For the specific campaign of “Odyssey of the Dragon Lords”, can a javelin be considered a “ranged Weapon” for the purpose of using DEX to hit/dam?

In core 5e RAW rules, Javelins are simple melee weapons (STR based). However in this particular players guide they talk about Ranged weapons, which Javelins are mentioned.

On Page 20 of the "Odyssey of the Dragon lord" players manual:

Thylean Weapons Warriors in Thylea typically use spears, shields, and swords. There are exceptions, of course, but the armies of Mytros and Aresia train thousands of soldiers in the use of these simple armaments. Heavier weapons, such as halberds and greataxes, are thought to be barbaric.

Ranged weapons are typically limited to javelins, slings, longbows, and shortbows, although there are some who have adopted the use of complex recent inventions, such as crossbows. These weapons are engineered in small quantities by the Academy and are not widely available. Thylea boasts a handful of unique cultural weapons, which can be found at just about any blacksmith or adventuring shop. With the exception of the chakram, they function identically to their normal counterparts (unless they are magical).

There are other places where they change/add new descriptors to existing core weapons. For example page 49 of the same players guide:

Vagrant Soldier Despite your roguish demeanor, you have all the training of a common soldier. When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with shields. Additionally, spears and tridents count as finesse weapons for you.

If anyone has played this campaign and can prove a definitive ruling on this question – using RAW or other items from the publishers, that would be great.

As usually, it is up to the DMs discretion for a final ruling – this is a known and doesn’t need further mentioning as part of an answer.

Thank you.

Are there any official CR 8 beasts that are not dinosaurs, for the purpose of the Polymorph spell?

Although the party wizard has had a wand of polymorph since finding it in a hand-converted U3: The Final Enemy (before the release of Ghosts of Saltmarsh), she has typically used it defensively, turning enemies into slugs and such. Only recently has she begun to use it offensively. After fighting some carnivorous apes, she turned the 7th-level barbarian in the party into a CR 7 Giant Ape when he was low on HP.

Per the description of the polymorph spell:

The new form can be any beast whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target’s (or the target’s level, if it doesn’t have a challenge rating).

As a result of that battle, the party has leveled up, and the wizard can now polymorph the barbarian into a beast of CR 8.

Unfortunately, I know of only one CR 8 creature that is a beast – the Tyrannosaurus rex. While RAW there is no restriction on using polymorph to achieve forms that the character has not seen before, it would harm the verisimilitude of my game, in which none of the characters have even heard of dinosaurs.

Do any official published products include CR 8 beasts that are not dinosaurs?

Is the Midgard Heroes Handbook Centaur race considered as Medium, or Large, for the purpose of grappling and shoving?

In the "Midgard Heroes Handbook" from the Kobold Press, there is a playable character race, the Centaur. Their size is rather unique – a Medium/Large hybrid, so to speak :

Size. Centaurs stand between 8 and 9 feet tall and weigh in excess of 1,000 pounds. Your size is Large.

Humanoid Torso. Although you are Large, you wield weapons and wear armor sized for a Medium creature, thanks to the proportions of your humanoid torso.

It is clear to me that, as a creature with a Large, equine lower part, a Midgard Centaur can be ridden by a Medium creature (provided they’re wearing a saddle), but as a creature with a Medium, humanoid upper part, they cannot wield oversized weaponry.

But what about grappling and shoving ? Are they considered Large, or Medium for such things ? I can see an argument for either interpretation – since they’re of Large category, but have Medium sized hands…

What’s the purpose behind this phishing attempt?

As probably all of you, I got an email that was intended as a phishing attack.

The HTML version of the email was pretending to be a Facebook email of a security warning.

phishing image

The links do lead to Facebook, for an account-switching crafted URL. I get that one.

However, the text version of the email has something like this:

mailto:xxx@stanforduni.com;xxx@massachusettsins.co.uk;xxx@e-irosky.me;xxx@harvarduni.org;xxx@univofcambridge.eu;xxx@univofoxford.com;xxx@yandex.ru;xxx@yandex.ua;xxx@yandex.kz;xxx@yandex.by;xxx@yandex.com;xxx@mail.ru;xxx@yahoo.com;xxx@aol.com;xxx@gmail.com 

(I redacted out usernames from those addresses.)

Some of those names seem to be related (maybe the same person across multiple domains?). Some others seem generic but on a similar vein (mostly universities).

My question is: what’s the purpose of this "attack"? Clicking on those would trigger my email client to prepare an email for all those addresses. What does an attacker gain out of this?

What’s the purpose of signatures in Google Maps APIs?

There’s something I don’t understand about signatures in Google Maps APIs.

The documentation says "We strongly recommend that you use both an API key and digital signature, regardless of your usage". In this case we are talking about the Maps Static API, where requests are made by the frontend with a URL that generates an image to embed on your website. API keys should be restricted by referrer, so nobody else will be able to steal your key and use it in another project. So what’s the purpose of also adding a signature to the request?

As far as I know, signatures are used to make sure the request isn’t modified by an attacker. But I don’t think any parameters in Google Maps APIs can be abused in this case. What’s even more confusing is the fact that if you check out other Google Maps APIs like the Distance Matrix API or the Roads API, they only recommend you restrict your API key (by referrer) and don’t mention anything about adding a signature.

So is a signature really needed or not? And why?

For the Purpose of Detect Magic and Identify. Would a Magic item that ran out of power for the moment be considered a magic item?

If a magic item runs on "Magic Batteries" when the Item is out of power would it be considered a magic time for the purpose of the Identify and Detect Magic spell?

For example, I have a Mirror that shows through illusions, it has crystals around it that are destroyed as you used it, you can replace the crystals for more uses when it has no crystals, would it still be considered a magic item detectable by the spells?

Would the same work for items with charges that recharge at dawn? If the item has 0 charges and is not dawn yet, would it be still be considered a magic item?