[ Politics ] Open Question : Has Stephanie Grisham, the new Press Secretary, given any news briefings to the press since taking on this position in the White house.?

If so, how is she doing? What is the general feeling? The relationship between Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the press had become quite contentious before her sudden departure.

Would a house rule letting anyone cast their ritual spells as rituals be unbalanced?

By default, there are limited ways for characters in D&D 5E to cast ritual-tagged spells as rituals. Either they choose a class with the Ritual Casting feature, choose warlock with the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation, or choose the Ritual Caster feat.

I’m considering a house rule that gives this benefit to any spellcaster. The rule would add some utility to a wider variety of party combinations (e.g., parties without a wizard), letting their casters save some spell slots during their adventuring day. The wording would be something like the following:

If a feature lets you cast a spell that has the ritual tag, then you can cast that spell as a ritual.

This rule should apply to ritual-tagged spells gained through a class, subclass, racial feature, or any other feature. It could also apply to spellcasting NPCs. But it should not apply to spells cast through scrolls or other items.

So far I’ve considered possible consequences, and can’t find ways it could unfairly break or unbalance the game. Am I missing anything? What possible unbalances or exploits, if any, could be caused by this house rule?

What balance pitfalls result from this house rule modifying the optional Flanking rule?

As much as I enjoy 5e, one design issue sticks in my craw: combat is too static. Once initiative is rolled, everyone tends to move to a single position and stand there whacking enemies until someone dies.1 Granted, the DM can deliberately engineer an encounter to encourage moving around, e.g., by including hazardous terrain features, forced movement, area effects, etc. But if every encounter is so engineered, at some point it begins to feel contrived. (“Whaddya know, yet another combat against monsters with push abilities set amid pools of burning lava. Darn our luck!”) Besides, that’s a lot of extra thought and work for the DM to put in. I like to make a DM’s life easier… especially if it’s mine.

Accordingly, the DMG‘s optional Flanking rule (p. 251), which grants advantage to attackers on opposite sides of an enemy, has an intuitive appeal. It at least appears to incent creatures to move around in search of better tactical positioning. And it requires little or no planning; it’s entirely situational.

Yet most of the commentary I’ve heard about the rule has been negative. The main criticism seems to be that Flanking trivilizes the gaining of advantage, because maneuvering around an enemy is too easy and comes with no trade-offs. Whereas in past editions of D&D, moving while adjacent to an enemy invited danger (namely opportunity attacks), there is no such danger in 5e. As a result, the Flanking rule as currently written seldom requires creatures to make meaningful tactical choices about whether moving around an enemy in order to flank is worthwhile. Because advantage is powerful and the downsides of moving are insignificant, the answer to “is moving worthwhile?” is nearly always “yes” — and so most combatants end up having advantage from flanking most of the time. That, in turn, devalues other mechanics that would grant advantage (the barbarian’s Reckless Attack, spells like guiding bolt and faerie fire, etc.).

Another criticism, as this question suggests, is that rather than encouraging dynamic combat with more movement, etc., Flanking still produces static combat — just combat in “conga line” formations of alternating PCs and monsters, all flanking each other. The accepted answer to that question supposes the straight-line problem can be solved by modifying the Flanking rule such that a creature who is flanked cannot flank another creature. I’m not sure that’s true, but in any event it doesn’t really address the main criticism that flanking, and the movement required to achieve it, is too easy.

Instead, I’m considering a house rule modifying Flanking such that a creature can’t flank an enemy if there is any other enemy within 5 feet of the creature. The idea would be to encourage combatants to risk stepping away from enemies — and drawing opportunity attacks — in order to gain advantage. That would tend to make flanking harder to achieve in the typical chaotic scrum of combat where enemies are all about, and so other options for gaining advantage remain relatively valuable. And not coincidentally, it would also tend to break up straight-line combat formations.

What are the balance implications of such a house rule? Is there some class or monster ability that would be totally overpowered or broken by it?


1 For what it’s worth, I apparently am not the only person for whom static combat is a concern.

2 Note this somewhat-similar Q&A from 4e.

Police raid on Ju-Ju House (possible spoilers for Masks of Nyarlathotep)

I’ve just started Masks of Nyarlathotep with a few friends, and they are half-way through the America chapter.

The best outcome for this part of the campaign, according to the book, would be to eliminate the whole cult by convincing the police about what happening inside the Ju-Ju House. Let’s propose that my investigators, manage to convince Lt. Poole about a death cult operating inside Harlem, with their base being the Ju-Ju House, and Lt. Poole organizes a raid against this cult.

If this happens, they will most likely run into the Chakota which is dwelling in the basement pit. How would 1925 police handle such thing? Obviously, they can not kill the thing (neither can my investigators), what would happen if say 10-12 police officers and a detective storm the building and find there something which is beyond their comprehension?

The reason I am asking this is because I think, there is no “best” ending here. I don’t see any way, how the police would deal with this situation, and if they do not raid the hideout, the cult can not be eliminated from New York. Even if it’s leader, and second in command is arrested, without a raid, someone new will take their place, and continue on with their nefarious deeds.

Am I mistaken here?

What balance pitfalls result from this house rule modifying the Shield Master feat?

For an upcoming game, I’m weighing Shield Master as a feat selection. The closer I look at it (and recent rulings on it), however, the more lackluster I find it in comparison to other choices like Great Weapon Master, Polearm Master, Sharpshooter, and even Dual Wielder.

Shield Master’s third benefit, the Evasion-like ability to avoid damage on a successful DEX save, is flavorful and useful. It embodies a classic narrative trope of shield-use, and it’s likely to save significant HP that would otherwise be lost to breath weapons, fireball and similar spells, etc.

The feat’s two other benefits are more dubious.

The first benefit, granting a bonus-action shove if one takes the Attack action, has been the subject of rule-reversals restricting its application to after all of one’s attacks are completed. I find that restriction dissatisfying both mechanically and narratively. Mechanically, it means a character using the bonus-action shove will rarely benefit from doing so, because her target can simply move when its turn comes around, before she has a chance to act again. And narratively, forcing a melee combatant into an “attack-shove” (or, for those with Extra Attack, potentially “attack-attack-attack-attack-shove”) routine feels arbitrary and unnatural. Imagine a tale of heroic adventure in which a character described as “master” of shield technique did not, could not, ever lead with her shield. For that matter, why is it so difficult, even for a character with Shield Master, to effectively use a shield-bash as a damage-dealing option in melee? Overall, compared to the highly effective and directly beneficial bonus-action attacks granted by Great Weapon Master and Polearm Master, this part of Shield Master is underwhelming.

The second benefit, adding the shield’s defensive bonus to DEX saves against single-target effects, sounds useful in theory but turns out to be disappointingly narrow and situational in application. It’s not unrealistic to think a character with Shield Master could make it through an entire campaign and never use this benefit. It’s hardly a benefit at all.

Therefore, I’m considering a house rule modifying Shield Master, by adding the following two bullets:

  • You are proficient with shields as improvised weapons.

  • When you are wielding a shield as an improvised weapon, you can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapon you are wielding in your other hand isn’t light.

This modification seeks to put Shield Master roughly on par with Polearm Master and Dual Wielder. A character with Dual Wielder can wield, e.g., two longswords with a d8 damage die, or a d8 longsword and a d4 whip with reach, and still gain a +1 to AC. A character using Polearm Master won’t get a shield’s AC bonus, and will only have a d4 damage die for her offhand (i.e., “opposite end”) attack, but adds her ability modifier to the offhand damage, is likely to enjoy a polearm’s d10 damage die for her primary attacks, and has reach on all her attacks. By comparison, with this modification, a Shield Master character can enjoy the +2 bonus to AC from her shield and still utilize two-weapon fighting, albeit with just an unmodified d4 damage die from the shield. Or, thanks to the proficiency piece, she can viably lead with her shield, treating the shield as her primary weapon and using her normal weapon for a bonus-action attack with unmodified damage. She could even lead with a shove using her Attack action and still get a bonus-action attack via two-weapon fighting — just as she could with Polearm Master or Dual Wielder.

Nevertheless, it’s possible I’m missing something. Are there foreseeable balance problems here? What are they?

House rule: Casting Spider Climb at higher level adding targets. Are there any balance breaking consequences?

I have a broader question that is the root of this question. I thought I’d ask what I would think is a relatively simple question and see if the answers can help me answer the broader question.

As stated in PHB, some spells have additional effects when casting using a higher level slot. What interested me was the question of why certain spells have that functionality while others don’t. I mean some may be obvious or at least seemingly logical as to why or why not, but for some, the reasoning behind the design decision alludes me.

For example, Fly has the ability to be cast on multiple targets using higher slots. Fly to me seems like a powerful mobility/utility spell. However, Spider Climb, another mobility/utility spell, does not have that “additional target per higher level cast” function when, personally, it seems to be a generally a weaker spell than Fly (hence it being a lower level spell).

TL;DR: Are there any balance breaking consequences of house ruling that spider climb can also be cast at higher levels to affect additional creatures?

Criteria

Some stories of having done this or a similar experience would be helpful, but I prefer more of a logical argument as to why it would not be, or would be, balanced. Almost like a logical proof (induction, contradiction, etc) if you are familiar with what those are.

[ Politics ] Open Question : Libreased, are you jelly Don Trump Jr. just bought a glam house in the Hamptons with his hot girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle?

Tom Brady#12, it is not like minorities like Puff Daddy or J Low moved in. Nome Sayin brahaha. Lol @ Chewy, you jelly, bigly! You couldn’t get a hot chick, couldn’t afford it. Don’t have the skills or looks. That is basically what you just admitted. Thank you Glenda. I saw this article on Yahoo News and the liberals (liberal + diseased = libreased) were all about hating DT Jr and Guilfoyle. The hatred is uncommon and laughable.

Does this house rule, for determining hit point maximum, make characters weaker than RAW?

Recently my friend had mentioned that he was using a house rule for his players to calculate their hit point maximum, which I am both curious & hesitant to try with my players.

His way of determining hit points is (Str mod + Con mod + 4) per level, with a minimum of 1 per level. Apparently the minimum had to be added when a player purposely made a sickly character. Also, he said that the class isn’t considered as those with larger Hit Dice are assumed to have more Strength.

From what I can see this makes characters too weak compared to RAW. Is my assessment correct?