Who decides what PHB variants are in play?

The rules variants presented in the DMG are clearly there for the DM to decide upon.

SOME of the variants in the PHB say that they are the DM’s prerogative. For example, VARIANT: CUSTOMIZING ABILITY SCORES (PHB p.13) says "At your Dungeon Master’s option, you can use this variant for determining your ability scores."

However, the VARIANT: ENCUMBRANCE (PHB 176) says "Here is a variant if you are looking for more detailed rules for determining how a character is hindered by the weight of equipment." AFAICT, there is no discussion of encumbrance in the DMG.

Does this mean that, RAW, individual players each decide whether or not they are using the encumbrance rule, and that a given game might have some players using the variant rule and others not?

(I realize that by Rule 0, A DM could decide that the variant rule was in play or not)

Should I continue to play with a frustrating DM?

[Sorry if this is really long]

I don’t usually do this but I’m having a hard time with my current D&D group and I’m not really having fun anymore because of it. I think our DM is having us play a combination of I think 2 modules that take place in Faerun and using AL rules.

We have recently been going on one of the modules but are constantly hitting a wall with almost every single session to the point where we even joke about how rare it is that we succeed at anything. At this point we come out of sessions more times frustrated than satisfied. In our last session we actually decided at the end that we’d give up on this story and go pursue the other module’s story.

I’m also having some personal issues with this campaign and I’m not sure if it’s just me being difficult or problematic. So far I’ve played 4 different characters in this campaign because they keep dying or otherwise become unplayable. My first character just died in a TPK which was completely on us. Then my second character (human) permanently aged from being in his 20s to being in his late 80s which kind of messed up that character concept so I retired him. My third character is still alive but I’ve set them aside (as a backup character) to try playing another character that I really wanted to play but he was arrested (which was also on me) with no way of being bailed out because it’s too high of bail plus too long of a sentence (if he isn’t sentenced to death).

Because we’re all keeping track of XP individually, the other party members are level 7 or 8 and each character I’ve brought starts at level 1 and all of my characters except for my backup character have not made it past level 3. Since my characters are such low levels in comparison, they can’t really contribute that much especially in combats so I usually have them hang back during combats (ranged/spells) until they can get a level or two. I don’t really mind bringing in new characters that much since I have a bunch of character ideas I want to play but my last one that got arrested was a rebuild of my very first character so he was a little special to me.

However, recently I’ve been getting the feeling that there is some mild favoritism going on at the table by DM leniency and I’m just not one of those favorites. I try to be a good player for the DM and a good party member for the rest of the players. I just feel like whenever I try doing something creative that it never turns out well and my character either fails completely or gets mocked by an NPC in social interactions. At this point I’m starting to consider roleplaying more passively and reserved and just not try doing anything crazy.

I’ve already taken a pretty long break from this campaign because of some of my frustrations with the game. Another player in the group also has been getting pretty frustrated with it but has had his character do fine and he had talked to the DM about his it though not much changed because the DM is pretty confident and set in his DMing. We’re all friends IRL and I just don’t want to cause any conflict or anything between me and the DM. I don’t know if I’m just being problematic or complaining.

When it’s good and we’re all having fun, it’s great, but when it’s not it just kind of sucks. I still haven’t decide if I’m going to just bring in a new character (my backup isn’t that fun) or just leave the group again but permanently. D&D is one of my favorite things to look forward to each week but I’m just not really having fun anymore with this campaign but I still want to play. I’m just not sure whether to suck it up and keep playing and hope that it’ll be different with the new module or not.

I want to play a Hexblade/pact of the blade warlock what’s the optimal way to play/use the character in combat? [closed]

I’m about to play my third ever session of D&D. I’ve been watching live-play for a while but haven’t played much. I’ve made a Levistus Tiefling Warlock with Pact of the Blade and a Hexblade patron starting at level 15.

character info:

Eldritch Invocations.

1-Agonizing Blast. 2-Lifedrinker. 3-Thirsting Blade. 4-Devil’s Sight. 5-Shroud of Shadow. 6-Visions of Distant Realms. 7-Mask of Many Faces.


cantrips: Eldritch Blast – Mage Hand – Minor Illusion – Prestidigitation – Ray of Frost

1-level spells: Charm person – Hex – Armor of Agathys(1/long rest) – Disguise Self(at will) – Arms of Hadar

2-level spells: Hold person – Crown of madness – Darkness(1/long rest) – Invisibility(at will)

3-level spells: hyponatic pattern – Thunder step

4-level spells: Banishment – Summon Greater Demon – Arcane Eye(at will)

5-level spells: Hold Monster – Cone of cold – Far Step – Stynaptic Static

Arcanum spells: Circle of death(6 level) – Forcecage (7 level) – Dominate Monster(8 level)

The main idea is that I’m really loving the idea and roleplay of being a warlock/cursed deal being the faceless charismatic type character and being tied to a weapon as in what the pact of the blade offers.

I prefer a ranged combat character, but I don’t want to be useless in melee. How can I optimally play this build?

How to fast play Traps/Loot/Hidden treasure

As new players, we ran our first dongeon and the session left me a bitter taste. Some part lasted a long time without being usefull, those parts were when we were searching for treasures or traps.

Indeed, before entering EVERY room the group was : "we look at the door/every tile we step on/wall to determine if there is a hidden trap", and the DM to reply "OK roll for an investigation/perception". And actually there were only one trap for the full dongeon…

Then when we entered a new rom, EVERY player were asking the DM : "I am searching for a hidden treasure/loots/secret door". And the DM, one player at a time : "ok roll", just in order to loot a few pieces from the dead bodies or nothing most of the time…

My questions is : how to manage Traps/Loots/Hidden Treasures without rolling everytime for everyone and avoiding (as much as possible) to miss a secret door/treasure/hidden trap ?

[ Politics ] Open Question : I don’t wear a mask, I play football, and I go out with some women and I didn’t get the coronavirus. Does this mean that it is a invention?

I don’t know anyone who had a corona and I’m not going to use these ridiculous masks. My health is that of an ox. Shouldn’t I have died according to the socialist media?

How to allow my player to play a ranged paladin-style character?

So, I saw this question here. The way the questioner wrote it (at the time I am writing this one) was quite broad. I have been through a similar issue, which ultimately led me to homebrew a new class, and I decided to share my problem and my solution.


I am running a new Curse of Strahd campaign with players that are more used to D&D than most groups I DM to. One of my players wants to play a ranged weapon-based character, but that, at the same time, has “holy” characteristics, similar to a Paladin or Cleric. Basically, the player wants to shoot arrows that deal radiant damage and deal some extra nice damage against Undeads and other evil creatures.

Additionally, the player feels like the holy aspect should provide some kind of support to the party, similar to what Paladins and Clerics do, not only be a damage dealer that deals radiant damage and extra against evil.

The Issue

Well, there is the first obvious issue: clerics don’t have much supporting ranged weapon-based playing style, nor do Paladins. But not only that, the Paladin class as a whole is quite melee-based, so, creating a new subclass to the Paladin that fits with ranged combat still seems hard – it is not just about changing Divine Smite to ranged and allowing Archery as a Fighting style. The channel divinities are melee based, the auras are mostly melee-tankish based. On the other hand, re-flavoring a Ranger to something more “sacred” also does not feel the same (especially since the player wants something to support the team).

The question

So, that said, how can I allow my player to play with the concept they have in mind and have a fun time? I should mention that I am totally okay with homebrew content, as long as it is fairly balanced, and I am also okay with build suggestions that make such a playstyle viable. Answers explaining why this is a bad idea are also welcome, if that is the case and I am unaware.

Building more diverse local Organized Play RPG community

How do I build a more diverse local RPG community? Currently, there’s several Organized Play RPG communities in my closest metro region (West Coast, USA). The largest OP group has several thousand members and a very broad, diverse demographic base with members from almost every social facet of urban life.

There are a few other OP groups that are far smaller and insular. From my observation, these groups are almost entirely ethnically white, middle-aged men. These groups range from 50-200 members at most.

I am an active member in multiple Organized Play groups, and there is a glaring difference in membership and demographics.

How do I help build an Organized Play community that doesn’t become insular and homogenous? I don’t know if a reformation approach is helpful or appropriate for these groups, but I’m not willing to accept the status quo.

How do I play a paladin without being a stick in the mud?

What are some tips for/examples of an epitome-of-good type paladin who does not disrupt the ‘sinful’ fun of the rest of the group?

As an example of the type of paladin I’m talking about, one of the first and only 3.5 books I bought was the Book of Exalted Deeds, and I’ve used it as guide for how I play good characters ever since.

As an example for those who’ve never read Exalted Deeds, I once played a Paladin who refused to kill any humanoid, and would actively defend defeated allies from other party members on the grounds that no one in the group was a judge, and thus could not render a death sentence. This did not go over well with the group, who quickly became tired of needing to haul around enemies to the nearest court, not to mention dealing with the occasional escape attempt on the baddies’ part. I felt I was playing the character as was appropriate, and the GM agreed with me on that fact. However, the group quickly deteriorated, as players began to grow bored of listening to my paladin preach at their characters to be better people.

I enjoy playing this type of character. However, not everyone enjoys playing with that type of character. So, how do I balance it so that I’m still playing my paladin characters the way I like them to be portrayed, without disrupting everyone else’s fun?

Is there any edition where it’s possible to play as Animated Armor?

I’m new to this, and I’m still looking for a group to play with, but I have it set in my mind that the first D&D character I’d like to play as is secretly animated armor.

Would this be possible and accepted? I’ve tried looking up information about animated armor but I can hardly find anything about it. I’m not talking about haunted armor, just enchanted armor with a will of its own.

Then if I’m allowed, how would I level my character?

In short these are my questions:

  • Am I allowed to play as Animated Armor?

  • And if “yes” how would I go about making such a character stronger?

I don’t have any particular D&D edition to choose from yet, as I have yet to find a group, but let’s just say the latest edition (5th) if we must pick one. But if this is more easily possible in a different edition, I would rather know that.

The only information I could find on Animated Armor is here.