Can a character use a bonus action spell at any time during their turn, or must there be a prompt granting a bonus action?

I’ve been out of the DnD game for a little too long, and forgot a few things here. So here’s a question that is probably going to be easy to answer.

There are some spells, such as Sanctuary, that require the spell be used as a bonus action. Usually Bonus Actions must be prompted in order to be taken, such as a Rogue’s Cunning Action feature that grants a bonus action to the character’s turn.

Can a character make a melee weapon attack with their action, and then cast, say, Sanctuary, afterwards as a bonus action?

Sanctuary 1st-level abjuration; Casting Time: 1 bonus action; Range: 30 feet; Components: V, S, M, (Small silver mirror); Duration: 1 minute

Cunning Action Starting at your second level, you can use your Bonus Action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

How Can I Convince My Players That This Evil Character Is Good For the Duration Of The Campaign Until The Big Reveal?

My game has a woman who is a noblewoman. Despite her low-status birth and life as a peasant, she would later be seen as a miracle child because of in-world lore related to a physical feature of hers. This allowed her to get many followers who helped push her into the ranks of lower-“nobility” as a baronetess. From there she manipulated her followers in order to make her actions seem more praise-worthy and honorable that she eventually was made a trusted adviser of the king’s, granting her a formal nobility rank as a Countess and, as a result, allowing her to run her criminal operations more smoothly.

Okay, lore aside… She is an absolutely beautiful and cunning woman. She never lies because she doesn’t ever have to thanks to her wording. She has a high charisma and wisdom, so if someone were to question her, she would always be multiple steps ahead of them so that she doesn’t have to say anything that is false. That said, one of her quirks is that she tries to collect (Read: “Enslave”/”Own”) anything that she finds to be unique or valuable and she sets her eyes on one of the PCs.

The PCs just shut down a large part of the kingdom’s slave trade. Slavery isn’t illegal, but it is something the king is trying to edge out of their society. At the same time, he can’t request people to shut down and deincentivise slavers lest he causes unrest in his nobility. He trusts Countess who he does not realize 1) owns many slaves that she keeps hidden in secret and 2) is the one in charge of the vast majority of the kingdom’s slave trade; therefore, the king has invited Countess to the celebration of the PCs shutting down such a large aspect, freeing many slaves and getting them someplace safe. Publicly, the celebration is under the claim that the PCs found a lost artifact (which they do by chance) belonging to the royal family (and therefore the kingdom) by right and it’s to honor their (the PCs’) service to the crown. Everybody who is invited to this celebration are those whom the king trusts with the information relating to the true reason for the party, guests and staff alike.

At the party, Countess will try to seduce one of the PCs by putting a “love potion” of sorts into a drink which she will then offer her target. (I as the DM expect the player to succeed the DC to be unaffected by the immediate effects of the potion, so mentioning the potion is more “side information” than anything.) That said, when they are talking, I need to know how specifically to keep her from coming across as obviously suspicious since she will be directly approaching one of my players and will have a noticeable impact on him thanks to a very “Strahd von Zorovich” style Charm skill while they are talking, regardless of if he drinks from the spiked glass or not.

The problem: My players are quite genre-savvy. When I do this, I expect them to figure out that she is suspicious, if not evil, but I want to avoid her being seen as even suspicious. What is the best way to do this while maintaining the story as intended? This is done through a homebrew system, but if you must, assume D&D’s system. If you need my party’s (the PCs, not the celebration,) information in order to answer this accurately, let me know.

Question: How can I convince my players, not just the characters, that this evil character is actually good for a prolonged length of time until the final reveal?

A best answer will be almost entirely through minimal use of rolls and maximized use of story-telling. Rolling would just add to the suspicion and I don’t want my players to even think they are on to me.

If my tags are inaccurate or inappropriate, please leave a comment suggesting how to improve them.

Is increasing character advancement OK for a campaign on a timeline?

I am currently DMing a campaign with a group of level fours. One of the four characters is much less experienced than the others.

I have planned part of my campaign for people who are lv.10+, and would be very disappointing if they never reached that point, as I have put a lot of time into it.

However, we are all extremely busy, and can only find time to run a session around once per month for 5-6 hours (but the rate will probably increase in the summer). Next year some members will be going to university, and there is not much guarantee that they will stay local. Even if they do, the business factor will only increase. In any case, I would like to get to the awesome part of my campaign. This requires them leveling up a lot. One issue with this is that the less experienced player may get overwhelmed with their abilities. They are playing a Paladin.

I have started them at lv.2, and they are lv.4 after three sessions so far. Should I continue leveling up at this rate? Or should I level them up at a much slower, regular rate, with the possibility that I will not play my epic part of my campaign?

How can my character seed a thieves’ guild with out being disruptive to the rest of the group?

Background: D&D 5e with a steam punk flair.

My protagonist is a changeling rogue (can assume the role of other people) with a small bit of magic (Arcane Trickster). My deity has requested that I seed a thieves guild to act as a network of spies that will slowly grow as the protagonist progresses in their adventure.

I have another question in world building about how to go about this story-wise. In this question, I would like to focus on how I could go about doing this without being disruptive to the main storyline, or others at the table. I want to do this for fun, but not detract from the fun others are having.

On Page 186-187 the PHB discusses “Between Adventures”:

Between trips to dungeons and battles against ancient evils, adventurers need time to rest, recuperate, and prepare for their next adventure. Many adventurers also use this time to perform other tasks, such as crafting arms and armor, performing research, or spending their hard-earned gold.

In some cases, the passage of time is something that occurs with little fanfare or description. When starting a new adventure, the DM might simply declare that a certain amount of time has passed and allow you to describe in general terms what your character has been doing. At other times, the DM might want to keep track of just how much time is passing as events beyond your perception stay in motion.

While this doesn’t explicitly talk about seeding a underworld super cult that you will one day use to take over the world, I think this would be the appropriate place for this activity so as not to be disruptive. What I don’t know is how much time/money investment should go to this.

I remember reading about player housing / guild halls in one of the official D&D books, but for the life of me I can’t find it at the moment.

How can I do this within the rules of D&D 5e without being disruptive to the existing game?

How can I make a smart character act smart without prohibiting less intelligent characters from participating as well?

preface: I am playing in a campaign I made myself using homebrewed rules based on a German pen-and-paper RPG called Das Schwarze Auge (DSA; The Dark Eye in English).

My Problem

I have a very intelligent character in my group, who easily outsmarts any other player characters, but can’t do much with his intelligence.

Failed Solutions

  • I have tried to limit certain riddles/tasks to a minimum intelligence, but that feels extremely bad for other players, who have to stand by and watch. (None of my player characters are really stupid, but there still is a huge gap between let’s say a pirate and scholar)
  • I have tried to give the guy playing the smart character a note with hints when the group faces a difficult riddle, but aside from opening the note and reading the hints there won’t be any sense of pride and accomplishment (hah, accidental EA) for the player, because he didn’t actually do something but pass my notes.
  • I have tried to make him speak more ‘learned’ than other characters, but this was extreme hard for my group to roleplay.
  • I have tried to give him bonuses like being able to ask me for knowledge on certain things (like vague monster stats, weakpoints of armor etc.), but there were very few thing this character should know better than another character (e.g our blacksmith or our hunter) in this group, just because he is more intelligence, but not familiar with the profession.

My Questions

How can I help a smart character to put his intelligence to a good use without forcing my other players to ‘act stupid’ simply because their chars only have average intelligence?

I deciphered the meaning of a cryptic language out-of-game: should my character know what the meaning is?

I have just started my first D&D 5e campaign, and have encountered a seemingly mind-controlled bandit who keeps writing the same thing over and over on the wall. Our DM wrote out what it looks like (character for character). It’s supposed to be in Abyssal, the script of which my character can read.

I deciphered this cryptic writing with frequency analysis, but this used my real-world skills to solve the problem, before we’re supposed to find the solution in-game. My character is a level 2 High Elf Wizard, so if given enough time (i.e. during a long rest), I think it would be reasonable for my character, with his vast knowledge of written and spoken languages, to discover the meaning.

Given that I actually solved this in the real world, would it be appropriate for my character to do the same? Can I transfer my real-world skill into the game in this way? And if so, what would be the best way to go about it?

Aside: technically the way this cryptic text was implemented was as a simple substitution cipher. In reality, just because I can read the Latin character set doesn’t mean I understand Italian. So maybe it’s a bit paradoxical that I was able to understand the message at all, and that it maybe shouldn’t transfer to in-game discovery because my character can read Infernal but can’t speak Abyssal…

Bringing back a character without resurrection

My player’s character has just died as the result of rolling natural 1 against assassin’s death attack.

Is another way to bring him back, without the use of resurrection or similar spells. There is a druid in the party who could cast Reincarnate, but this could end in coming back to life as a kobold or something else undesirable.

They have just gained enough experience to level up. I thought about making them gain a level of eidolon and becoming a ghost, but I am not sure how it should work.

I am aware of a ghost template, but it’s +5 level adjustment is just too big. Are there other templates or ways of turning the player into a ghost, but without adding other abilities and staying at level adjustment that would be as small as possible?

Do ability scores force a character to act in a certain way? [duplicate]

This question already has an answer here:

  • How do character stats affect the personality of the character? 7 answers

As a group, most of the players at our table are fans of rolling for stats. This leads and has led to multiple amazing characters and some .. a bit less amazing.

Something that is rather consistent is that players are often good at emphasizing what their characters are specialized in based on their stats (for example: the charismatic bard, the nimble rogue, the strong barbarian). The thing that lags behind in this concept are often the characters flaws that come from their lower skills.

The roll of the dice gives us a basic way of handling this, because the character will simply fail a lot of the checks related to this skill, but this only goes so far.

An example was our recent very charismatic (17) warlock who wasn’t that blessed when it came to Intelligence (7). The problem here is that the player behind the character is far from dimwitted and has an in-depth knowledge of the lore of the world that’s being played in.

The question is two-fold:

  1. Should a DM enforce a base-level of adherence to a characters stats when they’re RPing?
  2. If yes, what would be a good way of enforcing this?

Shouting “Your character doesn’t know that, they are not intelligent enough!” whenever the player makes a profound observation about History or the use of Arcana will most likely turn stale very quickly.