Is there a difference between “damage taken” and “damage dealt”?

This question is prompted by parts of How much damage can the Guardian of Faith spell deal?, If someone casts Vampiric Touch on a creature with necrotic absorption, does the caster take damage?, and this answer.

I am hoping for a more conclusive understanding of whether, within the mechanics of 5e, there is a difference between damage taken by a creature and damage dealt to a creature.

Is there a difference between any of the following aside from phrasing:

  • Gaspar took 8 points of damage from Joan’s attack
  • Gaspar was dealt 8 points of damage by Joan
  • Joan’s attack against Gaspar dealt 8 points of damage

Or rather is there a difference between "A creature hit by your attack takes 1d8 points of damage" and "Your attack deals 1d8 damage to the creature it hits"?

Shield Master – Can the shield push be taken before an attack?

Can the shield push from the Shield Master feat be taken before an attack? i.e. Push prone, follow up with an attack while they’re down.

Shield Master

You use shields not just for protection but also for offense. You gain the following benefits while you are wielding a shield:

If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield.

What is the earliest level that the Touchstone feat can be taken?

The Touchstone feat (from Sandstorm, p.53) lists the following as Prerequisites:

Knowledge (local) 8 ranks for the area in which the touchstone lies, OR possession of a touchstone key (a portable object native to the touchstone’s area and worth at least 250 gp). To forge a link between yourself and the touchstone, you must spend a day in meditation, spending 10 XP and 250 gp in material components. Alternatively, the key object for the touchstone can be destroyed as part of the ritual, in place of the material components. (Emphasis added)

It is noted that this feat could possibly have been intended to be an update from the previous Planar Touchstone feat (Planar Handbook, p.41) which is almost exactly the same, however the text grammatically indicates that both the skill ranks and the object are required. However, since the feat name is slightly different, it could be argued that they are technically different feats.

A prerequisite of 8 ranks of a skill would normally place the earliest opportunity to take the Touchstone feat at level 6 (unless a given character build happened to have a bonus feat available right at 5th level).

Given the “OR” in the quoted text, what character level then is the earliest that the Touchstone feat can be taken, assuming at a minimum that the required object is in hand?

Shield Spell and triggering effects of damage not taken

A Shield spell is cast as a reaction to an attack that hits. It applies its AC bonus even against the attack to which it is a reaction, meaning that it can make that attack that hit, retroactively miss and thereby not do damage.

Shield ‘interrupts’/potentially cancels its trigger, as stated in the DMG in the ‘Adjudicating Reaction Timing’ section.

Since the damage has retroactively not been done, what happens to effects that were triggered by the damage in the first place? Are they undone as well, or do they persist?

This question has two answers of nearly equal popularity, with one arguing that other effects triggered by the hit still persist, and the other arguing that they do not. On the side of the argument that they do not occur is a (now-unofficial) tweet from Jeremy Crawford stating

If the attack has a special effect that relies on it hitting, that effect doesn’t occur if the attack is turned into a miss.

If we accept that Shield means the effects of a hit retroactively do not happen, what occurs when those effects include ones that allowed the Shield spell to be cast in the first place?

I am currently running Curse of Strahd and in today’s session the party was fighting flameskulls, which are undead capable of casting the Shield spell.

  1. The party cleric had turned multiple flameskulls.
    "Channel Divinity: Turn Undead":

A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take Reactions.

At the start of the paladin’s turn, the flameskull could not cast Shield, since it was Turned, and could thus not use reactions.

  1. The party paladin then attacked a flameskull that had been turned, and hit, causing damage.
  2. This damage removed the turning effect on the flameskull, allowing it to cast spells.
    "Channel Divinity: Turn Undead"

it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.

Once the flameskull had taken damage, it was no longer Turned. Since it was no longer Turned, it was able to use its reaction, and thus able to cast Shield.

  1. As a reaction, the flameskull cast Shield, which resulted in the effect that it was retroactively not hit.

  2. Since it had not been hit, it had not taken damage. What happens next?

Option A: Although the damage as a consequence of the hit is removed, the fact that the damage was done at one point in time was enough. The spell slot for Shield is removed, the flameskull is undamaged but no longer turned, and it finishes its turn.

Option B: Since the damage as a consequence of the hit is removed, the flameskull is retroactively still turned. The spell slot for Shield is removed, but the flameskull is still Turned, and finishes its turn.

Option C: Since the damage as a consequence of the hit is removed, the flameskull is retroactively still turned. The spell slot for Shield is removed. Since the flameskull is retroactively still Turned, it could not have taken a reaction and thus did not cast the Shield spell. The spell slot for the Shield spell is restored. Since it did not cast Shield, the flameskull was actually hit and took damage. Since it was damaged, it is no longer turned and can now cast Shield. The flameskull never finishes its turn because it is caught in an infinite recursion loop.

What sequence of actions has to be taken in order to configure DB2 UDB SMTP mail?

I read https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SSEPGG_9.7.0/com.ibm.db2.luw.sql.rtn.doc/doc/r0055176.html and tried to run the command provided in the article, even though I fully expect SMTP to not work because my server requires a user name and password authentication that the command is missing.

So, just to try it out, I fired off:

db2 update db cfg using smtp_server 192.168.0.12 

It threw this error:

SQL1024N  A database connection does not exist.  SQLSTATE=08003 

Are there any prerequisites to the above command that I am missing?

And once we get this to work with the community’s help, how are we supposed to provide user name and password for the SMTP server in DB2 UDB?

The road not taken, or do GM’s typically allow replays?

Some people say games are supposed to be unique experiences that cannot be recreated. What if the player wants to replay the same game from the beginning, but try a different path at a fork in the road that occurred somewhere in the middle? Would you allow him to use the same character and keep all his previous XP and loot, or would you make him start a new character?

Time taken by virus to reach all nodes

Given a connected graph, with weighted edges, a virus starts from a given node. It takes x seconds for the virus to travel from a node to one of its neighbours where x is directly proportional to the weight of the edge.

If you are allowed to remove one edge from this graph in order to maximize the ammount of time it takes for the virus to infect all the nodes. How to find this edge?

I could come up with an O($ n^2$ ) solution to remove every edge one by one and then run BFS to find out the time it takes for the virus to infect every node. Is there a better solution in terms of time complexity?

What are the logical steps taken to perform ssh key authentication?

I understand the logical steps of asymmetric key cryptography as it relates to TLS, however, I’ve started using Git and in a bid to avoid having to use a password for authentication, I’ve set up ssh keys for passwordless authentication. I understand that these ssh keys are complements of each other but I do not understand how the actual authentication is taking place. I’ve copied the public key to Git and stored the private key locally. As such, I am able to do what I set out to do (passwordless authentication) but I do not know the underlying steps as to why the authentication is successful. I’ve tried searching the web but every answer I’ve found thus far has been too high level in that they did not specify the steps. For example, were I looking for the TLS steps, I’d expect something along the lines of: Check cert of https page (server) – Grab public key and encrypt secret with it – Securely send secret to server which should be the only entity with the corresponding private key to decrypt – Server and client now switch over to encrypted communications using the, now, shared secret.

Warding Bond: What is the Order of Operations for calculating cleric damage taken?

The warding bond spell allows a support character (cleric) to buff another creature (Basic Rules p. 105):

While the target is within 60 feet of you, it gains a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws, and it has resistance to all damage. Also, each time it takes damage, you take the same amount of damage.

What is the Order of Operations used to arrive at the final damage that the cleric receives as his share?

Resistance rules brought this up (Basic Rules, p. 75) as we hoped to Ward a raged Barb – MEGA Tank – until our DM reminded us that you don’t double stack like resistances (PHB, p. 197).

If a creature or an object has resistance to a damage type, damage of that type is halved against it.

I’ll be buffing our Paladin.
Two cases:

  1. Weapon damage (a hammer blow, a claw strike, gored by a gorgon …)
  2. Damage where a saving throw versus magical damage (usually a spell or spell like effect) is required.

Case 1. I stay 30′ behind Paladin. Giant scores a hit, doing 16 points of bludgeoning damage. Warding Bond (resistance) reduces that to 8. I take 8 HP.

Case 2. The Wizard whom the Giant serves fireballs the Paladin on his action. (I am outside blast radius). Rolled damage is 24, Fire. Paladin has resistance to all damage (from Bond) thus 24 is halved to 12. He rolls a saving throw, and succeeds with a 17. He takes 6 damage. I take 6 damage.

My view is that we can’t assign damage to Cleric until we know total damage to Paladin.

Paladin and I weren’t sure about the case of fireball: should it be different from the Giant’s hammer, since you don’t get a save versus melee weapon damage? With fireball reduced damage (from resistance) at 12, do I take 12 unless I too save versus fire as the Paladin did?

I don’t think so. It seems to violate the KISS principle. But, the Bond ties the cleric magically to the Paladin. Is magic going to follow that path of least resistance?

Do I have the order of operations right?

  1. First resolve all damage to Paladin.
  2. Then apply that amount to Cleric.

Is there something we missed that would support the other order of operations?