Demon of the First Circle limitations

Demon of the First Circle or any of the Demon spells seems ripe for exploitation. I’m wondering how other storytellers have dealt with this issue.

I’m worried because of the ease of summoning, and the length the demon will serve you. The way I read the rules there is nothing preventing a sorcerer from summoning one demon every night. The risk of failing Int + Occult vs the demons resolve is also very small. Spend willpower and a stunt, and you’re almost guaranteed to succeed. That is before taking into consideration that most sorcerers will have high int and occult, and possibly an excellency to boost the roll if they feel like it. Once summoned the demon is your slave for a year and a day.

Given the system, it feels like most sorcerers should be surrounded by a small army of demons to do their bidding.

How have other storytellers dealt with this issue? Is there anything from e3 or the other editions that can be used as a guide to reduce the exploitability of the summon spells?

What are the limitations on the Shape Water cantrip?

I have been having a discussion regarding the Shape Water cantrip from the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion. A friend and I are trying to come to an accurate view of how this spell actually functions.

Some example questions:

  • Must the targeted water be within a 5 foot cube area, or does it need to be of a volume not exceeding 125 cubic feet?
  • If you shape water that is within a 5 foot cube, can the final shape you animate it to extend outside the cube?
  • Can you cause the shaping to affect ice and snow, or only liquid water?
  • Would you be able to carry a globe of water alongside you over distances?

Really, there are two parts:

  • What can be targeted by the spell?
  • What are the limitations on the ‘shape and animate’ portion of the spell?

The answer I am looking for, if possible, would use the language of the spell, possibly with precedent from other game text, to clearly define the limitations of this cantrip.

Understanding Antivirus Sandbox limitations

The most advanced antiviruses fight against malware with different techniques, like signature-based detection and heuristic analysis. In case those two are bypassed by the malware, there is still the Sandbox environment which executes the malware in a safe environment in order to detect suspicious behaviours.

Let us now suppose that a malware in some way fools the AV Sandbox avoiding runnig the malicious code.

At this stage, is the malware the winner by executing the malicious code in the system?

Is the AV capable of doing something outside the Sandbox, or it is impossible to detect the malware at this stage??

Effects of limitations of the variables and constants of Goto languages

I am currently looking at a set of problems which all deal with attributes of a certain subset of Goto programs which have certain limitations. They are as follows:

  1. $ \text{Goto}_{17}$ describes the set of all Goto-programs in which no constant is greater than $ 17$ . Show that every Goto-program can be emulated by a $ \text{Goto}_{17}$ -program.
  2. $ \text{Goto}_{17}^{c}$ describes the set of all Goto-programs in which variables can be no higher than c and constants no higher than 17. Why is the Halting-problem decideable for this set of programs?

Following are my thoughts so far on these problems:

  1. It is rather easy to see that any given program can be trivially converted into not using constants higher than 17 by repeating any operation that would do so as often as necessary to evoke the same result. Even comparisons can work by using a dummy variable to store the variables value, then comparing to 17, reducing the variable and so on, until we have compared it against what we want to compare it to. And there will always be a variable easily chosen for this if we just spread out the variables so that in our new $ \text{Goto}_{17}$ -program only every second variable is used for normal calculation. This way we can always work with any variables "dummy-partner" variable for calculations like this without loosing the value. This all feels very unpolished though and I struggle with formulating it in a way that makes it into an actual proof. Am I on the right track and how can this be explained better if yes? How at all, if no?
  2. In this case I am even less confident in my basic idea. We almost have a situation in which I am confident to say that we can just go through every state of the program that is even theoretically possible and decide whether it can hold in that state. But how do I know of a state whether it is also practically possible, or in other words, does the program actually ever reach this constellation of variable values and position in code? We can’t just simulate the program, as infinite loops are still possible here in contrast to more simple languages like loop-languages. Why can the Halting-Problem be solved in this case? What is the method to achieve this? Can we maybe guarantee that on a set of finite amounts of variables (which is given, as the code must be finite) we must at some point reach a situation where we either halt or where our state exactly matches a prior state, as all these variables have a finite amount of states they can be in?

Are there ways Changelings can overcome their shape-shifting limitations?

While the changeling’s shapeshifting ability does provide the player with quite a variety of creatures (both pc and npc) to choose from, the rules do limit it to medium human-like (as humanoid is a type) creatures lacking tails, horns (and arguably horns).

As an action, you can change your appearance and your voice. You determine the specifics of the changes, including your coloration, hair length, and sex. You can also adjust your height and weight, but not so much that your size changes. You can make yourself appear as a member of another race, though none of your game statistics change. You can’t duplicate the appearance of a creature you’ve never seen, and you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs that you have. Your clothing and equipment aren’t changed by this trait.

However, I am left to wonder if this means that the changeling is barred from accessing the image of nearly half the PC list, or if the wording of "a form that" suggests there are ways for a changeling to overcome their limits, relying on RAW?

For instance:

  • Could a changeling personalize the visage they use beyond the race’s traits, such as a Drow with black hair, a shifter’s shifting features, or a tiefling that lost its tail?
  • Could a potion of giant size, or the Enlarge-Reduce spell allow a changeling to temporarily dip in the visages of other races?
  • Would consuming "Blood of Lycanthrope" give them access to the tail due to the hybrid form?
  • Are there any feats yet in 5e that can allow the changeling to upgrade his shifting from alter-self like to disguise self like?

As a side question, I noticed that changelings don’t appear to have darkvision like their doppelganger cousins(?) do. Did I miss this point or would this also apply a disadvantage to the kinds of masks a changeling can effectively use?

Are the limitations imposed on a pathfinder 2e wizard’s spellcasting strictly a ‘downgrade’ over a 5e wizard?

I’m a DM for a fifth edition D&D campaign. After discovering Pathfinder 2e earlier this year, I’ve been eager to give it a try with my regular group of players. I like the action economy and critical success/failure mechanics baked into the system. We started on 4e several years ago, and when 5e came out I was the one who proposed migrating.

I’ll be running a dungeon crawl, with a few social elements to give everyone a feel for how different aspects of the game work. I’ve used the pre-gen characters from Paizo’s official 2e demo adventure as a base for the party. However, I’ve levelled everyone up to 5 (the party is lvl 4 in 5e), to give them all a little more versatility and options.

One of the players will be playing the pre-gen universalist wizard, Ezren. This player is usually the most outspoken of the party when it comes to 5e game mechanics, having done a fair amount of DMing himself. “I don’t think this makes sense, we should try…” sort of stuff. I’ve been open to a lot of it.

When I explained how the wizard works, using Vancian magic and spells at specfic levels prepared into specific slots, his response was to the effect of “that sounds stupid and restrictive.”

Are there any counters to this argument of restrictiveness I can give him to alleviate the negative bias that I’m sure he now has towards this upcoming playtest? So far I’ve told him that cantrips seem more potent than in 5e, as they’re auto-heightened to be the same level as your highest level spell slot. I’ve also said that wizards in 2e get more spell slots in 5e, and I’ve given him the spell substitution thesis (which I had done before this interaction) for extra versatility.

But I can’t shake the feeling that he’s right. Sorcerers in 2e get more spell slots of each level, can choose what they cast using what slots (unless I misunderstand their mechanics), automatically regain focus points without actively doing anything… 5e wizards could choose to cast the Fireball they’d prepared at level 5 instead of level 3, to give it a bit more oomph. His argument here was, in a clutch moment in a combat encounter, the wizard can’t ‘save the day’ by doing so, if he hasn’t prepared that spell in that slot. Wizards also don’t get an equivalent to 5e’s Arcane Recovery, to give them more slots than the 5e sorcerer.

What arguments can I provide to counter his complaints about this restrictiveness?

Limitations on the Conjurer’s Minor Conjuration ability

There are some clearly defined limitations already on the Wizard School of Conjuration’s Minor Conjuration feature, however…

Does normal “wear and tear” count as damage? (e.g. I’m in a fight without a weapon, and create, say, a dagger or club. Will it hold up through the fight?). How about a bottle of ink? Does dipping my pen into it and writing a quick note “damage” the ink?

Is it one piece? ( e.g., can I use it to make a temporary replacement for a set of Thieves’ Tools (which is ‘an item’ on the equipment list) or is it limited to one contiguous item, such as a skillet, or a coil of rope?)

Limitations of targeting of ‘Friends’ cantrip

The “Friends” cantrip (PHB pg 244) has a range of “self”, but it also affects “one creature of your choice”. Can this creature be one you can’t see, such as one behind a door?

This question: What good is Friends? includes comments about using the cantrip against a guard on the other side of a gate, but I get the impression that the caster would be able to see the target in that scenario.

I’m looking for answers based on the RAW; if there’s another spell which has a range of “self” but still only effects a specified target other than the caster, that would be a big help for comparison.