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?

Are there rules for combining generic variant magic items?

For example: Adamantine armor is an uncommon generic armor variant. +1 armor is a rare variant. Is there such a thing as +1 adamantine plate armor? What’s its rarity?

Does the situation change when one of the item "bases" is a generic variant, but the other isn’t? For example, javelin of lightning is a specific uncommon magic weapon. +1 is a generic uncommon modifier to weapons. What about a +1 javelin of lightning?

Can a Human Variant start with stacked proficiencies?

So the Human Variant in 5E D&D gets two different ability points, proficiency in one skill and a feat.

Let’s say that human is a cleric with acolyte background. He takes a double dose of religion (Am I wrong in presuming you can do this?), then the proficiency in religion and then the “Skilled Feat” with one of the three skill as religion, can they stack and how?

Variant of ridge regression loss function

We can create variants of the loss function, especially of ridge regression by adding more regularizer terms. One of the variants I saw in a book is given below

$ min_{w \in \mathbf{R}^d} \ \ \alpha.||w||^2 + (1-\alpha).||w||^4 + C||y-X^T.w||^2$

where $ y \in \mathbf{R^n}, s \in \mathbf{R^d}, X \in \mathbf{R^{dxn}}$ and $ C$ a regularization parameter $ \in \mathbf{R}$ and $ \alpha \in [0,1]$

My question is how does change in $ \alpha$ affects our optimization problem? and how does generally adding more regularizers help? why is not one regularizer enough?

Chess Trap Variant

I’m planning to run a Dungeon World campaign based on a classic D&D Super Endless Quest book called The Ghost Tower which, in turn, is based on a classic D&D module called The Ghost Tower of Inverness.

There is a trap in this book based on Chess, where the party are each

Here’s the problem:

  • I’ve already stolen the idea for this trap for another game.
  • I made it a series of rooms, each room representing a square on the chessboard.
  • I even had zombies representing opponent chess pieces wandering from room to room.

I still want to include this trap, but I’m struggling with how to make it fresh for the players. They’re probably going to recognize it for what it is: a chessboard. But even if they do, I want them to have fun with it. I think I can play on their expectations and throw them for a loop.

How can I change the trap to do this?

Is there a query language variant of Turing Completeness?

By this I mean a theory where you can say Language X is Query Complete so that you know that language is able to do any sort of query? I’m guessing not because some queries would run into things that a language would have to be Turing complete to work?

Why do I wonder – well you might have a relational database and a graph database and someone might say anything that can be done in the relational database can be done in the graph database (albeit at different speeds) so I would like if there were some terms DB A and DB B are both Query Complete – or if not that if there was a way to categorize levels of "query completeness" (I’m just going to assume my ill defined concept is totally understandable to everyone) so one can say stuff like "DB A is query level 4 but DB B is at query level 3, but of course much faster because of those limitations."

I sure hope (so as to not feel like a bigger idiot than normal) that the answer to this question isn’t just a flat No.

Is the Post Correspondence Problem with more than two rows harder than the standard two-row variant?

The standard Post Correspondence Problem concerns tiles with two rows of symbols, and whether a tile arrangement can be made so that the sequence of the top symbols of the tiles is equal to the bottom one.

Let $ \text{n-PCP}, \text{n} > 0$ a generalization of the Post Correspondence Problem where the tiles contain $ \text{n}$ rows, and the sequences of the symbols have to be equal for all of these rows.

Obviously $ \text{1-PCP}$ is decidable (in fact it’s trivial because the answer to the problem is always true). $ \text{2-PCP}$ is the standard PCP.

But what if $ \text{n} > 2$ ? Is it harder or can it be reduced to the standard PCP (like >3-SAT being reduced to 3-SAT)?