Variant: Scoll Mishaps – how and why?

On pg. 140 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide there is a sidebar for handling scroll mishaps. It states:

A creature who tries and fails to cast a spell from a spell  scroll must make a DC 10 Intelligence saving throw. 

While interesting, it leaves a question wide open: how (or why) would a creature fail to cast a spell from a scroll? If the creature can "understand the written language" then the scroll should just work, according to the prior page. Am I missing something?

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?

Arcane Hierophant Variant: Archivist prestige class creation

I’m planning on creating a prestige class based on the Arcane Hierophant. The Arcane Hierophant however is more wizard/druid bias and since I’m an Archivist I decided to create a variant with the Archivist in mind.

The problem: I can make the prestige class continue the advance of the Archivist’s Dark Knowledge but I’m torn if I should add more class abilities. Is the continued advance of the Dark Knowledge enough? Or should I add more?

The BAB progression will follow the usual Mystic Theurge, same with the reflex, fortitude and will saves. The entry requirements would be two Knowledge skills (arcana and religion), ability to cast 2nd lvl spells (just like AH), and have Dark Knowledge as a class feature. it will have a d4 as its hit point gain, 4 + Int for its skill point gain. No alignment requirement and a +4 BAB to qualify. I’m still playing around some hypothetical abilities like the loremaster’s secrets class feature.

It’s the divine half I want to substitute with the archivist, so the druid part would be replaced by archivist.

A performing monotonic UUID variant, does it make sense?

Because of supporting offline clients I unfortunately have to replace some of my integer Primary Key’s for UUID’s (but not necessarily the 128-bit RFC 4122 version). I’m on Postgres 12 (could upgrade to 13, but there seems nothing in the changelog related to this). What would be the best performing option? I have some thoughts written below. Any insights/answers?

Length.

To improve overall performance, I am assuming that shorter is better for the PK.

Monotony.

As I have a degree of control over the application, for example there cannot be more than one ID per second, I can have a key that is shorter than the typical UUID, which I think is pretty long.

I have been informing myself on Postgres PK’s, and learned that they are B-Tree’s, and may (if I understand it correctly) benefit from monotonically increasing values.

I’m thinking of making a Base36 key composed of three parts:

  1. The Unix epoch in Base36 (6 characters, monotonic) (for ex. right now it’s feb-7 2021, or 1612725396 seconds since 1-1-1970 => QO6AVO)

  2. ..followed by a 4 character Base36 client fingerprint, which is reoccurring, but still a random number.

  3. ..and a Base36 random number of 5-7 positions (still contemplating the length) which would not be monotonic at all.

The resulting key will thus not be entirely monotonous, but still somewhat.

Datatype.

A key could look like for example: QO6AVO2N9C5O6AQT1 and could be saved as VARCHAR(17) or as BIGINT or BIGSERIAL. What would be more performant, and why? I read different opinions on it on various blogs…

Alternatively, I could use the CUID provided by https://www.npmjs.com/package/cuid. Also a Base36, but it is slightly larger, but has the same level of monotony. Allegedly there are DB’s that use that package for there native ID generation.

Security.

A benefit of UUID’s is that they cannot be guessed. My application has no need of that.

When answering optimization questions in E6 (D&D3.5 variant), can you assume bonus feats whenever convenient, or only at level 6?

When answering optimization questions in E6 (D&D3.5 variant), can you assume bonus feats whenever convenient, or only at level 6?

I’m very familiar with the underlying 3.5 system, but not very familiar with the conventions of E6. It seems like character-build questions handwave feat requirements away freely, but it’s not clear to me how that works. Can you select arbitrary many bonus feats at any arbitrary level? Or is there some known way to achieve the same effect?

Generally, I would expect this sort of question to be “read the book.” However, E6 does not have a “book” per se (or does it?), and to the extent that it does, that book appears different from how common practice appears.

Difference between a Magus Variant, and a Skeletal Champion variant

So, while looking through the template options for skeletons and animate dead, one of the listed options is the magus.

Magus: These variant skeletal champions and zombie lords are minor spellcasters (typically 5th-level or less) that have retained both their intelligence and their spellcasting abilities. Magus skeletons and zombies gain Silent Spell as a bonus feat. (CR +1 plus caster level)

This variant is the only one without an example. Looking at it, it seems pretty abstract. It looks like it may even be argued to fall under Create Undead instead of animate dead. However Create undead has the Skeletal champion template, which already retains class levels and intelligence and even gives extra HD that the magus doesnt seem to.

My question is, which spell creates a Magus skeleton, and if it is create undead, are they basically an extra free feat for the champion? If its animate undead, are they mostly mindless save for their spell casting ability? What is retained?

Does only the “Thug” variant combine with the “Sneak Attack Fighter” Variant?

Unearthed Arcana lists the two Fighter variants "Thug" and what is commonly referred to as "Sneak Attack Fighter". I have been reading in forums here and there that you can combine the "Sneak Attack Fighter" with other Fighter variants, but the Unearthed Arcana entry for the "Sneak Attack Fighter" reads:

This variant can also be combined with the thug variant.

As far as I know variants are not mixed such as archetypes might do in Pathfinder. Am I correct to assume that by raw you do not mix class variants?

Variant: Skills with Different Abilities confuses me

In the 5e PHB, the Variant: Skills with Different Abilities topic confuses the hell out of me.

Your DM might call for a Constitution Check… Your DM might allow you to apply your proficiency in Atheletic and ask for a Constitution (Athletics) check… so you apply your proficiency bonus to the Constitution check just as you would normally do for a Strength (Athletics) check.

So does that mean that if I had +4 in Stength, +1 in Constitution and +2 proficiency bonus, then my Atheltics would be +6 with proficiency. If I made a Constituion (Athletics) check, would it be a 1d20 +1(Constituion) +2(Proficiency bonus)?

If so, if I had a +4 Strength, + 1 Charisma and +2 proficiency bonus, then my Intimidation would be +3 with proficency. Does that mean If I made a Strength (Intimidation) check, I would roll 1d20 +4(Strength) +2(Proficency bonus)?

This variant rule confuses me. I know I don’t need to use it but I want to understand it in case I do want use it in the future.

Is my Urban Ranger Class Archetype / Variant balanced?

(Homebrewery Link)

Design Considerations

I used various Reddit comments, the Pathfinder 1e Ranger Archetype, and the 3.5 UA Archetype as my guides for this class variant. The idea is to use the Alternate Class Features UA (maybe also in Tasha’s?) to flavor the Ranger without creating a class from scratch.

The Class Archetype / Features

Alternate Skills

Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Stealth, and Survival (removed Nature from the stock list)

Alternate Spell List

The urban ranger’s spell list is different from the standard ranger list. The following spells are eliminated from the urban ranger’s spell list:

1st Level

Animal Friendship, Speak with Animals

2nd Level

Animal Messenger, Barkskin, Locate Animals or Plants, Spike Growth

3rd Level

Conjure Animals, Plant Growth, Speak with Plants, Water Walk

4th Level

Conjure Woodland Beings

5th Level

Commune with Nature, Tree Stride

In exchange, the urban ranger adds the following spells to their class list:

1st Level

Comprehend Languages, Message

2nd Level

Detect Thoughts, Hold Person, Knock, Invisibility

3rd Level

Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding,Speak with Dead, Tongues

4th Level

Greater Invisibility

5th Level

Hold Monster, Mislead

Recommended Alternate Class Features

Because of the multiple sources, I ended up with two options to replace Land’s Stride. It’s entirely possible that mixing them would be enough, but I didn’t want it to end up OP so I opted to give the player a choice.

  • City Explorer
  • Favored Enemy, Revised
  • Urban Awareness
  • Greater Favored Enemy, Revised
  • Favored Community
  • Push Through or Fleet of Foot
  • Blend In

Alternate Class Features

City Explorer

1st-level ranger feature (Replaces Natural Explorer)

You are a master of navigating the winding streets and alleyways of cities and towns, and you react with swift and decisive action when attacked. This grants you the following benefits when inside a town or city:

  • You ignore difficult terrain.
  • You have advantage on initiative rolls.
  • On your first turn during combat, you have advantage on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted.

In addition, you are skilled in urban navigation. You gain the following benefits when traveling for an hour or more:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
  • Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
  • If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When you scrounge, forage, or dumpster-dive, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Favored Enemy, Revised (Urban)

1st-level ranger feature (Replaces Favored Enemy)

Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy commonly encountered in cities and towns.

Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies.

Another alternative, with the DM’s approval, an urban ranger may select an organization instead of a creature type as his favored enemy. For example, a character might select a particular thieves’ guild, merchant house, or even the city guard. The favored enemy bonuses would apply to all members of the chosen organization, regardless of their creature type or subtype.

You gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against creatures of the chosen type. Additionally, you have advantage on Intelligence (Inivestigation) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. Also, if the Alternate Ability Skills variant rule is being used, you have advantage on Charisma (Investigation) to gather information about your chosen enemy.

When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice, typically one spoken by your favored enemy or creatures associated with it. However, you are free to pick any language you wish to learn.

Urban Awareness

3rd-level ranger feature (Replaces Primeval Awareness)

Beginning at 3rd level, your mastery of ranger lore allows you to establish a powerful link to beasts and to the city around you.

You have an innate ability to communicate with beasts, and they recognize you as a kindred spirit. Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas to a beast as an action, and can read its basic mood and intent. You learn its emotional state, whether it is affected by magic of any sort, its short-term needs (such as food or safety), and actions you can take (if any) to persuade it to not attack.

You cannot use this ability against a creature that you have attacked within the past 10 minutes.

Additionally, you can attune your senses to determine if any of your favored enemies lurk nearby. By spending 1 uninterrupted minute in concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell), you can sense whether any of your favored enemies are present within 5 miles of you, or within city limits, whichever is smaller. This feature reveals which of your favored enemies are present, their numbers, and the creatures’ general direction and distance (in miles) from you.

If there are multiple groups of your favored enemies within range, you learn this information for each group.

Greater Favored Enemy, Revised (Urban)

6th-level ranger feature (Replaces Favored Enemy improvement)

At 6th level, you are ready to hunt even deadlier game. Choose a second type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two more races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies, or an organization with the DM’S approval. You gain all the benefits against this chosen enemy that you normally gain against your favored enemy, including an additional language. Your bonus to damage rolls against all your favored enemies increases to +4.

Additionally, you have advantage on saving throws against the spells and abilities used by a greater favored enemy.

Favored Community

6th-level ranger reature (Replaces Natural Explorer improvement)

At 6th level, the urban ranger forms a bond with a community. This grants you the following benefits when inside this favored community:

  • You gain a +2 on initiative rolls
  • You have advantage on Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks.

An urban ranger traveling through his favored community leaves no trail and cannot be tracked (although he may leave a trail if he so desires).

For the purposes of this ability, a community is any settlement consisting of 100 or more individuals. The community may be larger than this minimum. Outlying farms, fields, and houses are not considered part of a community.

This feature may be taken again at 10th level, replacing the Natural Explorer improvement, to select another favored community.

Fleet of Foot

8th-level ranger feature (Replaces Land’s Stride)

Beginning at 8th level, you can use the Dash action as a bonus action on your turn.

Push Through

8th-level ranger feature (Replaces Land’s Stride)

Starting at 8th level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. In addition, you can move through the space occupied by local citizens as if they were allies. This does not apply to creatures intent on harming you. Areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect you.

In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede movement, such those created by the entangle spell.

Blend In

10th-level ranger feature (Replaces Natural Explorer improvement)

At 10th level, you can cast Disguise Self as a bonus action, when inside your favored community. In addition to this, when a creature uses its action to discern that you are disguised, it must succeed on an Intelligence (Investigation) against your Dexterity (Stealth) roll instead of your spell save DC.

This does not expend a spell slot, but you cannot use this feature again until you finish a short or long rest.

How does Arcane Armor’s removal of Strength requirements apply at a table using the Encumbrance variant?

The Armorer Artificer’s Arcane Armor feature says:

If the armor normally has a Strength requirement, the arcane armor lacks this requirement for you.

This is in reference to the following regarding certain heavy armors:

If the Armor table shows "Str 13" or "Str 15" in the Strength column for an armor type, the armor reduces the wearer’s speed by 10 feet unless the wearer has a Strength score equal to or higher than the listed score. [PHB, pg 144]

However, the Encumbrance variant says, in part:

When you use this variant, ignore the Strength column of the Armor table in chapter 5.

If you carry weight in excess of 5 times your Strength score, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet. [PHB, pg 176]

Is there guidance for how to apply the Arcane Armor feature at a table that uses the Encumbrance variant?