Would there be any significant balance implications for letting a player forfeit their action to take a second bonus action? [duplicate]

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  • Which balancing issues, if any, would arise from allowing PCs to spend actions on bonus action features? 4 answers

As the title suggests, I’m wondering if there would be any significant balance implications for letting a player forfeit their action to take an additional bonus action (but not the other way around).

I know there would be balance implications for the other way around so that’s why I said that.

I also know that RAW they’re not at all interchangeable but as a house rule option maybe?

Balance of magic items that are anti-magical

Are there any grave balance problems with the following items? I tried to stick to existing spells where possible, because I am not very experienced in home-brew.

  • Item 1 (Very rare): While wearing this item you can 1/day cast the spell Antimagic Field without expending material components or a spellslot.
  • Item 2 (Rare): This item has 4 charges. You expend one of these charges to cast the spell counterspell at level 3 without using a spellslot. You can expend extra charges to cast the spell at a level equal to 3 + amount of additional charges spent. The item regains 1d4 charges each day at midnight.
  • Item 3 (Shield, Uncommon): When holding this shield, if you are subjected to a magical effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you can use your reaction to take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, interposing your shield between yourself and the source of the effect. (taken from Shield master feat)
  • Item 4 (cloak, uncommon): 1/day you can ward yourself against magical attacks for 8 hours. Until the spell ends, any creature who targets you with a harmful spell must first make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or lose the spell. This spell doesn’t protect you from area effects, such as the explosion of a fireball. If you make an attack, casts a spell that affects an enemy, or deals damage to another creature, the protection ends. (adapted sanctuary)
  • Item 5 (rare): 1/day you can disrupts the concentration of anyone in a 20 foot sphere centered on a point up to 30 feet away. The affected creatures loose concentration without a saving throw. (this is a dangerous one, there is no such spell)
  • Item 6 Brooch of shielding(uncommon, requires attunement)
  • Item 7 (armor, rare, requires attunement): resistance against magical weapon attacks (based on armor of resistance)
  • Item 8 (bracelet, legendary, requires attunement): While wearing this item you have resistance against magical damage from weapons and spells.

Why do I want these items? For my campaign my BBEG wants to remove all magic from the world. Sort of like a permanent anti-magic field that is world wide. To accomplish that he needs to make a ritual with some magic items. I don’t want the items by themselves to be useless, so I want them to be magic items on their own. They combined can erase magic from an entire worlds, so each of them should have some power that is sort of anti-magic. Either stop magic or protect from it or similar. That is how I came up with the 8 items you see on top. If you know any existing items other than the brooch of shielding that fit this theme, I would happily take them over home-brewed items as they are probably better balanced. But I haven’t found any others.

Also the magical rareness of the items is only semi-important, because the party is gonna get all of them sooner or later either while stopping the BBEG or if they are faster. The rareness only helps me decide in what order they get them.

Lastely, I hope this is a valid question for this stackexchange. I have seen other people asking about the balance of their home-brew, so I think it should be fine. If it is not, please explain to me why or how I can change the question to be accepted.

Does microwaving a die significantly alter its balance?

I saw a rumor online a long time ago that stated by microwaving a die on a specific face it would be more likely to land on said face and have been looking for science by which to either prove or disprove this method for creating a set of loaded dice for use in a d20 campaign.

I’m looking for answers with at least some form of testing involved utilizing a microwave to significantly alter a die’s balance. Answers with an accompanying chi-squared test or a Saltwater float test to determine balance after the experimentation has been done would be preferred.

Testing with multiple types of dice would also be appreciated. (to make fudge damage dice)

Note: Microwaving dice will likely destroy them and should only be attempted by people who have many spare dice. Microwaving of plastics in the microwave also carries the risk of melting said dice if the time spent in the microwave exceeds a certain time, so for your own safety please don’t touch dice with your bare hands without some form of safety precautions.

What balance pitfalls result from this house rule modifying the optional Flanking rule?

As much as I enjoy 5e, one design issue sticks in my craw: combat is too static. Once initiative is rolled, everyone tends to move to a single position and stand there whacking enemies until someone dies.1 Granted, the DM can deliberately engineer an encounter to encourage moving around, e.g., by including hazardous terrain features, forced movement, area effects, etc. But if every encounter is so engineered, at some point it begins to feel contrived. (“Whaddya know, yet another combat against monsters with push abilities set amid pools of burning lava. Darn our luck!”) Besides, that’s a lot of extra thought and work for the DM to put in. I like to make a DM’s life easier… especially if it’s mine.

Accordingly, the DMG‘s optional Flanking rule (p. 251), which grants advantage to attackers on opposite sides of an enemy, has an intuitive appeal. It at least appears to incent creatures to move around in search of better tactical positioning. And it requires little or no planning; it’s entirely situational.

Yet most of the commentary I’ve heard about the rule has been negative. The main criticism seems to be that Flanking trivilizes the gaining of advantage, because maneuvering around an enemy is too easy and comes with no trade-offs. Whereas in past editions of D&D, moving while adjacent to an enemy invited danger (namely opportunity attacks), there is no such danger in 5e. As a result, the Flanking rule as currently written seldom requires creatures to make meaningful tactical choices about whether moving around an enemy in order to flank is worthwhile. Because advantage is powerful and the downsides of moving are insignificant, the answer to “is moving worthwhile?” is nearly always “yes” — and so most combatants end up having advantage from flanking most of the time. That, in turn, devalues other mechanics that would grant advantage (the barbarian’s Reckless Attack, spells like guiding bolt and faerie fire, etc.).

Another criticism, as this question suggests, is that rather than encouraging dynamic combat with more movement, etc., Flanking still produces static combat — just combat in “conga line” formations of alternating PCs and monsters, all flanking each other. The accepted answer to that question supposes the straight-line problem can be solved by modifying the Flanking rule such that a creature who is flanked cannot flank another creature. I’m not sure that’s true, but in any event it doesn’t really address the main criticism that flanking, and the movement required to achieve it, is too easy.

Instead, I’m considering a house rule modifying Flanking such that a creature can’t flank an enemy if there is any other enemy within 5 feet of the creature. The idea would be to encourage combatants to risk stepping away from enemies — and drawing opportunity attacks — in order to gain advantage. That would tend to make flanking harder to achieve in the typical chaotic scrum of combat where enemies are all about, and so other options for gaining advantage remain relatively valuable. And not coincidentally, it would also tend to break up straight-line combat formations.

What are the balance implications of such a house rule? Is there some class or monster ability that would be totally overpowered or broken by it?

1 For what it’s worth, I apparently am not the only person for whom static combat is a concern.

2 Note this somewhat-similar Q&A from 4e.

What is the consensus on which books should be banned due to either exploitability, lack of balance, or poor editing?

At first this may seem to be a largely opinion-based question, but the more that I read the more that there appears to be a consensus. For example, in something resembling decreasing order of the frequency that I’ve seen these claims, the following appear to be commonly believed:

  • Any content focused on Epic level gameplay, such as the Epic Level Handbook or Deities & Demigods, should be banned from player use. The reasons for this vary, but I usually see either poor editing, completely lack of balance, or complete lack of thought listed as reasons. The best example is Epic Spellcasting and its numerous dysfunctions, although I could also point to absurdities like the lack of balance between Saleient Divine Abilities (even in the hands of NPCs) or Boccob only having two classes.
  • Serpent Kingdoms is so poorly written and so exploitable that it should be ignored. For example, see “GeneralCategories” (sic) here or recall Pun-pun.
  • Unless you don’t like the flavor or one or two feats that cause ruling debates, the Expanded Psionics Handbook and the Tome of Battle are some of the best 3.5e books.
  • The Book of Exalted Deeds largely contains material that was originally made for NPCs and some of it, particularly anything that requires the Sacred Vow feat, is dangerous to include in your game and may even damage your group. Vow of Poverty is an excellent example, along with the Apostle of Peace.

To me, this list is evidence that some consensus exists on which books should be banned due to either exploitability, lack of balance, or poor editing. My question is this – aside from the examples listed above, what other consensuses exist and what is the reasoning behind them? To be clear, I’m only looking for information on what non-third party books should be banned entirely. I don’t care too much for anything like “be careful what you use from Unearthed Arcana and Dragon Magazine“, “the PHB has poor class balance”, or “don’t allow Domain Wizard”. I just want to know what entire books are frequently forbidden and why.

How can I reduce the number of encounters per day without throwing off game balance?

I’m running an Open Table sandbox game this summer. The 5E DMG states that they expect 6-8 Medium or Hard combat encounters per day, with about two short rests. If I tried to do that, we’d never get anywhere (short sessions, lots of newbies who struggle with combat), and my players and I enjoy many things besides combat, so I generally have closer to 2 combat encounters between long rests (though I usually make them at least Hard).

However, this means that PC’s rarely feel the need to take a short rest, and people can use spells and other once-per-long-rest abilities pretty freely, which unfairly advantages casters (who have limited big effects and unlimited but less effective cantrips) over mundane classes (who have more consistently medium damage output and defensive capability). It also means that the benefit of effects that recover after a short rest, like Warlock spell slots, are much diminished.

I’d like to restore the balance and at least have the option to make my players sweat a little about resources. But I do not want to throw combat after combat at them – none of us would enjoy that much in a row, nor do I want every combat encounter to be super deadly; I just don’t want them to start every fight at full strength.

The DMG suggests (under Adventuring Options: Rest) making a short rest 8 hours and a long rest 7 days. That seems promising, but a little excessive, so I’m considering making all rests 8 hours, but in order to get the benefit of a long rest you’d need to be in at least an outpost or otherwise reasonably safe and comfortable location, so the PCs can still have that moment of “I’m exhausted, let’s retreat” without needing to wait a whole week before continuing.

Has anyone tried this, or other methods to maintain game balance and challenge with fewer encounters per day? What were the results?


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What are the balance implications of allowing only one non-reaction, non-cantrip spell to be cast per turn?

There have been several questions on the bonus action spell casting restriction which states (PHB, page 202):

[If you cast a bonus action spell] you can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

The number of questions on this make me feel it is not exactly an intuitive, or easily understood rule. In This Q/A David Coffron states the effects of this rule as follow:

“If you cast (or will cast) a bonus action spell (cantrip or non-cantrip) in a turn, no other non-cantrip spells (even ones using the action from action surge) can be cast.”

While this is certainly simpler there are multiple parentheticals and in particular the “or will cast” bit is, at least to me, an especially unusual way to write a rule.

So I changed the rule and am wondering if using the following instead of the bonus action casting restriction is imbalancing:

You cannot cast more than one non-reaction spell of first level or higher on a turn.

Normally, as shown in this Q/A if you cast a bonus action spell you are now unable to cast a reaction spell on your turn such as shield; this would no longer be a rule.
Without the “non-reaction” bit, you would be unable to cast a reaction spell on the same turn you cast an action spell. A common way for this to happen is if you cast, say, fireball and somebody cast counterspell on you, and you wanted to counterspell their counterspell. The “non-reaction” bit allows you to still do this, and the general change now allows you to do this even if you cast fireball as a bonus action, which previously was not possible.

Borrowing the table of all legal spell casting combinations from this Q/A this rule would change the table to the following (Ones that have changed from how they would work under the usual rules are marked with an asterisk): \begin{array}{|l|l|l|lr|} \hline \textbf{Action } & \textbf{ Bonus Action } & \textbf{ Action Surge } & \textbf{ LEGAL } & \kern 7em \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & & & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & & & \text{ Yes } \ \hline & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & & \text{ Yes } \ \hline & \text{ Cantrip } & & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & & \text{ Yes* } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & & \text{ No } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ No* } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ No } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ No } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ No } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ No } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \text{Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Yes* } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Non-Cantrip } & \text{ Yes* } \ \hline \text{Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Cantrip } & \text{ Yes } \ \hline \end{array}

The first change is not imbalancing as shown in this Q/A; however, Action Surge (the last two changes) is not mentioned, though I doubt it would have significant effects on balance.

I am wondering if the other change, Action Surge no longer allowing one to cast two non-cantrip spells, makes the Fighter class (Eldritch Knight, and also multi-classing) significantly worse off than before.

How to balance quest rewards for unbalanced characters?

I plan to run a Roll20 one-shot Naheulbeuk game with players who may have very unbalanced characters, some of them way more powerful than others. Of course, it may leads to some problems, but my main concern here is with their reward at the end of the quest if they succeed it, since they will be using these characters in other GMs’ games afterwards.

It will probably be a mix of gold coins (reward from the NPC who ask for their help) and loot objects got on the adventure. In any case, how can I make sure to not give overpowered items or treasure to the weakest character but still give substantial reward to the strongest? They will likely split any amount of gold in even parts between them, and try to share fairly between them items they will find by looting corpses and places they will encounter.

They will all use their characters with others game masters after my game, so I have be careful about not overpowering them.