How do I make a creature feel impressive without scaring my players away?

At the end of the homebrew campaign I’m running, I plan to have the characters face off against a big, scary monster. It’s designed to be (almost) impervious to regular weapon attacks, but there will be various ways to either avoid or negate its attacks and ‘defeat’ it without killing it.

Through various choices made in the adventure so far, the party is actually well on their way to having it in fact be friendly towards them when they encounter it, though it will be dominated and/or controlled by the real enemies into trying to attack the party.

My party has proven to be relatively cautious so far. I would like to describe the creature as large and imposing, with very powerful attacks that would normally reduce anyone caught in them to very small pieces.

I’m afraid that when I describe the creature as super-powerful, my players will decide it is obviously way out of their league and (sensibly) refuse to engage. On the other hand, if I describe the creature as too wounded and weakened, it will not feel like the impressive, nail-biting end-of-adventure encounter I hope to give my players.

The players have discovered so far that the creature is a red dragon, though they don’t know its age. They also know that it’s being held against its will, though I don’t think they realize yet how much it hates its captors.

In past encounters, they have reacted to various descriptions of enemies with realistic responses:

  • Their first combat encounter, described as a small handful of goblins and gnolls eating dinner and unaware of the party, had the party sneak into position, then attack with overwhelming force.
  • Their third combat encounter, where they thought that a horde of vicious beasts was about to descend on their position, had them retreat and take up defensive positions. (There was only a small horde of confused, weak, hungry creatures, but they didn’t have that information.)

How do I make it clear that, while dangerous, the encounter is well within their means to deal with?

Note: we’re using D&D 5E, though I imagine this question could be applied across various systems.

Can the Fey Wanderer Ranger be targetted by a creature affected by its Misty Presence?

Wizards of the Coast recently released a new set of subclasses via Unearthed Arcana.

Described in this document is the 15th level Fey Wanderer Ranger feature, Misty Presence, which states the following (abridged for brevity):

You can magically remove yourself from one creature’s perception: you gain a bonus action that you can use to force [a creature] to make a Wisdom saving throw […]. On a failed save, the target can’t see or hear you for 24 hours.

If the creature cannot see or hear the Fey Wanderer Ranger (and, indeed, if they are completely “removed from the target’s senses”), then can they target or attack the Ranger at all? This, of course, is assuming that the target has the standard set of senses.

The document omits any mention the Invisible, Blinded, Deafened, and Hidden conditions, so it appears that the target of Misty Presence is afflicted by an entirely separate condition that isn’t covered by their respective rules.

Must a creature be able to hear the caster’s whisper to be targeted by the Dissonant Whispers spell?

Dissonant whispers says:

You whisper a discordant melody that only one creature of your choice within range can hear, wracking it with terrible pain. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw.

I initially took the first sentence to mean that the creature must be able to hear the caster’s whisper to be targeted by dissonant whispers, but now I’m not so sure.

Perhaps I’ve read it one too many times… although only one creature can hear the whisper, the spell doesn’t require that the creature must hear the whisper. Am I reading too much into this?

What are the implications of the Find Familiar and Find Steed spells changing the creature type from Beast to Celestial/Fiend/Fey?

The Find Familiar and Find Steed spells both have this sentence describing the creature type of the summoned creature:

The [familiar/steed] has the statistics of the chosen form, though it is a celestial, fey, or fiend (your choice) instead of its normal type. (PHB 240)

I’m wondering what implication choosing celestial vs. fey vs. fiend for the summoned creature would have. I have three things I’m specifically interested in listed below.

  1. Is a familiar visible distinguishable as the type of spirit? For example:
    • A wizard with an allergy to cats conjures a hypoallergenic fey cat sprouting soft grass instead of fur
    • A tiefling paladin conjures a fiend warhorse steed to have a coat colour resembling a Nightmare
  2. Does the type have any effect on the familiar’s alignment? For example:
    • Inheriting the alignment from the creature’s stat block (unaligned in most cases) seems like the most direct option but would a celestial imp still be considered lawful evil?
    • If you command your fiend cat to sit on someone it may choose to painfully knead them whereas a celestial may be more relaxed and cuddly.
  3. Does changing a familiar to a new form allow it to change the type of spirit?

    If you cast this spell while you already have a familiar, you instead cause it to adopt a new form. Choose one of the forms from the above list. Your familiar transforms into the chosen creature.

    Adopting a new form sounds like it remains the same kind of entity. Does this mean to change the familiar from fiend to fey would require summoning a new spirit and therefore be treated like a new NPC?

These are grey areas in the rules, I am looking for official guidelines or other credible sources that can help me make an informed decision on how to rules these as a DM.

Can a ghost (undead creature) take over a clone body (resultant component from spell)?

Lore wise, ghosts (and demons) have nifty powers of ownership & possession – and this is often a nifty game mechanic. In fiction-fantasy they take over the most ridiculous things from cars, to people or even entire houses – going out and about wherever they like. Its just fun.

This tradition is continued in 5e. The ghost continues to have this mechanic, at least on humanoids (no mention if dragons, giants or other sentient beings have ghosts, but i digress). Demons also have mention of this in their description (monster manual) and they can take over objects – though the actual mechanic for how a DM should run this, or how & / or who they can then take over, is not mechanically developed (please correct me if i am wrong on this – such rules or rulings would TOTALLY ROCK).

This brings us to the question (above): when clone spell is cast / matures / 120 days, they get a perfect (albeit scar-free and possibly much younger) humanoid-version of the cubic-inch of flesh humanoid target-component. Groovy! When this OriginalOwner of that said cubic-inch-flesh-person ‘DIES’ (zero h.p.? chooses to leave? not turned to undead?), their soul (&/or spirit?) leaves their body and just goes over (astral? as a ghost? etherial? teleports? warp factor ten? speed force?) to their BodyPrime / Clone location. Wakes up (full hit points? all spells? remembers their death? PTSD?) and is ready to take on the world. Easy!

Assuming that this 120 day+ Clone body is Primed & Ready For Action, why can’t a passing ghost (or demon actually) just, you know, take over for a bit? Or why not forever? Why leave if / when knocked out (‘zero hit points’) – as there is no ‘imprint’ from the original host-flesh-bit’s spirit-soul-essence? Why can’t a wizard (or bard or Nagpa or powerful dragon caster… or whatever) just go into full-on business pumping out bodies of Brad Pitt when he was so sexy… or any actress named ‘Jennifer’ for that matter… or virtually anyone it can get a cube of flesh from whilst adding Gentle Repose style magic?

SO MANY CAMPAIGN IDEAS!!!

But wait a moment! How much of this is actually RAW? Luckily we have the Good Lads (and Ladies) from StackExchange to tell me what’s what. Here the good folks tell me that i have had way too many magical mushrooms.

In Short How do ghosts (&/or any alien spirit such as a demon) interface with a mature 120 day+ clone body? Can they take it over temporarily? To what extent could / would this function as a Home Body for that creature?

Honestly, this would be fun. One can imagine an entire D&D version of Altered Carbon… but we must respect the 5e RAW. Just what is that exactly?

Also: i get that this question is poorly written (‘entertaining but not concise’). I will gladly modify this in order to meet the stoic (dour? terse?) restraints required by the StackExchange Mod-Editorial community! = )

If I’m blinded, can I cast a spell that doesn’t require that the target be “a creature you can see”?

I’m playing a Wild Magic Sorcerer who obtained a Wand of Wonders — randomness ftw! Anyway, I accidentally blinded myself by using the wand.

On my next turn, still being blind, I want to cast Acid Splash on a target — can I do this?

I attacked the target before, and they haven’t moved, I chose Acid Splash because the spell doesn’t need “a target you can see” (unlike Hold Person, for instance). I did have line of effect, not line of sight, but I don’t think I need it for this spell.

The DM wouldn’t let me cast it unless I rolled to see if I targeted the enemy or an ally standing next to it.

We couldn’t really find an answer to this, so I switched to Ray of Frost and rolled with disadvantage, as that is all Blindness does to your attacks.

Can someone point me to the right page in the PHB, or just tell me who is right? (I know the DM can always make his own rulings.)

Shooting through a large creature

I was wondering if I could shoot through a large creature like the image below? enter image description here

On the right image, one of the players insists that a large creature shouldn’t be able to fill up the 10x10ft space, therefore should still be able to shoot through the large creature (orange) and hit the red for maybe 3/4 cover (+5 AC).

What do you guys think?

Can a monk using Open Hand Technique knock any size category of creature prone?

The D&D 5e Player’s Handbook states:

Open Hand Technique

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can manipulate your enemy’s ki when you harness your own. Whenever you hit a creature with one of the attacks granted by your Flurry of Blows, you can impose one of the following effects on that target:

• It must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.

• It must make a Strength saving throw. If it fails, you can push it up to 15 feet away from you.

• It can’t take reactions until the end of your next turn.

Let me understand this correctly: a monk need only spend 1 ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action AND impose a Dex save from his opponent (regardless of size) with each of those attacks?

Let’s say a halfling monk squares off against a large creature, an ettin for example. The monk spends 1 ki point to flurry, hits the ettin with the first of these two attacks and decides to impose a Dex save. The ettin saves and then the monk attacks with the second of the two attacks, hits the ettin again, and then can impose another Dex save lest the ettin fall prone? Is this right or is there something I’m missing?

If this is indeed correct then it could potentially lead to some terribly unbalanced encounters, all beginning as early as 3rd level (when a monk gains access to this method).