What is the lowest level that an adventuring party can safely make enough money to take care of a city-state?

Lets say that a party has recently decided to retire from adventuring to focus their efforts in caring for a city-state in need of benefactors. I want to know what the lowest level a party can be and still safely make enough money to provide the required financial support to care for a city-state’s population, without their risking life or limb adventuring.

This isn’t an easy question since the economy of 3.5 is so screwed up that it’s difficult to determine how much a gold piece is worth, much less how many it takes to equal a nations GDP. So Let’s be a bit more exact on what I mean. Let’s say the party is in charge of a City-State the size of Rome, with a population of 35,000. They want to generously provide for it’s citizens by ensuring that each and every person can live a wealthy lifestyle, which costs 50gp/week/person. That means they need to provide 1,750,000 gp/week.

The adventuring party consists of 5 members, all at or below the party level you chose for your answer, of whatever classes you deem appropriate. The party can work any ‘safe’ job necessary to help earn the income required. At the time of their retirement they have at their disposal an amount of money expected for a party of their level, based off of wealth/level guidelines, to spend on purchasing items or equipment which would assist in providing for the City State.

If necessary the party can take up to a month’s worth of time, starting at the moment of retirement, to prepare for providing for the city. This could be spent building equipment, training underlings, or saving up money for a large purchase; whatever will help them to best provide for their city.

The lucky members of the city are being cared for without being required to earn the support, meaning they can not be utilized as part of the parties money making scheme. However, the party can employ any underlings or hirelings they would otherwise have access to.

Any solution must be sustainable long term, at least until the original party grows too old to continue providing for the city. Bonus points for minimizing cheese factor (though I’m open to answers with some low degree cheese) or for not requiring every member of the party to be equal to the total party level

Are those changes enough to save the Kineticist?

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a kineticist for a bit, now. The class is quite flavorful, with some interesting options and a nice set of utility.

…That said, its core sucks.

Like, really sucks.

While it has a nice group of stuff to do, most of its abilities are locked behind Burn costs. Burn, on itself, is a conceptually interesting idea: you cause some damage to yourself in exchange to do bigger, greater stuff. However, the amount of damage the kineticist takes is, honestly, ridiculous:

At 1st level, a kineticist can overexert herself to channel more power than normal, pushing past the limit of what is safe for her body by accepting burn. Some of her wild talents allow her to accept burn in exchange for a greater effect, while others require her to accept a certain amount of burn to use that talent at all. For each point of burn she accepts, a kineticist takes 1 point of nonlethal damage per character level.

and

A kineticist can’t choose to accept burn if it would put her total number of points of burn higher than 3 + her Constitution modifier (though she can be forced to accept more burn from a source outside her control).

Emphasis mine.

This mechanic makes it so that the Kineticist can’t really contribute that often in meaningful ways in combat by doing the coolest thing in her kit – blasting – without getting herself really close to dropping unconscious at the first lucky attack that manages to land. Plus, even if the Kineticist has a hefty HP pool and can handle all that damage without issues, the number of Burn points it can take is limited by that other clause (3 + Cons mod), which further hinders its usefulness.

So, I decided to do some changes – the fewer the better – to it, in hopes of pushing it to the goldylocks Tier 3. So far, those are the changes I’m thinking in doing:

Take away the “per level” clause.

For each point of burn she accepts, a kineticist takes 1 point of nonlethal damage per character level.

Burn was theoretically a mechanic introduced to keep the kineticist in check and preventing it from going overboard. This class, however, isn’t that strong to begin with, so I think that ‘nerfing’ Burn won’t make it too overpowered.

Secondly, just remove the entire con-based limitation.

A kineticist can’t choose to accept burn if it would put her total number of points of burn higher than 3 + her Constitution modifier (though she can be forced to accept more burn from a source outside her control)

This limitation makes no sense. Other classes can use their options several times per day, or have several different options to pick from. The Kineticist has a single pool of resource as it is, and it is far too limited to provide good gameplay. This needs to go.

Third, change how Gather Power works. Instead of offering a discount of Burn costs…

Gathering power in this way allows the kineticist to reduce the total burn cost of a blast wild talent she uses in the same round by 1 point. The kineticist can instead gather power for 1 full round in order to reduce the total burn cost of a blast wild talent used on her next turn by 2 points (to a minimum of 0 points). If she does so, she can also gather power as a move action during her next turn to reduce the burn cost by a total of 3 points.

…Make it so that Gather Power gives the Kineticist a nice (and much needed) damage buff:

Gathering Power in this way makes the Kineticist Empowered for a number of rounds equal 3 + its Con modifier. While Empowered, the Kineticist’s adds +1 damage to the damage of her Kinetic Blast, plus +1 for every 2 levels above beyond the 1st. The kineticist can instead gather power for 1 full round in order to increase the damage of her kinetic blast by 1d6, plus +1d6 for every 2 levels beyond the first.

I’m also thinking in bumping the Kineticist skills to 6 + int per level and giving it more or less the same class skill list the Magus has, but I’m not sure if this is needed.

Are these changes reasonable? Are they enough to push the Kineticist to Tier 3?

I am trying to make a homebrew campaign. I have been trying to brainstorm the idea for the start. Is this good enough?

The player’s characters were hired by Tulmund Bilsh, a silk merchant from Alablast, a diverse town which also happens to be the player character’s home town, to help escort him and his goods to a primarily human city, Vern, and will pay the players once the journey has been completed.

They begin in a tavern in a small swamp village named Stillwater, where they plan to rest and stay the night. Right before they hit the hay, though, the village is attacked by a tribe of lizardfolk, and Tulmund disappears during the attack. With enough questioning of the locals, the players will find out that lizardfolk in this region are nearing extinction, and they lurk in the ruins of a once proud city, the only building intact being a temple.

Assuming the players still want their pay, they will assault the temple, and fight their way through brainwashed villagers, strange constructs and a few lizardfolk sprinkled in. They find a multitude of cells along their way, but all of them empty or containing corpses, none of which are that of the silk merchant’s. They finally fight their way into a large room with an altar at the center, with a strange blue orb sitting on a pedestal. They find the silk merchant being forced to his knees, facing towards the orb by two brainwashed villagers as a blue mist begins to emit from the orb and make it’s way towards the merchant, this is presumably the way the lizardfolk brainwash people. A robed lizardfolk stands behind the altar, chanting and the players will engage combat with two constructs, some lizardfolk and some other brainwashed people.

If the players take out the ones holding Tulmund, the orb is taken off the pedestal or interrupt the robed lizardfolk, Tulmund will not be brainwashed. If the orb is taken off the pedestal, the altar will open and a shadowy aberration will begin to rise from the altar and the players will have to get 13+ on a wisdom saving throw or be inflicted with Crown of Madness.

Yes, I am aware that this is a sloppy mess and does require more finer details, but this is the general idea I had to start out my campaign without it being a basic “you start in a tavern” kind of deal.

Is Bitlocker secure enough for portable storage devices?

I have recently lost a U drive, which contained some important information. Fortunately, it was protected by Bitlocker. I felt the compulse to ask exactly how secure it is. Most answers on this site related to Bitlocker seem to be about built-in storage on a computer. This answer says there was a possible cold boot hack. Is it more secure to protect a U drive with Bitlocker, since you cannot use that kind of hack on a U drive? Also, that answer is 6 years old. There must have been some new developments. With the current technology that Bitlocker uses, do I need to worry that the information on my U drive could be decrypted?

Is Gmail Undo pattern enough for bulk mailing? What are the better alternatives?

We are in the early process of creating a mail client that would send out email campaigns to thousands of users (Mailchimp would be a similar product to compare) There are ideas and opinions, and one of them is adding an undo options to the mailing.

The owner of this approach convinced that this would raise the confidence level of the users, I’m defending an opposing idea which is adding an extra step that would review the mail content and recipients and ask for final approval.

While my solution adding extra friction to the flow, it also adds a higher level of confidence to the user’s activities.

Now everything above is assumptions and we will test these with users but I would like to hear more about the subject, especially the personal opinions.

I use Gmail every day and personally seeing that undo functionality adding more stress in my life. It happened once or twice that I undo the email and edited a few details, but if I couldn’t it wouldn’t be a disaster either.

On the other hand, I think, when a user sends a bulk mail, the user needs a better understanding of what are she/she about to do.

What are your thoughts? Are there other alternatives?

PS: I read already this question about the same functionality, while I understand the assumptions here I would like to hear more.

Is a VPN and Virtual Machine secure enough for running programs that might include malware

I am trying to start a LEGAL business online but don’t want viruses from any sketchy software that I will be downloading. I will be using a VM and a VPN but was wondering if I needed any other software so my computer, network etc will not be affected. I understand not to have shared files on and all that but still don’t know for sure because some people say some malware can get through Virtual Machines. Thank you for reading and please reply if you can provide any assistance.

What light spells would generate enough light/heat to start a fire with focusing assistance?

Inspired by this question on starting a fire with a magnifying glass, I was curious if there were any spells in 5e core rules (no 3rd party) that would fulfill the requirements?

In other words, [spell] + magnifying glass or focusing element = fire starter. Note, I am not looking for spells or other mechanisms that directly light something on fire, that was covered in the other answer. The critical element is the use of the focusing element (magnifying glass or other similar object).