Can I get Combat Casting as a bonus feat in one level or less?

I need Combat Casting as a prerequisite for another feat.

I really do not want to waste a precious feat slot on this terrible feat, particularly since I should have enormous Constitution.

Therefore, I want to get it as a bonus feat. The best I can find for this is becoming a 2nd-level duskblade, but two levels is a lot to pay—even more than a feat slot. The other benefits of the duskblade class simply don’t do enough for me to justify that investment.

So I want an alternative. Some possible answers:

• A base class that gets Combat Casting at 1st.

• An alternate class feature, substitution level, variant, or other option for a 3rd-level barbarian or druid, or 2nd-level cleric or wu jen (I’m planning on two levels of barbarian or druidic avenger, and a level each of cleric and wu jen, so one more level of any of these is better than fine for me).

• A prestige class that gets Combat Casting at 1st (though the prerequisites are likely to ruin this as an efficient answer, and my character per se is only 6th level and thus has very limited access to prestige classes, I’d be interested in knowing).

• A magic item that grants Combat Casting (this need not be limited to something affordable for a 6th-level character, though obviously my immediate problem is best solved by something that is).

• Since this is for a feat and I’ll always need Combat Casting to use it, spells, powers, etc. etc. probably will not work—but if there are such options that can legitimately offer 100% uptime, I’d be interested (my character is going to be permanently enraged and probably unable to use these, but I’d still be interested).

• I might be convinced by two levels in something else that’s a stronger dip than duskblade. Not my preferred solution, but certainly better than nothing.

• Any of the above that explicitly counts as Combat Casting for the purpose of meeting a feat’s prerequisites.

Non-epic Wizards of the Coast-published 3.5e material, as well as Dragon or Dungeon magazine is acceptable. I want something that just says “you get the Combat Casting feat,” or “you count as having the Combat Casting feat for prerequisites.” Shenanigans to get extra feat slots (Elder Evils, DCFS, whatever) are not acceptable. Likewise, various suggestions that maybe with DM approval you could get a custom feature that might include Combat Casting—for example, the suggestion about feat-granting magic items from Arms & Eqiupment Guide—aren’t in-bounds for this question. And similar bonuses or whatever are of zero interest unless they explicitly count as Combat Casting for prerequisites.

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Thank you.

Summary:

I’m looking to permanently create $$44064 \text{ gal}$$ of acid on a budget of $$100,000 \text{ gp}$$. As part of this, I am building a level 12 character who will be the one creating and using the acid.

Restrictions:

• Level 12 character.
• Only Paizo material written for Pathfinder 1e is allowed (no 3.5 content is allowed).
• The following books are not legal: Niobe, The World of Vampire Hunter D, Worldscape
• False Focus and Blood Money are banned.
• Any spell that cannot be cast by a level 12 spellcaster is banned.
• Exception: If 12 levels in a class grant early access to a spell, then it’s allowed.
• Exception: If a deific boon or similar thing allows you to cast that spell as a spell-like ability early.
• Magic items that replicate these banned spells are not allowed (though they may have the spell as a construction requirement as long as they don’t create its effect). Scrolls, wands, potions, etc. are capped at a caster level of 12.
• Spellcasting Services are allowed but cannot be used for those banned spells. Additionally, they can only be used for spells that are on a class’s base spell list. Casters that use early access methods (bloodlines, curses, domains, patrons, etc.) are not allowed to provide those early access spells.
• Ex. A witch with the Thorns patron could not be hired to cast wall of thorns, they would only be able to cast spells on the witch’s base spell list.
• Crafting is banned. You can purchase any item for full price.
• Custom magic items are not allowed.
• In order to be a viable method, there must be an explicit or implicit amount of acid created that is listed in the item’s or spell’s description. Interactions with the environment are allowed
• Example 1: Dust of Acid Consumption states that it holds up to 10 gallons of acid. Despite not actually providing the acid itself, one that had already soaked up acid would be a valid item for purchase and thus it is able to be used for acid production.
• Example 2: Acid states "flask of acid". Since flask is an item and states "This glass bottle holds 1 pint", we have a numeric quantity that it provides. (It’s just too far out of budget to use for the required quantity though.)
• Example 3: Acid Arrow does not state how much acid is created, nor provide any reference for it. Therefore the spell is an invalid method of acid production.
• You may not roll any dice during character creation. If an activity allows taking 10 you may do so, otherwise you are assumed to always get the worst possible result (usually a natural 1). In scenarios where the worst possible result either does not exist or is subjective (such as the reincarnate spell), you simply cannot take that action.
• Note: By permanently create, I mean that a magical method of acid creation must have a duration of instantaneous or permanent. Effectively permanent methods (whether by recasting the same spell due to the duration being long enough or another way) are not valid.
• Exception: The only exception to a temporary method is if the acid is then stored in such a manner that the duration is able to be permanently suspended (such as by using a Neverspill Goblet to store it). Any methods of suspending such a duration are to be added in to the cost of acid production (that is, the cost of producing the temporary acid plus permanently storing it needs to be under $$100,000 \text{ gp}$$).

My players have a habit of always torturing enemies they capture for information, how can I make our adventure less macabre?

So I’m running the lost mines of Phandelver as a new DM and we’re about 5 sessions in. I’ve noticed a pattern that seems to repeat itself: the players defeat and capture an evil NPC character that knows some information, that character is tied up and intimidated/tortured, then that character inevitably spills the information it knows.

This cycle is getting a bit repetitive and depressing. How can I, as a DM, encourage my players to try more diverse ways of obtaining information from uncooperative NPCs without withholding story-critical information?

I feel like my DMing skills are making the game less enjoyable

I’m DMing a party of five, a rogue, cleric, wizard, fighter, and a ranger that comes every other week. Everything goes well for the first hour and a half, but then after that I can tell my narrations and stuff gets really bad. It’s the difference between ‘you shoot your bow, but your arrow had warped after that last river and you barely miss the knight’ and ‘you miss’. Since we play for about three hours a session and don’t come back together until the next week, the campaign always seems to end in a very bland spot, and sometimes the players have severely misinterpreted the surroundings(honestly, I don’t blame them when my descriptions turn into ‘you exit the building’). Another thing I can tell is that after while DMing, I get tired and my responses to the players get slower and slower and I have to consult the books more often. If it’s been a long day, sometimes I take fifteen minutes getting back to where we were and starting up again, and fall into the bland descriptions pretty quickly.

The players say they don’t mind much, but I feel bad for them since there is another group a table away whenever we’re playing, and the DM there is better than I am. I do give them a decent amount of loot and the occasional magic item and everything is balanced in the campaign. Still, I want to try and change my bad DMing so the campaign is less…wavy(if that makes any sense) in terms of detail. I’ve played with some rather bad DMs before, and know that it’s not fun when there’s little or no color to the adventure. I keep the action going though, plenty of mysteries and combat encounters, but again, it gets bland quickly.

Summary- Campaign is fine(mechanically), but I as DM get boring by the middle of the session and then everything slows down.

So I guess what I’m looking for a way to try and keep myself from getting boring by the end of the session and a way to keep the campaign going smoothly. Any suggestions?

Is there an official explanation for the fluff of why magical healing is less effective on creatures with lots of hit points?

I’m most familiar with D&D 3.5e and 5e, which both have pretty similar ways of describing hit points. The 3.5e SRD says

Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.

5e’s Player’s Handbook has a couple bits about hit points, but the most descriptive part is on page 196.

Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck.

Hit points are a reasonable abstraction by themselves, since in both the editions I know about, they effectively convey the fact that a tougher or more experienced character is better-able to survive dangerous scenarios. They also allow a novice and an epic hero to spend similar amounts of time recuperating after an adventure (since natural healing scales with the number of Hit Dice a creature has), which makes sense, given what hit points are stated to represent.

However, magical healing (be it via potions or a divine caster’s spells) scales with the caster’s abilities and not with the target’s hit points. This means that, in both editions, an average peasant or a 1st-level fighter who drinks a healing potion will instantly heal from all their injuries and be brought back to full fighting strength. However, an epic dragon-slaying adventurer (or, in a more extreme case, an actual dragon, with its mountains of hit points) would drink the same potion, and only a very small percentage of their vitality would be restored.

What’s with the difference? I know that mechanically it serves as a sink for high-level parties’ gold and spell slots to force players to use stronger magical healing, but narratively, I haven’t been able to find any information on why everybody’s natural healing happens at similar rates, but the efficacy of magical healing is inversely proportional to a target’s natural fortitude and adventuring experience. Did 1st and 2nd editions handle healing differently, or is there something specific about healing potions and magic that causes them to behave this way, or is there simply no explanation given, with the assumption being that "it’s just a mechanical thing, don’t think about it too hard"?

Serving “less trusted” content on the same domain

Let’s say we run a web app at "example.org". It uses cookies for user authentication.

Our website also has a blog at "example.org/blog", hosted by a third party. Our load balancer routes all requests to "/blog" (and subpaths) to our blog host’s servers. We don’t distrust them, but we’d prefer if security issues with the blog host can’t affect our primary web app.

Here are the security concerns I’m aware of, along with possible solutions.

1. The requests to the blog host will contain our user’s cookies.
• Solution: Have the load balancer strip cookies before forwarding requests to the blog host.
2. An XSS on the blog allows the attacker to inject JS and read the cookie.
3. An XSS on the blog allows the attacker to inject JS and make an AJAX request to "example.org" with the user’s cookies. Because of the same origin policy, the browser allows the attacker’s JS to read the response.
• Solution: Have the load balancer add some Content-Security-Policy to the blog responses? What’s the right policy to set?
• Solution: Suborigins (link) looks nice, but we can’t depend on browser support yet.

Is there a way do safely host the blog on the same domain?

Explain Like I’m 5 — Why are AMD processors not, or less, vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre?

All these answers are abstruse and complex. Can someone please explain like I’m 5 by relying on, but varietizing, u/zoox101’s excellent analogy? I copy and paste it here with some trifling corrections and modifications, like differently gendering the librarian and the diary’s owner to avoid confusing pronouns.

At its heart, your computer works just like a library. It’s constantly reading and moving information just like students read and move books. And just like any good library, your computer has a friendly librarian: Ms Kernel.

Whenever you go to check out a book, you give Ms Kernel the title and she goes to fetch it for you. However, this library may contain some pretty secret stuff, so Ms Kernel always checks to make sure you’ve got permission to read the book you’re requesting.

Back in the old days, Ms. Kernel had to do all the work herself, and it was painfully slow. Recently computers are better designed, and can do multiple operations at once, meaning that Ms. Kernel now has a bunch of assistants helping her. This is great for the library, because now it can handle more people than ever before! However, it also creates a weakness that was only just discovered. Here’s how the weakness works.

You, a mischievous ne’er do well, want to read your rival Ed’s diary, which he keeps in the library. However, Ed hasn’t shared his diary with you, so Ms Kernel won’t let you check it out. So you decide to do something rather clever…Rather than asking for the diary directly, you ask Ms. Kernel to fetch two things:

1. Ed’s diary

2. a book where the first word in the title is the first word in Ed’s diary.

Back in the old days, this wouldn’t have been a problem. The first thing Ms. Kernel would have done, was to ask Ed if you could read her diary. When Ed said no, Ms. Kernel would’ve stopped.

However the assistants complicate things. To save time, Ms Kernel asks one assistant to ask Ed for permission, while the other goes to find the two books you requested. When the first assistant tells Ms Kernel that Ed said no, the second one gives Ms K the books which Ms. K sets on her desk.

Ms. Kernel tells you that you can’t have the books. However, because they’re sitting on the desk, you can read the titles. The first one’s called "Ed’s Diary" and the second one’s called "The Cat in the Hat". Because you requested a book whose title that begins with the same word as the first word in Ed’s diary, you know that the first word in the diary must be "The".

If you wanted to, you could repeat this process for every word in the diary, until you could read the whole diary.

This exploit endangers all libraries because it works in every library that has assistant librarians, which covers just about every modern processor out there. The only real panacea is to force the assistants to run the check before fetching the books, which will slow down the library as a whole. The biggest vulnerability is that the parallel processing (assistants) is leaving the cache (desk) in a different state than they found it, even though the permission check failed.

Thankfully, no known malware exploits this bug, but the safest thing to do is to update your devices as soon as a fix is released, to prevent them from being infiltrated in the future. The performance shouldn’t slow down most personal devices (small library, few assistants), but will decrease performance on larger machines (i.e. university supercomputers).

The title of the paper that introduced type classes is "How to make ad-hoc polymorphism less ad-hoc".

It seems the type classes approach is being compared to how OOP does ad-hoc polymorphism.

As far as I can tell, the paper never explains how type classes are less ad-hoc than OOP techniques like V-tables or prototype chains, or even has any comparison at all of the trade-offs between the two approaches.

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