How do I balance game interactions between a giant mecha that can level cities and its pilot?

I have had recurring trouble with a subject I like, and would like to implement into my games, but can’t find a good way to do so: mechas (big huge robots)

From a system point of view, it is usually quite easy: just a big suit of armor with specific weapons. The pilot has to be inside to be able to use it, and it is too big to use just anywhere. Most systems can allow it.

However, I can’t find a good game balance for it. The main problem is that the whole “normal person when outside the suit / super-destruction-machine when inside the suit” makes too much of a difference in-game. For example, any challenge when the pilot is outside the suit is a trifle when in the suit; while any challenge for the suit is impossible for the pilot. It ends up feeling like playing two games at the same time: the mechas’ game, and the pilots’ game.

I have tried reducing the difference between the pilot and suits (making the pilots stronger and/or the suits weaker), but then the suits have almost no use, and the players end up almost never using them.

I have tried mainly in BESM (since it is already implemented), D&D, and even tried to develop my own system (with Mecha/pilot classes and perks). I’m looking for a Gundam/Front Mission style, i.e. mechas are big and powerful, can potentially be destroyed by well-equipped and organized infantry, but are mainly in their own world (mecha vs mecha)

So the question is: how would you balance a game focused on mechas?

Is this house rule to balance the college of whispers bard balanced?

As a player and a dungeon master, I feel like the Psychic Blade of the college of whispers bard is really unbalanced regarding the Sneak Attack feature of the rogue.

First of all, they mostly does the same amount of damage… But the Psychic Blade does psychic damages, where the sneak attack’s damage type is the one of the weapon (bludgeoning, piercing or slashing). The problem is that psychic damage is one of the less resisted type of damage, where bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damages are the most resisted type of damages.

Second, Psychic Blade is way easier to trigger than Sneak Attack, only needing to spend a Bardic Inspiration (which come back on short rest after level 5) and you have it, where Sneak Attack require advantage or an ally to use it.

So, looking those elements, I decided to replace the cost Bardic Inspiration of Psychic Blade with a condition. To use the Psychic Blade feature, you don’t need to spend a Bardic Inspiration, you need advantage on charisma check against your target, be under the Mantle of Whispers feature effect, or the target have to be frightened or charmed before the attack hit.

To me, it keep the flavor of a bard that is also a killer, still synergyse with the others college of whisper features, but make it a little bit harder to the bard to have the Psychic Blade. But is it balanced?

Do any serious balance issues result from this houserule: Floating Ability Score at Character Creation?

I’ve recently been considering the phenomenon that "unusual" race-class combinations are often 1 modifier behind on their primary ability score – i.e. that they would start, using point buy or standard array, with a 15(+2) in their primary score, rather than 16 or 17 (+3). To my mind, this is a very significant mechanical effect that undesirably discourages such unusual combinations, while each race’s other qualities act as much more of a nudge than a hard barrier.

I recently came across a house-rule that would address this issue, allowing any race to achieve a 16 (assuming point buy or standard array) in their classes primary ability score at character creation, and have slightly modified it to the below.

Floating Ability Score at Character Creation

During character creation, you may remove 1 point from any racial ability score bonus you gain from your base race (but not your subrace), and add it to any other ability score which does not already gain a bonus from your race or subrace.

The original rule allowed this movement from any racial ability score, including from subraces. I have changed that because:

  1. It avoids breaking the balance of the Mountain Dwarf subrace, whose traits are designed to work against each other, and they do so much less if you can swap a point of STR for another stat
  2. Subraces are already thematically sparser than base races; the ASI is often 1 of only 2 defining traits – and you already get to pick between several subrace options anyway

I think even with that change this rule still achieves the desired goal of letting less traditional race/class combos not fall behind in their primary stat.

Are there any serious foreseeable balance issues that would arise from using this house-rule?

How can I balance slightly erotic roleplay and story based roleplay?

I know this question makes me sound like a pervert but especially with the epidemic me and my girlfriend ended up unable to have much contact.(Not even calls since her roommates are always in the house and it would be really awkward with them.) As a result we have been exploring new avenues and in the end as we are both TTRPG fans we decided to run text based solo games for eachother where we could at least feel a bit close and flirty.

Now the problem is I am not particularly familiar with the concept of running games with erotic features and as a result I am not sure how to balance the NPC’s flirting as a substitute for our actual contact and actual story. Neither of us want the game to essentially be a glorified erotic roleplay. Now my question is how can I keep myself from including too much relationship stuff without fully avoiding them altogether.

How can I balance this purposefully weak player character?

I’m DMing a 6 person campaign in 5E and one of my players made a Warlock that is dreadfully sick, but is bolstered by the Undying Warlock patron. How can I balance giving him mostly temporary hitpoints as a more flavorful replacement for normal hitpoints? For instance he might only have 4 HP but have 12 temporary hitpoints that cannot be regenerated via healing or hit dice, but may be replenished after a long rest.

Is there a good, balanced way to implement this? Alternatively, is there a balanced homebrew Warlock patron or other mechanic that does something similar?

What balance considerations should I make if I remove the Corruption and/or Insanity mechanics from Shadow of the Demon Lord?

In Shadow of the Demon Lord, there are mechanics that help portray its dark fantasy world. “Insanity” arises from undergoing stressful situations, whereas “Corruption” accumulates as the the character commits evil or dark acts. Both have tangible effects for the character (a high Corruption character would be impossible to resurrect, for example).

Suppose that a group would enjoy the general underlying gameplay, but not the darkness necessitated by the setting.

If I were to remove Corruption and Insanity from the game, what parts of the system would I have to tailor or remove so that the game remains fair?

Does switching the bard incantation stat from charisma to wisdom create major balance issues? [duplicate]

I have a player who want to play a shaman. He really wants to keep the bard classes but he is much more interested in the druid lore. He doesn’t want to be charismatic and handle social interaction, he wants to focus it’s music around nature and worship nature-related deities. Therefore he was asking if he can have a bard with wisdom as the incantation characteristic.

I’m about to say yes, but I’m new and I don’t know if there is major balance issues that will come up and that I didn’t foresee.

How to balance encounters with monster NPCs as party allies? [duplicate]

I DM for a group of three players, and having only three players can be quite limiting in terms of encounter design if I want them to face some more varied (higher CR) adversaries. To allow me more freedom, in the past I have granted one of them the control of an NPC to become an ally of the party, using a monster statblock. I try to vary who gets control of an NPC, so everyone has the same amount of stuff to do, and while I try to make the encounter harder, often the NPC is much stronger that the PCs, and so the encounter ends up being easy!

Essentially, if I want to introduce an NPC monster stat block as an ally to the party, how do CR and ‘effective level’ relate for the purposes of balancing encounters, e.g: to make 3 lvl 6 players ‘as strong as’ a party of 4 lvl 6 players, what CR monster do I need to add as an ally?

Would it harm game balance to allow the Haste action to be used to drink a potion?

RAW, Haste specifies:

[The target] gains an additional action on each of its turns. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.

And it has already been stablished that “Use an object” is not valid to use a magic item which to my understanding includes drinking a potion.

So my question is, would it break balance much to actually disregard that and allow the drinking of a potion as one of the actions granted by Haste?