How is the Blood War a balanced conflict?

There are 2 sides to the Blood War. The Nine Hells and the Abyss.

Devils, from the Nine Hells:

  • Are Lawful, orderly and disciplined
  • Take the souls of mortals they can make deals with either in life or after death, and these souls are their only source of new devils.
  • Their variants listed in the Monster Manual are on par with those of demons – i.e. neither side seems to have overall stronger beings in their ranks
  • Can only permanently die in the Nine Hells

Demons, from the Abyss

  • Are Chaotic and unpredictable
  • Take the souls of some mortals they can steal from the Wall of the Faithless to make minor demons
  • The Abyss has many/infinite layers, and on each one new demons are birthed.
  • Can only permanently die in the Abyss

Given this, for the conflict as a whole:

  • The conflict is said to rage on the upper layers of both the Hells and the Abyss, so sometimes demons will be permanently killed, sometimes devils.
  • In a conflict of equal numbers, devils will probably come out on top due to greater discipline
  • However the Abyss is constantly generating new demons in what must surely be much greater numbers than devils can tempt mortals.

Why then do canonical sources suggest that this conflict is roughly balanced? i.e. sometimes the demons get the upper hand, sometimes the devils, and Mordenkainen and his “Balance” lot put their fingers on both sides of the scale to make sure neither side dominates?

It seems to me that there must be some factor that I’m missing in favor of the devils, to balance out the huge numbers of demons spawned in the Abyss, which would otherwise just lead to the numbers of the Hells being whittled down to nothing in a war of attrition – and that the greater discipline of the devils is not a sufficient factor to balance it.

Answers should ideally be taken from official 5e materials or designer statements, but if these are insufficient for a full answer, material from earlier editions could also be used.

Is this “Circle of Shadows” Druid Circle balanced compared to Circle of the Moon

I came up with my own subclass. I modeled it slightly after the Circle of the Moon, which is why I’m specifically asking for comparison to it. Well, here it is.

Druid Circle: Circle of Shadows

Once there was a dark elf, he had had his heart set on joining a druid circle. All of those circles shunned him. He started his own circle. The circle of shadows.

Shaded Form

“The shadow didn’t consume me; I consumed the shadow.”

Starting at 2nd level, when you use wild shape, you can transform into a Shadow. You also learn the Umbraturgy cantrip. Finally, you gain darkvision for 60ft, if you already had it, it increases by 60ft.

Shadow Enhanced Strikes

“The shadow moves with me; we are becoming one.”

Starting at 6th level, your attacks in regular form and beast from are considered magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity, in addition, you can spend a spell slot and enhance a weapon. The weapon you enhanced does an extra 1d4 necrotic damage on a hit per level of expanded spell slot.

Improved Shadow Form

“The shadow climbs into my soul, second by second it reaches more.”

At 14th level, when you use wild shape, you can transom into a wraith. You gain the benefits of shadow enhanced strikes while in this form.

A True Wraith

I join hands with my shadow we sing songs of praise to the darkness that is inside me. and the darkness the he is made of. I am one with the shadow.”

At 14th level, you now can expand a spell slot to gain a hovering speed but can hover no more than 5ft off the ground. The hovering speed equals the level of the spell slot spend times 10 (1st level = 10ft 2nd level = 20ft etc.) In addition, you can cast the invisibility spell (lowest level) at will, but you must be in dim light or darkness.

Umbraturgy Cantrip

How to generate random waves for a bullet hell game that feel balanced and natural

My game consists of ‘waves’ of objects called ‘spawners’, which once every certain amount of time (their firetime), move to a new place on the screen and spawn an enemy. Each wave has 4 important properties:
1: the amount of spawners the wave has
2: the interval of time between creating new spawners
3: the total length of the wave
4: the types of spawners that can appear in a wave (represented as a std::vector<std::pair<std::string, int>> where the string is the spawner name, and the integer is its spawn weight.

The game works by picking a random spawner from the possible spawner types (with a weighted rng) every new spawner interval. Currently waves are set and are loaded from a file at runtime.

My problem is that I cannot find a good way to randomly generate waves that feel balanced and natural. Currently, I am trying to generate waves based on a difficulty value, mostly using weighted random number generation. However, this does not produce balanced waves that correspond well to the target difficulty. Even after trying several different techniques, I am unable to get a system that generates waves that fell balanced and natural (like the ones hand made).

Is there any way to generate waves that feel natural, based off of the difficulty value? How should I approach this problem?

Also if its of any help, each spawner also defines its own difficulty value.

What would be a more balanced spell for homebrew adaptation of Elemental Weapon and Flame Arrows?

What would be a more balanced spell for homebrew adaptation of Elemental Weapon and Flame Arrows?

I was thinking of adjusting a couple of existing spells, namely Elemental Weapon (PHB p.237) and Flame Arrows (XGtE p.156), so that it is more versatile for a druid/ranger player.

Version one:

Simply change Elemental Weapon so it can enchant a bow or crossbow, so Elemental Ranged Weapon.

A nonmagical ranged weapon you touch becomes a magic weapon. Choose one of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. For the duration, the weapon has a +1 bonus to attack rolls and ammunition used with the ranged weapon deal an extra 1d4 damage of the chosen type when it hits.

Version two:

Replace the damage type in Flame Arrows with an optional damage type, so the spell would be Elemental Arrows instead:

You touch a quiver containing arrows or bolts. When a target is hit by a ranged weapon attack using a piece of ammunition drawn from the quiver, the target takes an extra 1d6 elemental damage. Choose one of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. The spell’s magic ends on a piece of ammunition when it hits or misses, and the spell ends when twelve pieces of ammunition have been drawn from the quiver.

Which one of these spells would be more balanced, or are both options pretty balanced as a homebrew version of these spells?

I am leaning more towards the Elemental Ranged Weapon as it potentially is more useful to a druid/ranger player because it would not be limited to 12 arrows/bolts.

Thank you for your insight.

Would this Owlbear Cub be balanced as a Beast Master Ranger’s Companion?

The players in my campaign just hit third level and the Ranger is planning on taking the Beast Master path. She wanted a baby Owlbear as her companion, but of course there are 2 hurdles. There aren’t official stats, and technically it’s a Monstrosity, not a Beast. I’m okay w/ ignoring the second problem since it’s a home game, and these stats I compared the Wolf, Boar and Panther and am hoping this is a reasonable approximation.

My understanding is that the Beast Master path is generally considered to be under powered, and I also wanted to emphasize some of the aspect of Owlbears (aggression and ferocity for example) to that end there are the two Reactions/Statuses the cub can be in. While Training it’ll follow commands as normal and I suspect this might be a little strong at L3-4, but kind of to counter balance it, when it gets injured (Temper) it will temporarily forget training (with the Ranger having a chance to keep it under control) and it will stop behaving like a companion to murder whatever hurt it. I think this will still be generally helpful (it is trying to murder an enemy) but could be problematic if the enemy flees or tries to surrender.

So yeah, does this seem balanced? Is it too strong? Is there some issue w/ Temper I haven’t thought of that will make it a problem?

Prettier formatting on Homebrewery

NOTE: I have included the proficiency bonus of 2 added to: AC, Attack & Damage rolls. It’s not proficient in any skills or saves Maybe it should be?

Owlbear Cublet

Tiny monstrosity, unaligned


  • Armor Class 15
  • Hit Points 22 (2d10 + 2)
  • Speed 25 ft.

STR 12 (+1) | DEX 16 (+3) | CON 13 (+1) | INT 3 (-4) | WIS 12 (+1) | CHA 4 (-3)


  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
  • Languages
  • Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

Keen Sight and Smell: The cub has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight or smell.

Actions

Beak: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6 + 5 piercing damage.

Claws: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d4 + 5 slashing damage.

Reactions

Training: When the cub sees its master make an attack, the cub makes one beak attack against the same target.

Temper: When reduced to 1/2 HP the cub is likely to forget it’s training. It’s master may make DC 13 Animal Handling check as a reaction to maintain control; otherwise it forgets Training and relentlessly attacks the last creature to injure it until one of them is dead. While in Temper it acts before it’s master’s turn and multi-attacks with both it’s Claws and Beak. It suffers a -2 Rage penalty to hit.

Is the overwhelming soul archetype balanced with regard to a normal kineticist and other kineticist archetypes?

I was looking at archetypes for the kineticists and found Overwhelming Soul it doesn’t seem like it gives much of a benefit. You gain a couple of good skills, get the ability to lower burn by one point once per day, and gain the hit and damage roll bonus without relying on burn. In exchange, you lose the ability to take burn which restricts what wild talents you can use. Not to mention you have multiple ways to manage burn. I don’t really see the real benefit it feels like one of those archetypes that give to little in exchange for to much. Is that just me?

Is re-skinning equipment a balanced approach for concept diversity?

Sometimes, it is quite difficult to make that one concept you want for your character.

My group quite often ends up in the situation that the concept one of them have in mind for their character doesn’t quite fit the rules, and you can’t really make that character work with what Pathfinder offers as-is, sometimes even with supplements and third-party material. To give a recent example:

  • A player wants to roll a tanky barbarian-like warrior focused on defending its group while wielding an axe and shield, but:
    • Doesn’t like Rage mechanics,
    • Wants to keep her character’s gear more savage-like, with heavy furs serving as the little clothing she’ll wear,
    • Wants to be able to protect her group and tank effectively, while being able to deal good damage,

An almost-perfect match for this is the warder. The class is very tanky, has good defensive mechanics, is very closely-related in power level to the rest of the group, and works nicely with sword and board.

But the warder uses plate armor, and it doesn’t fit the “visual concept” the player wants for her character.

To solve that, I created the Berserker’s Battle Furs. It is basically the same as a Full Plate in terms of stats:

Type: Heavy Armor

Cost: 1,500 gp;

Weight: 50 lbs.

Armor Bonus: +9;

Max Dex Bonus: +1;

Armor Check Penalty: -6

Arcane Spell Failure Chance: 35%;

Speed: 20 ft./15 ft.

…But it looks like a heavy set of fur bracers, boots, loincloth and cloak, more or less like the reference image. I used a lore explanation to justify the price and the stats, saying that it is made from the treated pelts of dire beasts. My only problem would be to time to don, since this is obviously easier to put over your body than a full suit of armor, and even so this situation comes up so rarely that it wouldn’t be a big deal.

This solved the issue at hand, the player got quite happy, and now our group has a barbarian-but-not-really defending the group as a wall of flesh, fur, and awesomeness.

This got me wondering – is this a balanced approach for giving my players more diversity regarding character concepts? Or am I going to shoot myself in the foot, like I did so many other times in the past, by not seeing something coming?

Would this enchanted bow be considered well balanced? [closed]

The idea of this bow is to adapt the idea of karma into the attacks. It absorbs some of the “bad karma” dealt by an enemy and is able to turn it into minor good karma, or impactful force damage. The effects have been slightly based on the Rod of Absorption, Absorb Elements, the spell provided, bow stabilizers, and my knowledge on karma.


Bow of Karma (any bow, attunement)

This elegant elvish bow was made with wood that grew in a graveyard: yew and ash limbs that are connected to an aspen riser (handle) which houses up to 20 jade orbs the size of peas. With the extra 1lbs weight, one can truly feel the weight of one’s actions using this bow, and strength in the archer’s resolve.

When the wielder is attacked by magic not exerted by the environment, the bow absorbs half the damage and stores it as pure energy within the jade orbs, filling one orb per the attack’s level and attributing 1/2 orb to cantrips and breath weapons. For the absorption to occur, at least one orb must be left empty.

If the archer is attuned to the bow, they can see dots of light along the limbs whenever an orb is filled and can use the energy as spell slots on the following spells, as long as they are equal to the wielder’s own level.

Spare the dying: 1 spell slot

self: When the wielder’s HP reaches 0, the bow automatically casts Spare the Dying on them as long as they have the bow in hand.

ally: with a direct line of attack within the bow’s normal range (distance range with sharpshooter feat), the wielder can cast this spell on any creature as if touching them, by dry loosing their bow.

Conjure Barrage 3 spell slots

This attack deals a cone of force damage at the bow’s normal range (distance range with sharpshooter feat) by loosing a mundane arrow. The blows are forceful enough to the creatures within the area of effect must succeed a DC17 saving throw or be stunned until their next turn.

Conjure Volley 5 spell slots

By shooting one mundane arrow in the air and picking an area of attack, a volley of force arrows descends with enough impact that the terrain becomes difficult to navigate. Each creature within the area of effect must make a DC 17 saving throw or be stunned until their next turn. If they are stunned, they become unconscious for the next 3 turns.

Additionally, this bow’s extra weight acts like a stabilizer, granting the archer +2 proficiency in attack rolls.


I was also thinking that casting Spare the Dying on an undead creature would break it free from their summoner’s control (if summoned through magic) and give them the option to either rest or seek revenge, but I think this would be an unsourced stretch.

All in all, I would like to know if this bow seems well balanced, if there are concepts I am missing in balancing a magical item, and if there are some concepts that would work better for such a bow.

Is my Red Wizard prestige class for 5e balanced?

In the Unearthed Arcana article “Prestige Classes and Rune Magic” (pdf link), they introduce the idea of prestige classes, a class with only a few levels and more multiclassing prerequisites, borrowed from earlier editions.

I decided to have a go at creating a prestige class based on one from 3.5e, the Red Wizard (note that my knowledge of 3.5e and the Red Wizard prestige class comes exclusively from Neverwinter Nights 2; here’s a link to their implementation of this prestige class in their video game).

Given that I only have experience with 5e outside of that video game, I hope that I’ve translated it to 5e adequately. I’ve also researched into the 3.5e version, and found that there’s something called Circle Magic, which appears to raise caster levels. I wasn’t sure how to apply that directly to 5e, so I instead modelled it off of the sorcerer’s Metamagic feature, but with restrictions so that it isn’t just stealing the sorcerer’s thunder.

Are there are any major balance concerns with it, and does it still match the flavour of what this prestige class was going for in 3.5e?

I’ve attempted to balance the first/second level features that give you +1 to spell related d20 rolls by bringing back the old arcane school restrictions (since Red Wizards apparently have extra restrictions in 3.5e, I thought it made sense to add one here), and giving wizards a sorcerer’s Metamagic without multiclassing’s spellcasting problems should hopefully be offset by the fact that you have to decide ahead of time, unlike the sorcerer who can do it whenever they like to whatever spell they like.

Anyway, here is the prestige class description, and anything in italics is my commentary on something, rather than a proper part of the description.

Prestige Class: Red Wizard

(I’ll include some descriptive text here, probably mostly borrowed from here) $ $ \begin{array}{c|l} \textbf{Level}& \textbf{Features} \ \hline \text{1st} & \text{Spellcasting, Enhanced Specialization} \ \text{2nd} & \text{Specialist Defense} \ \text{3rd} & \text{Circle Magic} \ \text{4th} & \text{Ability Score Improvement} \ \text{5th} & \text{Improved Circle Magic} \ \end{array} $ $


Prerequisites

In order to advance as a Red Wizard, you must meet the following prerequisites (in addition to the multiclassing prerequisites for your existing class):

  • Race: Human. Only humans are allowed to join the ranks of the Red Wizards.
  • Class: Wizard, with an Arcane Tradition from the Player’s Handbook. Red Wizards focus their studies on one of the eight known schools of magic.
  • Alignment: Any non-good. Red Wizards are known to be morally questionable slavers, demonologists, and magical experimenters, and often received support from demons, devils, and drow.
  • Character level 5th. Red Wizards only accept those who are already dedicated to and have experience with studying a school of magic.
  • Proficiency in the Arcana skill. Red Wizards only accept those who are already experienced in matters of the arcane.
  • Intelligence 16. Red Wizard only accept the brightest into their ranks (I know this seems somewhat redundant, but I was thinking of a multiclassed character who just have the basic 13 INT to multiclass into wizard; I wanted this to be more wizard-oriented than that, but without just outright banning multiclassed characters).
  • Appearance change. If you had hair, your head is shaved and have red wizard tattoos applied to your bald head upon taking your first level in this prestige class.

Class Features

As a Red Wizard, you gain the following class features:

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d6 per red wizard level
Hit Points per Level: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per red wizard level

Proficiencies

Tools: Alchemist’s supplies

Saving Throws: None
Skills: None

Equipment

When you take your first level in the red wizard prestige class, you gain some red wizard’s robes.


Spellcasting. When you take your 1st level in this prestige class, it counts as a level in the wizard class for the purposes of learning and preparing new spells. For example, if you are a 5th-level wizard, when you take your 2nd level in this prestige class, you would be able to learn and prepare spells of a 7th level wizard, which includes adding two new spells of 4th-level to your spellbook.

Enhanced Specialization. Upon becoming a red wizard at 1st level, you become even more skilled at casting spells from your chosen school of specialization. You gain a +1 bonus to your spell save DC and spell attack bonus when casting spells of your chosen school (as per your Arcane Tradition), but you can no longer learn spells of the opposing school of magic (see this Q&A for a table of opposing schools of magic, specifically the “Direct Opposition” from KRyan’s answer). You may still cast spells that you already know from that school of magic.

Specialist Defense. At 2nd level, you gain a +1 bonus to your AC and saving throws against spells of your chosen school.

Circle Magic. Starting at 3rd level, you learn two metamagic options as outlined in the sorcerer’s Metamagic class feature. At the end of a long rest, you may apply these metamagic options to your prepared spells, either one metamagic option to two of your prepared spells, or both metamagic options to one prepared spell.

When you cast these spells before the end of your next long rest, you may chose to cast the it using the previously applied metamagic. If you chose to apply both metamagic options to one spell, you must choose which one to use on that casting. Once that spell has been cast in this way, you must reapply that metamagic at the end of your next long rest.

Improved Circle Magic. When you reach 5th level, you learn one more metamagic option and the number of spells you can apply your metamagic options to increases from two prepared spells to three prepared spells. You must otherwise still follow the restrictions outlined in the Circle Magic class feature. (Is this enough for the capstone? I was otherwise thinking of changing long rest to short rest, but that might make it too powerful. Other thoughts were learning two new metamagic options, but still only being able to apply three of them per long rest.)

Would this hit/miss houserule be balanced with bounded accuracy?

Would this houserule be balanced with the bounded accuracy system?

If an attack roll is made and “misses” by one, the defender takes a glancing blow. This glancing blow does not count as a successful hit. This glancing blow deals half damage of the attack to a maximum of 3. This damage cannot be augmented in any way. (ex. Sneak Attack, Divine Smite or GWM) This damage does not set off a spells damage. (ex. Wrathful smite) This does not count for reactionary damage. (ex. Hellish Rebuke) This does not count as a successful hit for things such as maintaining a barbarian’s rage.

This houserule is for players, enemies and NPC’s alike. Whats good for the players is good for the DM and vice versa.

The goal of this is to make battles feel more realistic. In D&D 5e you either “hit” or “miss” but in reality you could hit the person and do very minimal damage while glancing off armor.