What’s the target number when you don’t have a relevant focus? (Expanse)

How much does the target number go up if a PC doesn’t have a relevant focus? The rules mention that the GM decides if they’re allowed to roll at all, but doesn’t mention target number.

The example in the book (p102) has Miller investigating a martial arts dojo:

  • If he has the primary focus of Communication (Persuasion), the TN is standard. Let’s say that’s a TN of 11.
  • If he doesn’t have the primary focus, but has a tangential focus, such as Communication (Bargaining) or Communication (Deception) or Fighting (Brawling), then the TN is +2. So that makes the TN 13.
  • If he has the Improvisation Talent (p53) he can do things as if he always has the tangential focus, so TN 13 again.

Is the TN still 13 if he has no tangential focuses (foci) and doesn’t have Improvisation?

What is the reason Adventurers League games don’t allow DMG variant rules, such as Flanking?

Our home games have been running with the Variant Rule: Flanking while playing on a grid. It came to a surprise to us, when we first played in the Adventurer’s League, that Flanking is not allowed in AL play.

I’m considering adapting the no-flanking rule in our home games now, and was wondering what comment or statements WotC have said about why they don’t allow flanking in AL. I am hoping to gain insight on which to base a decision.

To be clear, I’m not looking for an answer on whether I should or should not allow flanking (this would obviously differ from table to table), neither am I inviting speculation as to the reason why AL doesn’t allow it. I am looking for a WotC-representative (or similar) commentary on why the DMG rule variants, especially flanking, is not allowed in organized Adventurer’s League play.

Does a rogue’s Evasion work against spells that don’t target an area?

At 7th level, rogues gain the Evasion feature:

Beginning at 7th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as an ancient red dragon’s fiery breath or an ice storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

The Immolation spell certainly allows a Dexterity save for half damage, but it is not an “area effect”:

Flames wreathe one creature you can see within range. The target must make a Dexterity saving throw. It takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. […]

Given that Evasion mentions dodging “certain area effects”, does that prevent it from working spells that do not target an area, such as immolation? Or does evasion apply to all Dexterity saves for half damage?

(Other example spells include enervation and flaming sphere.)

Can the Actor feat allow a character to effectively speak a language they don’t know?

I have a player in my game I’ll call “Joe” running a Bard I’ll call “Hansel.”

Hansel has the Actor feat, and does not speak Orc. Hansel listened to an Orc for 1 minute a few adventures ago, a 2nd PC taught Hansel one short Orc phrase, and I allowed Hansel to repeat the new phrase, in Orc, mimicking the voice of the Orc Hansel had just listened to.

Joe has recently expanded this to insist that if the 2nd character now says several Orc phrases over the course of a minute, Hansel can repeat each phrase at will, mimicking the voice of that Orc. Joe believes that Hansel can also rearrange the words to create new phrases, on the fly in conversation with Orcs – and that this can also fool any Orc into thinking it is an Orc from their own War Band, so long as there is a door there to muffle the sound.

Joe claims that anything short of meeting this demand undermines the entire usefulness of the Actor feat, and therefore robs his character of 4 levels worth of adventuring.

Can the Actor feat allow a character to effectively speak a language they don’t know?

I think Hansel could mimic a specific Orc’s voice, after 60 sequential seconds of listening to it speak consistently (though not necessarily persistently), but only using languages Hansel already knows.

I want to delete connections in tnsnames.ora. I need to figure out which ones are currently in use, so that I don’t delete them mistakenly


I’m using Oracle 12c in Debian 8 (on a vm)

This question is for educational purposes only. I’m not using any production servers, so anything that you can tell me won’t have consecuences

To start with, I found this link to delete registers in tnsnames.ora. I didn’t test it yet because first, I needed to know if there were active connections in the database using the information of the tnsnames.ora.
I’m asking here because I found no way of doing this, but it may be possible to do it.

For you to know, I’m using this command for connecting to the database, so that I clearly specify a tnsname

rlwrap sqlplus sys as sysdba@tnstest 

The contents of my tnsnames.ora are the following

tnstest =   (DESCRIPTION =     (ADDRESS_LIST =       (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = localhost)(PORT = 1539))     )     (CONNECT_DATA =       (SERVER = DEDICATED)       (SERVICE_NAME = orcl)     )   ) 

But, if I want to be 100% sure that this is working, I use this command

tnsping tnstest 

Which results are…

TNS Ping Utility for Linux: Version 12.2.0.1.0 - Production on 28-JAN-2020 23:51:38  Copyright (c) 1997, 2016, Oracle.  All rights reserved.  Used parameter files: /opt/oracle/product/12.1.0.2/dbhome_1/network/admin/sqlnet.ora   Used TNSNAMES adapter to resolve the alias Attempting to contact (DESCRIPTION = (ADDRESS_LIST = (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = localhost)(PORT = 1539))) (CONNECT_DATA = (SERVER = DEDICATED) (SERVICE_NAME = orcl))) OK (0 msec) 

After all of this I know that my configuration is working, I’m using a register in tnsnames.ora for the connection, but I don’t know a way of checking…
“Hey, now that I’m connected, I want to know which register I used from the tnsnames file for connecting, if I used that file of course”

Is there any possibility that I could get this information?

Well, my following attempts of trying to figure this out, were checking the v$ session view, if there was any field that I could use to get this information, but I couldn’t find one.

After all of this, ultimately, I came here for asking. I don’t know what else to try nor I have more ideas of what should I do next.

P.S: there’s a chance that this problem is impossible to solve, because this is task I’m doing due to I’m a student of sysadmin, and our teacher intentionally added unsolvable questions.
Even so, I still think there might be a solution for this particular case

Upsert Row If Columns Don’t Match

I have a table with unique identifier sid, somecolumn and boolean changed that is needed by other program to detect change in row, I’m using insert into ... on conflict (sid) DO UPDATE ... to insert data that’s not already in there, but I also want to update somecolumn and set changed to true, only if somecolumn doesn’t match excluded one.

to make it bit clearer

  • if sid doesn’t exist, insert data
  • if sid exists and somecolumn matches excluded `somecolumn, do nothing

  • if sid exists and somecolumn doesn’t match, update somecolumn with new value and set changed to true

is there clean way to do this? I’d prefer to do this without making multiple queries, I’m inserting hundreds of values in each query.

Headshot (but don’t aim for it please)

Apologies for not using the perfect English wording, I only own the books in my native language. But I think it will become clear what actions I’m talking about.

In combat, you can take aim. This is a half-action and grants you a generic +1 to hit (or precision).

This action may only be followed by further aiming actions or the attack action. You may not take another action in between, not even a free action, or you will lose the bonus.

You can also aim for a specific weak spot. This is a free action that can be taken right before shooting.

In combination that means that I can aim for the head. And I can spend time to aim better. But not at the head. If I want to aim for the head, I need to do so spontaneously, because all bonus will be lost anyway once I aim at a weak spot.

Playing a sniper for the first time in sr5, this made no sense. Obviously, once I took aim I should not be able to change it. Like aiming 5 phases at the head and then spontaneously deciding to shoot somebody in the foot. That’s not realistic. But spending more actions aiming for the head should be the obvious sniper move.

Did I miss a rule that allows this?

Did I miss a game play reason why that should actually not be allowed.

We house-ruled that the aiming bonus will not be lost if you declare the specific weak spot you are aiming for before you take the aiming actions. Do you see any drawbacks or options for exploit with that ruling?

Does a barbarian’s rage end if they are trying to attack an invisible creature they don’t know the location of?

The barbarian rage ability includes this rule stating when it will end:

Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven’t attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then.

What happens if the barbarian sees an enemy turn invisible during a battle and begins wildly swinging their weapon at seemingly empty air? From the point of view of the barbarian the enemy might be in the location they are trying to attack. Would that be enough to continue their rage, or would they need to actually hit their enemy or be certain of their location before attacking?