At third-level, are rangers allowed to select a drake as their animal companion?

I wasn’t able to find anything about this in 5th Edition. A drake seems that it would exceed the 1/4 challenge rating stated in the PHB.

In this specific campaign, our Dungeon Master allows anything that is accessible on D&D Beyond not including Homebrew content.

I did find the Drake Warden Ranger archetype, which I assume is for Pathfinder, and thought it might be possible that I’d overlooked a similar variant in D&D 5E.

Does a caster under the effect of a True Polymorph spell retain their class levels?

The true polymorph spell specifies that:

The target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of its new form … The creature is limited in the actions it can perform by the nature of its new form, and it can’t speak, cast spells, or take any other action that requires hands or speech, unless its new form is capable of such actions.

So let’s take the example of a level 20 Sorcerer who has permanently True Polymorphed himself into a Planetar Angel.

The sorcerer’s game statistics are replaced by those of the new form. Does this include class levels? The angel’s form doesn’t limit the physical ability to use spellcasting, but does the sorcerer retain their class-given spellcasting ability?

The wording of the spell seems to imply the caster is still able to cast their spells, as long as the new form is physically capable of performing the required components.

How about a dragon? They are capable of verbal and somatic components, which are the only requirements for spell usage.

[ Politics ] Open Question : Do you think Abby Huntsman and Meghan McCain should stand with their View hosts and call for Trump’s impeachment?

Trump has insulted Meghan’s father so many times and yet she’s still Republican.  She has even defended some of Trump’s actions: same with Huntsman.  Her father worked for Trump as an Ambassador.  

What happens when my players get promoted and their puns stop working?

In Paranoia 2nd edition, player names are structured as firstnameclearancesector. The first name can be anything, the clearance starts out as R for Red, and the sector can be any three capital letters. The rulebook strongly advises that this is used to make some kind of horrible pun, so my PCs dutifully created characters with names like Traito-R-USS, Cho-R-IZO, Roberts-R-DUM and Bash-R-SEE.

Frustratingly, some of these PCs survived their first mission and I suppose that I should probably promote them for this, meaning that they advance to Orange clearance. Unfortunately, Traito-O-USS doesn’t work as a pun any more.

Is there an established approach to this? Should I allow my players to rename their characters? Should I encourage them to think harder about puns that work throughout the clearance levels?

Do players roll their own dice?

D&DBeyond: Advantage and Disadvantage

Sometimes a special ability or spell tells you that you have advantage or disadvantage on an ability check, a saving throw, or an attack roll. When that happens, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll.

  1. If a player is to ‘make a roll’ does that mean they physically roll the die themselves and observe the result?
  2. Does this apply to all rolls that a player is to make, or only the listed ability check, saving throw, and attack roll?
  3. Do players know the result of the roll?

I am asking only about RAW/RAI. I include this statement because when researching this question I came across countless threads without any kind of official sourcing claiming that players do not always roll their own die.

Do they players know when their attacks connect?

Now, this is a pretty odd question to ask, maybe. But depending on the narrative style of the game, “hitting their armor class” doesn’t always mean you physically struck your opponent with your weapon. Personally I like to describe a “hit” as “you actually had to put effort into not getting stabbed by that sword.” In general, at least.

However in this narrative style raises a potentially interesting question, and related DM gimmick*. If an attacker doesn’t really score a meaningful hit until they actually down a monster, do they necessarily know when they are dealing HP damage? It’s pretty common for players in combat to save time by rolling damage dice together with their to-hit die. Could a DM require that of players, taking notes as needed, and only informing the PCs when an attack actually does something (such as downing the target).

*: As a DM I must say that I don’t think this is something I would do in very many cases. Knowing the ballpark of the target’s AC is useful meta-knowledge for the player, which usually doesn’t impact the narrative in any way (beyond “A 14 isn’t good enough to hit this guy, but a 16 is, better use my Bardic Inspiration die”). Whereas being denied it doesn’t necessarily make the experience any better either – in fact, it would probably introduce frustration for some players (“Man, are we even hurting this guy?!”).