Feedback on homebrew spell similar to Shadow Blade

I’m trying to create a homebrew spell that fills a similar niche to the Shadow Blade spell.

Goals:

  • Add meaningful decisions with significant tradeoffs, rather than raw strength. Using blade abilities leaves you without a weapon until your next turn, and costs your bonus to reform it.

  • Allow for highs and lows to combat through the ebb and flow of blade reforming. Costs a bonus action to use the abilities but also to reform blade, so only usable every other turn.

Sandstorm Blade

Level 4 transmutation

Components: S, M (a container of metallic sand worth 20G)

1 bonus action, 1 min duration, concentration

You form a shimmering blade of metallic sand in your hand. This magic sword lasts until the spell ends. It counts as a magical melee weapon with which you are proficient. It deals 3d8 slashing damage on a hit and has the finesse and light properties. If you drop the weapon or throw it, it dissipates at the end of the turn. Thereafter, while the spell persists, you can use a bonus action to cause the sword to reappear in your hand.

Additionally, on your turn when you strike a creature you can use your bonus action to change the sword:

  • Whirlwind. Your strike explodes the sword into a whirling cloud that surrounds you. Ranged attacks made against you have disadvantage until your next turn. Sword is lost until reformed.

  • Piercing strike. The blow strikes your target and onwards. If there is a creature directly behind your target you may strike them for 1d8 damage. Sword is lost until reformed.

  • Shredding edge. You send the sand coursing deep into the creature, tearing through it’s insides. Your blow explodes your sword, dealing an additional 1d8 damage. Sword is lost until reformed.

While you are wielding the sandstorm blade, you may spend your reaction to shape it to shield you from attacks, increasing your AC by 3 until your next turn. Sword is lost until reformed.

For context this is for use with a bladesinger.

Thank you!

What’s the best way to model similar tables with overlapping functionality?

I’m building a sports event/tournament/league management app for myself, and I’m stuck on the best way to model how Teams should relate to the different competition types.

Some background regarding the goals of the model:

  • using postgresql & graphql
  • Players earn points for participating in various events (tournaments &/or leagues) – calculated after each event.
  • Teams are made up of 1 to multiple players (depending on type of tournament or league) through a team_players join table.
  • Teams currently just have a tournament_id to join them to a tournament.
  • I’m making a separate Leagues table due to enough differences from how Tournament data is stored.
  • However, Tournament Teams & League Teams are exactly the same other than their event type & a couple quirks with how the points system calculates.

The crux of the question: Should I split out LeagueTeams to their own table & duplicate all the application logic that overlaps with TournamentTeams, or should I use one Teams table with 2 foreign keys (league_id or tournament_id)?

I feel like using one Teams table would be faster to get everything wired up on the application side initially, but I’m concerned it could end up complicating things long term…? Will it be more irritating always having to remember to query Teams by their event type in the future? Just trying to make sure I’m not missing something. Any guidance?

Looking for good book similar Stability/Conditioning in Numerical Linear Algebra,

I am currently reading Numerical Linear Algebra by Trefethen and Bau and I am finding it quite difficult to read. In particular, I have been trying to read the sections on Floating Point Arithmetic, Stability, and Conditioning, and they are pretty confusing to me; it has taken me 3-4 hours to go through the four pages on floating point arithmetic, and there are still a couple things I am unclear on.

I am looking for a book which goes over similar material as Trefefthen and Bau, but which fleshes things out a bit more.

My background is: I am a student of pure mathematics. I am a complete layman when it comes to computers.

Thanks!

Is there a way to forward unknown land line callers to a specific number in a manner similar to nomorobo?

My parents are getting up there in age and recently, my dad asked me about a message on his answering machine from “Apple” saying his account was “compromised”. After having educated him on phishing calls, I’m somewhat exasperated that he thought the message was authentic, so I had an idea to manually screen calls for him that aren’t from a whitelist.

I looked through the features from his landline voice provider to look for an unknown caller forwarding option, but there does not appear to be a way to forward calls from callers not on a whitelist. You can only forward specific callers or all callers. Nor did I want to enable the ‘accept selected callers’ feature because there’s no way to screen legitimate calls, including calls from 911.

I set up nomorobo for my parents about a year or so ago (but it doesn’t seem to block spoofers like the “Apple” caller) and I was wondering if there was some service that did something similar, but instead of working from a list of known scam numbers and block them, I’d like it to check the caller against a whitelist I set up and if not on the whitelist, forward the call to me and allow me to decide whether to let the call through or not (e.g. press 1 to add the caller to the whitelist and forward the call back to my dad – or 2 to blacklist them & hang up).

As a person with elderly parents and increasing phishing on the elderly, it seems like such a service would be popular, at least for this niche group. I found a service in the UK called “Fuss Free Phones” that has operators that essentially do what I’m proposing, but they’re shutting down (probably because it’s a bad business model to employ real-person operators to handle today’s scam volume). But if you crowd-source the “operators”, to those who actually care about the person being called, maybe it could work.

Should I discourage a group of players from all playing the same class with very similar builds?


Concerns I have

Traditionally the D&D party has been a Cleric, Fighter, Magic User and a Thief.

  • Adventures have been balanced around the traditionally party composition listed above.
  • Players feeling upstaged by another player doing the same thing better.

    So if I’m dealing with a group that all the players want to be trip build Fighters, should I encourage them to rethink their decision?

Should I use assumed value when using the spell Wish to produce a house or similar object?

So I was looking into the spell wish, and according to its description, it has the ability to produce an object up to 25,000gp of value. I was wondering if this could be used to produce a homestead, but there appears to be a debate on the cost of a house mainly due to its location. Should this be taken into consideration or just the raw material necessary to make the house and assume magic builds it?

How do attackers hit a website with thousands of similar but distinct IP addresses?

I have a website that is being hit with invalid URL requests by thousands of distinct IP addresses, never the same one used twice. Most of them are in a few ranges of IP addresses and often just go up sequentially.

Could this be a zombie botnet of compromised devices, or is it possible the attacker is spoofing these addresses?

The clustering of IP addresses into a handful of ranges seems inconsistent with what I would expect from random devices across the world being compromised and part of a botnet.

User agents are all legitimate and quite varied, but I know that is simple to spoof.

It doesn’t feel like a DDOS attack as it is “just” a few thousand per hour. If they really wanted to DDOS it seems like they would crank the volume up more. Once I adjusted some exception handling I was able to get my server to resume being responsive to legitimate use.

I suspect it is a malicious (poorly constructed) crawler/spider.

Is IP address spoofing easily done and common now in these scenarios?

How are Wishes for things of similar power to Wish’s listed effects granted?

The spell Wish allows you to do one of three things:

(1) The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower.

[…]

(2) Alternatively, you can create one of the following effects of your choice.

  • You create one object of up to 25,000 gp in value that isn’t a magic item. The object can be no more than 300 feet in any dimension, and it appears in an unoccupied space you can see on the ground.

[…]

(3) You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope of the above examples. State your wish to the DM as precisely as possible. The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance, the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong. This spell might simply fail, the effect you desire might only be partly achieved, or you might suffer some unforeseen consequence as a result of how you worded the wish.

The difference between #2 and #3 is that the examples #2 provides are fully reliable – they will not fail/partially succeed/be monkey-pawed, which could all happen to a #3 Wish.

Question: How would a Wish for something not listed as one of the #2 examples, but that the DM reckons is of similar or lesser power to them, be adjudicated?

As an example, a wish to permanently summon five (normal) horses. Not one of the examples, but clearly not a more powerful effect than the ones they provide. Would it be automatically granted (i.e. like the #2 examples), or not 100% reliable (i.e. it falls into #3)?

Seems like this hinges on exactly what “beyond the scope of the above examples” means.