How can I handle a player who seems to utilize skills their characters don’t have?

Well the tag is slightly misleading as these players do not cause problems. However I have encountered several players who exhibit skills their real life counterpart has without actually metagaming. As an example I encountered a player while running storyteller system and while they didn’t have leadership skill they were quite fond of management stuff and assigned people that were under their command. On a similar note I had a player in D&D 5e who did not have survival proficiency (or nature proficiency for that matter) but he explained how his character set up a rudimentary water purification system.

I thought of a few solutions for this.

  1. Just tell them no. While this solution feels like the correct one my players often get excited when they utilize things like this and I don’t want to be the GM that says ‘No fun allowed’.

  2. Ask them to switch their proficiencies/skills to better reflect their knowledge. This feels a bit too punishing and I feel that it might end up causing them to not have the character they had in mind.

  3. Just let it fly. This is what I have been doing so far but to be honest I feel it is hurting other players and stealing the spotlight from people that invested in the required skills.

The main question is: How can I handle a player who seems to utilize skills their characters don’t have?

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.

How can I pull off being two two separate characters at the beginning of a campaign?

I will be playing a Changeling in an upcoming campaign (homebrew setting). I’m interested in hiding not only my race, but also having one or more "retainers" — alternate identities / personas that my changeling can slip into and out of as needed.

The catch is, I wish to conceal (at least at first) the fact that the PC and the NPC retainers are actually a single entity! The most straightforward way of doing this would seem to be observers seeing "both" characters arrive to the starting town at the same time. I would want this to deceive NPCs and fellow PCs.

What magic / mundane / class features do I need to pull off such a deception at level 1? If not, what’s the earliest level you could realistically pull the wool over NPC eyes, solo? The ruse must be able to confound casual observers, but bonus points if it can stand up to additional scrutiny!

I don’t have a set class for this character, but am leaning towards Bard, Rogue, or Wizard. Since I’m trying to fool the party as well, count on no help from them.

A pretrained model for mathematical equations characters detection

I am working on a project to convert equations to LaTeX code. After segmenting out the characters, I got stuck on the detection part and was looking for some pre-trained model that could detect characters of the equation for later conversion to LaTeX. Is there any such pre-trained model available on the internet that could be used in Python to identify characters. If not then can somebody share some source to find a dataset to train such kind of model in Keras? I was able to find one on GitHub but It doesn’t detect symbols accurately.

How do I help newbies generate characters without being in person?

Background: I am about to start running a virtual D&D5e game over Zoom (I don’t have a choice of platform) through the local library. I have invited four of my friends to join, and only one has ever played before (he plays a lvl 5 paladin in my other group and wants to do a paladin or fighter this time). None of them have the 5e books or even know the basics of generating characters.

Usually, when I help new people for their first character, we meet in person and talk, bounce things off each other, banter, interrupt each other, and only then do we even work on the mechanics. However, COVID-19 has made it so we cannot safely do that anymore.

I have access to Roll20, but nobody else does and we cannot use it in game. The library is pretty strict on that. Most communication is done by text, with a little email as well. I effectively have a week to generate 4 characters for 4 mostly-new players before the first session, plus now one for the librarian. We are starting at lvl 7 (that is where the other group is and most will be using the same characters).

How do we generate ideas and then match those with mechanics without being in person?

Update: I emailed the librarian earlier to see if the other players would be willing to make new characters or regress their characters to a lower level, probably lvl 3. I will edit when I get a response. I figure I can point her to all the “start them at lower level” responses here and that should help my case.

Map two input streams, one graphics objects and the other characters through Show

The question is how to sequentially execute Show with two streams of input. The first is graphics object stream and the second is a character stream for supplying labelling for the graphics. I tried

ss={{ListPlot[x1]},{ListPlot[x2],…};labelling={aa,bb,cc,dd….}; Map[Show[#1,PlotLabel->StringJoin[#2,”…”,”…”]]&,{ss,labelling}]

I tried both Map and MapThread to inconsistent results, i.e., works sometimes and not work some other times. It became consistent when I put the labelling elements into individual curly brackets, i.e., labelling={{aa},{bb},{cc},(dd)) Wonder why is this the case?

How aware are Forgotten Realms characters of the underlying mechanics of the world?

I have read Are casters aware of spell slots?, but this question is aimed at the mechanics in general, not just spell slots

In our own world, there are millions of people working around the world trying to understand every detail of the world. We have distilled the most basic of physical laws into mathematical formulae, separated every element known to man in the tiniest of particles, measure every aspect of the world and have created experiments that are so delicate that the morning dew on the grass outside the testing facility can throw off results. We’ve even created a global infrastructure meant to share that information for the betterment of all.

Now, I might be overestimating the inquisitiveness of the inhabitants of Toril, but I would be surprised if the Arcane Scholars of Candlekeep or the Red Wizards of Thay or any other of the many academic groups in the Forgotten Realms aren’t investing a large amount of time into working out the mechanics of their world. Stuff like the damage a spell does or the amount of damage a kobold or gibberling can take or the increased potency of an Adamantite improved longsword or any other game mechanic. They might even be going into the deeper statistics of the world, like wanting to quantify how much better one fighter is compared to another, and end up figuring out the Strength/Dexterity/Constitution/Intelligence/Wisdom/Charisma abilities. And maybe, just maybe, they have stumbled upon clues that everything in Toril depends on random chance that a character can have limited impact on.

In our world, a lot of these details don’t really matter as much: it might improve our society in the long run by allowing us to create better technology, but we’re not really going to get better food by improving the accuracy of the Avogadro constant. However, in a magical world where a lot of things revolve around combat, knowing that Magic Missiles do up to 4 damage each and how many of these you’ll probably need to finish off that ogre can really mean the difference between life and death. And knowing just how strong each of your soldiers are and how much stronger each of them will get from that enchanted sword your court merchant bought from an adventurer can end up drastically changing the course of a war.

So I’m wondering: How aware of game mechanics are the NPCs of Toril, and especially the smarter ones who do the magical research or are in positions of power? Are they actively using this knowledge in their quest to improve the world? Is it even possible that someone created a compendium of the entire world that explains this in detail, and is selling this book to enterprising adventurers? And yes, I am alluding to the possibility of the Player’s Handbook being an in-game resource people can buy and read.

Can I mention other games’ titles, characters, maps, weapons etc. in my game?

Let’s say I was about to make a quiz game where the questions are like this:

  • When was Fallout 4 released?
  • What is your first pickaxe in Minecraft?
  • Who do you have to kill as the last boss in Skyrim?

And let’s pretend I have 1000 of these questions, from 1000 games. What are the chances some of those 1000 could sue me, remove my game from the internet, pay them a fee etc.? Even if it becomes very popular.

Taking it one step further, could I buy their games, take in game screenshots personally, then use those as pictures in my own game?

Does it make a difference if it’s a free-to-play or a game that has to be bought?

Can I exclude characters from understanding my magically understandable speech from the monk’s Tongue of the Sun and Moon feature?

The rules for the monk ability Tongue of the Sun and Moon state:

Starting at 13th level, you learn to touch the ki of other minds so that you understand all spoken languages. Moreover, any creature that can understand a language can understand what you say.
PHB, pp.79

The text says that this ability is something you learn to do, not something that simply happens to you, so it’s not necessarily always on. Further, it seems logical to say that this is something you would do actively. That is, you could choose not to touch someone’s mind, thereby excluding them from understanding you. You could also choose not to understand someone yourself, just in case they’re telling the funniest joke in the world, or using a subliminal trigger.

Assuming you can choose not to touch someone’s mind, let’s reason further. Suppose you’re speaking and don’t know that there is someone listening in nearby. Would they understand you, i.e. is the default that you are or aren’t touching someone’s mind? Similarly, if you are speaking to a large group of people, would you have to focus on all of them at once for them to understand you? Would this take effort? Is there a range?

My questions are:

  1. Can you exclude some characters from understanding you while allowing others to do so?
  2. Can you decide not to understand someone who is speaking?

Basically, these boil down to: Can you choose not to touch someone’s mind?

Then, assuming that the answer to the above is yes:

  1. Do you have to know someone is listening in order for them to understand you?
  2. Is there a limit to the number of people you can affect? A range?

I also asked this related question about the mechanism of the ability.