Can “partial” surprise happen? Would it be an acceptable rule?

I’m thinking the "surprise round" rule just isn’t fair. Say there’s a 2 vs 2 encounter (teams PC and Creatures (Cs)), then PC1 could notice the 2 Cs and PC2 just one of them. Also for the sake of discussion PC1 is mute for whatever reason, so he can’t quickly communicate with PC2 and he also plays last according to iniciative order. Then PC2 loosing an entire round seems unfair to me, because he could perfectly be taking actions against the C he found. Also if PC2 gets attacked by the Cs it would be doubly unfair, even if one has advantage and the other don’t, it’s 2 actions against none. So I figured you could ask PC2 to just turn around when it isn’t his turn during the surprise round, so as not to reveal the concealed C position to him and then, when he plays his turn remove the hidden C and let PC2 play as always…or if he gets attacked by hidden C before his turn he now sees it. What do you think?

How would you rule on casting Scrying without material components?

Scrying has an M requirement of

a focus worth at least 1,000 gp, such as a crystal ball, a silver mirror, or a font filled with holy water.

While not explicit, this focus is presumably used to actually see and hear the target of the spell (e.g., this question).

Aberrant Mind Sorcerers can retrain one of their Psionic Spells for Scrying, and this feature allows them

to cast the spell using sorcery points, [requiring] no verbal or somatic components, and [requiring] no material components, unless they are consumed by the spell.

Since the focus is not consumed by Scrying, would you allow casting the spell this way? If so, how would you rule the scrying happens?

When is fall damage divided between creatures using Tasha’s rule?

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything offers the following rule:

If a creature falls into the space of a second creature and neither of them is Tiny, the second creature must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be impacted by the falling creature, and any damage resulting from the fall is divided evenly between them. The impacted creature is also knocked prone, unless it is two or more sizes larger than the falling creature.

However I am unclear how this would relate to resistance, the Monk’s Slow Fall, and other damage reducing features.

The rule says "any damage resulting from the fall is divided evenly between them" but it doesn’t specify whether that damage is split before or after damage reducing features.

Is the damage divided between the two creatures before or after damage reducing features are calculated?

New DM on House Rules, concerning Nat20 & Rule of Cool

As a DM making a house rule, am I allowed to grant "Rule of Cool" to Natural 20 rolls in exchange of giving "Rule of Uncool" effects for Natural One rolls? (but all within the boundaries of RAW as well).

  • In battle, a small PC rolling Nat20 successfully maneuvers himself and climb on the back of the big bad creature (Legolas Style), only to roll Natural 1 in his attack and accidentally hit his allies.

  • Failing Deception on guard with Nat1 roll additional 2 arrives and a High Ranking Knight, only to roll Nat20 and convinced the High Ranking Knight instead literally allowing you to pass the area with no consequence at all.

I just want to encourage imagination by introducing some Matrix dodges and Epic fails in the game that is somewhat lighthearted and funny especially to noobs like me.

Am I being a bad example of being a DM? Should I discontinue this approach?

Variant rule: how can we lighten the cost of chugging potions in battle? [closed]

So, we know how this works: potions are listed as magic items in the DMG, and to use a magic item, one must use activate magic item, which costs one action and, to the best of my knowledge, there’s no way to relieve such cost (a thief’s fast hands don’t apply since, again, this is a magic object and for some reason it’s wholly different).

Now, I’m sure most of us can relate to this this situation" you find yourself in the midst of a bloody battle, half-dead and surrounded by enemies, when a hope shines through the perils: your bag full of refreshing healing potions, which beg to be savored by your dusty lips. You extend your empty hand (or drop whatever you were holding since only one free interaction is allowed per turn and tidily stowing your sword consumes it… the ancients would say junky lex, sed lex), grab a delicious 4d4+4 health potion and prepare to consume your action in the process… "But wait" I hear you say, "Doesn’t it heal an average of 14Hp?" Indeed. "And don’t my enemies dish out an average of -whatever number higher or equal to 14-"? Right on the money. "So I can’t move or I’ll trigger free opportunity attacks – and the hostile creatures will still be able to reach me (if they have at least my speed) – but I can’t disengage or do any evasive meneuvers or I won’t be able to drink… So I can only chug and deplete my precious potions while they gank on me till they’ll inevitably reduce me to a pulp?" Bingo.

Healing potions are scarcely useful in battle, even compared to healing spells: despite being limited -to the number of spell slots left-, they also offer several ductile options: most are available from level 1 (healing word, cure wounds) and therefore ever more plentiful, they can be upcast (while one cannot chug more than one potion per turn), some cost a bonus action (healing word), and the strongest have an AoE healing (mass cure wounds*). The scale is so tipped in favor of spellcasters that even in campaigns with regular supplies of cheap, high level potions, they rarely compare to the dreaded healbot. How can we houserule more versatility and usefulness out of potions and rely less, possibly not at all, on healers?

Most common solutions I found were:

  1. Drink healing potions as a bonus actions, which definitely helps and resembles healing word, but, seems e bit too much and inconsistent (I mean, what about other potions?);
  2. Dodge&drink, a solution Hipsters&Dragons came up with, which lets you take the dodge action freely when you drink a potion (https://www.hipstersanddragons.com/drinking-a-healing-potion-in-combat/), which is neat, but won’t save you from any save-throw imposing moonbeam;
  3. If you retrieve a healing potion this turn and drink it the next one (with two separate free interactions), you don’t need to waste any action since drinking only takes a free interaction". Crawford debunked this possible solution (https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/805197509127598080), and didn’t the DMG establish that potions are magic items and you need to, somehow, activate them? Inconsistencies aside, this interpretation doesn’t really help in the heat of battle, does it?

So, what do you suggest?

House Rule – Upcasting Enlarge / Reduce to extend duration

The party is deep into my 5e-updated classic Greyhawk Giants series.

The hill giants and their orc and goblin minions have attacked the Sterish city of Headwater and have taken about a quarter of the city. The party is about to embark on a mission to go behind enemy lines, kidnap and assassinate a stone giant who is critical to the hill giants’ city / siege offensive as being their only trained engineer. While the party’s patron recognizes that the stone giant needs to die, she also recognizes that at present the Stone Giant Thane has not joined the giant alliance and wants to keep it that way. Thus, she is requesting that they carry the body of the slain giant honorably back to his Thane in an effort to preserve a fragile peace between the humans and the stone giants. I would like the party to be able to accept this mission, without it becoming either a logistical challenge involving wagons and draft animals, or without loaning them a portable hole.

Instead, I would like to provide them with a version of the Enlarge / Reduce spell which is in all aspects identical to the original except that it can be upcast to extend the duration.

I figure the giant is 17 feet high and 1000 pounds; after reduce it would be 8.5 feet and a manageable 125 pounds.

For this version of Enlarge / Reduce I am proposing that:

When cast at 3rd level against living creatures, it lasts 10 minutes

When cast at 3rd level against objects, it lasts 1 hour

When cast at 4th level against living creatures, it lasts 1 hour (similar to polymorph)

When cast at 4th level against objects, it lasts 8 hours

When cast at 5th level against living creatures, it lasts 8 hours (much less than geas)

When cast at 5th level against objects, it lasts 24 hours

The party Wizard is currently 8th level and getting close to 9th. Requiring her to use both her fourth level slots and maintain concentration for the duration of travel every day in order to move swiftly and stealthily into the mountains with the body is just the right level of challenge for the group.

My only concern is that allowing this version of the spell to the party wizard permanently will have some unforeseen interaction with some other spell, ability, or item that I will later regret. This question, for example, asks about upcasting enlarge to permit two changes in creature size, and answers identify the interaction with levitation and grappling being problematic. I am interested in a similar troubleshooting review.

Can a Boggle use the optional rule to Tumble to Oil Puddle a creatures space?

The Boogle creature has an action that can lay down a sticky oil that covers the ground in the Boggle’s space. In the DMG(p272) there are rules to Tumble, which lets you move through the enemy space once if you succeed.

Using them together could the Boggle use it’s Oil Puddle during it’s movement through their space?

Is incorrect what Thirsting Blade affirms that would be the rule without it? [closed]

By RAW:

"Thirsting Blade

Prerequisite: 5th level, Pact o f the Blade feature

You can attack with your pact weapon twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn."

So, by RAW: If it says "instead", then otherwise (A.K.A. without that eldrich invocation) the rule would be: "You can attack with your pact weapon once whenever you take the Attack action on your turn."

But the "original" rule is not this, you can’t "attack with your pact weapon once whenever you take the attack action", actually, you can attack with your pact weapon once when you take the attack action AND choose to attack with your pact weapon. So, is incorrect what that invocation affirms that would be the rule without it?

What balance pitfalls result from this house rule regarding levitating creatures?

My table is considering the following house rule:

A creature suspended above the ground and unable to move on its own (e.g., under the effect of the levitate spell) is especially susceptible to forces that would push or pull it. When you successfully target a suspended creature with an effect that would move it, you can choose to move it an additional number of feet equal to 5 times your relevant ability modifier (e.g., your Strength modifier if you shoved the creature with a special melee attack, or your spellcasting ability modifier if you used a magical effect, such as the gust spell or the shove effect of the Telekinetic feat). The additional movement must be in the same direction as the normal movement caused by the effect you used.

A creature with a flying speed is not affected by this rule.

The logic here should be obvious — a creature hanging in mid-air, with no ability whatsoever to stop itself from being moved, should be easy to move. But what are the implications of such a house rule from a balance standpoint? Are we setting ourselves up for headaches?

(For context: this might seem like a corner case, but we’re playing a heavily psionics-themed campaign, and so maximizing players’ opportunities to embody the tropes of telekinesis even at low levels is important. It isn’t inconceivable that someone else in a similarly-themed campaign might have similar ideas.)