"A spell" is very specific to spellcasting in 5th edition. Other magic and ongoing magical effects are not spells.
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Dec 23, 2018Posted in: Ranger
I am curious as to why "Lightning Arrow" is concentration, if it ends as soon as it is cast.
It's a fantastic spell...a tricky spell which causes damage, regardless of hit or saves, in a minor area of effect.
However, concentration implies a continued effect for a duration of 1 minute...one could be forgiven if they thought that the "area of effect" damage continued for that duration.
Otherwise, the concentration interrupts any other concentration spell currently active...for no additional payoff.
It works the exact same as the Paladin's various smite spells and other Ranger attack riders: Ensnaring Strike and Hail of Thorns. They have ambush potential, sure, but more specifically they let you use your bonus action to empower a future attack without wasting the attack if it misses. The concentration bit is there to bridge the gap between the bonus action required to cast the spell and the successful attack that carries the spell's effects. The Ranger has too many concentration spells, yes, but that's only the tip of the iceberg on the poor design decisions around the Ranger.
Edit: Ahhh, right, Lightning Arrow still does damage on a miss. Nah, they just tried to fashion it after the other attack spells and ended up using concentration nonsensically. Until the Sword Coast guide's attack cantrips they didn't really have a mold for a physical attack spell I guess.
Dec 18, 2018Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
Athletics is a more common and versatile skill check than Acrobatics. Full Plate Armor, while expensive, is numerically superior to maxed Dex + Studded Leather and doesn't require wasting a feat on Medium Armor Master. Str saves are the most common of the "uncommon" saves - Cha and especially Int are only tested by rare spells, while Str saves are called by a lot of nasty Prone and Restrained effects, including non-spells like panther/wolf takedowns.
Most importantly, Str-based melee has access to Great Weapon Fighting/Mastery, which handily outstrip the damage potential of one-handed finesse weapons, and Polearm Mastery, which pairs wickedly with Sentinel. If you're playing a no-feats game, then Dex is probably better pound-for-pound than Str, but Str wins if you're using feats (which most will).
Of course, all this depends on a flexible character concept. Most people will go into their character expecting to be a brutish warlord or a lithe duelist, so obviously there's more than mechanics to it.
Nov 18, 2018Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
There's an order of operations. The most recent counterspell happens first and you work backward - so if person A casts a spell, person B casts Counterspell, person A casts Counterspell, and person C casts Counterspell, then the Counterspell from person C is resolved first - if it succeeds, then person A's Counterspell is nullified, which allows B's Counterspell to resolve against the original spell from person A.
This is all straightforward if you play Magic: The Gathering, but doesn't come up much in D&D so it's totally reasonable to be confused by it all.
And yes, you can take reactions on your own turn (if you have a legal use for one) and can cast as many spells as you have actions for, other than the specific rule that you cannot cast any other spell (other than a 1-action cantrip) on the same turn as a bonus action spell.
Nov 18, 2018Posted in: Dungeon Masters Only
The spell does what it says on the tin: "A creature of your choice that you can see within range regains hit points equal to 1d4 + your spellcasting ability modifier." The target need not be willing or have any idea what is going on. It works on unconscious people, after all.
Nov 15, 2018Posted in: Tips & Tactics
That's a pretty elegant solution, actually. It's also pretty powerful - it gets around poison resistance, because it's inflicted automatically on a hit and the followup saves are not against a poison effect per se (on my reading). It's a guaranteed three turns of disadvantage on attack rolls, and a chance to inflict the spell's horrifying effects if the enemy rolls poorly (or at least burn one or two of the boss' legendary resistances). And it retains its out-of-combat role. Only drawback is that creatures immune to poison (but not disease) cannot end up being diseased.
Nov 10, 2018Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
Such a character would essentially count as grappled, and any character with appropriate carrying capacity (not just the Centaur) would be able to do so. The only thing special about Centaurs is the appropriate physiology to serve as a mount for a Small creature.
Nov 6, 2018Posted in: Tips & Tactics
Flaming Orb is a really good spell, and most monsters won't be able to counter it with Darkness. It does tend to be overshadowed by Fireball before long.
Dragon's Breath can be cast on your familiar, who can then use its breath weapon as an action each turn (legal, since it's a simple action and not the Attack action).
Don't forget spells like Maximilian's Earthen Grasp with ongoing actions can be used alongside bonus action spells on subsequent turns.
Regardless, bonus actions are not strictly necessary to make a class good. Wizards have enough complexity as it is without needing to constantly bog their turn down with multiple actions.
Oct 4, 2018Posted in: Tips & Tactics
The main problem with whips (beyond the low damage die) is that they don't get to benefit from the Polearm Master feat like other reach weapons, which then chains into the Sentinel feat combo. Same goes for Great Weapon Master.
But they're good for DEX Paladins since they're melee weapons (so you can still smite with them, without being right next to someone), or for Rangers for stacking Hunter's Mark and subclass damage dice (maybe with the Dual Wielder feat). They can still be good for DEX Fighters, though, and you can use them with the Defensive Duelist feat, as well as Elven Accuracy.
Oct 3, 2018Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
Polymorph is a very powerful buff and debuff spell all in one, so it can sometimes take some reining in - like making sure players are roleplaying the mental characteristics properly. I would never make a player an NPC unless an effect explicitly said so (like with the curse of lycanthropy). Player agency is a big deal and they should feel like their characters are their own (even if they have to play them differently based on circumstances), and that's part of the alignment and personality thing. And low INT does not mean the character has a lump of mush for a brain - even animals can discriminate packmates from aggressors.
Oct 3, 2018Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
And then you have spells like Hypnotic Pattern for which the charmed condition is really just there to determine what types of creatures it can affect.
Sep 26, 2018Posted in: Tips & Tactics
You might want to stay away from the cantrips - RAW, the bonus action for two-weapon fighting is only available after the Attack action, which is not the same as casting Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade. Likewise, you might want to avoid Feinting Attack and Rally as your maneuvers, since your bonus actions will usually be dedicated to your offhand attack. Other than that, have fun with it! Dual-wielding isn't the most optimal fighting style, but it can still definitely work and be a lot of fun. Be as garish as possible.
Sep 20, 2018Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
This is a common question, and the answer hinges on the way the Bag of Holding once worked: that is, it used to take a substantial amount of time to retrieve an item from the bag, because it was essentially an unorganized mess inside. Thus, the Handy Haversack was smaller but, well, handier.
In the current form, the Haversack is strictly worse than the Bag and the rarities should probably be swapped accordingly if a house rule were to be applied.
Sep 17, 2018Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
You can, as long as it's less than 3' on a side. Sadly, it will disappear as soon as you hit something with it, as per the clause at the end of the ability. Perhaps worthwhile to give your unarmed Rogue something to do on his turn?
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