Is a Pact of the Chain Warlock’s quasit familiar really this effective as a spy?

One of my players has a Warlock with the Pact of the Chain. This PC has a quasit familiar. If we are applying the rules correctly…

Pact of the Chain

You learn the find familiar spell and can cast it as a ritual. The spell doesn’t count against your number of spells known. When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite. […]

Find Familiar

[…] While your familiar is within 100 feet of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar’s eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the familiar has. During this time, you are deaf and blind with regard to your own senses. As an action, you can temporarily dismiss your familiar. […]

VARIANT: QUASIT FAMILIAR […] Familiar. The quasit can serve another creature as a familiar, forming a telepathic bond with its willing master. While the two are bonded, the master can sense what the quasit senses as long as they are within 1 mile of each other. While the quasit is within 10 feet of its master, the master shares the quasit’s Magic Resistance trait. At any time and for any reason, the quasit can end its service as a familiar, ending the telepathic bond.

… then he can communicate with it within 1 mile and see what it is seeing.

For example, in a mission where PCs have to peek at the enemy camp, he could just stay hidden and send the quasit exploring the camp. The quasit can turn invisible and polymorph into a centipede, so it can go anywhere (even inside a building), and the Warlock can see everything.

Now, is this correct? It would seem really overpowered to me.

If it’s correct, how can I limit this power in an acceptable way?

How Microsoft Junk Mail filter really works based in body content links?

I’m not here to discuss about DKIM, DMARC, SPF, or other of the hundreds of variables in the difficult path to get your email into the Inbox instead of Junk folder.

I’m here just about the links in the body content of the email, and I’ll tell you why.

I have been sending dozens of emails from a Google Apps mail account, to a hotmail.com account.

It was just TEXT, this text:

Hi there !!! Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aenean sagittis imperdiet eros sit amet placerat. Aenean blandit efficitur eros non mattis. Integer vehicula nunc eget est vulputate, sit amet consequat ipsum feugiat. Aliquam massa odio, dignissim vel luctus in, aliquam sit amet est. Aliquam erat volutpat.   Phasellus egestas, dolor in tempor ullamcorper, tortor lectus auctor neque, vel suscipit diam tellus tempus tortor. Nam vulputate euismod ligula, ac tempor arcu tempus at. Donec ultricies velit sed justo mollis accumsan at nec nisi. Vestibulum a diam ac magna varius consectetur. Donec in justo vitae ex lacinia imperdiet. Nullam gravida urna leo. Etiam congue, dui a commodo feugiat, risus tellus tempor neque, eget vestibulum erat ex non augue.  If you want you can visit: https://xxxxxxxxx.xxxx  Donec pulvinar rutrum commodo. Cras porta facilisis bibendum. Pellentesque pretium est sem, ut varius diam suscipit quis. Aenean et eros auctor, rhoncus mi in, dignissim odio. Suspendisse suscipit enim lorem, quis interdum massa consectetur in. Integer suscipit eros sodales hendrerit tempor. Etiam finibus semper tellus, ac suscipit orci mollis eu. Pellentesque vehicula auctor ultrices. In hendrerit dolor quis lorem laoreet, vel convallis magna laoreet. Sed pulvinar non magna maximus dapibus.  Nullam semper lacus eget hendrerit dapibus. Morbi eget urna eleifend, consectetur elit ac, fermentum orci. Mauris et urna est. Mauris ac lacinia lectus. Vestibulum scelerisque tempor nibh ac eleifend. Nulla faucibus tellus blandit quam suscipit ultricies. Suspendisse finibus risus id lectus lobortis mattis.  Regards 

The only change was the ONLY link in all email content. Everything was exact the same. The content, the subject, the sender … I just changed that link.

What I saw is with some links, the email goes to Inbox folder With other links, it goes to the Junk folder.

Just that ! Just because of the domain name of the only link in the body content.

Why is that?

I try to figure out things like:

  • domain age
  • domain – ip and reverse
  • domain ip in ip’s blacklist
  • domain in domain’s blacklist
  • domain has https activated
  • and some other variables

but I can’t get any "rule" that satisfies why sometimes "that link" is "good" or not to Microsoft Junk Email Filter.

Does anyone know any clue in order to check the list of "good" domains and "bad" domains I have so we can all learn about this? 😉

Does reducing the Purple Worm’s HP to 184 really reduce its challenge rating to 13?

On page 113 of Princes of the Apocalypse the text reads in part:

As the tremor ends, a young purple worm with 184 hit points (challenge rating 13) burrows…

No other changes to the Purple Worm’s stats are given and the monster does not appear in the Monsters section at the end of the book. This monster also shows up on DnD Beyond’s encounter builder as a CR 13 monster as "Young Purple Worm", in contrast to the CR 15 "Purple Worm".

Is taking away 63 hit points with no other changes to this monster enough to drop it two challenge ratings? I’d like to challenge, but not kill, my party.

No really anything that I could buy with my archer-based cleric. (1e)

I am in a relatively new campaign (level 5) and I just came into about 9k gold. I am a cleric and there is pretty much nothing I can buy that I haven’t already. I have 12 str, so no more than a plus one on my composite long bow. I have a nice set of hide but low dexterity, so no more medium armor worth buying. All enchants are absolutely obscene in price, or so useless they don’t do anything. No magical items that I can use are within my price range, and the worst part is, I feel absolutely useless in my group. My spells do virtually nothing, my bow cant hit anything because I CONSTANTLY role like Satan himself is channeling his personal hatred towards me through my dice, and I don’t have enough strength to be anything but a minor inconvenience to most melee enemies. I know I probably am missing something huge, but are there some things people could recommend for me to buy to be remotely helpful for my group?

For clarification, I have 12-Str 15-Dex 18-Con 12-Int 20-Wis 10-Cha. I am a Dwarf, just a classic cleric, mostly focused on healing with the Healing and Good domains. I have Channel Smite and Guided Hand as my two feats. For gear, I have a normal set of breastplate and a +1 non-magical composite longbow and all the rest of my gear is normal adventuring gear. I have no magical items.

Is Baleful Polymorph really this weak?

So, Polymorph subschool spells apparently end if you want them to, whenever you are subject to a new polymorph spell. Does this mean I can use literally any Polymorph spell to end Baleful Polymorph? Furthermore, since the decision to allow Baleful Polymorph to affect me or not is made by myself at the time the spell is cast, while the spell dispels other Polymorph effects when I fail to save, does this mean that being under the effects of literally any Polymorph spell (e.g. Youthful Appearance, which is a level 1 spell) makes me effectively immune to PaO? This would seem to render effectively impotent a high-level classic spell.


Support for the issue:

1)

Any polymorph effects on the target are automatically dispelled when a target fails to resist the effects of baleful polymorph

but

You can only be affected by one polymorph spell at a time. If a new polymorph spell is cast on you (or you activate a polymorph effect, such as wild shape), you can decide whether or not to allow it to affect you

and

The Spell’s Result

Once you know which creatures (or objects or areas) are affected, and whether those creatures have made successful saving throws (if any were allowed), you can apply whatever results a spell entails.

So it would seem we get to choose not to allow Baleful Polymorph to affect us before we save against it. Even if we choose a weird all-inclusive definition of ‘when X is cast on you’ (which has other problems), the effects would then be resolving simultaneously, which is ill-defined, and furthermore:

In addition, other spells that change your size have no effect on you while you are under the effects of a polymorph spell.

So we don’t have to save in the first place, even if saving against a spell happens before casting starts, unless we’re already ‘Small or smaller’ as determined by what we’re being turned into.

2)

as long as baleful polymorph remains in effect, the target cannot use other polymorph spells or effects to assume a new form.

but

If a new polymorph spell is cast on you (or you activate a polymorph effect, such as wild shape), you can decide whether or not to allow it to affect you, taking the place of the old spell.

and furthermore

You can only be affected by one polymorph spell at a time.

So the situation this line refers to, where you have had some other polymorph effect added and still have Baleful Polymorph so it’s limited to only its non-form-altering effects, can’t actually occur ever with regards to spells! Even if we choose to keep Baleful polymorph, the other spell isn’t just

unable [to allow the subject] to assume a new form.

it’s completely negated! The polymorph spells cannot coexist. I guess this matters for stuff like Wild Shape, which Baleful Polymorph also prevents from altering your form, but which don’t trivially negate Baleful Polymorph if you feel like it and automatically get dispelled if you don’t, but that seems very contrary to the RAI, to me, which seem to be that Baleful Polymorph actually works regardless of other polymorph effects.

NMinimize differential evolution: how do search points and initial points really work?

I am puzzled by the settings of a specific method for NMinimize called DifferentialEvolution, given for example here. The settings include both "SearchPoints", or the size of the population of evolving points, and "InitialPoints", or the initial population(?). What I don’t quite understand is that "SearchPoints" can be set to a value different from the number of specified "InitialPoints" and NMinimize will often happily proceed, and sometimes it won’t.

What might be happening under the hood? If there are less "InitialPoints" than there are "SearchPoints", will the population be filled up with random points to meet the specified number of "SearchPoints" before evolution begins or does it proceed with a population that is in fact smaller than "SearchPoints"? What about the opposite case?

Here is an example where we give much less "InitialPoints" than there are "SearchPoints".

Clear[f, c, v, x1, x2, y1, y2, y3]; f = 2 x1 + 3 x2 + 3 y1/2 + 2 y2 - y3/2; c = {x1^2 + y1 == 5/4, x2^(3/2) + 3 y2/2 == 3, x1 + y1 <= 8/5,     4 x2/3 + y2 <= 3, y3 <= y1 + y2, 0 <= x1 <= 10, 0 <= x2 <= 10,     0 <= y1 <= 1, 0 <= y2 <= 1,     0 <= y3 <= 1, {y1, y2, y3} \[Element] Integers}; v = {x1, x2, y1, y2, y3};  NMinimize[{f, c}, v, Method -> "DifferentialEvolution"] (*{7.66718, {x1 -> 1.11803, x2 -> 1.31037, y1 -> 0, y2 -> 1, y3 -> 1}}*)  points = 5; searchpoints = 50; listpoints = {RandomReal[{0, 10}, points],  RandomReal[{0, 10}, points], RandomReal[{0, 1}, points],  RandomReal[{0, 1}, points],  RandomReal[{0, 1}, points]}\[Transpose];  NMinimize[{f, c}, v,   Method -> {"DifferentialEvolution", "SearchPoints" -> searchpoints,  "InitialPoints" -> listpoints}] (*{7.66718, {x1 -> 1.11803, x2 -> 1.31037, y1 -> 0, y2 -> 1, y3 -> 1}}*) 

If there are more "InitialPoints" than there are "SearchPoints", NMinimize sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, depending on the value of the random seed for instance.

Can an 8th level Monk/Barbarian (Path of the beast) really make 5 attacks per turn?

In Tasha‘s Cauldron of Everything, WotC released a new Primal Path for the babarian, the "Path of the Beast" which has the following rage feature:

Until the rage ends, you manifest a natural weapon. It counts as a simple melee weapon for you, and you add your Strength modifier to the attack and damage rolls when you attack with it, as normal. You choose the weapon’s form each time you rage:[…]

Claws. Each of your hands transforms into a claw, which you can use as a weapon if it’s empty. It deals 1d6 slashing damage on a hit. Once on each of your turns when you attack with a claw using the Attack action, you can make one additional claw attack as part of the same action.

Combined with 5 monk levels to get Extra attack and flurry of blows, could such a monk barbarian make 5 attacks in one round like:

1st round:

  • rage (bonus action)
  • 2 attacks (action) with claws
  • 1 extra claw attack (from "claws" feature)

2nd round:

  • 2 attacks (action) with claws
  • 1 extra claw attack (from "claws" feature)
  • 2 more attacks (bonus action flurry of blows)

Or am I missing a restriction that prevents this?

Is a car really sufficient cover from any grenade?

A flash-bang grenade is thrown in a parking lot. Somewhere else, in another identical parking lot, a fragmentation grenade is thrown. Can someone use a car as cover to completely avoid the effects of either explosion?

How does cover works in the case of a car used as cover? The rules say that a grenade doesn’t affect someone in cover unless it breaks the cover, and I cannot imagine the flash-bang grenade breaking the car — but at the same time, can the car really protect you from it? Similarly, I can’t imagine a car being fully destroyed by just a fragmentation grenade, so is it safe cover in that case?