Shifting Sacred Flame to Toll the Dead for Evil NPCs

The PHB makes it clear that radiant damage comes from the Positive Plane and is often associated with the Celestials of the Upper Planes, while necrotic damage comes from the Negative Plane and is often associated with Fiends and the Lower Planes

Damage Types (PHB196)

Necrotic. Necrotic damage, dealt by certain undead and a spell such as chill touch, withers matter and even the soul. Radiant. Radiant damage, dealt by a cleric’s flame strike spell or an angel’s smiting weapon, sears the flesh like fire and overloads the spirit with power.

Positive and Negative Planes (PHB300)

Like a dome above the other planes, the Positive Plane is the source of radiant energy and the raw life force that suffuses all living beings, from the puny to the sublime. Its dark reflection is the Negative Plane, the source of necrotic energy that destroys the living and animates the undead.

Several cleric spells allow you to choose your damage type between radiant or necrotic, and if spirit guardians is the exemplar, you would make this choice based on alignment.

Spirit Guardians (3rd level conjuration)

You call forth spirits to protect you…If you are good or neutral, their spectral form appears angelic or fey (your choice). If you are evil, they appear fiendish. On a failed save, the creature takes 3d8 radiant damage (if you are good or neutral) or 3d8 necrotic damage (if you are evil).

Destructive Wave (5th level Evocation)

You strike the ground, creating a burst of divine energy that ripples outward from you. Each creature you choose within 30 feet of you…take[s]…5d6 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice)

Forbiddance (6th level Evocation)

You create a ward against magical travel…the creature takes 5d10 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice when you cast this spell).

Other cleric spells do just one or the other type of damage, but there are enough of these that DMs and players making alignment-based choices can find appropriate damage types at most levels:

1st: Guiding Bolt (radiant), Inflict Wounds (necromancy)

4th: Guardian of Faith (radiant)

5th: Flame Strike (radiant), Holy Weapon (radiant)

6th: Sunbeam (radiant), Harm (Necrotic)

7th: Finger of Death (Necrotic), Symbol (Death) (Necrotic)

8th: Sunburst (radiant)

However, at the time of the printing of the PHB and MM, there were no official cleric cantrips that did necrotic damage. This led to NPC’s such as the Acolyte (any alignment), Cult Fanatic (any non-good alignment), and Priest (any alignment) being assigned for their principle offensive cantrip sacred flame, which does radiant damage.

Now that Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has made official a cantrip that deals necrotic damage (toll the dead), would it make sense to replace sacred flame in the stat blocks of evil NPC’s with toll the dead?

Are there any balance or other issues that arise with such a general change?

Or, would it make more sense to keep sacred flame, but to modify it so that the caster can choose the damage type, as in spirit guardians et al.?

Related: Are positive and negative energy from their respective planes inherently good and evil?

Does a Shifter Druid lose its racial Shifting benefit if its Wildshape is dropped to zero HP?

This is a follow up to my other question: Can a Shifter Druid use its racial Shifting feature in Wildshape?. The answer to that question states that a character which is a Shifter (race) and is also a Druid may use its racial Shifting ability while in Wildshape.


The Shifter racial ability states:

Once per short rest as a bonus action, you can assume a more bestial appearance. This transformation lasts for 1 minute, until you die, or until you revert to your normal appearance as a bonus action.

The Druid Wildshape ability states in part:

You can revert to your normal form earlier by using a bonus action on your turn. You automatically revert if you fall unconscious, drop to 0 hit points, or die.

If a Druid that is in Wildshape and is Shifted takes damage that drops its form to 0HP, causing the druid to revert to its normal form, does it retain the benefit of being Shifted in that normal form or does the Shift also end?

Can a Shifter Druid use its racial Shifting feature in Wildshape?

The Shifter race from Eberron Rising from the Last War has the Shifting ability:

Once per short rest as a bonus action, you can assume a more bestial appearance. This transformation lasts for 1 minute, until you die, or until you revert to your normal appearance as a bonus action.

Druids have the Wildshape feature:

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your action to magically assume the shape of a beast that you have seen before. You can use this feature twice. You regain expended uses when you finish a short or long rest.

[…] You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so […]

Obviously, a racial feature can be used in wildshape absent any conflict that prevents its use. Is there such a conflict in this case? Can a Shifter that is a Druid use its shifting feature at the same time as its Wildshape class feature?

How does the Natural Weapons option of the Alter Self spell affect a Longtooth Shifter’s Shifting Feature?

I play an Eldritch Knight Longtooth Shifter who’s about to get 2nd level spells. I was looking at Alter Self (which I realize I can’t get until a level later anyway because of its school) and I was curious about how it interacted with my Shifting feature.

[Longtooth] Shifting Feature. While shifted, you can use your elongated fangs to make an unarmed strike as a bonus action. If you hit with your fangs, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

So my shifting feature grants me an unarmed strike attack as a bonus action using elongated fangs. Looking at Alter Self:

Natural Weapons. You grow claws, fangs, spines, horns, or a different natural weapon of your choice. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as appropriate to the natural weapon you chose, and you are proficient with your unarmed strikes. Finally, the natural weapon is magic and you have a +1 bonus to the attack and damage rolls you make using it.

If I cast this spell using this option and choose to “grow fangs” while shifted, does the bonus unarmed strike have a +1 bonus because of Alter Self?

In what ways can a PC gain advantage on WIS checks like the Shifter Wildhunt shifting ability?

I am making an Inquisitor Rogue and since it depends a lot on the Wisdom Score for its main abilities, I was thinking of using the Wildhunt shifting ability to gain advantage on Wisdom checks would be very helpful. But I am not not choosing the Eberron race so I ask for your help to find if there is any other way to improve my Wisdom rolls by using spells, feats, items or some other method.

Shifting Feature. While shifted, you have advantage on Wisdom checks. […]

TL;DR: Is there a way to replicate the Wildhunt Shifter shifting ability from Eberron by using items or spells?

Weighted Activity Selection Problem with allowing shifting starting time

I have some activities with weights, and I would like to select non overlapping activities by maximizing the total weight. This is known problem and solution exists.

In my case, I am allowed to shift the start time of activities in some extend while duration remains same. This will give me some flexibility and I might increase my utilization.

Example scenario is something like the following:

(start, end, profit) a1: 10 12 120 a2: 10 13 100 a3: 14 18 150 a4: 14 20 100 

Without shifting flexibility, I would choose (a1, a3) and thats it. On the other hand I might shift the intervals by 5 units (In real case even 1000x greater than original task duration) to the left/right. In that case I might come up this schedule and all tasks can be selected.

a1: 8 10 120 (shifted -2 to left) a2: 10 13 100 a3: 14 18 150 a4: 18 23 100 (shifted +4 to right) 

Are there any feasible solution to this problem?

If a staff with a Shifting rune is transformed into a gauntlet, can you cast spells from the staff/gauntlet while wielding another weapon?

Magic staves can have weapon runes applied to them. One rune is a Shifting rune, which lets you transform the weapon into a different weapon. If I use a Shifting rune to transform a staff into a Gauntlet, then pick up a sword with that hand, can I still cast spells from the staff/gauntlet in this state?