Can magic tattoos be used by warforged, or other constructs such as the battle smith artificer’s steel defender?

Magic tattoos all say things akin to the following:

To attune to this item, you hold the needle to your skin where you want the tattoo to appear, pressing the needle there throughout the attunement process. When the attunement is complete, the needle turns into the ink that becomes the tattoo, which appears on the skin.

They each appear on the skin, they are applied by being held to the skin. Can the metal body of a warforged use it? If so, the only other item I am aware of that has race specific requirements is the dwarven thrower.

It dawned on me that warforged aren’t considered constructs in 5e (at least I don’t think there is a distinction made for what player characters are). However, I think it should be considered that what would bar constructs from being able to use the tattoos is that the tattoos specifically say how you apply it to the skin, or how it appears on the skin. I think this would be the same disqualifying factor for warforged, or for other ‘constructs.’

Can a Battle Oracle take the Marshall dedication?

When an Oracle chooses the Battle mystery, they become trained in all martial weapons belonging to a chosen weapon group (e.g. Sword, Axe).

A requirement of the Marshall dedication is that the character is ‘trained in martial weapons’.

Is the Oracle therefore eligible to take the dedication, or would they first need to take the Weapon Proficiency general feat?

What to do when I’m forced to make battle decisions by other players?

I’ve been playing a campaign of DnD that has been quite fun thus far. There has however been few instances in battles where I feel like I’m being forced to make some unoptimal moves in battle by the rest of the PC group. For example me being coerced into "tanking" in a narrow hallway, when I would’ve rather drawn the group of enemies to us, ultimately saving us from a lot of damage. The thing is, these moves I’m forced into aren’t usually "obviously dumb", and would usually require some explaining why I would rather do it in another way (and the reason for my own tactics are based more on my personal experiences playing a lot of TRPG games.)

I usually tend to buckle because trying to explain my thoughts feels like it’s wasting time, and against several people it already feels discouraging to defend your stance (nevermind my tanking usually happens in Wild Shape since I play a druid character, so I can’t even speak in-game anyway). We’re also talking about tactics for the fight-wholesale, I’m not usually micromanaged on individual actions.

But I would be lying if it didn’t frustrate me be made to do less than ideal things, especially since the campaign we’re playing is generally seen as though.

How to deal with this? Should I just "go with the flow" of the rest of the party even when I don’t feel like it’s the best choice to speed the game along, or at least try to dig my heels a bit? If talking to the DM is the right choice, what should I say?

Does Quickness work in the midst of battle without Skill Mastery?

The description of Quickness indicates that it only works with Routine actions.

You can perform routine tasks—anything that can be done as a routine check (see Routine Checks in The Basics)—fast, perhaps very fast. Subtract your effect rank from the normal time rank to perform a task to determine how long it takes you. So, for example, if you have Quickness 7, a routine task normally taking an hour (time rank 9) takes you (9 – 7 = time rank 2) 30 seconds. Non-routine checks are not affected by Quickness, nor is movement speed.

Without Skill Mastery, which allows routine checks in non-routine situations for a skill, does that mean that, under pressure, the person with Quickness can’t employ their skills? That when The Flash is being shot at, his ability to quickly perform normally routine tasks goes away? That seems counter to the source material, and also counter to the Time Stop ability in the Time Powers Power Profile, which includes Quickness with a Quirk that only routine actions can be performed.

Time Stop: Quickness (Subtle 2), Speed (Subtle 2), Quirk: Limited to routine actions while active (–4 points) • 2 points per rank

The 2E version instead used a version of routine tasks based on the "Take 20" mechanic which applied to skills where there was no penalty for failure and included on the chart which skills that could be used for.

You can perform routine tasks quickly. For purposes of this power a “routine task” is one where you can take 20 on the check. At rank 1 you perform such tasks at twice normal speed (x2). Each additional rank moves your speed one step up the Time and Value Progression Table (x5, x10, x25, and so forth). At rank 20, you perform routine tasks at 5 million times normal speed! Tasks where you cannot take 20 (including combat actions) are unaffected by Quickness, nor is movement speed

How can I avoid my-guy-syndrome after devastating battle

We are a group of three players. Me (a priest of the goddess of healing and agriculture), Alice (priest of the god of light/time/law) and fighter-archetype Bob.

Our last evening went as follows. The previous evening I and Bob coerced an NPC ("John") to gather information for us and to meet with us the following day in the ghetto before a city. I went there alone, as Alice and Bob attended some other business and I didn’t want to miss our informant. When I arrived, another NPC told me

You have to hurry. John was already here. He told me it was urgent and to tell you he’ll meet you in the forest. And he was bleeding, it looked bad!

Concerned as a healer about the wounded man, I immediately followed. After following the trail for quite some long time, I had a critical miss-roll and got lost in the forest, until I rejoined with my comrades, which ultimately followed. We finally arrived at an obvious ambush, where John was lying on the ground, with a gaping wound on the back (shoulder blades were visible), on the brink of death, but still breathing. As I was unarmed, I ignored the imminent danger and immediately went to him to try to save his life, assuming the enemy wouldn’t attack an unarmed priest. A battle ensued nontheless. Due to severely unlucky dice rolls, our 2nd priest got one-shotted (down to low health, bleeding and unconscious). Our fighter-archetype had gone around the group and attacked from behind. I was also attacked, but defended by my dogs. After the first dog was killed, I retreated hastily, without completing the healing ritual that would have saved both John and Alice.

Although Alice was rescued by the rogue boss (healing potion…go figure), my character presumes her dead, as this happened after she fled. Furthermore, she believes the important people of the city are behind this attack, to save the secret John had discovered. Thus it now seems logical to me, to leave this place behind, as going back to the city seems like certain death (you can only enter through the gates, so going in unseen is not an option).

I don’t want this to be a my-guy-syndrome situation, but how can I plausibly not abandon the group and the city? I already told the GM that I need some time to think about my next move, because of the situation above.

Is my adaptation of the Battle Master as a Wizard subclass balanced relative to other Wizard subclasses and to the original Battle Master?


Background Motivation

I wanted to create a subclass for Wizard that uses an expendable die resource to augment its magic and benefit its allies, similar to how the Battle Master Fighter expends superiority dice to fuel maneuvers which augments its attacks and benefit its allies.

Design Process

The following were some significant steps and motivations in my design process.

  • I called the subclass the School of Pedagogy because, thematically, a Wizard of this subclass is an academic who studies magic at a theoretical level. I called the equivalent of Battle Master maneuvers “theorems” for the Pedagogy Wizard and the equivalent of superiority dice “savant dice.”
  • I evolved the Pedagogy concept from the Unearthed Arcana Lore Master and School of Invention, but almost nothing from those inspirations remains.
  • I ported the Battle Master subclass features (at 3rd, 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th Fighter levels) into the chassis of the Wizard (at 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 14th Wizard levels), trying to keep a similar pacing of improvements.
  • I reduced the die size progression and the utility/skill features for the Pedagogy Wizard to include only d8 and d10 savant dice to account for Wizards generally being more powerful than Fighters at higher levels and for Wizards generally having more skills.
  • I ported many of the Battle Master maneuvers directly into theorems with minimal changes to apply the benefits to spells and magical effects. However, not every maneuver was sensible to port, so I excluded some. Then I created original theorems to fill unique magical needs that exist for a Wizard but not for a Fighter.
  • I compared the resulting theorems to all subclass features of other Wizard subclasses to avoid stepping on their toes. Some features and theorems are inspired by class/subclass features from other classes, in which case I tried to avoid impeding on those as well. I specifically avoided duplicating any Sorcerer Metamagic features.
  • For wording all theorems that add or subtract a die on an attack, check, or save, I tried to use wording identical to that used in Battle Master maneuvers, Bardic Inspiration, and the bless and bane spells: if the intent is that you can add/subtract before or after the roll is resolved, it’s explicitly stated; otherwise, you add it when you make the roll.
  • I iterated the subclass many times using feedback from several other DM’s. We will be playtesting the subclass for two Wizard characters in two campaigns (one where I am the DM and one where I play the Wizard), but it hasn’t made it to the table as of this posting.

Text of the Subclass (version 1.0)

The following is the result of my design effort.

Arcane Expertise

At 2nd level, you gain proficiency in the Arcana skill if you aren’t already proficient in it, and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses Arcana.

Magical Savant

When you choose this school at 2nd level, you learn magical theorems that are fueled by special dice called savant dice.

Theorems. You learn three theorems of your choice, which are detailed under “Theorems” below. Many theorems enhance a spell or other magical effect in some way. You can use only one theorem per effect.

You learn two additional theorems of your choice at 6th, 10th, and 14th level. Each time you learn new theorems, you can also replace one theorem you know with a different one.

Savant Dice. You have four savant dice, which are d8s. A savant die is expended when you use it. You regain all of your expended savant dice when you finish a short or long rest.

You gain another savant die at 6th level and one more at 14th level.

Theorems

The theorems are presented in alphabetical order.

Applied Studies

When you make an Intelligence (Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion) check, you can expend one savant die to add it to the check. Alternatively, when you or a friendly creature who can see or hear you makes an Intelligence (Investigation) check, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to add it to the check before or after making the check, but before any effects of the check are applied.

Beguiling Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a Wisdom saving throw against being charmed or frightened, you can expend one savant die to make the spell especially beguiling and hard to ignore. Subtract the savant die from that creature’s first saving throw against the condition.

Damping Defense

When a creature damages you with a weapon attack, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to reduce the damage by the number you roll on your savant die + your Constitution modifier.

Distracting Spell

When you hit a creature with a spell attack, you can expend one savant die to distract that creature, giving your allies an opening. You add the savant die to the attack’s damage roll. The next attack roll against the target by an attacker other than you has advantage if the attack is made before the start of your next turn.

Dual Strike

When you cast a spell with a duration of Instantaneous and it deals damage to a creature on your turn, you can use a bonus action to direct one of your companions to strike in tandem. When you do so, choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you and expend one savant die. That creature can immediately use its reaction to make one weapon attack against the same target, adding the savant die to its attack roll.

Elemental Flux

When you cast a spell that deals acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage, you can expend one savant die and choose one of the spell’s damage types from that list to substitute for another type from that list for the spell’s duration. The first time you roll damage for the spell using the substituted type, add the savant die to the damage roll.

Focusing Oration

When a friendly creature that can see or hear you misses with an attack, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to refocus that creature’s efforts. Add the savant die to the attack roll, possibly changing the outcome.

Galvanizing Oration

When a friendly creature that can see or hear you makes a saving throw to end an ongoing effect on itself or to maintain concentration, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to add it to the saving throw.

Maneuvering Spell

When you cast a spell with an area of effect, you can expend one savant die to direct one of your comrades to exit the area. Choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you in the area. Before the spell takes effect, that creature can use its reaction to move up to its speed, adding the savant die to its AC until it stops moving.

Mental Agility

When you roll initiative at the start of combat, you can expend one savant die to add it to the roll. When you use this theorem and aren’t incapacitated, you can’t be surprised on your first turn in combat.

Merciful Spell

When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with a spell and the target isn’t killed outright, you can expend one savant die to hold back some of the spell’s energy and merely knock the target out. The target falls unconscious and is stable. You gain temporary hit points equal to the savant die roll + your Wisdom modifier.

Precision Spell

When you make a spell attack against a creature, you can expend one savant die to add it to the attack roll. You can use this theorem before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied.

Reactive Cantrip

When a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to cast a damaging cantrip that targets only that creature and has a duration of Instantaneous. Add the savant die to the cantrip’s damage roll.

Stirring Oration

When you cast a spell with verbal components on your turn, you can use a bonus action and expend one savant die to encourage one of your companions with an insightful speech woven into your spellcasting. Choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you. That creature gains temporary hit points equal to the savant die roll + your Charisma modifier.

Swift Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a Dexterity saving throw, you can expend one savant die to make the spell especially swift and hard to avoid. Subtract the savant die from that creature’s first saving throw against the spell.

Tough Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a Constitution saving throw, you can expend one savant die to make the spell especially tough and hard to withstand. Subtract the savant die from that creature’s first saving throw against the spell. This theorem can’t hinder a Constitution saving throw made to maintain concentration.

Expeditious Research

Starting at 6th level, you can use the Search action as a bonus action.

Improved Magical Savant

At 10th level, your savant dice turn into d10s.

Timely Epiphany

Starting at 14th level, when you roll initiative and have no savant dice remaining, you regain one savant die.

Question

Is this Wizard School of Pedagogy balanced relative to other Wizard subclasses and to the original Fighter Battle Master that inspired it? In other words, can the School of Pedagogy coexist with those other subclasses as a useful, distinct, and coequal option without impinging on their design? Things to watch for…

  • Flawed language with ambiguity or unintended consequences.
  • Features that are not level-comparable with similar features from other classes/subclasses.
  • Features granting benefits that are too powerful relative to existing options.
  • Features that are game-breaking within the game’s existing design.
  • Features that are so niche or unhelpful they would never be chosen or used.

I am not at all concerned with whether the Pedagogy Wizard seems thematically or mechanically similar to the Sorcerer, so any similarity between the concept of theorems and of metamagic isn’t considered to be infringing on the use case of Sorcerers for purposes of my question, unless a theorem directly replicates a particular Sorcerer metamagic option.

(To the best of my ability, I’ve followed the recommendations on Meta for how to present a homebrew balancing question. I’m happy to accommodate actionable suggestions for improvement of the question. However, if I need to iterate the subclass design again after reviewing the answers, that will be done in a separate question. Finally, sorry for the wall of text. I hope it’s easy to follow.)

Rise of Tiamat – Final Battle [Major Spoilers]

Similar to the Rise of Tiamat – Dragon assets [Major spoilers] question, there appears to be a big lack of guidance regarding the final battle

In Episode 1 p23, it says:

However, without repeating what is said in Episode 9 pp86-87 very little information is given to deliver on the promise given above.

Speaking generically (those who know the module will be able to fill in the specifics), the PCs have the opportunity to acquire “assets” during the adventure that can neutralize the “assets” of their enemies. If they acquire all of the assets then they should have a relatively easy run through to the climactic battle we have all been waiting for. A few encounters with skirmishes between the “assets” of both sides where the PCs can weigh in to tip the balance without draining too many resources and the party gets the idea that they are a small (but vital) part of greater things and away we go.

However, it is more than likely that they will not have been able to acquire all of the “assets” leaving unopposed enemy “assets”. For example:

Obviously, if they totally blow the acquisition of “assets” their chance of reaching the big final scene would be practically zero.

I am conscious that the question I am about to pose steers dangerously close to seeking opinions so I will be very specific.

What strategies can be employed to:

  1. Make the acquisition of “assets” meaningful, and
  2. Make the allocation of those assets significant, while
  3. Allowing the party a reasonable chance of reaching the big boss battle?

To get you started, I am thinking (embryonicly):

The BBEG wants to delay the party in the final battle… (spells)

I have thought of a few methods they might accomplish this. The easiest, mechanically, is to give him spells to accomplish this.

Some details about the campaign/fight (major spoilers for Paizo’s Ruins of Azlant AP)

What are the best 5 arcane spells for area denial? The area to be protected is a control panel that can be reached from two adjacent squares; there is also a hallway leading into the room that they will need to travel through that is 10×10 and 40ft long.

Some members of the party have inanely high Saves, especially against spells, so spells that do not require Saves or still have some effect with a Save should be considered stronger than similar spells that do. The party, as most high level organizations do, have easy access to Freedom of Movement.

Directly related to my question about doing it with narrative.

Using Battle Master Maneuvres with Polearm Master

Been enjoying the Battle Master Fighter, but have a question about use of maneuvres with the two parts of Polearm Master:

Polearm Master

When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage.

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

On the first part, can a maneuvre be used as part of the melee attack with the shaft of the weapon? You cannot (mostly) use two maneuvres on a single attack, however does this Bonus Action constitute a new attack? If so I am also assuming the main halberd attack is resolved first and then the bonus action. So I couldn’t use the bonus action to attempt a trip with the shaft, then if successful attack with the halberd itself at advantage.

On the second part I can use my reaction to attack a creature that comes within my reach. Can I then apply some of the maneuvres to this attack? This is focused on the wordings being different, so for example:

Restraining Strike

Immediately after you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack on your turn, you can expend one superiority die and use a bonus action to grapple the target (see chapter 9 in the Player’s Handbook for rules on grappling). Add the superiority die to your Strength (Athletics) check. The target is also restrained while grappled in this way.

"On your turn" clearly means that I couldn’t perform this using a Reaction. However to compare:

Trip Attack

When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one superiority die to attempt to knock the target down. You add the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll, and if the target is Large or smaller, it must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, you knock the target prone.

That makes no reference to the attack being on my turn, so if an opponent charged towards me I could use Polearm Master to initiate a Reaction. On a hit, can I use a Maneuvre that only requires a "weapon attack" as part of this Reaction?

How to give the players more felt impact on the “Battle of the Silkwiesen”?

Today I started playing "The Year of the griffon" with my DSA (TDE on German) group (after about 4 or 5 sessions to teach rules, make characters, learn a bit about the pre-orc-invasion Griffon March). I use the DSA 4 re-release of the old DSA 3 adventure and the 4.1 rules, but that does not change it significantly. While the players did like the epic part of the tale, the chance to be able to take part in the biggest battle since the first demon battle1, they did correctly note that the tale dragged on:

They had little chance to do anything impactful for most of the battle, and true, they are just 5 soldiers in a body of ca. 15000 soldiers. Yet, in the 15-page long chapter dedicated to the battle, they were supposed to act inside of the constraints of a conscripted milita unit.

Even as they helped at saving Prince Brin by blasting a bunch of Orcs with flash spells (Blitz dich Find in German), making the retreat of him probably much easier, even as they were part of the final strike against the shaman raising the dead of the battle as undead, they felt like being pushed over the battlefield by forces beyond them (their commanders as proxies, the surpreme fieldmarshall Helme Haffax in person and thus (by proxy) Prince Brin himself), and true, they were.

They had large eyes about the ‘life is cheap’ attitude of the battle as I descriebed how some of their buddies died right next to them, even if I didn’t drag out the training too much (there are 2 pages dedicated to how to narrate out the training in detail and who each of those people were) but glossed over quite some of it. Mostly I was giving small ‘flashbacks’ on the training that were previously not mentioned as they saw the soldiers die – which turned out to be just as impactful as playing a whole evening to make them like the expendable NPCs.

In the end, after achieving all the optional plot goals and reducing the casulties quite some by the right choices at the right times, they cried out (with good reason) that for very very large parts it became rather boring to listen to the constant rush of high battle.

When they HAD good chance to act, then they discussed over each other what to do at all, trying to gaugue what might even have an impact and what was expected from them by the author while I clearly told them "This book has a solution for almost anything you come up with, and no, you very most likely won’t die in the prologue". I did tell them after the adventure part they had total plot armor in that battle alone, and they facepalmed: One mentioned "I could have been more reckless?!" – I did however reward that they had not been reckless.

All in all, the 15 pages translated to about 5-hourincluding interrupts, player actions and one rolled out skirmishof gaming… and gave me a rather dull feeling about playing this battle ever again, possibly using the shorcut of just summarizing the battle and its results (yes, that IS an option given!) if I ever do it again. But I did at least want to try.

Annotations

1 – The Ogre battle of 1003 BF would qualify for the biggest battle of their lifetime before the Silkwiesen. They don’t know about that battle as players. They DO know though about the Battle in front of Gareth – the first Demon Battle – that happened 1556 years ago right next to the Silkwiesen.

While page-long narratives are not uncommon to TDE and several pages of mainly narrative battle happen (ca 5 pages of interrupted narrative in the Ogre battle), The Battle on the Silkwiesen in The Year of the Griffon is probably the worst offender after the Year of the Fire, which does somewhat interrupt its massive battle with playercentric action. These battle-narratives are an exception in the bulk though: of about 200 adventures/campaigns only maybe 10 do have these large scale battles.

All in all the book is – including all handouts, index and pictures – 185 pages long. The Battle on the Silkwiesen does contain maybe 6 pages of condensed narrative with almost no player freedon if all GM info are struck. Abbreviation takes… the lines below

Battle on the Silkwiesen & Year of the Griffon abbreviated

The "Battle on the Silkwiesen" is the prologue/intro to the adventure campaign "The Year of the Griffon". It’s basically a single scripted scene with some player interaction with the surroundings. About 10000-15000 orcs clash against the same amount of mass recruits, militia, and every trained soldier the empire has available, some quarter to half of them veterans, professionals, and noble knights. In the end, 3000 soldiers and the same amount of orcs lie dead, another 3000 soldiers are wounded severely, but the orc army is in disarray and retreats back. A Pyrrhic victory, as neither side can muster enough reserves to make a strike for the following weeks…

Question

Are there situations in the battle on the Silkwiesen where players could be given more playground, even as it is a scripted 15 pages piece of narrative?