How do I make a creature feel impressive without scaring my players away?

At the end of the homebrew campaign I’m running, I plan to have the characters face off against a big, scary monster. It’s designed to be (almost) impervious to regular weapon attacks, but there will be various ways to either avoid or negate its attacks and ‘defeat’ it without killing it.

Through various choices made in the adventure so far, the party is actually well on their way to having it in fact be friendly towards them when they encounter it, though it will be dominated and/or controlled by the real enemies into trying to attack the party.

My party has proven to be relatively cautious so far. I would like to describe the creature as large and imposing, with very powerful attacks that would normally reduce anyone caught in them to very small pieces.

I’m afraid that when I describe the creature as super-powerful, my players will decide it is obviously way out of their league and (sensibly) refuse to engage. On the other hand, if I describe the creature as too wounded and weakened, it will not feel like the impressive, nail-biting end-of-adventure encounter I hope to give my players.

The players have discovered so far that the creature is a red dragon, though they don’t know its age. They also know that it’s being held against its will, though I don’t think they realize yet how much it hates its captors.

In past encounters, they have reacted to various descriptions of enemies with realistic responses:

  • Their first combat encounter, described as a small handful of goblins and gnolls eating dinner and unaware of the party, had the party sneak into position, then attack with overwhelming force.
  • Their third combat encounter, where they thought that a horde of vicious beasts was about to descend on their position, had them retreat and take up defensive positions. (There was only a small horde of confused, weak, hungry creatures, but they didn’t have that information.)

How do I make it clear that, while dangerous, the encounter is well within their means to deal with?

Note: we’re using D&D 5E, though I imagine this question could be applied across various systems.

If a character casts Fog Cloud around themselves before moving away from an enemy, do they provoke an opportunity attack?

Our party was forced to brawl against a group of orcs in order to gain their respect to speak with their chieftain (long story, we had very good reason for doing this). It then became a battle royale.

Our wizard was at low health and next to our paladin, and had the idea to cast fog cloud to capture himself and the paladin within it so he could leave combat. He cast the spell, and then came down to the debate of whether the paladin would get an opportunity attack even though she was blinded.

The wizard was in threat range, but does an effect that causes an area to become heavily obscured cause the Paladin to lose threat range and the wizard be able to successfully flee to another area of the ring?

Or does the paladin still have threat range and attack the wizard, even with fog cloud covering both of them?

I looked over the rules for 15 minutes after this situation, but nothing came up. It was ruled in-game that it was fine to make an opportunity attack with disadvantage, but that just doesn’t feel right. She might have heard the wizard stepping away, but the fog cloud was already in place. By the D&D rules, would the paladin have been able to make the opportunity attack or not?

Is it decidable whether a given Turing machine moves its head more than 481 cells away from the left-end marker, on input?

So, while reading some problems on decidability, I came across the following resource: https://www.isical.ac.in/~ansuman/flat2018/tm-more-undecidable.pdf

Here, on page no 12, it is written that the problem is decidable and with the following argument:

“Yes, Simulate M on for upto m^481 · 482 · k steps. If M visits the 482nd cell, accept, else reject.”

I am quite confused with the step count. Can anyone please explain what does this mean, or maybe point to some resources where I can find a proper explanation!!!! Image of the slide

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Does the “Fade Away” feature grant Greater Invisibility?

The new UA Ranger’s Fade Away feature states the following.

You can use a bonus action to magically become invisible, along with any equipment you are wearing or carrying, until the start of your next turn.

Does this feature effectively grant Greater Invisiblity until the Ranger’s next turn, in the sense that it is not interrupted by attacking?

This question is more of a sanity check, as, to me, this feature seems incredibly powerful. It would allow the Ranger to gain advantage on all of their attacks for an entire turn, while simultaneously imposing disadvantage on all attacks against them as well.

Optimal distribution of N points in non euclidean volume, where each point is furthest away from the others

Given N points, I want to find the optimal configuration for which all the points are as far away from each other as possible.

The metric I’m considering is an approximation to the perceived distance between two colors:

formula

formula

formula

formula

formula

The colors are constrained between 0 and 255. And there are N colors of maximum pair distance I want to find, in addition to these N colors, there’s a point in the origin (black) and in the topmost right-front corner (white) which are fixed in place.

This reminds me of sphere packing, but I don’t know the optimal size of the sphere so that they’d fill the whole volume… And since this metric is not translation invariant, I’m not sure how to calculate the sphere positions even if I knew the sphere size.

I’ve tried minimizing some cost functions, such as

formula

or the columb force inspired

formula

But it’s not very efficient, and is very dependent on initial guess (and it seems my euclidean grid-based guess isn’t optimal).

Is there a generalized form of the sphere packing algorithm which would give me the global minima, without the need to minimize these complex cost functions and fall into the many local minima, or get stuck in zero gradient areas?

Can “Get Away” be used to hide?

Can the second tier Stealth flavour ability Get Away (p. 51) be used to hide, such as to allow a character to do a surprise attack each round? The text of the ability is:

Get Away (2 Speed points): After your action on your turn, you move up to a short distance or get behind or beneath cover within immediate range. Enabler.

Unity Editor stops updating ScriptableObjects if I click away from them in editor

I’m trying to be better about structuring my code, and I think I’m doing it right. The issue I’ve got right now is I need to get joystick inputs, scale those values appropriately, and then use that scaled data on any number of MonoBehaviour scripts.

I’m trying to split the input conditioning from the end user, and I’d like to do that by using a ScriptableObject to hold the conditioned data.

I was thinking that a MonoBehaviour script would run, get the joystick data, scale it, and then push that data to variables in the ScaledJoystickData ScriptableObject. Later, a second MonoBehaviour script would access the variables in the ScaledJoystickData and use those to move the things in the game.

I’m understanding the benefits of structuring the code this way, especially in that I can access the ScriptableObject from the editor and manipulate those values; I don’t actually need to have a joystick connected, and I’m free to test either end of the input handling independently.

The problem is that, if I am looking at the ScriptableObject instance in the editor, it stops updating as soon as I click away from it (to the consuming GameObject). If I click back to the ScriptableObejct instance, none of the values update. Nothing on the GameObject’s script updates unless I start the game with that GO selected in-editor, and again THAT fails to update if I click off and click back.

The GameObject script is currently using the values from the ScriptableObject instance and piping them to public variables, and the public variables aren’t updating.

Is there some bug with ScriptableObjects, or am I doing this wrong?

What is the cheapest way to damage myself and trigger the effects of the Fade Away feat?

For clarity, I mean cheap in the sense of the action economy. The ideal scenario would be to damage myself with a free object interaction or a small amount of movement.

Here is the relevant text of the Feat:

Immediately after you take damage, you can use a reaction to magically become invisible until the end of your next turn or until you attack, deal damage, or force someone to make a saving throw. Once you use this ability, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.