Is the Way of the Four Elements monk subclass variant posted in a D&D Beyond article balanced?

In addition to a character builder and online rules source, D&D Beyond also has a blog, and that blog just posted Monk 101: Way of the Four Elements. This article notes

Regrettably, the Way of the Four Elements is not only one of the weakest monk subclasses, it’s one of the weakest subclasses in the Player’s Handbook.

… and gives reasonable justification for that statement. Then, it proposes:

If your Dungeon Master is willing to use house rules, consider using the following house rules to buff the Way of the Four Elements subclass:

  • Reduce the ki cost of all Elemental Disciplines by 2 (to a minimum of 1). This cost reduction is applied after you spend additional ki to raise the spell’s level. For example, the Fist of Four Thunders discipline lets you cast thunderwave for 2 ki. This cost is reduced to 1. Casting the spell at 2nd level increases the ki cost to 3, but it still only costs 1 ki point after the cost reduction of 2 points.
  • At 3rd level, you learn the Elemental Attunement discipline as normal, and two other disciplines of your choice (instead of just one).
  • You learn two new disciplines at 6th, 11th, and 17th level (instead of just one), and can replace any discipline you know with another one that you meet the level requirements to learn when you gain a level in this class.
  • You can also learn two cantrips of your choice from the following list: acid splash, fire bolt, mold earth, produce flame, ray of frost, shocking grasp. When you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of these cantrips with another instead of replacing an elemental discipline with another. (If you have other sources, such as Xanathar’s Guide to Everything or Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, you can choose other cantrips from those sources that deal acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage, or have an otherwise elemental theme, with your DM’s permission.)

As a DM, I want my players to have fun and I want them to be able to choose options that seem interesting without falling into “trap” classes which seem cool but turn out to be frustrating to play; on the other hand, I don’t want to just throw out home-brew options that are more powerful than the standard choices.

While the D&D Beyond rules section is official, this blog is really … just a blog, and I don’t think they have any particular insight into behind-the-curtains D&D design (although obviously they have contact with and work closely with the designers). But, D&D Beyond also has a central sort of voice, and while I’ve seen several home-brew attempts at “fixing” this subclass (including here, it seems like if this one is reasonable enough it might be something that 5E gamer consensus kind of builds around.

So… how reasonable is it? Does it achieve the goal of bringing the subclass into line?

  • Is this variant reasonably balanced against the other monk subclass options?
  • Is it comparable to other “third-caster” classes like Eldritch Knight or Arcane Trickster? What about to “half-casters” like Ranger and Paladin?

Windows 10 invalidated PIN for three accounts out of four

I have a Windows 10 Pro 1903 with four accounts:

  • two are for adult users and two for children
  • one adult account is admin account, three remaining are standard users accounts,
  • all four are Microsoft accounts and uses Windows Hello feature to allow login with PIN number.

Recently I have changed by BIOS configuration, by disabling TPM 2.0 support and enabling TPM 1.2 support. Windows immediately “captured” this change and invalidated PINs, requesting users to re-login to Microsoft account via password and then recreate their PINs.

What surprised me the most is that above mentioned change occurred only to three accounts. One account — child and standard user account — was “missed” and can login without any problems, using the same PIN that was defined to this account prior to TPM version change in BIOS.

Am I missing something obvious? Shouldn’t PIN numbers for all four accounts be invalidated?

How do I balance a campaign consisting of four kobold PCs?

I am currently planning a campaign consisting of four kobold PCs, using Volo’s Guide to Monsters (p. 119) as my starting point for the race.

However, I am worried about Pack Tactics and Sunlight Sensitivity.

Pack Tactics. You have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.

Kobolds as pictured in Volo’s Guide seem very strong, gaining advantage on practically every attack roll. The inclusion of Sunlight Sensitivity does not, to me, seem like it’s doing very much to make them weaker – in a typical combat scenario the worst it’ll do is cancel out the advantage given by Pack Tactics, rather than ever realistically give disadvantage. Kobolds obviously favour fighting in the dark, so simply railroading every fight to be in the sunlight does not seem like it would be fun for me nor the players.

How would I bring down the power level of these kobolds to something more resembling that of PHB player races, while hopefully still keeping some kobold flavour?

Splitting credit card number fields into four different inputs

I have previously been using 4 fields for the credit card number, splitting up each set of 4 numbers to make it easier to enter.

I am now thinking about having one field, which inserts spaces after every set of numbers instead:

single field with spaces between groups of four digits, and old field with four separate boxes

For the one with 4 fields, the cursor jumps to the next field automatically.

Which format is preferred? Or are there any other better alternatives?

I only accept Visa, Mastercard and Discovery, with 16 and 17 digits.

Xubuntu setup not allowing to create an extended partition, limits to four total, no matter if primary or logical

I have just been installing Xubuntu on my netbook and after I have let the setup wipe the disk and install it by itself out of laziness. It was half into the setup that I noticed I haven’t seen it create a swap partition in the confirmation dialog, so I have let it complete and then restarted it to manually partition it.

After reading a bit more on the matter itself before doing random things, I have come to the knowledge to place the swap partition at the beginning of the drive so it can be accessed fast and also to place /boot within the first 100 GB of the drive so the BIOS can find and boot from it. I also read more about the importance and advantages of partitions in general and decided to create a few more than just swap, /boot and /.

So halfway into it, having created swap first as logical partition, /boot second as primary partition and / as well as /var as logical partition, the setup refused to create more, stating it was not possible for me to create more than four primary partitions.

Now this was the moment when confusion hit me like a train as I have already read before about that (which is why I have had selected logical for anything but /boot in the first place), because I have only created a single primary partition and not four as the setup stated.

During my research I found that the solution for creating more than four was to use extended partitions but the setup (as opposed to gparted) did not even give me the option to select anything but primary and logical, whereas it obviously didn’t even care what I selected and created only primaries.

I messed around a bit with it and was able to create tons of small logical partitions in a row, but as soon as I have applied the above mentioned configuration, it was over.

So, does the order of the logical and primary partitions matter? If yes, how am I supposed to adhere to “place swap at the beginning of the drive” and “keep your /boot within the first 100GB of the drive” and have more than just two more additional partitions?

Does the ki cost of Way of the Four Elements monk spells scale for higher level spells?


Background

As I mentioned in this question, I have recently started watching the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series and am inspired to improve the otherwise underwhelming Way of the Four Elements monk archetype. To this end, in addition to the suggestions proposed in the other question, I have been expanding the list of Elemental Disciplines to include other spells that I think suits the themes of air bending, earth bending, etc. (especially the elemental spells included in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, originally from the Elemental Evil module).

For spells like erupting earth, flaming sphere, tidal wave, wind wall, etc – in other words, spells that are within the range of 1st-5th level spells – I can simply copy what has already been done for the existing official Elemental Disciplines with regards to discerning how much ki it should cost to cast these spells.

Excluding those that have their own rules rather than allowing the casting of spells (i.e. Fangs of the Fire Snake), the disciplines that cast spells all cast spells that are in the range of 1st-5th level spells, and all follow the formula of “ki points required = spell level + 1” (except for Rush of the Gale Spirits, which only costs 2 ki but lets you cast gust of wind, a 2nd level spell, but it’s a weak 2nd level spell, so that’s probably why it’s slightly “cheaper” than the other disciplines for casting 2nd level spells).

Proposal

I think high level earth benders, fire benders, etc, should be able to do truly Avatar-level powerful bending once they reach tier 4. More specifically, I want to come up with some disciplines that add spells of 6th level+ that a 17th level Way of the Four Elements monk can take, but without this being broken. Spells I’m considering include:

  • bones of the earth (6th level spell)
  • earthquake (8th level spell)
  • fire storm (7th level spell)
  • investiture of X (6th level spells)
  • move earth (6th level spell)
  • tsunami (8th level spell)
  • wall of ice (6th level spell)
  • whirlwind (7th level spell)

Again, to reiterate, all of these disciplines would be available only to tier 4 monks, meaning they’d all have the (17th level required) prerequisite. Also, at time of writing, I am not currently considering including any 9th level spells such as meteor swarm, so if excluding 9th level spells helps in any way, that works for me.

Question

If I were to include disciplines that allowed the casting of 6th level+ spells, following the formula I derived (so 6th level spells would cost 7 ki, 7th level spells would cost 8 ki, and 8th level spells would cost 9 ki), would this still be balanced? Would the ki cost need to be increased because of the fact that these are “higher level spells”?

Given that ki can be replenished on a short rest, would I also need to add additional restraints on these “higher level spells” such as only being able to cast them once per long rest (like how certain warlock’s Eldritch Invocations have that restriction, such as Sculptor of Flesh, even though it still uses a warlock spell slot), or would the ki cost be enough on its own?


By “higher level spells”, I’m referring to the fact that 6th-9th spell slots are fewer in number, as pointed out in Mindwin’s interesting (although off-topic) question. Given that apparently the designers though that higher level spells should be cast only sparingly compared to 1st-5th level spells, this is my reason for being wary of allowing my monks to cast such high level spells potentially multiple times a day due to ki replenishing on a short rest.

Would the Four Elements monk be balanced with more disciplines and cantrips?

So I’ve just started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender (it’s quite a few years old now, but I’ve never watched it before), and immediately I am reminded of the Way of the Four Elements monk archetype, which is clearly based on air-bending, water-bending, etc. The flavour of this archetype is really cool.

However, in practice, this is a really lackluster archetype. I believe it is popularly considered to be the weakest monk archetype, but even if that’s presumptuous on my part, I at least think it’s weak; I remember playing one a couple of years back, and I ended up having to multiclass them into Sorcerer just to get the feel I was after.

So, since watching some Avatar and getting more of a feel for what I think this archetype should be, I propose the following (based somewhat on comparing them to an Eldritch Knight):

  • Whenever the archetype says you learn a new elemental discipline (i.e. 3rd, 6th, 11th, 17th), you instead learn two (this is excluding the the Elemental Attunement “cantrip” discipline).
  • You can learn from a subset* of cantrips, and have the same number as an Eldritch Knight does (since Four Elements monks roughly seem equivalent to 1/3 casters to me; so that’s 2 cantrips initially, and a 3rd one at level 10); these cantrips would use Wisdom as your spellcasting ability.

This would make them seem like they have more control over the elements, give them more versatility, but without giving them loads of spells. They still only have a grand total of 8 disciplines by level 17, as opposed to the Sorcerer’s 15 known spells (other full casters have more), the 10 of a ranger (14 if it’s a Xanathar’s ranger archetype; this will become 11 or 15 by level 19), or the 11 of an Eldritch Knight/Arcane Trickster (who would know 13 by level 20).

Would this make them significantly stronger in combat than other monk archetypes, or other casters (such as a Sorcerer or an Eldritch Knight)? Do these suggestions need to be dialed back a bit, or is my assessment of the RAW archetype’s weakness way off?


*This subset is: control flames, frostbite, gust, mold earth, produce flame, ray of frost, shape water – I left out fire bolt because I felt that produce flame was good enough and they really don’t need that d10 damage.

Ubuntu only boots correctly one out of four times

I have a Lenovo W530 Thinkpad (with an nVidia k2000 GPU). I recently dual booted Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04.

Every time I restart I see the GRUB menu as expected. However, I am only able to boot into Ubuntu one out of about four times. The other 3/4 of the time it just freezes (very annoying).

After pressing enter on Ubuntu one of the following will happen:

  • It freezes on a purple screen (see picture) (this lasts indefinitely) enter image description here

  • It freezes with a cursor blinking very fast in the upper left corner (this lasts indefinitely, happens the most often and sometimes the screen backlight turns off and the cursor still blinks): enter image description here

  • Gibberish about a kernel panic is printed to the screen (this lasts indefinitely, happens least often): enter image description here

In all of these situations pressing ctl + alt + (f1-f12) does nothing.

Because I know nVidia drivers sometimes cause this, here is my graphics drivers setup: enter image description here

I have tried using boot-repair (this makes no difference) and I have tried reinstalling Ubuntu twice (this makes no difference).

Please help this is so annoying.

Thank you