Cantrips and wearbeast PC’s

If a cantrip is an at will spell, why can’t a wear-raven or anything in the wear family cast it in their animal form? The write up on cantrips says it’s just like any other spell, except it doesn’t take up a spell slot, yet it also doesn’t say you have to cast it exactly like a normal spell. It says it’s an at will action. So wouldn’t a wear beast be able to cast it? Also I specify wear-raven because raven’s have mimicry. They can literally continue to speak a language after transformed, it’s just not as eloquent. So shouldn’t a wear-raven be able to cast a single word cantrip?

How high can a PC’s initiative bonus get?

Usually, most PCs rely solely on their Dexterity ability score modifier for their initiative; however, there are ways to get bonuses to initiative. How high can this bonus get?

For example, there’s the Alert feat (PHB, pg. 165):

Always on the lookout for danger, you gain the following benefits:

  • You gain a +5 bonus to initiative.

The Dread Ambusher class feature of the ranger Gloom Stalker archetype (XGtE, pg. 42):

At 3rd level, you master the art of the ambush. You can give yourself a bonus to your initiative rolls equal to your Wisdom modifier.

And the Tactical Wit class feature of the wizard War Mage archetype (XGtE, pg. 60):

Starting at 2nd level, your keen ability to assess tactical situations allows you to act quickly in battle. You can give yourself a bonus to your initiative rolls equal to your Intelligence modifier.

So, a level 6 character who was a Ranger 4/Wizard 2 who took the Alert feat at level 4 would have an initiative bonus of 5 + DEX + WIS + INT.

So, if my Ranger 4/Wizard 2 example above made it all the way up to level 20 (Ranger 18/Wizard 2) and used all their ASIs to max out DEX, INT and WIS, they would then have an initiative bonus of 20.

What character build (up to level 20 if necessary) gives the maximum initiative bonus?

Or, is the one I have outlined here the highest you can get?

For the purposes of this, let’s assume the PC is a human (+1 to all ability scores) whose player was lucky enough to roll all 17s during character creation; hence the character has +4 in every stat (for convenience). Anything RAW is allowed; multiclassing, feats, magic items, etc, but nothing from Unearthed Arcana. No temporary effects. Things that grant advantage or half-proficiency count, but nothing temporary.

NPC’s Disadvantage vs PC’s Saving Throws: any effect?

Picture a stand-off between a Conquest Paladin and a Yeti.

Due to fear effects, the Paladin has imposed the Frightened Condition on the Yeti.

Frightened

  • A frightened creature has disadvantage on Ability Checks and Attack rolls while the source of its fear is within line of sight.
  • The creature can’t willingly move closer to the source of its fear.

Now the Yeti uses its Chilling Gaze on the Paladin:

Chilling Gaze. The yeti targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the yeti, the target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw against this magic or take 10 (3d6) cold damage and then be paralyzed for 1 minute, unless it is immune to cold damage. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If the target’s saving throw is successful, or if the effect ends on it, the target is immune to the Chilling Gaze of all yetis (but not abominable yetis) for 1 hour.

Thus, the Paladin has to make his Saving Throw.

But in Rules as Written here, the disadvantage of the Yeti does not affect the Paladin’s Saving Throw, like lowering the DC, or giving the Paladin Advantage.

So my questions:

  1. Am I missing something here, or does the Disadvantage only affect the Yeti’s other attacks?
  2. Do any of You have a good House Rule for that case?

First time DM, how do I decide whether PC’s can tie up an enemy and other creative ideas

I know these are subjective questions, I just want advice from more experienced player.

For example: My PC tried to trip up a zombie which ran past him while in stealth as an opportunity attack. He rolled a high d20 but 0 for damage (-1 STR) so I decided this would be fair. He trips the zombie up but it takes no damage.

More complex one: He tries to tie up a prone but otherwise perfectly healthy zombie. I thought a die roll isn’t even worth it, because his strength is 9 but the zombie is 16 so following logic he wouldn’t have the strength to grapple the zombie into place in order to tie him up. Should I make it a hard strength check (20) or just narrate it as “You try but the zombies greater strength pushes you back”.

I’ve never DM’d before so I had a quick practice session with one PCs and I’m glad I did, there is a lot to consider!

How does increasing PCs’ wealth beyond the WBL table affect power disparity between character class tiers?

It’s well-known what happens when characters get less gold than they are supposed toaccording to the wealth-by-level (WBL) guidelines. Basically, the well-known power disparity between casters and non-casters becomes even stronger: money is Fighter’s access to magic, and magic is true power in Pathfinder. Without magic, the Fighter has significantly less power.

However, what are the consequences of the party getting significantly more money than it’s supposed to? E.g. doubling WBL, so a level 4 characters would get 12.000 gp worth of valuables instead of only 6.000.

Of course, this will make the affected characters more powerful, and they will require harder challenges to have meaningful encounters. But will the power disparity be affected in any way?

What happens if the DM decides a PC’s alignment should change to a restricted (evil) one?

Adventurers League Player’s Guide says, that we may not play characters with the neutral evil alignment:

we’ve decided to restrict alignment choices to keep groups from becoming too self-destructive. You may not play characters with either the neutral evil or chaotic evil alignments in the D&D Adventurers League.

Does it concern only newly-created characters, or is it true for the rest of the game? What if alignment was changed by the DM? Could it be?

Example 1. I’ve created a neutral character. Later in the game he killed someone, and the DM considered this act as “evil” one. Let’s say there were several such acts. Should the DM forcefully shift my alignment to “neutral evil”, effectively turning it into an inappropriate one (hence, kick the character out of the campaign)? Or how is this alignment rule supposed to work?

Example 2. A lawful neutral character committed several “evil” acts, and the DM shifted their alignment to “lawful evil” accordingly. However, ALPG says “you may play a character with the lawful evil alignment, but only if you are a member of either the Lords’ Alliance or Zhentarim factions”. The character isn’t a member of Alliance nor Zhentarim for now. As the result, should they be kicked from the campaign indefinitely? Or how this situation should be resolved?

One of my PC’s is unkillable, how to kill them?

Now I know it may be considered ‘unkind’ for me to just kill a PC like this, but he has agreed that his character should die. He has just made him borderline unkillable and gone around taunting a lich, a couple demons, some dragons, and basically any high-level intelligent enemy he can. It gets to the point where he breaks character to inform me as a DM that I can’t kill him. It has derailed the campaign to a point where every other PC is at constant risk because of these threats, but his character just kinda doesn’t care. He has no motivations and no axis by which I can attack him that isn’t his life, and his life is never at risk.

So, in summary, what is the most surefire way to kill any creature, especially a player, in 5e?

How do you adjudicate what alignment a PC’s actions are?

We have a group of three characters: The lawful good paladin (acolyte), the lawful good fighter (soldier) and the chaotic good druid (criminal). All try to help NPCs in need, won’t fight between themselves, but of course have different alignments and personalities. The druid is greedy, but otherwise a good guy. This brought up the question for our group whether greed can be considered a contradiction to having a chaotic good alignment? I understand it as “acting upon what is good, but having your own understanding of ‘good'”. But I am not sure if the PC being is played ‘wrong’.

How do you determine if a given action is in line with a PC’s alignment? And should the GM intervene if a PC is played differently that his/her alignment indicates?

Example: There is a Chaotic Good druid with a criminal background. The druid attacked caravans who destroyed his homeland, which he was protecting as his druidic duty, to make way for faster trade routes. Thus he made a name of himself and soon had quite a pile of goods in his territory. The thieves guild caught wind of that and made a deal with him to smuggle wares through his territory as long as they won’t hurt the wildlife. So far, seems like a reasonable match between criminal and CG.

Upon opening a chest in a dungeon the druid found a magic chainmail and a bag filled with 420gp. As he was the only one next to the chest, he turned around and told his two comrades there were 360gp in the chest, keeping an extra 60gp to himself without them knowing. Later after finishing a task for the mayor the druid and the paladin persuaded him to give them 550 instead of 500gp, while the fighter was drunk outside. The druid told the paladin to keep his share of those 10% extra, as a gift for always being successful on those charismatic tasks. This was done to check out the personality of the paladin. He accepted without a second of doubt and didn’t even contradict when the druid told him not to tell the fighter anything about the extra.

I am now confused about whether this is just unlawful or also not good, and if so what should I as DM do about it?

How can I curse a PC’s soul for killing off their last character without impacting their gameplay too much?

In the last session one character died, another player didn’t like his character and after the first death tried everything he could to kill himself (but failed because the party healed him so he impaled himself). To not encourage this behaviour I want to put a curse of his new characters soul as killing yourself is ‘dishonourable,’ but I don’t know what the consequences of this should be? His new character is a warlock that specialises in healing, and his patron is a lawful good black sun that idealises honour, justice and order.