Is 4 hours long enough for a long rest for Elves?

The Long Rest rules read:

A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which you sleep or perform light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours of the rest period. If the rest is interrupted by a strenuous activity—such as attacking, taking damage, or casting a spell—you must start the rest over to gain any benefit from it, unless the interruption takes less than an hour. You must have at least 1 hit point to take a long rest. At the end of the rest, you regain all your hit points and half of your maximum number of Hit Dice (round up). You cannot benefit from more than one long rest in a 24-hour period.

The elven Trance racial trait reads as:

Trance: Elves do not need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is “trance.”) While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.

I have heard two views regarding these rules:

  • An Elf can get the benefit of a Long Rest in only 4 hours.
  • The 4 hours only applies to not being exhausted, 8 hours is still required get the benefits of a Long Rest.

Which is it? Please provide supporting information, possibly from previous versions.

Do zombies have enough self-preservation to run for their life / unlife?

Zombies in D&D have changed many times. In 5e zombies have 3 intelligence and 6 wisdom. Stat-wise makes them smarter than many animals and about as wise as an ogre or a cyclops.

In the back of the DMG on page 282 there is even an optional NPC zombie-template:

+1 Str, +2 Con, -6 INT, -4 WIS -4 CHA. Features: Undead fortitude; immune to poison damage; can’t be poisoned; darkvision 60ft.; can’t speak but understands the languages it knew in life

This suggests a zombie could ‘roll’ an ability as high as 12 intelligence &/or 16 wisdom. That is smarter than most living folks! Why is this all relevant?

The situation: The PC group outruns / outsmarts some undead, giving them a safe vantage point thanks to a cliff / wall / net / barrier situation. The now-safe adventurers attack via ranged weapons (cantrips, sling stones… dropping bricks… whatever). What will the zombies do? In film and television there are many options. Some will simply stay where they are and allow their meaningless non-lives to be ended. Yet other shows present zombies as well programmed machines that shamble away, possibly run. Some movies, like WWZ, have their undead change battle tactics on the fly just for plot (hole) development. Zombie tactical options and strategies are, in fact, as endless as they are mindless. But what would a 5e D&D zombie do? Early editions solved this problem as zombies were listed as having zero intelligence points or ‘non intelligent’. I know that a 5e D&D skeleton is written up as having some vestigial memory of a previous life and can carry out behaviour accordingly (example from memory: humanoids had attended a ball whilst living – their (un)dead versions may still be dancing). It is also possible that a zombie might attune to a headband of intellect and suddenly be smarter than nearly any person that has ever lived. In one 5e splat-book (Mordenkainen’s? Volo’s?) any cultist &/or worshipper of Orcus will gain 4 intelligence points. As zombies (and all other undead) technically serve Orcus, ANY of them could be smart. That does NOT mean that they gain (nor lose) self preservation. One could argue that a brilliant zombie could suddenly gain a death wish – as it became so keenly aware of its horrid existence with such little wisdom for ‘will to live’. No idea. I don’t even know if it is politically correct to ask on this forum – will suggesting a monster has suicidal ideation gain us a call from Mr. Crawford’s legal department?


The Question: Does a 5e D&D zombie have any hint, mention &/or (prime) directive for self preservation – assuming no specific orders from their master?

There is this possibly related question. I read it a few times, it is brilliant – but it does not answer this question.

My thanks in advance, let me know if I have missed something.

Can the Telepathy spell convey enough information to qualify a location for Clairvoyance or Scrying?

Clairvoyance and Scrying are both useful spell for seeing a specific location:

You create an invisible sensor within range in a location familiar to you (a place you have visited or seen before) or in an obvious location that is unfamiliar to you (such as behind a door, around a corner, or in a grove of trees).

or

you can choose a location you have seen before as the target of [scrying]. When you do, the sensor appears at that location and doesn’t move.

If I want to create this sensor at a location I haven’t seen before in person, can I gain enough knowledge through telepathy to do so? Keep in mind that telepathy can share images:

Until the spell ends, you and the target can instantaneously share words, images, sounds, and other sensory messages with one another through the link…

…so I’m mostly wondering if images of a location are enough to qualify for clairvoyance and scrying‘s "seen before" requirement.

Should I replace the swarm with the individual creature after enough damage?

So one thing I found odd in the DM’s Basic Rules v0.1pdf was a large list of animals that seemed so insignificant as to wonder why it was included in the PDF. For example, the “Rat” monster, has 1 hitpoint, and a CR of 0, it can hit for only 1 point of damage with a +0 to hit.

However, I then noticed that there are swarm creatures, such as a “Swarm of Rats” which has 24 hit points, +2 to hit, 7 damage or 3 damage when it has less than half it’s hitpoints, and is listed as “Medium swarm of Tiny beasts”. Swarms also have the following trait:

The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

This made me think that this was very neat. A swarm is made up of indidvual creatures, and each hitpoint means each creature died. So for a swarm of rats, I might think this means that there are 24 rats in the swarm.

But is this actually the case? When a swarm is reduced to 1 or 2 hitpoints, should I switch those out for actual rat creatures? (This would basically cause the swarm to lose the damage resistances, immunities and reduce the amount of damage it can do.)

Is a young black dragon enough of a challenge alone for group of five level-5 characters?

I have a 5-member party in D&D 5e (ranger, fighter, sorcerer, rogue and bard) who are all level 5. They will soon be meeting with the “big bad”, a young black dragon, in his lair which contains pools of acid. They would most likely be fully rested before the fight.

I know the CR is 7, but I was wondering whether it would prove to be a satisfying battle, in the sense that they may come close to defeat and might be able to beat the odds.

Is this fight well-balanced? Would it be challenging?

If not, should I add some hatchlings or small mobs to adjust the action economy appropriately?

Are Vengeful Ancestors’ damage-dealing reactions enough to sustain the Barbarian’s rage?

To sustain their rage at the end of their turn, a Barbarian must have attacked a hostile creature since their last turn or must have taken damage since then. [PHB, pg. 48]

In the level 14 feature of the Primal Path of the Ancestral Guardian, "Vengeful Ancestors," the spirits called by the Barbarian’s rage may do force damage to a hostile creature. Mechanically, the Barbarian is using their reaction to cause this damage. [XGtE, pg. 10]

Is the fact that the Barbarian is using their reaction to cause damage to a hostile creature enough to sustain their rage? Or is this insufficient because the damage is not being caused directly by the Barbarian?

Is an improvised weapon treated as similar enough to a weapon to use its properties still considered “improvised”?

In PHB, the 2nd paragraph of the description of Improvised Weapons (p. 147) states:

In many cases, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the DM’s option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus.

If I am understanding this correctly, then the mentioned table leg (or similar object) can be treated as a club. If that is correct, then it would have the light property, as the club has it. If that is also correct, that would mean I can wield a light weapon in one hand and an improvised club-like weapon in other hand, and use Two-Weapon Fighting with those, as both are light.

If all of that is still correct, then can an improvised weapon that is similar enough to a real weapon – e.g. a table leg used as a club – still be treated as an improvised weapon for the purpose of the last bullet point in the Tavern Brawler feat (PHB, p. 170)?

Specific scenario that I am wondering about: I wield a Scimitar (a light weapon) in one hand and a table leg (treated as a club, so also light) in the other hand. On my turn, I attack with the table leg as my Attack action. Then one of two things happen:

  1. I miss – then, as both wielded weapons are light, I proceed to attack with my scimitar (per Two-Weapon Fighting)

  2. I hit – then I drop one of my weapons to free one of my hands and attempt to grapple the target.

Of course this is assuming that I have the Tavern Brawler feat, which states:

  • You are proficient with improvised weapons.
  • Your unarmed strike uses a d4 for damage.
  • When you hit a creature with an unarmed strike or an improvised weapon on your turn, you can use a bonus action to attempt to grapple the target.

Does all of that work as I’ve described, or is there somewhere a flaw in my reasoning?

Is a SHA checksum enough to verify integrity and authenticity?

This is a broader question but here a concret example:

From https://www.apache.org/info/verification.html :

File hashes are used to check that a file has been downloaded correctly. They do not provide any guarantees as to the authenticity of the file.

I don’t understand this part: They do not provide any guarantees as to the authenticity of the file.

The checksum used is from a trusted HTTPS source (Eg: https://downloads.apache.org/tomcat/tomcat-8/v8.5.56/bin/apache-tomcat-8.5.56.zip.sha512).

How a file can not be authentic if it match a checksum from a HTTPS trusted source?

Or do I miss something and I still need to validate with a GPG key?

Is this method of 32 char hash generation secure enough for online-based attacks?

A fellow developer and I have been having a discussion about how vulnerable a few different methods of developing a hash are, and I’ve come here to see if smarter people than I (us?) can shed some light.

In PHP, I feel the below is secure ENOUGH to generate as 32 character value that could not be reasonably broken via online attack. There are some other mitigating circumstances (such as in our specific case it would also require the attacker to already have some compromised credentials), but I’d like to just look at the "attackability" of the hash.

str_shuffle(MD5(microtime())) 

The suggested more secure way of generating a 32 character hash is:

bin2hex(random_bytes(16)) 

I acknowledge the first hash generation method is not ABSOLUTELY SECURE, but for an online attack I think being able to guess the microtime (or try a low number of guesses), and know the MD5 was shuffled and/or find a vulnerability in MT which str_shuffle is based on is so low as to make it practically secure.

But I would love to hear why I’m a fool. Seriously.

EDIT — This is being used as a password reset token, and does not have an expiry (although it is cleared once used, and is only set when requested).