Balancing an Enchanted weapon

I’m a relatively new Dungeon Master and am currently running my first campaign with a couple of friends. I am asking about some advice for balancing a home-brewed weapon.

The player is a silver dragonborn Fighter, I gave them a standard long sword with a dwarvern mechanism that can create a 15ft cone of cold that was the same stats as the player’s breath weapon, including the saving throw and scaling of the damage, essentially giving them the ability to use their breath weapon twice per long rest.

The weapon itself is not enchanted so he PM’d me asking if he could get the blade enchanted.

So I came up with this:

This weapon has two charges, that recharge every long rest.

This requires attunement.

The chilling blow ability requires the con saving throw against the user’s intelligence spell cast DC (8 + Proficiency bonus + Intelligence modifier). On a successful save the target takes 2d8 cold damage, on a fail the target takes half.

Players have not been in combat for a while for some recent quests and next session they will need to defend from multiple waves of soldiers that gets progressively harder.

In conclusion is the weapon balanced, and if it isn’t is it justified to give them it anyway so they have an increased chance of survival with this next encounter?

Balancing a Portent feat based on the Lucky feat

I am looking to make a homebrew feat based on the Lucky feat but using the Portent mechanic, and am trying to find the balance point on the amount of dice.

Disclaimer: I don’t think Lucky is overpowered, neither does anyone at my table, but as it is the closest feat to what I am looking for I am trying to use it as the balancing point for the new feat. This is not an attempt to homebrew a powerful feat.

For completeness:

Portent

When you finish a long rest, roll two d20s and record the numbers rolled. You can replace any attack roll, saving throw, or ability check made by you or a creature that you can see with one of these foretelling rolls. You must choose to do so before the roll, and you can replace a roll in this way only once per turn. Each foretelling roll can be used only once. When you finish a long rest, you lose any unused foretelling rolls.

Lucky

You have 3 luck points. Whenever you make an attack roll , an ability check, or a saving throw, you can spend one luck point to roll an additional d20. You can choose to spend one of your luck points after you roll the die, but before the outcome is determined. You choose which of the d20s is used for the attack roll , ability check, or saving throw. You can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against you. Roll a d20, and then choose whether the attack uses the attacker’s roll or yours. If more than one creature spends a luck point to influence the outcome of a roll, the points cancel each other out; no additional dice are rolled. You regain your expended luck points when you finish a long rest.

Lucky is widely applicable to pretty much any roll, and powerful because it can be used after the result.

Portent is powerful because it can force an auto-failure or auto-success, but less applicable because if the rolls are middling they are less powerful.

How many Portent dice would be balanced against the 3 points (dice) from the Lucky feat?

I am currently leaning towards 2, but that is more based on gut feeling than anything as I have neither used, nor seen in use either of these abilities yet.

Addendum: If it matters, and it might, this is intended to be used by a Divination Wizard, so if adding extra Portent dice is simply too powerful, that would be an acceptable answer, although one I would have to be convinced by.

Homebrew spell idea for DnD 5e: Chromatic Blade. Chromatic orb + Green Flame Blade hybrid. Looking for feedback and potential balancing

Honestly this was my Eldritch Knight player’s idea but I thought it interesting and am trying to work out the balance.

Spell Concept

The idea is to imbue chromatic orb’s ability to pick the element, a powerful ability, into a melee attack with similar-ish splash damage. Something akin to dragonbreath’s short range cone felt right.

Current Draft

Chromatic Blade

Evocation

Level: 2nd

Casting time: 1 Action

Range: 5 feet

Components: V, M (a weapon)

Duration: Instantaneous

Your weapon gleams with incandescent light. You choose acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder for the type of glow you create. As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell’s range, otherwise the spell fails. On a hit, the target suffers the attack’s normal effects and elemental energy of that type bursts forth from your weapon in a 5-foot cone directed at the point of attack.Creatures within the cone’s area of effect take 2d6 damage of the chosen elemental type. This spell’s damage increases when you reach higher levels.

At higher level

When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 2nd.

Wording clarifcations for reading purposes

  • “Incandescent” tends to mean “glows from being heated” (like an incandescent lightbulb) and my nearest alternative I could think of was radiant and while I think that’s a better fit semantically, that is already its own damage type (and intentionally not one of the options here to keep in line with chromatic orb). Could just do “chromatic light” but chromatic is just the light spectrum already so that’s lame/nonsense.
  • “directed at the point of attack” is a little awkward but the intent is “from you in the direction of the attack”. Unsure on the best wording there to represent this.
  • “Cone of 5 ft radius”, The intent of the spell is to represent an area like so:
 | | |X|  |O|X|X|  | | |X| 

With the O being the caster, the Xs being the targets. So, the cone would include the hit target of the melee (like green flame blade) and proceed to jump to the 3 adjacent/back tiles (back, diagonal up, diagonal down). If there’s a better way to word that part in general I’d be open to it

Balance considerations

My thinking was that being able to pick your element is a powerful feature of chromatic orb and giving it an AOE effect both warranted it dealing less direct damage than the nearest equivalents (1 casting of chromatic orb and 1 spray of dragonbreath). Math comparisons of similar abilities/attacks/spells:

  • chromatic orb, 1st level, does 3d8 of chosen type to a single target based on spell attack roll (averaging 13.5 on a hit)
  • dragonbreath spell, 2nd level, does 3d6 per breath (average 10.5 per target) but with a save so at least some guaranteed damage (average 5.25 on a save per target) and across a 15-foot cone (bigger area than proposed)
  • dragonbreath character ability, once per short rest and character specific (like from a red dragonborn), does 2d6 of your lineage’s elemental type (average 7 per target) with an associated save for half damage (average 3.5 per target) for a 5-foot cone (same area)
  • scorching ray, 2nd level spell, 3 individual ranged attack rolls for 2d6 fire damage per hit (average 7 per hit)
  • green flame blade, cantrip, melee hit + fire damage on additional creature within 5 ft based on your spell modifier (1-5 realistically)

All of the above scale to include an extra damage die per level, or in the case of green flame blade, being a cantrip, at select player levels.

Alternatives/options speculated

  • Could perhaps use a save for the elemental damage, DEX or CON respective to the element chosen like normal)

    • Pro(s): fits closer to dragonbreath spell’s damage per target (also 2nd level)
    • Con(s): spell already requires a struck melee attack before it does anything and that then means its a roll per target, which I know lots of spells do but just adds to the complexity of the mechanics
  • Could make it just a single additional target within 5ft of the melee attack target.

    • Pro(s): Would make it fit a little closer to Green Flame Blade’s effect
    • Con(s): then the damage at face value seems a little underwhelming being 2d6 per target (though in it’s current form of not needing a secondary save for each target in the cone it’s potentially up to melee weapon + 8d6 damage in total, compared to 6d6 for all 3 rays hitting for scorching ray and you get to pick the damage type for this, though a more realistic situation of melee target + 1 extra is melee + 4d8 chosen damage)
  • Could increase/decrease the damage dealt or increase the range if the damage seems right but maybe not enough AOE (more similarly scoped to dragonbreath spell, also 2nd level)

So… thoughts?

Balancing story with team play

The crux of the problem is that to stick true to my character and the situation he is in I feel he wouldn’t bring the rest of the party along to something he needs to do. Me the player, however, is aware that this breaks up the flow of play and other players will have to sit around for a while waiting.

I’ve spoken to my DM and without giving anything away they said I should feel free to stick to my character. We’re all fairly new to DnD though so I don’t want to put too much strain on us at this point.

There are plenty of people here with more experience than us, how would you proceed? Split up? Keep together? What about at different levels of experience?

How do you know when its best to split up and stick to your character?

Balancing new critters in Mouse Guard

I am currently developing a campaign setting using the rules and lore for Mouse Guard. The setting will be similar but not in the same geographical location (Northern Michigan) that the original was written in. To that end I will probably be bringing in additional animals and developing their stats. Since in MG a mouse can only be in combat/kill through normal means a creature that is no higher than two orders above them in the Natural Order table determining where to balance these creatures in could be critical to determining how to introduce them to the players. Does anyone have experience balancing new creatures when introducing them into a Mouse Guard campaign? I would be looking for answers using the “Good Subjective” standard and experience on how specifically balancing was done and determining where to place the creatures in the Natural Order hierarchy.

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

I understand that RAW, features/spells/etc. that require a bonus action (e.g. Bardic Inspiration or Healing Word) cannot be used with a regular action instead (see this question).

However, what would be the long-term ramifications and effects on game balance if I were to instead allow PCs to use a regular action for bonus-action features/spells/etc.?

For the sake of narrowing this down a bit; I’m only asking about ramifications when allowing player characters to do this, no need to take NPCs or Monsters into account. I don’t use the variant rule of feats either, so no need to consider those as well.

Balancing Karma rewards to be meaningful

I have a shadowrun 5e group that sadly only comes together once or twice a month. In that group we focus most of our time on the roleplaying aspect of the game, rather than advancing the run itself. This leads to up to 3 months until a official run (just as a reference) is completed.

Those runs reward about 6-9 Karma per PC if they have fulfilled every optional goal as well. In addition to that we like to pass up to 50% of the default values as RP-Karma as a reward for very well played scenes, leaving a runner with an average of maybe ~9 Karma in 3 months => ~3 Karma per month.

Considering that for example Strength 4 to 5 costs 20 Karma we are looking at over half a year of charakter play and about 9 play sessions just to raise one attribute.

Is this supposed to be so awfully slow or are the rewards calculated for groups who rush through 2 or 3 runs in one evening (I heard those exist).

I am trying to just multiply every Karma gained by 4 or 5, but still this feels kinda slugish in comparison with other systems.

How do you balance your character progression?

Need help balancing home-brew spells/abilities

So i’m looking at adding some home-brew spells and abilities to my game but i’m not 100% on what level they begin showing up, and what kind of saves to make these. Currently i have a list of spells/abilities that specifically make casters much weaker and a list of spells/abilities that make physical damage dealers much weaker.

For casters i’m looking at a list that burns enemy spell slots. Basically roll 2 dice:

Roll first dice to determine at what level character begins losing spell slots, If roll is higher then target’s highest active spell slot add +1 per difference to next roll.

Roll second dice, target losses spells equal to this number from highest active spell slots in descending order.

(Character may choose to burn a higher level spell slots to account for double the next lowest spell slot. EX: 5th level spell slot = two 4th level spell slots; 6th level spell slot= four 4th level spell slots)

The list for physical damage dealers causes players to roll with dice below their stated value. EX: If target would roll with D6’s for damage, instead they roll with D4’s

If this effect would cause target to roll below a D4, those dice are negated. If all dice are negated in this way, character does no do bonus modifier damage.

Time complexity for balancing an unbalanced binary tree

The question here is that: There is an unbalanced binary tree with n-nodes. What is the time complexity to balance the tree?

The solution I thought of involved solving using Recursion where for the worst-case I took a maximally unbalanced tree like this

enter image description here

And then try to balance this using rotations.

But I cannot come up with an expression which will give O(log(n)) time complexity.

Can I get some help in solving this? I am stuck on how to approach this problem.