Social Engineering or Broken Authentication

If I go to a cybercafe and use one of the shared computers, and use a social media application, which deletes session IDs when the browser is closed.

A clever person comes, who knows about the application’s behaviour (that this application deletes session IDs when someone closes their browser), he asks me to move quickly and says, "Please don’t close the browser, I have some urgent stuff to do." So, in a hurry I close the tab I’m using and think that I’m logged out (it is stupid, but I have seen people do that). The moment I leave, the other person starts accessing my UserID.

Regardless of my stupidity, if we see this scenario from the technical point of view, is this an example of broken authentication or social engineering or both?

What encryption did Encrochat use, and how was it broken?

On 2nd July, the UK’s national news outlets broke the story of an "unprecedented" 4-year-long, Europe-wide investigation that, in the UK, resulted in the arrest of 746 criminals, including many high-profile "kingpins" of the criminal underworld as well as corrupt police officers. According to The Mirror:

NCA Director of Investigations Nikki Holland, said: “This is the broadest and deepest ever UK operation into serious organised crime. Together we’ve protected the public by arresting middle-tier criminals and the kingpins, the so-called iconic untouchables who have evaded law enforcement for years, and now we have the evidence to prosecute them.”

If these phones were employing a form of encryption, then it stands to reason that the French police and the UK’s National Crime Agency must have been able to break it in some way. Is there any further information on what encryption EncroChat phones were using, and how exactly it was broken?

Is Magic Resistance broken in Player Characters?

So, every time some feature, item or whatever allows a player character to have Magic Resistance, people seem to go crazy about it. It happened when the Yuan-Ti was released as a playable race in VGM, it happened recently when the Satyr was announced for Theros, and it happened around here with the possibility of allowing a player to get a pseudodragon as familiar.

I am asking because honestly I have never played with an Yuan-Ti, but in most of the campaigns I DM or play, I don’t see Magic Resistance showing up a lot or helping the players a lot. It is certainly a strong feature for monsters since parties will often contain spellcasters, but most creatures do not have magical effects or anything. So, the question is straight forward: is allowing a player character to get Magic Resistance as broken as I have seen people assume? Am I missing something?

For reference

Magic Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Can a quasi-real shadow weapon be broken?

I am building an oracle with the Wrecker curse, which states:

Held objects gain the broken condition when you use or equip them but regain their actual condition if employed by anyone else. If a held item is restored to unbroken condition, it becomes broken again the following round.

I would like to take the Shadow mystery, and the Shadow Armament revelation, which states:

You can create a quasi-real simple or martial masterwork weapon appropriate for your current size. You are considered proficient with this weapon. The first time you hit a creature with this weapon, that creature can attempt a Will save to disbelieve; failure means the weapon deals damage normally, while success means the creature takes only 1 point of damage from the weapon’s attacks. The weapon deals only 1 point of damage to objects.

This matches the description of a quasi-real weapon in the description of the spell Shadow Weapon:

Drawing upon the Plane of Shadow, you shape a quasi-real masterwork melee weapon of a type you are proficient with. You may use this weapon to make attacks as if it were a real weapon, dealing normal damage for a weapon of its type. The first time you hit a creature with the weapon, it may make a Will save to disbelieve; failure means the weapon deals damage normally, success means it only takes 1 point of damage from the weapon’s attacks. The weapon only deals 1 point of damage to objects.

The description of the broken condition states:

Items that have taken damage in excess of half their total hit points gain the broken condition, meaning they are less effective at their designated task. The broken condition has the following effects, depending upon the item.

  • If the item is a weapon, any attacks made with the item suffer a –2 penalty on attack and damage rolls. Such weapons only score a critical hit on a natural 20 and only deal ×2 damage on a confirmed critical hit.
  • If the item does not fit into any of these categories, the broken condition has no effect on its use.

It is clear that the quasi-real shadow weapon is a weapon. However, the wording of Shadow Weapon is careful to distinguish it from a "real weapon", stating only that it may "make attacks as if it were a real weapon", implying that it does not normally count as a real weapon.

So based on interpretation, one of the following scenarios must occur:

  1. My Shadow Armament is a weapon, therefore it is broken by my Wrecker curse as soon as I summon it, meaning my curse is ruining my revelation.
  2. My Shadow Armament is not a real weapon, therefore it is not broken by my Wrecker curse, as a real weapon would be, and is therefore a weapon I can safely use.

I really like the idea of the latter thematically, and that’s the one I personally interpret as being correct, but I wanted to know if there’s any additional information I might have missed somewhere that could explicitly state if one or the other should be the case.

Can a quasi-real shadow weapon be broken?

“Ray of Frost” Spell + Water = Lock Broken?

I played only D&D 3.0 and 3.5 editions, but if similar, low-level spells exist in D&D 4.0 and Pathfidnder, please comment, I will probably make a transition to one of them anyway.

Is it possible to pour water into a lock, cast 0-level spell Ray of Frost, freeze the water and break the lock this way or is it sanctioned anywhere? I mean, that’s like 12 secs per lock at max (1 round for pouring, 1 round for casting), so if wizard is in a hurry it’s kinda cool way, although looks like a little power-gaming.

(Not to mention an easy way to escape from a locked cell. Even if dungeon is dry and a character is left for death there are always 0-level clerical spells like Create Water and such wizard-cleric duo is good to go.)

It’s more powerful than Open/Close spell since it won’t fail on locked doors. Sure, it won’t open door for us, but will break a lock — something Open/Close can’t do — and then we will open it manually like normal mortals do anyway.

Also, it deals d3 damage, but I don’t think we can use only this roll against lock DR, because frozen water is adding way more to this. There’s also a question, how much water can you freeze with d3 cold damage?

Damn, I love such low-level hacking 😉

Can an Eldritch Knight Summon a broken bonded weapon?

The title says it all, but I’ll elaborate for clarity, though I’m not clever with stories so it will be bland:

Ernie the Eldritch Knight has bonded to his halberd. Plot happens and his halberd is now in a remote area far away from him, and it has been broken in half by one clean slice across the handle.

By RAW, can Ernie summon the two weapon pieces to himself with his class feature?

Factors that affect a simple ruling, in my mind:

In favor of NO:

  1. The object is clearly not usable as a halberd anymore, and any practical interpretation would say it’s not even a proper weapon anymore.
  2. Since the weapon is summoned to the fighter’s hand, having more than one piece could be problematic.
  3. The cantrip Mending states “This spell repairs a single break or tear in an object you touch, such as…two halves of a broken key…” (emphasis mine), which implies the two halves are separate entities, laying precedent for the status of a broken object if you choose to read it that way.

In favor of YES:

  1. A broken clock on the wall is still a clock. A “broken, bonded weapon” could, by that logic, be considered a “bonded weapon,” even though it could no longer be properly wielded.
  2. A weapon with embellishments such as decorative paint or a leather handle around the wooden core would, ostensibly, summon the whole thing. By this logic all pieces can be summoned as part of the whole.
  3. The cantrip Mending states “This spell repairs a single break or tear in an object you touch, such as…two halves of a broken key…” (emphasis mine) which implies that the key can still be referenced as “an object,” singular, if you choose to read it that way.

I can see a DM ruling on either side of this, but that’s not the question. Are there any rules that give guidance on this, perhaps in regards to broken weapons or objects, that remove any uncertainty by RAW?

As a note, two pieces were used as an example so Mending could be applied without question. The answer should extend to broken or damaged objects in general, noting if the number of pieces or nature of damage is a factor.

Is TimeZoneOffset broken?

I just realized that code like this:


does not return a timezone value anymore. I am quite confident that this has worked up to a few days as I run test-code which contains that snippet (almost) every night.

Similar code is part of the documentation and has been suggested on this site, e.g.:

TimeZoneOffset[Entity["City", {"Paris", "IleDeFrance", "France"}]] TimeZoneOffset[GeoPosition[Entity["ZIPCode", "94402"]["Coordinates"]]] 

and those examples also don’t work for me anymore. Interesting thing is that this is independent of the mathematica-version I use and happens on at least three different machines that I have access to. Does anyone else see these problems except for me? I would consider this a bug…