Is it worthwhile for my Mastermind to dip into spellcasting for Shadowblade?

I am playing a Mastermind rogue in a campaign I do not expect to last beyond 6th level. I am interested in acquiring spellcasting ability of some sort, primarily for Silent Image (1st level) and Shadowblade (2nd level).

Does taking 2-3 levels in Wizard (or another caster class) make up for the loss in rogue levels? (As far as damage + utility) I know that if I take War Mage, I’m losing out a potential 1d6 of Sneak Attack Damage, an ASI, and Uncanny Dodge in exchange for Arcane Deflection, and initiative bonus, and Level 2 spellcasting.

Oftentimes, I hear that rogue’s progression is so linear that it never makes sense to stop taking rogue levels. Are there any alternative goodies I could pick up in a max level 6 campaign?

Is it worthwhile to deal lightning damage to a froghemoth?

The froghemoth (VGtM, p. 145) has the Shock Susceptibility trait:

Shock Susceptibility. If the froghemoth takes lightning damage, it suffers several effects until the end of its next turn: its speed is halved, it takes a −2 penalty to AC and Dexterity saving throws, it can’t use reactions or Multiattack, and on its turn, it can use either an action or a bonus action, not both.

However, it also has lightning resistance. That means using lightning attacks/spells will result in reduced damage for the attack/spell, but it will have other negative effects on the froghemoth.

From the perspective of a monster builder rather than a player: How useful is using lightning damage against the froghemoth, and how much will Shock Susceptibility reduce the combat performance of the froghemoth?

To make sure this is not too broad, let’s say we have four 10th-level characters: one wizard dealing the lightning damage (or the same amount of another damage type that the froghemoth is not resistant to), and 3 other characters with about 16 AC and making 2 weapon attacks per turn each.

What I’m trying to find out, is, if, knowing the effects of Shock Susceptibility, there would ever be a reason to forfeit dealing lightning damage over another damage type. I suspect that there generally wouldn’t be and that the removal of the froghemoth’s Multiattack is the dealbreaker, but I’m unsure on the impact of the other effects.

Related question asking about lore and intention of the feature combination: The froghemoth has both lightning resistance and Shock Susceptibility; is this an error? Are there other monsters like this?

How to make the Observant feat worthwhile, but not boring, in a 1:1 adventure?

I’ve started DMing a one-on-one D&D 5e adventure. The PC took the Observant feat and as a result, has really high Passive Perception and Investigation (20 and 18 at level 1!). If I use the rules from this question (“if passive perception is higher than the DC, the PC doesn’t have to make a roll to succeed”), then essentially every single perception and investigation check in the scenario I’m running is an automatic success.

In a group setting, that’d be OK: this makes the PC better at scouting, which is rewarding and fun, and it’s generally nice to be the only/first one in the group noticing things. In a solo adventure, however, I’m afraid that it’s going to be somewhat boring. There’s less of a “wow” effect to noticing small, hidden details when there aren’t people around to be impressed by it.

Should I just stop worrying about it, and simply be OK with my player basically automatically succeeding in every perception/investigation check without thinking twice about it? Or is there a way to tweak the mechanics somehow to make it cooler or more interesting?

Can I make a worthwhile one-handed paladin?

I would really like my pally to use just ONE weapon, and wield nothing in their other hand (or at least appear to do so), but I don’t really see any thing that makes it beneficial at all. Using 2 weapons or a sword and shield just seem all around better. Is there anything that adds benefits to one weapon at all? Or is there an alternative to a shield that isn’t an obvious weapon, like a glove or something?

Adwords. Still worthwhile?

I have been absent for the board for almost a decade. Back, when I was active, amongst other things, I ran Adwords campaigns as an Amazon affiliate.
Coming back today, I see that the Adwords section of the forum appears less active that it used to be. This leads me to ask if Adwords is still worth a go? Is is still viable for pushing one's niche, or as an affiliate?
Sorry if the questions seem daft, but I am just brainstorming with the hope to getting back into online marketing and the…

Adwords. Still worthwhile?

At what shutter speeds is mirror lock-up worthwhile?


I know what mirror lock-up is and what it’s good for, but I’m curious about the range of shutter speeds where it provides a real benefit.

A little background

I use a nice, sturdy tripod for shooting still life photos, and sometimes portraits. More often than not for still life shooting, I use live view either because the camera is at an odd height or angle, or because I’m shooting in very low light that makes it difficult or impossible to compose and focus through the viewfinder.

There are previous questions that ask about whether the mirror flips back down and then up again during live view shooting. In my camera the answer is yes (detail further down). This means that if I want to use both live view and mirror lock-up, I need to compose in live view, then disable live view, then shoot with mirror lock-up plus timer or remote, then re-enable live view to play around more and recompose. This is pretty disruptive, to say the least, so I’d like to understand when it’s worth the trouble.

The Blanston Hypothesis

It seems that if the shutter speed is fast enough, then any vibration of the camera would be insignificant because the image is captured too fast for the camera to move too much during the exposure. And it seems that if the shutter speed is slow enough, the short amount of time that the camera vibrates wouldn’t matter because it would be buried below the noise of the capture (assuming very low light, no flash, etc.). So I figure there must be a range of shutter speeds where mirror lock-up makes a difference in image quality. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s related to focal length, sort of like the 1/(focal length x crop factor) guideline for non-IS handheld shooting.


So, as the title states, at what shutter speeds is mirror lock-up worthwhile? Is my reasoning correct (or at least sane)?

The detail I promised you earlier

This answer indicates that live view does accomplish mirror lock-up using a Canon 70D, but my experience with my 80D indicates otherwise.

When I use mirror lock-up in normal (non-live view) mode, I can clearly hear that the first curtain noise at the beginning of the exposure is a very minor “tick” sound, which makes sense. I do this with a suitably long shutter speed (say 1 second or more), so that I can clearly separate the sounds at the beginning of the exposure from the sounds at the end, when the mirror flips back down.

However, when I use live view, I can very clearly hear the mirror moving at the beginning of the exposure. Also, when I’m in live view mode, the mirror lock-up option is grayed out in the menu, which indicates that it’s not available in that mode.

What makes Aspect ↔ Boost conversion Stunts worthwhile?

There are multiple Stunts that, under certain conditions, either convert a Boost to an Aspect, or an Aspect to a Boost (usually without changing the number of free Invocations). Now, I know that Boosts are super-transient, but the property of persistence alone seems not worth one Refresh (compared to a single-free-Invocation Aspect). But there’s of course the consideration of Aspects also granting permissions or prohibitions even when not Invoked; a consideration that is poorly defined compared to many of the other mechanics in the system.

Still, as far as I see, the things that makes such Stunts worthwhile have to be either the implied-but-never-clarified Aspect Permission changes, or some other things I may be missing. If the former, then I’d like to know what sorts of permission changes should accompany the Boost/Aspect changes in these Stunts; if the latter, I’d like to know what (preferably in detail).

Note that when I say ‘worthwhile’, I mean ‘As useful as, or marginally more useful than, having Refresh instead’, since a Stunt normally costs one Refresh. To unpack that comparison a bit more: a single Refresh means usually having one more spare FP per session (Minor Milestone), and a single FP is a limited but very versatile resource given all the things it can be spent on (at a minimum, a +2 because almost every PC will have an Aspect or several that can be Invoked when doing something the PC is supposed to be good at; but also the more qualitative uses).

Here are the examples of Stunts that I refer to:

  • Dazing Counter: on Succeeding with Style on Athletics defences, attach a Dazed Aspect to the enemy instead of a boost. An important nuance is that Aspects can disappear on their own when it makes for them to, and being dazed sounds like the sort of thing that goes away on its own sooner rather than later.

  • Better than New!: as above, but when repairing a machine.

  • Heavy Hitter: as above, but when attacking (in this case it also requires reducing shifts by one as usual).

  • Backup Weapon: when Disarmed, you spend a FP and turn the Aspect into a Boost. But unless the Weapon/Armour optional rule is in play, using Fight while disarmed is no worse than when armed aside from Invocations. Notice that it’s likely that a dedicated warrior (of the sort who’d have such a Stunt in the first place) will already have an Aspect for combat prowess, and spending a FP on that would have a high chance of negating a disarm entirely or turning it into a Boost. Yet this Stunt costs 1 Refresh and one FP per use.

  • Best Foot Forward: turn a boost from Rapport into an Aspect – twice per session only.

There are more such Stunts in various supplements published over the decade or more, but I hope that even learning what makes all of the listed above ones worthwhile (including how exactly should GMs handle the implicit part, if any) will help me also understand the others by extending the core principles.

Is 16 GB of RAM a worthwhile upgrade for my late 2009 iMac 27″? [on hold]

I have the following:

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I was wondering if maxing out the RAM at 16 GB would be worth it or just overkill. As of now, the iMac is not what you can call slow; of course, it is not blazing fast as my XPS 9550 with elementary OS but holds up pretty well. I suspect the real bottleneck is the 1 TB SATA disk. I will not install Mojave (sadly not supported by my machine) and I just use it for mundane tasks, no video editing or the likes.

Thank you very much.