In 5e, are there two versions of a ‘shove’, and if so, what further effects do the different versions possibly allow?

As I see it there are two versions of ‘shoving’ in 5e: a physical verion and a magical version.

The physical version allows pushing an opponent backwards OR knocking them prone, while the magic version moves them towards you or away from you but does not mention possibly knocking them prone.

The physical version is described on p. 195 (PHB) as follows,

"Using the Attack action, you can make a Special melee Attack to shove a creature, either to knock it prone or push it away from you. If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this Attack replaces one of them. The target must be no more than one size larger than you and must be within your reach. Instead of Making an Attack roll, you make a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you win the contest, you either knock the target prone or push it 5 feet away from you."

The Shield Master feat (p.170 of PHB) allows for this physical version as well.

The Telekinetic feat in Tashas C. of E. (p.81) is described this way,

"As a bonus action, you can try to telekinetically shove one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. When you do so, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + the ability modifier of the score increased by this feat) or be moved 5 feet toward or away from you. A creature can willingly fail this save.

Certain spells and other magical abilities, such as thorn whip and the eldritch invocation Grasp of Hadar, move opponents closer to, or farther from the caster, but do not mention the possibility of knocking the opponent prone.

I can imagine a reasonable explanation for why/how there are two versions: the physical is a crashing, concussive impact, while the magical is perhaps more like a tractor beam or magnetic attraction or repulsion and–possibly–not as abrupt.

But if there are two versions, does that lead to further issues?

Perhaps it’s a separate question, but I ask here to highlight why/how answers to my initial question might matter:

Is the telekinetic (magic) version of a shove something that could reasonably be a surprise to an opponent–would/should that give some disadvantage on the opponent’s chance to resist being shoved?

If an opponent were magically shoved from behind, when they didn’t think anyone was there, would that be a reasonable basis for giving advantage to anyone attacking them from the front?

I’d appreciate any thoughtful input on this–whether directly answering the initial question or just focusing on other aspects. I want to understand how ‘shove’ can be used and haven’t seen much online that explores the topic. Of course each DM could rule as they see fit, and talking about this ahead of time to flesh out some aspects of the spell would be wise (I just emailed my DM to do so), but I’m glad for any input here, as well.

What is the percentage of possibly hitting something that has stacked Blur, Blink, Mirror Image, and Armor of Hexes?

This question is mostly for hypothetical fun because setting all of these up isn’t super practical (unless it’s a 1-on-1 campaign perhaps?)

But with all of these stacking, how likely are you to be hit by an enemy? (let’s assume they have Hexblade’s Curse on them for Armor to work)

This probably depends on AC and to-hit from the enemy too, so let’s just take a look at a decent 13 AC, with the enemy having a +7 to-hit. It’s up to you if you add to hit or AC too to really look at how hard it is to hit something with absurd AC + all these defensive buffs, or how much high to-hit really helps.

How are scientific research projects planned? In particular computer science, but possibly there exists processes for all research?

Possibly some context: Take any research endeavor. Finding a vaccine. Going to the moon. Clean energy. I don’t have a background in these scientific areas so picking one closer to home (Comp Sci) might be better. But the idea is how to battle the Unknowns? How to do it economically? How to make progress while not getting analysis paralysis?

Some might suggest a scrum, or an agile process try to solve these questions. I’m not certain that they address the same level or kinds of Unknowns.

Are there previous experiences that work, and those that don’t work? And why? The questions grows on the way forward through unknowns, and by definition the Unknown doesn’t exactly have a road map, and new context is developed regularly.

This maybe simply the question of the ‘meta’ variety: Is there research on comp sci research? If so does Comp Sci research have approaches or techniques that they rely on?

Looking for a late 80’s possibly early 90’s D&D adventure based around a bar room brawl

About 20-25 or so years ago our group played a D&D one shot adventure that was entirely based around a bar room brawl. It started out with us in the inn post adventure and then developed over time into a full on brawl, there where a number of events and actions that happened during the night and a large number of NPC’s we could interact with through the adventure.

I know our GM based it on a written adventure potentially published in the late 80’s, think it might have been published in a roleplay or specific D&D magazine, possibly a very early White Dwarf.

The sessions stands out even now as being really good fun and I have been trying to find it in order to run a similar session myself, does anyone know this, or a similair adventure?

MST with possibly minimal diameter

I am working with some research problem connected loosely to TSP which requires to find the Minimum Spanning Tree of a fully connected, weighted graph, where all the weights are positive and the graph is undirected (just like in Christofides algorithm). The point is, the problem I am working on requires me to find the MST with possibly lowest diameter (the number of nodes on the longest path between any two leaf nodes, equivalently, for the purpose of measuring the diameter one can treat all the edges of the MST as if they had the weight equal to 1).

I know that Boruvka’s, Prim’s and Kruskal’s algorithm can be used to find some MST, but can I influence them somehow to prefer the shortest (in the terms of the diameter) trees possible?

If the answer to the question above is negative, are there any algorithms or methods which either yield MST with some bounds on the tree diameter or, at least, are there any known methods of obtaining a bound on MST diameter for a given graph?

How to securely transfer files from a possibly infected WinXP machine to Linux?

There is an old Windows XP installation that was being used without even an antivirus. This WinXP computer has files. These files are important and should be moved to a Linux installation. Given the lack of any security practices on the side of the WinXP owner it seems possible that the data contains malware.

I can now:

  • Ignore this and simply keep using these files in Linux; after all Linux is supposed to not need AV.
    • At the very least the files should be scanned to avoid accidental redistribution of malware if they are ever sent to anyone else again
    • The files contain eg a multitude of .odt / .doc documents – maybe it’s a very remote possibility, I don’t know, but malicious macros are OS independent?
  • Install ClamAV on Linux machine, scan the files, remove Clam afterwards.
    • AFAIK ClamAV is known for its poor detection rate – scanning the files with it is only marginally better than not scanning at all?
  • Install an AV on the WinXP machine (Panda Free AV still supports WinXP, doesn’t it?), scan the files there, only transfer them afterwards.
    • Which means going online with WinXP once again – this just feels wrong
  • Any options I overlooked?

I feel stuck. Not sure how to progress.

Note I wouldn’t like to manually inspect the files and eg remove any potentially suspicious files like .exe files while leaving safe files like .png files intact. Reason is the data is not mine, I was just asked to transfer it so that someone else may use them.

What is the accepted best practice in a situation like this?

How to analyze a USB device of having possibly malicious capabilities?

So I recently ordered a chinese external USB card and I would like to find out whether it has some hidden functionality, which might become malicious. It has buttons integrated in it so Linux using libusb -vv displays it of having HID capabilities, which already alerted me since it could be used to inject keystrokes.

  • How do I go on continuing my analysis?
  • Can I dump more information about its capabilities using libusb?
  • How do I dump its firmware for reverse engineering purposes? According to [this] that’s only possible with a JTAG/UART connection?
  • Is there something like Wireshark but for USB?

Bonus points if you also add some libusb example code.

Num Lock randomly turns on, possibly only on Visual Studio Code

My situation is similar to the one posted here: Num Lock Key Randomly Turning On and Off, except, so far, I have only observed this random toggling when I am writing on Visual Studio Code. In other parts and on normal usage, I have not observed this happening.

So, in any regular writing session, I would suddenly find myself typing in numbers, when I wanted to just move around the text. Does anyone have any idea why this is happening, please?

Here’s some information that might help:

  • Lenovo Ideapad 330-15IKB
  • Ubuntu 19.04.3

About page on VS Code:

Version: 1.38.1 Commit: b37e54c98e1a74ba89e03073e5a3761284e3ffb0 Date: 2019-09-11T13:30:08.229Z Electron: 4.2.10 Chrome: 69.0.3497.128 Node.js: 10.11.0 V8: 6.9.427.31-electron.0 OS: Linux x64 5.0.0-31-generic snap 

If this isn’t the best forum for this question, please let me know and I’ll head there. I wish this problem to be solved the soonest possible because this gets really annoying.

Is it safe to backup data (images, documents, videos, etc…) from a possibly infected computer?

If I had a possibily infected computer, where I had some images and documents that I wanted do backup to a thumb drive, is it possible that that the used thumb drive could be infected and when connected to other computer, infect that computer in the process?