What can I ask the PCs to sacrifice to save people (NPCs) from a plague?

DND 5.0 ed

New on 5.0, played the 3.5 edition. Inside my new campagne the PCs are followed by a big plague. They are immune and they have a stone that can save the sick people that, otherwise NPC will die. In some way the plague will follow the PCs so they are, in some way, responsabile of the poeple who get sick. Using the stone they can heal people, but I want they do a moral decision in order to sacrifice some of their life to save people, if they want.

What can I ask the PCs to sacrifice to save people (NPCs) from a plague? The only things that I have in mind is a long curse like -1 to all hit roll for a week or, more strong, heal people will cost some EXP points. (at start only few, but any time they will us ethis power ther spend more exp points)

Do you have better ideas? How can I balance this things?

How can I get my players to delegate to NPC’S?

I have ran into this issue in many games using different systems. My players either start in or reach a point where they should be above things that normal adventurers are about whether it be building a stronghold in D&D or getting seven circles and seven resources in Burning Wheel. However my players seem to attempt to tackle every issue personally like staking out a warehouse instead of sending their minions to do so or keeping a merchant safe.

This is going to be a big issue with my next game as I will be running a rogue trader game and I fear that the players may actually attempt to attack the enemies personally instead of deploying hundreds of thousands soldiers they have on their ship or decide to oversee construction efforts personally rather than just assigning a foreman.

This kind of behavior would not click well with the story I wish to tell so I want to ask before it is too late. How can I make my players delegate their tasks to NPC’s and focus on more important(Both in universe and in narrative) things?

How can I have low-level 5e necromancer NPCs controlling many, many undead in this converted adventure?

I require as close to a RAW answer as possible for ~Level 5 Wizard(s) to control ~100 skeletons and zombies.

Context: I’m adapting a few classics for older editions to D&D 5e, and running into issues for which I need RAW solutions. I could just hand wave it away but my own DM does that sort of thing and I am very much a proponent of what I call the Goose and Gander argument for players and NPCs: essentially, (with a few exceptions) if the bad guy can do it then so can the players, given enough time and resources. So handwaving the NPCs’ abilities doesn’t work for my campaign.

The AD&D 2e adventure Return to the Keep on the Borderlands has a Necromancer and several large groups of skeletons and zombies, but there is no possible way that the denizens of the temple could maintain control of so many for what they are utilized.

All told there seems to be ~100 skeletons and zombies that are described as being controlled, i.e. they have tasks they are performing when encountered. The module only describes a single caster that would be capable of casting Animate Dead and it is a 5th Level Wizard (Necromancer) there are a handful of lvl 3 Clerics in there as well. This technically would not have worked even in 2nd edition RAW since Animate Dead was 5th level for Wizards. I would however like to have at least a modicum of a better explanation than “Well, that’s what was written in the module.”

Therefore, is there something out of all the books that I am missing that could justify a small, essentially low level temple having so many controlled undead?

Immediate thoughts would be replacing some of them with constructs. Given the nature of the temple Scarecrows are the obvious choice and would be controlled indefinitely. I did see some ideas about converting the Bone Golem from previous editions — the problem with that is it changes the focus from Necromancy to Conjuration (as Scarecrows are bound spirits), which is not really desirable nor as interesting a threat to the good NPC side.

I also thought of scrolls but they are limited and would need to be replenished somehow from a higher level wizard that can make them. This option would require many scrolls, possibly dozens, per day if the existing casters capable of scribing them were to be the ones creating them.

I don’t see a way of doing this without a custom magic item, something akin to the 3.0 whistle from Sunless Citadel.

How long does a Suggestion last, after the spell is over, in the NPCs head? [duplicate]

I’m aware that the Suggestion spell could last up to 8 hours or until the task is performed. However, take this scenario as an example.

I’m running Curse of Strahd for my group. They just made it to Vallaki with Ismark and Ireena in tow. They walked through the town square, saw Izek with guards, and comically went over to him to ask questions. Shortly into the awkward conversation, Izek noticed Ireena and immediately wanted to take her away for "questioning." The wizard in the group then cast Suggestion and told Izek, "There’s no need to take her." Izek failed his save so he agreed and went about his business replacing the old posters.

This is an interesting scenario for me because Suggestion worked but the wizard didn’t word it in a way that would last long (in my opinion). So at what point in time would it dawn on Izek that Ireena is in town and that he should arrest her? Would he need to see her again?

I have an idea in my head how this is going to play out but wanted others’ take on it. Thanks!

In Ghost Ops do NPCs get free attacks only on total Bullet Time failure or also on partial failure?

I have the original version of Ghost Ops (which uses Fudge dice), not the Savage Worlds version or the OSR version. This question is about that original version, but if you think the rules in one of the other versions can throw some light on this, please chip in.

On page 132 of the core rulebook there is an example of a failed Bullet Time action. The PC was attempting to shoot 3 NPCs in the head, and needed an 8 but only got a 6.

The book then has some more rules:

The Handler can decide that the Operator succeeded in some of the attempt. Maybe they barged the door and managed to get 2 of the attempted headshots off but missed the third. Failing a Bullet Time event places the Operator as prone for 1 round, allowing any Tangos free attacks. Deciding to attempt Bullet Time is risky but can be ultimately rewarding.

So, if the GM has said the failed roll can be partial success (hit 2 of the NPCs) and partial failure (miss the 3rd NPC), which of these applies?

  1. It still counts as a normal fail – the PC is prone and subject to a free attack by all three NPCs (assuming the two he shot aren’t dead or disabled).
  2. It still counts as a ‘reduced’ fail – the PC is prone but only the third NPC, who was not hit, gets a free attack.
  3. It counts as a success – the PC is not prone and the NPC/s don’t get free attacks.
  4. The GM decides on a case by case basis.

I’m hoping there is clarification for this question in one of the expansions, or in an updated version of the pdf (I only have a print copy). I’ve failed to find any errata on the internet.

Shifting Sacred Flame to Toll the Dead for Evil NPCs

The PHB makes it clear that radiant damage comes from the Positive Plane and is often associated with the Celestials of the Upper Planes, while necrotic damage comes from the Negative Plane and is often associated with Fiends and the Lower Planes

Damage Types (PHB196)

Necrotic. Necrotic damage, dealt by certain undead and a spell such as chill touch, withers matter and even the soul. Radiant. Radiant damage, dealt by a cleric’s flame strike spell or an angel’s smiting weapon, sears the flesh like fire and overloads the spirit with power.

Positive and Negative Planes (PHB300)

Like a dome above the other planes, the Positive Plane is the source of radiant energy and the raw life force that suffuses all living beings, from the puny to the sublime. Its dark reflection is the Negative Plane, the source of necrotic energy that destroys the living and animates the undead.

Several cleric spells allow you to choose your damage type between radiant or necrotic, and if spirit guardians is the exemplar, you would make this choice based on alignment.

Spirit Guardians (3rd level conjuration)

You call forth spirits to protect you…If you are good or neutral, their spectral form appears angelic or fey (your choice). If you are evil, they appear fiendish. On a failed save, the creature takes 3d8 radiant damage (if you are good or neutral) or 3d8 necrotic damage (if you are evil).

Destructive Wave (5th level Evocation)

You strike the ground, creating a burst of divine energy that ripples outward from you. Each creature you choose within 30 feet of you…take[s]…5d6 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice)

Forbiddance (6th level Evocation)

You create a ward against magical travel…the creature takes 5d10 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice when you cast this spell).

Other cleric spells do just one or the other type of damage, but there are enough of these that DMs and players making alignment-based choices can find appropriate damage types at most levels:

1st: Guiding Bolt (radiant), Inflict Wounds (necromancy)

4th: Guardian of Faith (radiant)

5th: Flame Strike (radiant), Holy Weapon (radiant)

6th: Sunbeam (radiant), Harm (Necrotic)

7th: Finger of Death (Necrotic), Symbol (Death) (Necrotic)

8th: Sunburst (radiant)

However, at the time of the printing of the PHB and MM, there were no official cleric cantrips that did necrotic damage. This led to NPC’s such as the Acolyte (any alignment), Cult Fanatic (any non-good alignment), and Priest (any alignment) being assigned for their principle offensive cantrip sacred flame, which does radiant damage.

Now that Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has made official a cantrip that deals necrotic damage (toll the dead), would it make sense to replace sacred flame in the stat blocks of evil NPC’s with toll the dead?

Are there any balance or other issues that arise with such a general change?

Or, would it make more sense to keep sacred flame, but to modify it so that the caster can choose the damage type, as in spirit guardians et al.?

Related: Are positive and negative energy from their respective planes inherently good and evil?

How can I play monsters and NPCs up to their potential?

In many cases discussions about balance in 3.5 will, inevitably, involve one side or another invoking an anecdote of the time they fought this monster, or a member of that class, and they didn’t suffer the problem being illustrated in the discussion at hand. In many cases it seems like these anecdotes come from a case of the monster or NPC not being played (tactically) or roleplayed (again tactically, since that’s part of 3.5’s roleplaying experience, but also in terms of personality) up to the potential illustrated by its ability scores, powers, and skills.

How can a GM learn to play these monsters and NPCs up to their potential?

Being the best animal I can: How to successfully convince NPCs as a wild-shaped druid?

I’m a relatively new player with D&D 5th Ed. and chose to play a druid. I’m still learning quite a bit about how the game mechanics and spells work. In one encounter so far, where I was wild-shaped into a goat (as bait to lure an enemy out (I’m a team player, what can I say?)) I was asked to roll a charisma check to determine if I was convincing.

Charisma is my lowest stat, favoring wisdom, intellect and dexterity to bolster nature, survival, animal, and archery related skills. I would expect that to be a convincing animal, one’s knowledge of how those animals behave, rather than charisma, is more important.

I read through the post "How easy is it to make the distinction between a druid in beast form and a normal animal?" and it seems that charisma is typically used for deception, bluffing, and acting. I think Aviose put it well in their answer, that the check depends on the type of animal and type of deception.

While I understand it is ultimately up to my DM, is there any "official" guidance on passing scrutiny when Wild Shaped?

Context clarification:

Our party was tasked with dispatching some unknown attacker that had been killing farmers’ livestock. Maybe wolves but possibly something more sinister. We surveyed the area and decided a farm animal that appeared to be lost and alone might have the best chance of drawing out the target. We positioned party members in various hidden locations in brush and trees while our putting-on-a-brave-front-but-actually-pretty-scared "goat" wandered out into the fields like a lost child.

The DM wanted charisma checks to determine whether this goat was convincing to the unknown nemesis or if it would suspect something strange. The first attempt failed (which became a point of humor), but a later attempt worked, and we managed to eradicate a few skellies.