## dnd 5e – what is the best multi-class in 5e?

dnd 5e – what is the best multi-class in 5e? – Role-playing Games Stack Exchange

## dnd 5e – How to DM unlikely strength checks

### Model the contest as multiple steps, e.g. win by two

This greatly amplifies a statistical advantage, making the final odds of winning the round much more in favour of the stronger (and proficient-in-Athletics) contestant.

Having the math odds be very unlikely opens the door to weirder narrative explanations, like a fluke muscle cramp, on top of brilliant technique by the weaker arm wrestler. You can say that multiple factors conspired to produce the result.

Some contests, like shot put, involve significant technique so there’s room for having a good vs. bad throw, i.e. chance. (Although if this isn’t the Olympics, and the trained shot-putter knows they only have to beat a puny mage, not try to come out on top of their peers, their consistent throw may be farther than the mage’s best possible throw.)

Other contests, like a foot race or arm wrestling, are almost always going to be won by the stronger contestant. i.e. a significant difference in ability will swing the outcome statistics very strongly in one direction. (Some games of mental skill are like that, too, notably chess where a grand master can simultaneously beat a room full of amateur opponents.)

A single roll in 5e’s bounded-accuracy design doesn’t model the latter kind of contest at all well. This is what creates the disconnect between what you’d estimate the -1 Wizard’s chances would be against the +6 Orc: we can’t rule out the wizard winning, but we know it’s very unlikely.

@RHS calculated the chances of a -1 vs. +6 contested check at 22.75%. (I didn’t check the math, but seems reasonable). That’s far too high a chance for the wizard to win an arm-wrestling contest.

On Critical Role, Matt Mercer has run arm wrestling as a series of opposed Athletics checks, moving the arm position by one step (or two with a big success margin or a nat 20). The starting point is like Deuce in tennis, with the first win creating “game point”, within one more success of overall victory. Or returning from that point to neutral. This appears to work well for creating fun, if the DM and players can get into the spirit of excitement over the give and take of the contest. (CR 2×17 “Harvest Close”, from 1:22:10 through about 1:38:38 shows this in action, including the whole party getting really into cheering on one player in an exciting match.)

Mathematically, the chance of the mage winning two or three consecutive rolls is quite a lot lower, low enough to not be totally silly. In fact, 0.2275 squared is 0.052; about 5% or 1 in 20. (I’m ignoring the chance of coming back to even, then eventually winning. I think that’s not a huge problem for lopsided contests, but 0.5 squared = 0.25 is obviously not right for an evenly-matched contest. That’s just your chance of winning without any setbacks.)

Doing something outrageous with the same odds as a nat-20 sounds just about right for D&D. If you model it as even more small steps, odds swing even more strongly towards the side with even a minor advantage. (But that’s not fun to roll; in most games there’s a win-by-2 condition, like tennis’s deuce / advantage.)

Of course, don’t allow a roll at all when there’s no plausible narrative explanation. It’s up to the table where you draw the line; some groups like outrageous things to be possible when someone rolls a natural 20. But picking up a boulder 10 times your own weight isn’t something you should get to roll for at all. It’s harder to justify not allowing a role for a contested check, but if you limit yourself to modelling it as only deuce / advantage (win by 2) then the odds may still be too high if a weak human wants to arm-wrestle an ogre.

Food for thought: perhaps in the world of 5e, long jump is the most popular event, because everyone’s success is linearly correlated with their Strength score, no randomness involved.

You cover a number of feet up to your Strength score if you move at least 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump.

(with a DC10 Strength (Athletics) check to clear a low obstacle on the way, so that part is random.)

Does that mean you shouldn’t roll contested anything for long-jump competitions? Well, what it really means is that 5e is not a sports simulator; if you want to focus more attention on contests, you’ll have to put some work into modeling them (i.e. turning them into a fun dice game).

I don’t know if arm wrestling is really an example of a contest that’s almost always won by the same person, if two people have multiple matches.

Other sports certainly are like that, though, especially racing.

For example, in short track speed skating, a personal best of 47 seconds over 500m is a lot better than say 52 seconds. A skater with a personal best multiple seconds faster will win almost every time over that distance, even if they don’t win the start and do have to set up a pass on one of the straightaways. (OTOH, it takes a lot more effort to go a bit faster; air drag is approximately quadratic with speed. Similarly for foot race sprints. Still, in 5e terms, someone that much faster might have Str and Con 16 vs. 12, only a +2 difference. And maybe Expertise in Athletics or that specific event for a technique sport, for maybe another +2 or 3 advantage. So in 5e terms, things might only work out if you model each lap as a separate roll where you can gain some separation or close the gap some.)

## dnd 5e – Should players know the name of monsters when they are encountered?

dnd 5e – Should players know the name of monsters when they are encountered? – Role-playing Games Stack Exchange

## dnd 5e – How would you dig through stone to build a cave?

We’re playing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and we

just got our mansion.

I play a gnomish Artificer/Wizard and want to build my workshop

in the mansion’s basement. But it’s quite small for what I have in mind. Digging seems not to be a viable option to expand the basement, because the ground is pretty hard.

What kind of spell, non-magic or half-magic solution (ie. machines) could do the trick? I come from 3.5e. Back then there were several midlevel options to do that. Stone to mud + Mold Earth. But there is no Stone to mud, or I am not finding it.

Maybe here’s someone who had the same idea and made it work or you just know a way to make it work. I’m very curious about how you achieved this.

FYI Our DM is pretty liberal and let’s us do pretty much, so feel free to stretch the rules. I don’t talk about home-brew, but RAW is not that important with this one: RAW answers are preferred though.

Some Details

The basement is carved into stone and around 6 by 4 squares big and around 10ft high. I’m thinking of doubling it in size… ie 6 by 8 squares.
There are no special constraints besides the stone, which is (according to my DM) “not as hard as granite but still pretty hard”.
We’re playing Dragon Heist very loosely interconnected and can do with our time, whatever we want. The whole campaign is about one year long in-game, so to use that space the time frame should be around one or two months. So I’m not necessarily looking for a quick solution.

### Constraints

During this campaign, we will end up with level 8-9 (according to my DM). I plan to have 2 levels of wizard and the rest in artificer. 3rd level spells is the maximum level that I will be able to cast during this campaign.
Right now, I’m broke, but I’m pretty sure that it’ll change in the near future. This goal is more of a long term thing anyway as I already mentioned.

I ask for general possibilities besides the obvious: Just dig, Dude!
At least if it’s not the only possibility. If plain digging is the only way, it’s the only way and I have to dig or let someone else do the digging. Feel free to list all the possibilities that there are in the game or mention some examples out of experience when you tried to accomplish a comparable task.

## 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.

## Does your DM like Wuxia?

Wuxia is “a genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China (and) is traditionally a form of fantasy literature”. The abilities of monks in D&D have drawn on this literary and cinematic tradition since the earliest editions of the game.

One particular source of wuxia abilities is the practice of qinggong, which when “exaggerated in wuxia fiction (gives) martial artists…the ability to move swiftly and lightly at superhuman speed, and perform gravity-defying moves such as gliding on water surfaces, scaling high walls and mounting trees”.

While in my limited experience of Wuxia I don’t recall anyone running up the rain, there was a memorable scene in Tai Chi Master in which the antagonist is hurling javelins at superhuman speed and the protagonist is running on top of each javelin in flight in order to close the distance over uncrossable terrain to the antagonist.

So I certainly think that ‘running up the rain’ is within the spirit of the kind of abilities that a 5e monk gets at ninth level; I am comfortable with it being “rules as intended” (RAI). That being said, even for the explicit ability of running up vertical surfaces, there has to be a liquid there to run on – air doesn’t count, and the ability does not give one the ability to fly, levitate, hover, or move vertically without a supporting surface.

In order to satisfy rules as written (RAW), you need to make an argument about running “across liquids”. Rain itself is not a liquid, but it is composed of falling liquid drops surrounded by air. If the ability allows you to run across the surface of a still pond, a generous DM interpretation would allow you to run across* the individual upper surface of each liquid raindrop. However, you would still need to account for the fact that these individual raindrops, unlike a solid wall, are falling even as you are pushing off of them, in the same way that it might cost you more movement to run upcurrent on the surface of a swift river. Were I to allow such movement as a DM, I would say that running up rain counts as climbing where “Each foot of movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain) when you’re climbing, swimming, or crawling.” A DM who wanted the allow this use of the ability but more strictly limit would be within RAW to allow you to ascend the rain, but as “climbing difficult terrain”, such that if you had 45 feet of movement you would be permitted to ascend 15 feet on your turn.

They could also require you to make a Strength check to push hard enough or fast enough off the falling rain to reach the next drop or to not slip: “At the DM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check. Similarly, gaining any distance in rough water might require a successful Strength (Athletics) check.”

Also to note is that this ability works only on your turn, such that as soon as you complete your movement, you begin to fall if you have run up off of the ground.

*@Medix2 “to move across a liquid” may invoke the meaning of across as from one side to another. But across can also mean ‘from one thing to another in succession in order to cross something else.’ Pitfall Harry crosses waterholes by moving across the heads of the crocodiles, even if he puts only one foot on each head. This use of ‘across’ could work with raindrops.

## dnd 5e – How do I gain magic as a Ranger?

dnd 5e – How do I gain magic as a Ranger? – Role-playing Games Stack Exchange

## dnd 5e – Yet Another Dragonborn Variant: Is this fiery homebrew race balanced?

From my experience so far, here is how I feel the improvements shake down on the Detect Balance scoreboard, but there is certainly a chance that I have grossly miscalculated somewhere!

Fire Resistance: +3 pts The ability to permanently upgrade this to fire immunity is potentially powerful, but to get permanent fire immunity will require either spending a class feature on fire resistance (which could have been used to gain a different resistance instead) or a magic item, which would be under the control of the DM. I assessed this as a powerful feature (4), minus 1 for the opportunity cost of needing to gain the resistance again from another source.

Tough Build: +2 pts This seems like a sometimes-useful feature. Not many builds benefit very much from pushing CON this high, and a Barbarian wouldn’t be able to use this to boost their Unarmoured Defense because of the corresponding penalty to max DEX if it is taken advantage of. It does synergize with the breath weapon modifications, otherwise I would be inclined to rate this as +1

Cold Aversion: -1 pt This is a very situational vulnerability that is more for flavour.

Breath Weapon Improvements (Including Fiery Assault/Fiery Nature): +4 pts The original breath attack is rated as a 6-point feature in Detect Balance. By scaling more of the features with CON and allowing it to interact with other class features, a character could conceivably be built around their breath attack as their signature gimmick. I can’t think of any builds that get Extra Attack that also have ready access to interesting features that can modify spell effects, so I don’t think there is much synergy between Fiery Assault and Fiery Nature. I feel this makes for “A frequently useful, or powerful feature” in addition to the base breath attack.

Total: +8 over the base score of the Dragonborn presented in the PHB, or 29 points

## dnd 5e – Glyphs of warding size

How big does a Glyph of Warding need to be?
Its description says:

When you cast this spell, you inscribe a glyph that later unleashes a magical effect. You inscribe it either on a surface (such as a table or a section of floor or wall) or within an object that can be closed (such as a book, a scroll, or a treasure chest) to conceal the glyph. The glyph can cover an area no larger than 10 feet in diameter

It has a max size of 10ft but what about a minimum? If I had a single piece of standard paper, is there any guidance on how many glyphs I could fit on it?

## dnd 5e – When do individual ability checks become group ability checks?

In the section Working Together, the basic rules state:

Sometimes two or more characters team up to attempt a task. The character who’s leading the effort — or the one with the highest ability modifier — can make an ability check with advantage, reflecting the help provided by the other characters. In combat, this requires the Help action (see chapter 9, “Combat”).

A character can only provide help if the task is one that he or she could attempt alone. For example, trying to open a lock requires proficiency with thieves’ tools, so a character who lacks that proficiency can’t help another character in that task. Moreover, a character can help only when two or more individuals working together would actually be productive. Some tasks, such as threading a needle, are no easier with help.

I understand that this happens when the group can, and will work together to do something, but I’m wondering about the limitations of these definitions.

For instance, in a game, our characters had to climb horizontally a porous wall for ~150 feet. Below that wall, 100 feet of void then the sea. Some characters were reluctant doing this as their athletics skill is the lowest, going in the negatives. The other characters convinced them to do it anyway, arguing they’d help. So the characters all attached themselves to a rope and started the climb. The help promised by the other characters was under the form “put your foot here”, “put your hands there”, “pull your weight in your hands” and other advises like that. Individual tests were used all the time. After 50 feet, the whole party was swimming in the sea.

After the session, I was wondering whether I should have asked the DM if a group check should have been done. Our DM never ever uses group checks as defined in the quoted part, and I’m wondering whether he knows about them. Given that we’ve had one such situation roughly every two sessions (we always failed those situations), that’s definitely something I’ll ask him about.

But nonetheless, I feel this is a thin line as no explanation exist about what help is (instructions, physical help, etc.). If more able characters provide instructions, are those help? How is help defined, and when does an individual ability check become a group ability check?