How does a Rogue’s Expertise feature interact with the Phantom subclasses’s “Whispers of the Dead”?

The Phantom subclass from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has the following feature at 3rd level:

Whispers of the Dead
Whenever you finish a short or long rest, you can choose one skill or tool proficiency that you lack and gain it… You lose this proficiency when you use this feature to choose a different proficiency that you lack.

At 6th level, all Rogues get to choose two skills (or thieves’ tools) for expertise:

Expertise
…choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with thieves’ tools. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.

Can you apply expertise to a skill gained from Whispers of the Dead, and what then happens if you choose to gain proficiency in a different skill after a rest?

Changing familiars shapes while they are ”dead”

So, one of my players is a wizard with the find familiar spell and in the last session they had to deal with some hags. While they were scouting a manor one of the hags attacked his familiar and killed it. I am quite unsure about the wording of the spell, because to me it seems like when you recast this spell you get the same familiar as you had previously. I have a problem with this part of the wording: ”When the familiar drops to 0 Hit Points, it disappears, leaving behind no physical form. It reappears after you cast this spell again”. Can it’s form be changed when the spell is cast again? Or does he have to cast the spell once to get the familiar back and then cast it again to change its shape? Thank you for your answers in advance.

Can Legendary Actions be used after a dead creature’s turn?

If a monster has Legendary Actions, can it use one at the end of a dead creature’s turn? And would it matter if the dead creature is an ally of the monster or a PC?

Relevant section from the Monster Manual:

A legendary creature can take a certain number of special actions — called legendary actions — outside its turn. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. A legendary creature regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn. It can forgo using them, and it can’t use them while incapacitated or otherwise unable to take actions. If surprised, it can’t use them until after its first turn in the combat.

Can the Animate Dead spell be cast on a zombie?

One of the players in my game is a Death Domain cleric and enjoys having a small army of zombies accompany him. We had come to a situation where it is not plausible for him to keep the zombies with him for the 24-hour period, but he spent the change (on a government writ) to get them locked up until his return, so he can try to regain control over his minions.

Is it possible to cast Animate Dead on a Zombie and have the spell work as normal? Is a zombie considered a corpse, technically?

Also, if you say that it should work in theory, here comes the sticky part. He also wants to use this spell on a Mummy Lord (that he doesn’t know is a Mummy Lord, yet). Does it simply not work, since it’s an undead creature and not a corpse?

Shifting Sacred Flame to Toll the Dead for Evil NPCs

The PHB makes it clear that radiant damage comes from the Positive Plane and is often associated with the Celestials of the Upper Planes, while necrotic damage comes from the Negative Plane and is often associated with Fiends and the Lower Planes

Damage Types (PHB196)

Necrotic. Necrotic damage, dealt by certain undead and a spell such as chill touch, withers matter and even the soul. Radiant. Radiant damage, dealt by a cleric’s flame strike spell or an angel’s smiting weapon, sears the flesh like fire and overloads the spirit with power.

Positive and Negative Planes (PHB300)

Like a dome above the other planes, the Positive Plane is the source of radiant energy and the raw life force that suffuses all living beings, from the puny to the sublime. Its dark reflection is the Negative Plane, the source of necrotic energy that destroys the living and animates the undead.

Several cleric spells allow you to choose your damage type between radiant or necrotic, and if spirit guardians is the exemplar, you would make this choice based on alignment.

Spirit Guardians (3rd level conjuration)

You call forth spirits to protect you…If you are good or neutral, their spectral form appears angelic or fey (your choice). If you are evil, they appear fiendish. On a failed save, the creature takes 3d8 radiant damage (if you are good or neutral) or 3d8 necrotic damage (if you are evil).

Destructive Wave (5th level Evocation)

You strike the ground, creating a burst of divine energy that ripples outward from you. Each creature you choose within 30 feet of you…take[s]…5d6 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice)

Forbiddance (6th level Evocation)

You create a ward against magical travel…the creature takes 5d10 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice when you cast this spell).

Other cleric spells do just one or the other type of damage, but there are enough of these that DMs and players making alignment-based choices can find appropriate damage types at most levels:

1st: Guiding Bolt (radiant), Inflict Wounds (necromancy)

4th: Guardian of Faith (radiant)

5th: Flame Strike (radiant), Holy Weapon (radiant)

6th: Sunbeam (radiant), Harm (Necrotic)

7th: Finger of Death (Necrotic), Symbol (Death) (Necrotic)

8th: Sunburst (radiant)

However, at the time of the printing of the PHB and MM, there were no official cleric cantrips that did necrotic damage. This led to NPC’s such as the Acolyte (any alignment), Cult Fanatic (any non-good alignment), and Priest (any alignment) being assigned for their principle offensive cantrip sacred flame, which does radiant damage.

Now that Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has made official a cantrip that deals necrotic damage (toll the dead), would it make sense to replace sacred flame in the stat blocks of evil NPC’s with toll the dead?

Are there any balance or other issues that arise with such a general change?

Or, would it make more sense to keep sacred flame, but to modify it so that the caster can choose the damage type, as in spirit guardians et al.?

Related: Are positive and negative energy from their respective planes inherently good and evil?

Replacing dead hirelings in Pathfinder downtime system

I am currently pricing up the cost of running a mercenary guild for a game I am assisting with (GM for downtime).

I’ve combined Guildhall and Barracks (while removing duplicates between building types) and placed a Mercenary Company organization in it.

Given the way the player in question plays, sooner or later he is going to get some of his Elite Soldiers and Elite Archers killed off. What would be the best way to handle replacing lost men?

The best I can think of would be to charge 1/5 of the cost per lost man from the unit and deny earnings from that unit until fully restocked. Or would it be better to say that it takes one week per lost man to “heal” through recruitment? I want to strongly discourage using 3rd level characters as cheap disposable meat shields.

Are there actual mechanics for this situation that I have missed and if not is my approach the best idea?

How many CR of undead can a character control with Animate Dead?

The Animate Dead spell allows you to raise and control zombies or skeletons. The number changes with spell level, and a character’s spell slots change as they level up too.

How can do I calculate the maximum number of undead controllable indefinitely with Animate Dead?

Not including items, feats, tricks, just the number/CR of undead per level that a character can control.

Could True Polymorph turn a creature like a shark into a object like a dead dragon turtle’s head?

I have a bard that has been true polymorphing into a dragon turtle and attacking coastal towns on a large island (think “Big Island” Hawaii) I am doing this so another member of my party can be true polymorphed into a bronze dragon adult and be seen “fighting” with me.

Our plan is for the fight to go into the ocean, then sometime later he as the bronze dragon will drag a part of a dragon turtle’ body out with him and declare himself their savior and new leader and/or guardian. then true polymorph on him will be dropped, he’ll say he used his dragon shapechange ability to look human. Then he will say he has to keep traveling to “right many wrongs” but that one day he will return.

Then at the end of the campaign if we are still alive, I will permanently make him an adult bronze (around 200 years old) and he will get to spend upwards of 5000 years retired and living as the king of an island nation. Also so he is a sailor background fighter so he plans to slowly reshape them into a sea fairing warrior people like the ancient Maori. He also plans to take a bride from the tribe once every generation till the whole island is full of dragon ancestry sorcerers and half-dragon humans.

We may not need the corpse head of a dragon turtle to pull this deception off we could say it died below the waves but it would help give us trick them and then for centuries the skull of a dragon turtle can adore their main village as a constant reminder of why they should follow him.

[ Politics ] Open Question : Why does the Morbidly Obese Clown continue to tweet? Does he not realize that NOBODY respects him! 100 thousand dead & 40 mill unemployed?

Morbidly Obese Clown FAILED! He has NO testing! NO ventilators. No supplies for hospitals! NO plan! And all he can do is try and entice violence! Morbidly Obese Clown needs to sit his fat A*S*S down on his unicycle and fart his way into hell where he belongs with Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Barr!