dnd 5e – How to fight a Balor as a melee character (reduce fire damage on hit?)

I wouldn’t try to make his character more powerful, but give him alternative ways of helping.

There are some enemies that are inherently harder for some classes or characters to fight. That doesn’t mean that they’re weak, or can’t assist during a fight; it just means they shouldn’t be on the front lines(usually.)

A good example is creatures with magic resistance, which makes them very potent against spell casters. That doesn’t mean you should make the spell casters stronger, or “more helpful,” as it will end up making them even more powerful when this weakness isn’t highlighted.

Perhaps the monk could body-block for one of his party members and take the Dodge action, preventing the Balor from advancing toward his allies. Effectively, he should be playing defensively, as the majority of damage is triggered by attacking the balor. This is more-or-less the intended line of play. It should be a challenge for a player to overcome.

An example.

Personally, if my player can sell me on something, I’ll allow it. I actually had a fighter that doused himself with water before running into melee against a balor. I loved the idea, so I gave him resistance to fire damage for that turn, and he waylaid the balor and then fell back on his next turn.

In conclusion..

I think good ideas should be rewarded, as it encourages outside-the-box thinking and leads to more fun moments in combat, and usually, makes the player feel like they were contributing to the encounter. When fighting deadly enemies such as this, some strategy is expected and even require.

A monk charging headlong into combat against a balor and continually soaking up damage is less of a strategy, and more of an action. Rather than simply give the character an item to resist the damage or otherwise counter the “rebound damage“, give them alternative ways of contributing to the encounter.

But, that’s just my 2 cents.

dnd 5e – How to reduce damage (from the Balor)

In my party we have a ranger, a sorcerer and a monk. We recently had a fight with a Balor and I had to keep introducing things in order for the monk to feel like he was contributing in any way.
For those who don’t know, the Balor has a fire aura that deals 3d6 fire damage to any creature that starts its turn within 5ft of it, and it deals 3d6 fire damage to any creature that hits it with a melee attack while within 5ft. For my other two players this was fine, just stay away from the Balor and pelt it with ranged attacks, but my monk was dealing less damage on average than the Balor was doing to him so he just decided it was safer to stay away.

Obviously this is a feature of creatures like the Balor but I am looking for ways to ensure my monk feels like his is still contributing to the fight when they are fighting something that, essentially, kills him if he punches it.

I’m aware I could just give him an item that makes him immune to rebound damage (a term I just decided on) but I am hoping to find something official that could either negate or offset the damage he takes.

dnd 3.5e – How much damage does an abyssal drake take from cold effects?

An abyssal drake is, conceptually, a really simple creature. A cross between demons, wyverns, and a red dragon. The red dragon provides its fire subtype, while the demons provide resistance to electricity, acid, and cold. The question I have is about how those two elements interact.

When a sorcerer casts an empowered orb of cold spell, hits an abyssal drake (or another vulnerable creature with resistance; the abyssal drake is just a convenient example) with a touch attack, and the damage roll results in 70, how much damage does the abyssal drake take with its vulnerability to cold and resistance 20?

Is the damage 85 points, since the vulnerability increases the damage to 105 and the resistance reduces it by 20? Or is the damage 75 points, since the resistance reduces the damage to 50 and the vulnerability increases the damage it takes by half?

dnd 5e – How can I improve the survivability or damage potential of my familiar, as a cleric 5/wizard 1?

Combat familiars are a class feature of Pact of the Chain Warlocks.

The basic familiar normally available to users of the spell find familiar is not well suited to battle, as you have observed. There are things you can do, such as using shield of faith, but even then, the familiar is still so squishy, your spell slots are probably best used elsewhere.

Useful combat familiars are basically a class feature of Pact of the Chain Warlocks. The Pact of the Chain warlock feature gives new options for familiars that are significantly more useful than the vanilla familiars, and gives them the ability to attack:

When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite.

Additionally, when you take the Attack action, you can forgo one of your own attacks to allow your familiar to make one attack with its reaction.

This feature can be further improved with the Eldritch Invocation Investment of the Chain Master:

  • The familiar gains either a flying speed or a swimming speed (your choice) of 40 feet.
  • As a bonus action, you can command the familiar to take the Attack action.
  • The familiar’s weapon attacks are considered magical for the purpose of overcoming immunity and resistance to nonmagical attacks.
  • If the familiar forces a creature to make a saving throw, it uses your spell save DC.
  • When the familiar takes damage, you can use your reaction to grant it resistance against that damage.

I know you didn’t ask about Warlocks, but the answer to your question is basically “there isn’t much you can do to improve your familiar’s combat abilities without being a Pact of the Chain Warlock because combat familiars are the point of Pact of the Chain Warlocks.” By using the Gelatinous Ice Cube AL Reward, your familiar is already punching well above the weight class of the familiars available to non-Warlocks.

dnd 5e – What are all of the telekinetic/telepathic spells and spells that deal psychic/force damage?

Okay, so I want to make a class called the Psion, where a character casts spells that involve tele-powers (Telekinesis, Telepathy, and Teleportation), plus damaging spells that deal psychic or force damage. Necrotic is fine, but I’d like all of the psychic and force damage spells.

For reference, I’d like only D&D 5e spells from XGTEg, the PHB, and TCOE (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Player’s Handbook, and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything).

I’d also like all spell levels (Cantrip to 9th), since Psions are going to be full casters who get 9th level slots.

dnd 5e – Which Rogue archetype does the highest damage for my Highwayman build?

Concept

A single-classed Rogue who fits the Highwayman (Stand and Deliver!) archetype / trope.
Not to be named Dennis Moore

  1. The Highwayman is both clever and bold. He will either attack from
    ambush or attempt to persuade / bully their victim into handing over
    their loot. Robin Hood as a fine example, however, the highwaymen of
    the 17th century (of historical fact) who became folk heroes, and
    around whom various legends arose, is the general concept.

  2. Highwaymen are charismatic leader types – thus the party face
    requirement. Since I cannot expect a campaign (from our DM) that is
    mostly about robbing stage coaches from levels 1 through 12, the PC
    has to perform acceptably for the overall adventuring challenges as
    a rogue.

    “What rogue does the most damage?” isn’t my question;
    during my initial review, I ruled out the other archetypes
    (particularly assassin, due to how clunky surprise is in this
    edition) but frame challenges are welcome.

Build framework and Constraints

  • vHuman, Rogue, with the subclass of either Arcane Trickster or Swashbuckler.

    If you can point to a different subclass that is much better than either of the above, that’s welcome. Swashbuckler is a strong thematic-based choice due to the character concept (and I like the boost to Initiative) while the Arcane Tricksters I have seen in action have great flexibility, and some nova damage bursts (shadow blade) that have raised my eyebrows.

  • Character level from 1-12. Campaign may end before 12, but take it to 12 for this case.

  • Assumptions:

    • Criminal Background
    • Crossbow Expert as the vHuman feat taken at level 1.
      My assessment is that this offers an early game damage boost that will benefit the party.
    • Party Face: this character is also the party face. That has to be folded into the build.
    • Other PCs(as of this writing): Druid(Stars), Fighter(Battlemaster), Barbarian(Ancients)
    • Single class; no multiclassing

Rough Build Plan

S 10 D 15(+1) C 14 I 10 W 10 Ch 13(+1) (assume point buy)

  • at 4th ASI Dex(18)

  • at 8th ASI Dex(20); I am open to a feat here (some Tasha’s half feats
    add expertise, SS for damage).

  • at 10 ASI Dex (20, if feat at 8) or Feat

  • at 12 Feat (Alert is a strong contender, as is Lucky)

    I have reviewed a number of Q&A here on Sharpshooter as a feat, and feel that getting the Dex higher so that to hit is maxed out is a pre-requisite for that feat. If we had a cleric (bless) I might feel differently. (If I am wrong about this, an explanation of why is welcome).

Proficiency(7): Deception(Crim), Stealth(Crim), Intimidation, Persuasion, Investigation, Perception, Sleight of Hand(vHuman)
Expertise: Stealth, Intimidation(or persuasion?). at 6: Investigation, Thieves tools

Bottom Line – more is better, if it’s damage

Which archetype give me the best damage for this character concept; Swashbuckler or Arcane Trickster?
(Also, if my build plan is out to lunch, show the better build plan)

dnd 5e – As a Warlock, can I cast Vampiric Touch on myself to grant my pact weapon an extra 3d6 necrotic damage?

No, you can’t improve Thirsting blade with the Vampiric Touch

Thirsting Blade is a Warlock’s counterpart of the Extra Attack feature:

You can attack with your pact weapon twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

The Vampiric Touch is a spell involving a spell attack:

The touch of your shadow-wreathed hand can siphon life force from others to heal your wounds. Make a melee spell attack against a creature within your reach. On a hit, the target takes 3d6 necrotic damage, and you regain hit points equal to half the amount of necrotic damage dealt. Until the spell ends, you can make the attack again on each of your turns as an action.

When you cast Vampiric Touch, firstly you take the Cast A Spell action and expend a 3rd level spell slot. Then you deal 3d6 and only 3d6 necrotic damage, if you succeed with the melee spell attack. This melee spell attack is a part of the spell — you literally have to touch the target with “your shadow-wreathed hand” to apply the spell effect.

Within 1 minute, you can repeat this action without expending more spell slots, providing you maintain the concentration. This requires an Action. So you have to choose — either you make two weapon attacks (second one because of the Thirsting Blade invocation) with your pact weapon, or you make one spell attack with the Vampiric Touch.

See also Can you apply the Vampiric Touch and Shocking Grasp damage together in one attack?

5e is quite restrictive regarding damage output. For instance, you can’t stack Thirsting Blade with Extra Attack, if you have the latter from multiclassing:

the warlock’s eldritch invocation Thirsting Blade doesn’t give you additional attacks if you also have Extra Attack

There are methods of increasing the Vampiric Touch damage output, but they are based on increasing of number of actions, not just number of attacks being made.

pathfinder 1e – Do thistle arrows deal their bleed damage in addition to the normal effects of a bow shot, or instead of it?

Thistle arrows “deal damage as a bleed effect for 1d6 rounds after a hit”. Does it cancel their normal damage, or does it essentially double the total damage dealt on the round when the arrow is shot?

Is using such arrows at least once on every potentially vulnerable enemy optimal?

dnd 5e – Does the 3rd benefit of the (UA) Fizban’s Platinum Shield spell stack with Evasion, so that the character only takes 1/4 damage on a failed Dex save?

The new UA, Unearthed Arcana: Draconic Options, introduces a 6th-level spell called Fizban’s platinum shield that can be cast on a creature within 60 feet of the caster, granting them a few benefits. The description of the final benefit reads as follows:

  • If the creature is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the creature instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

This has the same effect as the Evasion feature of a Monk or Rogue (or Hunter ranger, maybe).

Since this spell benefit and Evasion have the same effect but different names from different sources, would they stack with each other?
For instance, in the case of a 7th-level monk failing a Dex save against the fireball spell while under the effect of this spell, would they take a quarter damage?

dnd 3.5e – Is the damage from Snap Kick fixed like, for example Insightful Strike or can you add any more bonuses to it?

Ultimately, the errata clarifies Snap Kick so we don’t have to worry about this any more. With the errata, the feat’s benefit reads:

Whenever you initiate a strike or use the attack or full attack action, you may take a −2 penalty to attacks made this round gain an additional attack at your highest attack bonus (the −2 applies to this attack as well). This attack is an off-hand unarmed strike, and deals damage as appropriate.

Instead of defining the damage in the feat, it just says it deals off-hand unarmed strike damage. “Off-hand” here is actually a little awkward (because you only really “have” an off-hand while using two-weapon fighting, which you aren’t here), but it’s clear enough what it means—halve your Strength bonus to the damage roll. This result winds up being identical to what Snap Kick originally said explicitly, but now it’s much clearer that this figure can be changed by anything that changes one’s unarmed strike damage and that this should be treated in all ways as a regular unarmed strike attack, albeit one you wouldn’t otherwise have gotten a chance to make.

However, even without the errata, the attack made by Snap Kick was defined as an unarmed attack, and the damage calculation offered by it matched that used by an unarmed strike made as an off-hand attack while two-weapon fighting. This was interpreted by most as simply a reminder of how unarmed strike damage works, rather than a fixed figure that cannot be changed. If it were fixed, then like insightful strike, it would explicitly say so. It’s also unclear what it means to be “an unarmed attack” if your bonuses and improvements to unarmed attacks don’t apply. The errata, effectively, confirms that this reasoning was correct.

So yeah, Shadow Blade affects your extra attack from Snap Kick, adding your Dexterity bonus to the damage roll.