Can I wear a shield and fight with a two-handed weapon?

In my group, we’ve been working with the understanding that you can wear a shield and fight with a two-handed weapon, the assumption being that you only get the +2 AC if you’re actively wielding the shield with 1 hand. We’re treating “wielding” a shield as different from “wearing” a shield. When you wield the shield, you need to use 1 hand for it, and when you only just wear it your hand is free to do what you like (cast spells even). In short, it allows us to use versatile weapons with a shield easily and change our strategy during battle without taking the 1 action to don or doff the shield. In one turn I can strike with 1 hand and wield the shield and in another turn I can switch to two hands for great weapon feat damage, losing the AC but gaining a lot of damage. We think this might be reasonably balanced because we can only modify our AC during our turn until our next turn, so we’re not allowed to strike with two hands and then switch back to wielding the shield in the same turn.

Another reason we may have used this “rule” is because you are allowed to equip a weapon as part of the attack action, as stated in the PHB (it’s not with me at the moment).

Is there a rule in the PHB or somewhere else that allows this kind of interaction, or have we made the whole thing up out of convenience? Can a shield-holding hand do anything but hold the shield?

Which nations did the Warforged fight for in the Last War on Eberron?

I’m currently creating a Warforged character for a one-shot, so I need to decide who he/she/it fought for in the Last War (Warforged were created as weapons, so each of them must have fought for or at least been owned by someone). However, the lore is not entirely clear on the matter of who employed Warforged, as far as I can tell.

The sourcebook Eberron: Rising from the Last War states on page 12, under the “Dragonmarked Power” heading (emphasis mine):

The dragonmarked houses remained neutral in the war and made considerable profit selling their services to all sides. War drives innovation; House Cannith developed many new weapons during the war, including the warforged.

This seems to strongly imply that Warforged fought on all sides. As far as I can tell, however, it’s never explicitly stated.

Is there any explicit lore, whether in E:RftLW, WGtE or previous editions, that supports that assumption that the Warforged were employed by all nations?

Boss fight issues

So, as you may have seen from my earlier question about this campaign, I am a DM in a Star Wars D&D campaign. The climax of a long series of adventures is a fight with a Sith Lord.

After watching several YouTube videos on how to create top-notch boss fights, one thing was consistent- have a variety of monsters, rather than just one. the DM Lair in particular advised this.

However, the entire campaign is focusing on one villain. How can I have a boss fight with a loner like my Sith have multiple enemies?

How would a necromancer fight a party of players? [on hold]

Minor spoilers to lost mines of phandelver ahead, but nothing important.

A bit of background: I am a first time DM and my players will soon finish the LMOP. I am looking into ideas what to do afterwards. During the adventure they killed Hamun Kost without ever actually talking to him or giving him any chance to talk or run(from my understanding this behaviour is called murderhobo?).

I’d like to have the players feel like their actions have some impact, because so far they were simply nicely following the storyline of the module and it seemed a bit boring because the outcome was so fixed. Now my idea is that Hamun kost wasn’t alone, but had a master nearby who sent him to this location to do some research. Now that he has been killed, his master is understandably angry and goes to investigate. During that he finds Phandalin and the party (now Level 5) as well. He asks around if anyone knew what had happened. He isn’t inheritly evil, but he looks for answers and maybe revenge/justice.

Now I don’t know how my characters will react. Maybe they bluff, maybe they try reasoning. But I want to make the master so strong that they can’t actually simply attack and kill him. That shouldn’t be the solution to everything. I want this master to be a wizard in the school of necromancy. Now I have myself never played a necromancer, so I don’t know how one would fight effectively. I imagine he will not walk into town with a bunch of zombies/skeletons if he plans on asking for information and is not looking for a fight. There is a necromancer NPC in volos guide to monsters, however even though he is CR 9, I am afraid he might loose a head on fight against a party of 5. I assume this because of the action economy as he has no legendary actions. He is also rather squishy with an ac of 12. Feel free to correct me here. The party has a circle of the moon druid, a barbarian and a cleric (turn undead) in meele, as well as a sorcerer and a ranger (all L5).

If the PCs decide to engage him, how would you make this necromancy master fight them if he is smart and plans on winning? I noticed that the one in volos guide to monsters doesn’t have any mobility spells like misty step to stay at distance. Would he first run and come back with a bunch of undead? Do I maybe need a necromancer of higher CR?

What can animated objects do in a fight?

Things affected by Animate Objects can be issued commands. When ordered to attack in combat, they will make a single melee attack. Grapple, Hold, Help, etc are not mentioned in the spell description.

Questions:

  1. Can creatures made using this spell perform any other in-combat actions?
  2. If so, can the caster tell them (once) to keep repeating these actions?
  3. What are the limits to commands given during fight?

Examples:

  • Can silk ropes grapple and drag away enemies?
  • Can ball bearings buzz around in enemies faces to distract them, as a help action?
  • Can a carpet be told to keep a caster (standing on it) away from the fray ?
  • Can a box flee and hide?
  • Can dolls in branches hold an action until an enemy is below them?
  • Can an object pour a potion in a character’s mouth?

What level character might win a solo fight with a CR 8 monster? [on hold]

I’m running a fifth edition game heavily featuring intelligent undead. One such undead is a Sword Wraith Commander who was killed in a duel with a noble, who had cheated during the fight to ensure victory. Basically, this monster is working for the BBEG in the hopes that some great hero will rise up to stop him, and he can finally be put to rest in an honorable duel to the death. My only issue is that I’m not sure if a player of reasonable level would be able to defeat him in single combat.

Currently the players are 5th level, a tempest cleric storm herald barb multi class, a thief rogue, sun soul monk, and an old one warlock. They are dealing with small roaming mobs of undead lead by wights fairly easily.

What could a player be able to do in order to accomplish this fight, or how could I homebrew this encounter to make it more of a fair duel?

Is there a way to auto-resolve a fight in DnD 5e?

Sometimes the result of an encounter is easily seen even before the fight starts. If I let the PCs automatically win the fight, are there rules to determine how much resources it would cost them? I.e. how much HP lost, how many spell slots spent etc.

I’m considering a rule like “one point of HP equals 10XP, one 1st spell slot equals 20XP. The encounter is 200XP total. How do you arrange the cost?”

How can I make the final boss of the LMOP a memorable and exciting fight for my group?

This post contains spoilers for the Lost Mines of Phandelver.

I have been DM’ing a group of six new players through the dnd 5e starter set and they have just entered the eponymous ‘Lost Mine’ where they will come face to face with their adversary ‘The Black Spider’ and a fight to the death will likely ensue.

My group consists of six players (a slightly large group), so I’ve already been in the habit of ‘rebalancing’ nearly every encounter that they come across, in order to maintain the appropriate level of challenge. I’ve largely used this online resource as a quick way to do so. It’s normally suggested a combination of either raising HP, upgrading monsters to something thematically similar (ie – Ochre Jelly to Black Pudding), or adding additional monsters.

These three tactics are fine, for most normal encounters and I intend to employ at least two of them here, raising the BBEG’s HP and adding a couple of extra minions. However, in addition to simply balancing the challenge level, because this guy is ‘the final boss’ of my players first ever DnD campaign, I want to ensure that this encounter is ‘exciting and memorable’.

By ‘exciting and memorable‘ I mean that I would like this encounter to feel appreciably different, perhaps surprisingly so, to all of the other, fairly vanilla, boss fights that have come before it in this campaign. So far they have all been tonally pretty similar to a normal fight, just a normal fight where the boss hits a bit harder and has more HP, meaning there might be a little more jeopardy. Note: Extra jeopardy is not bad, but that is not all, or even the main thing that I would like to achieve.

I would like this encounter to behave in ways that surprise my players ‘mechanically’, not just ‘goodness, he hits hard’. I want this final encounter to be enjoyable, not just difficult. And, I still want to stay thematically close to the original intention of the villain (not just reskin a more powerful NPC from the MM, etc.). I’m not against player death, but I don’t want a TPK at this stage in the campaign (and would fudge rolls / stats, if needed, to avoid one).

So, in summary my question is:

How can I make the final boss of the LMOP a memorable and exciting fight for my group?

General advice on boss building is not without value but has already been covered in a variety of other questions. Good answers here, would include reference to the specific parameters of this encounter, and might also include personal experience of running this module, covering things like:

  1. What approaches have you used successfully in your own game to make the final encounter with The Black Spider ‘memorable and exciting’?
  2. What approaches have you used successfully in your own game to make the final encounter with The Black Spider feel balanced against a larger sized party?
  3. Based on your own experience of this encounter, which of the following approaches, that I am already considering, would you recommend?

    1. Adding extra HP – (27 hp doesn’t seem enough for a BBEG for a level 4/5 party of 6 PCs.
    2. Adding extra minions – (Accompanied by four Giant Spiders – might add two more)
    3. Adding Legendary Resistances
    4. Adding Legendary Actions
    5. Adding Lair Actions
    6. Turning The Black Spider into a “Paragon monster”
    7. Giving Giant Spider minions an ‘on death’ chance to use their ability Web (SRD p. 379).

Currently, I’m leaning towards a combination of approaches 1,2,6 and 7. My party = LMOP pre-gens (Fighter, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, Cleric + an extra Vengance Paladin). We play using theatre of the mind, rather than a grid.

How hard is a Deva boss fight for two lvl 10 Characters

I’m planning a one shot for two level 10 characters and I’d like a challenging boss fight for the end of it. The plan at the moment is that they will fight a corrupted Deva in the tomb of a Beholder God. The Deva will take the stats of the Deva from the monster manual and the partially revied Beholder god will have a 1/4 chance of firing a random eye ray (again stats taken from Beholder from the monster manual) at one of the characters. I’ve never run a boss fight like this before and have no experience with characters of lvl 10 or above (I’ve been DMing for a few years but usually for lower level parties up to lvl 7-8). Any advice on this would be great as I’d hate to have the fight be too easy/ unreasonably difficult.

The chacters are:

lvl 10 Dwarf cleric

lvl 10 Golden Dragonborn paladin