction on its own, but the only action it takes on its turn is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take the action in its stat block or the Dash, Disengage, Help, Hide, or Search action.

The homunculus has a limited number of action options in combat, and most require the artificer to use their bonus action on their own turn. This (closed) question lists the reactions that are generally available in the game, but the homunculus can’t have feats, use the Ready action, or take an Opportunity Attack.

Yet the rules specifically go out of their way to mention that the homunculus can “use its reaction on its own”.

Question: what reactions can it use?

How can non-magical healers be useful when magic healing is available?

In many roleplaying games the prerequisite to perform magic healing is knowledge, and during action it is mostly limited by magic capacity and sometimes time. Meanwhile the prerequisite to perform non-magical healing (such as medicine, surgery, physical care, and other things that currently exist in the real world) is also knowledge, but often requires elaborated materials, more time and often includes a more severe chance of failure. Magic healing also tends to be more effective and complete, making it the better choice in almost all situations where body and mind need a fix.

From time to time, I play a character with some non-magical healing skill, but while his service is usually good enough for NPCs it is seldom requested by the PC group, making him kind of stand back behind the overall-well positioned magician, despite healing being his primary occupation.

How do you keep non-magical healers useful to the group and fun to play?

I’m also curious how specific roleplaying games solve this (e.g., perhaps magic is really expensive to cast; or magicians are allowed to perform in only one “school” of spellcasting), but that’s secondary.

What overpowered combinations would be available if I allow a bonus action to be used in place of a standard action?

It has come up in game a couple of times that a player might want to cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 bonus action using their “main” action (if they have another bonus action they also want to take on that turn, such as giving bardic inspiration, or controlling a Bigby’s hand, etc.)

On the face of it, it seems obvious that something (a bonus action) that is usually much faster than a full action could be done as your full action. Although the question comes up most often with respect to spellcasting, if I house rule this, I would rule that any bonus action can be taken as a regular action instead; however, I would not allow the same type of bonus action to be taken twice (so no giving bardic inspiration to two allies on the same turn, for instance).

Are there any abusive or overpowered combinations I should be wary of if I were to allow a character to take 2 bonus actions instead of one regular action and one bonus action on a turn?

The issue of casting two bonus-action spells would not come up because the rule against casting 2 spells on your turn unless one of them is a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action would still be in effect:

PHB p. 203 (under Bonus Action casting time)

You can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

I know it’s hard to prove/justify a negative answer to a question like this, but I’d be happy to get answers that say you don’t think there would be any issues if you describe how you came to that conclusion.

How does an in-combat change to a bard’s Charisma Score affect its available Bardic Inspirations?

I’m not exactly sure how changes to ability scores in combat affect abilities that have uses based on the modifier for that that skill.

For example take a bard with a Charisma score of 18 that has already used his 4 Bardic Inspirations. He then draws the Star card from the Deck of Many things. He uses it to increase his Charisma to 20, making his Charisma modifier +5.

As the number of Bardic Inspirations is determined by the Charisma modifier, would its increase to +5 give him an additional use of Bardic Inspiration?

On the other hand, suppose the bard has an Ioun stone taking his Charisma to 20. He uses 4 Inspirations, and then steps in a Antimagic Field, disabling the Ioun stone and reducing his Charisma to 18(+4). Would he have one available Bardic Inspiration or none?

Can a shapechanging creature multiattack when some attacks are not available?

When the Monster Manual’s “Multiattack” action of a creature with a shape-changing ability lists attacks that are restricted to one or more forms, can the creature take the “Multiattack” action while in any form, making only the currently possible attacks?

For example, the listed Actions of a Gray Slaad (MM 277) are:

Multiattack. The slaad makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws or greatsword.

Bite (Slaad Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack:

Claws (Slaad Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack:

Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack:

When a gray slaad is in humanoid form, does this mean:

  1. It can take the multiattack action, but since it cannot bite or claw, this only allows two greatsword attacks.

  2. Since the multiattack action involves a bite attack but the slaad cannot currently make a bite attack, it cannot take the multiattack action. It is limited to the ordinary single greatsword attack.

Add URL to sitemap to be available in the future

I generate automatically the sitemap.xml on publish of content on my website, however some of the content will be publish starting from an specific date and time.

Is there any tag that I can add to a sitemap or any other way to cater for this? so that the google/bing… bots would know to only index the content if the date is greater than ‘now’.

I know that I could use a task scheduler to update the sitemap file when the content publish date is reached but I was trying to avoid that solution.