dnd 5e – How can I have a villain restrain PCs in an “intelligent” way without killing or disabling some or all of them?

How I handled this as a DM

I was aware of how difficult it is in swords and sorcery genre games to keep a spell caster under control/in prison, and not just in the current edition of D&D. This 2011 vintage Q&A illustrates the consistent problem that this has presented. But the NPCs and villains do have some tools with reasonable effectiveness.

From your comment, the party is: Bard, Ranger, Warlock, Priest, all at 4th level.

(it’s 5e D&D, they are an Imp familiar and a Ranger’s Primal Beast) that they can summon to help

OK, the Bard’s awake and the other three start at 0 HP. Simply having allies amplifies the difficulty of keeping them in custody.

I had a similar situation where the party (me DM) captured an evil druid (CR 2) and wanted to turn him over to authorities (eventually, a very high level druid in another settlement). They were worried that the druid would, for example, wild shape into a spider and crawl out of his cell.

Keep the spell caster knocked out and under 24/7 guard.

Take away the components pouch, take away the material components (if any) and if need be strip the caster down to their undies or completely. That’s step one of the precaution. Bind, and if need be, gag the spell caster (Bind and gag is a temporary inconvenienceif the PC is even modestly resourceful, and/or has compatriots with them).

The initial “keep him knocked out” method was that a guard or PC, when the NPC Druid would wake up (he’d been reduced to 0 HP, knocked out, bound and taken to a ship) would whack him with a club to reduce him to 0 HP again. Dreamland for 1-4 hours at this point. This required an investment of resources, in terms of a 24/7 guard and the willingness to keep whacking this prisoner on the head. They would then stabilize him to prevent death saving throw fails. Yeah, narratively, he ended up with a lot of bruise marks on his head.

Use a potion / poison that induces sleep/unconsciousness.

You have control of the NPCs, so either sufficient alcohol or something like it fed to the prisoner keeps them incapacitated or unconscious (Conditions, Appendix A). For example:

Essence of Ether (Inhaled). A creature subjected to this poison must
succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 8
hours. The poisoned creature is unconscious. The creature wakes up if
it takes damage or if a other creature takes an action to shake it
awake. (Ref = DMG, also in the SRD page 204)

Or, just rub this on them if they won’t drink or breath in the ether

Oil of Taggit (Contact). A creature subjected to this poison must
succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 24
hours. The poisoned creature is unconscious. The creature wakes up if
it takes damage.

Or homebrew a similar poison/drug using these for basic guidelines.

That prevents their being able to cast spells, since they can’t take actions. While the party didn’t resort to that, the first town that had this NPC druid in jail eventually did.

  1. The fighting chance
    This risks of the “knock out drug” include a few potential loop holes:
    • PC makes the saving throw and then fakes being knocked out – if/when this happens, the guards think that they are disabled when they are not
    • When the “knock out juice” wears off, the PCs wake up and, unless the Bad Guy’s minions are very alert (perception check for the bad guys), the PCs have a chance to try to sleight-of-hand or stealth based action to get help, or have the imp or primal companion do something to open the chance for escape.
    • Use of the feign death spell in a situation like this (party has a cleric) may provide the party with the misdirection that they need to get an escape attempt underway.
  2. Inflicting the Poisoned Condition is another method with loopholes
    There are other poisons that induce the poisoned condition, such as pale tincture or assassin’s blood (same place in SRD/DMG. Those two last for 24 hours if the save isn’t made. While this leaves the PC with disadvantage on ability checks and attacks (Appendix A, Conditions, Poisoned) there is a saving throw which leaves a loophole. If you keep lacing their food and drink with this stuff, and thus keep the PCs poisoned, their efforts to escape will be hampered, but are not utterly voided as being unconscious does or incapacitated does.

How my first D&D 5e DM handled it

We were fed poisoned soup (DC 20 save) tried to fight our way out, got beat down to 0 HP, and were bound, gagged, and kept in a dark room; all equipment was confiscated.

So there we were, a barbarian human, a dwarf paladin, and a cleric human(me), level 6, bound, gagged and naked. We got on with our various squrmings around and try to undo the bonds working after we woke up from being at 0 HP; becoming unbound was not all that much trouble, but we were in an unfamiliar place and tried to sneak out. Multiple guards with pole arms (and with polearm mastery) were able to overcome us (My attempt at a command spell met with three successful saving throws – the dice hated me!) and knocked us back to nearly 0 HP before the NPC wizard showed up and put us to sleep. We woke up bound and gagged again, with two armed half elves with a serious case of negative attitude, guarding us in the dark room. When I began to talk to them my cleric got knocked out again. The other three party members were the ones who had to break us three out.

How I almost handled it for a different group: transporting statues

After two escape attempts, after which they were captured while trying to retrieve their gear, my Evil Boss lady threatened to turn the PCs to stone. She had some pet cockatrices. Once the PC is turned to stone, they won’t be able to act until the Bigger Bad Guy unstones them at the destination.

The problem with this approach, turning the PCs to stone, is that it closes the door on any PC attempts at the escape. In my experience, escape scenarios can be a lot of fun. This is ultimately why I chose not to have the Evil Lady make good on that threat. If it fits your situation, though, turning the PCs to stone and shipping them the 600 miles (per your comment) by boat or cart reduces the overhead for the Evil Party considerably as the try to make the delivery of these slaves to the Bigger and Badder Evil party.

With the Imp and the Primal Companion, I as a DM would prefer to watch and see how they put those class features to work.
The Primal companion from Tasha’s, which your party’s Ranger has access to, does not require V/S/M to summon. If the Ranger is conscious, that source of assistance seems to be unsuppressable.


A word on the scope of your challenge if you are unwilling to render them unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. If you remove all of their material components and spell casting foci as a foundation for the challenge to your PCs as they try to escape, there are still a variety of spells available to them.
From this question (using PHB, Xanathar’s, and Tasha’s) the entire list of spells from all classes that are ‘verbal component only’ are:

  • Cantrips: Lightning Lure, Mind Sliver, Sword Burst, Thaumaturgy, Vicious Mockery

  • Lvl 1: Cause Fear, Command, (Compelled Duel), Dissonant Whispers,
    Ensnaring Strike, Faerie Fire, Hail of Thorns, Healing Word, Hunter’s
    Mark, (Searing Smite, Thunderous Smite, Wrathful Smite) Zephyr Strike

  • Lvl 2: Blindness/Deafness, Blur, (Branding Smite), Earthbind, Knock,
    Misty Step, Prayer of Healing, Tasha’s Mind Whip, Warding Wind

Since your party has no paladin, the compelled duel and smite spells are not available (in parens above); depending on your party’s spell selections, some of the above are likely available for them to use.

For “somatic components only spells” for the four classes in the party:

Cantrip: Thunderclap, True Strike
First Level: Absorb Elements
Second Level: Beast Sense, Mind Spike

If they are able to use both verbal and somatic components, but no material components, there are an additional 45 spells that they have available among cantrips, first level, and second level spells. D&DBeyond Search is here. I am not going to list them all since I have no idea what your characters selected, but the number of spells that can help them escape is considerable.

The bottom line is that the point I mentioned at the top of this post – the sheer difficulty in keeping captive four spell casters who are not incapacitated or rendered unconscious – becomes layered and quite complex even if verbal and somatic components are their only options for spell casting.

The Heavy Armor Rules Mechanic approach

One way to deal with the bard, sorcerer and warlock is to make them don heavy armor that they can’t take off per this fine answer – (which I suggest you take a good look at; good experienced-based input). Why does this work? If one is not proficient with heavy armor one cannot cast spells while wearing it. PHB CH 5, Armor and Shields

If you wear armor that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can’t cast spells. (Basic Rule, p. 46)

An additional benefit to this is that attempts at stealth to get away will be at disadvantage if they are stuck in heavy armor.

dnd 5e – Do weapons looted from creatures that are larger than Medium in size retain their damage when wielded by Medium-sized PCs?

Technically speaking, yes. The looted weapon will still deal extra damage.

Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit.

The “that” is pretty clear – the weapons deal extra damage, not the monster.

However, you should be extremely cautious in making these rules (and weapons) accessible to players. The rules on creature size are in the PHB, but these rules are in the DMG. They’re not meant to be easily accessible to players.

A player who is making a conscious effort to gain advantage on their attacks can do so fairly easily. That makes wielding oversized weapons a pretty nice option for any player who wants to build around it. At the very least, if you’re planning to allow this, consider implementing the suggested rule that it is impossible to use a weapon two sizes too big.

networking – Conneting PCs on different IPs through Remmina

I access a windows desktop on IP 10.11.12.13 from my Ubuntu desktop on IP 10.11.12.14 through Remmina using RDP protocal (changing Security to negotiate, and keeping everything default in Remmina.), but for the same settings, I am unable to connect another windows PC on ip 10.11.15.16.

By seeing the IP, could anyone here please help me out ?

dnd 5e – Is there a RAW way to allow the PCs to recover only some of their spell slots, HP, hit dice etc?

This is a class feature of Wizards and Warlocks.

Wizards have a class feature called Arcane Recovery:

You have learned to regain some of your magical energy by studying your spellbook. Once per day when you finish a short rest, you can choose expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level that is equal to or less than half your wizard level (rounded up), and none of the slots can be 6th level or higher.

And the Warlock’s Pact Magic feature says:

You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

So I would be quite hesitant to just give these class features to other casters for free.

Either give them a proper long rest or only a short rest, and adjust the difficulty accordingly.

I’ve run this both ways. I’m sure many DMs know what this is like: either your party blows everything early in your dungeon, or they play conservatively and it looks like the end of your dungeon won’t even be a challenge.

Here’s the thing: your players don’t know what tomorrow holds. You’re only having this issue because you’re the DM and you know what you have planned. So change your plans. If you don’t want them to get their spells back, adjust your encounters accordingly so as to be manageable, but still engaging. Or maybe you think they would better enjoy a significant challenge on a fresh set of spell slots. Adjust your encounters accordingly.

I’ve never implemented a half-rest sort of mechanic where every gets some of their spells back, so I won’t speak to how that might work, but I can say this: I’ve never needed to. I’ve had success both ways, either giving them a full rest or giving them nothing back. You just have to be flexible.

For what it’s worth, I see no reason from your description not to give them a proper long rest. A long rest requires 8 hours of down time and at least six hours of sleep. I’m usually somewhat flexible with those numbers, but the rules do not say it has to be good sleep.

dnd 5e – Is there a RAW way to allow the PCs to recover only some of their spell slots etc?

This is a class feature of Wizards and Warlocks.

Wizards have a class feature called Arcane Recovery:

You have learned to regain some of your magical energy by studying your spellbook. Once per day when you finish a short rest, you can choose expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level that is equal to or less than half your wizard level (rounded up), and none of the slots can be 6th level or higher.

And the Warlock’s Pact Magic feature says:

You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

So I would be quite hesitant to just give these class features to other casters for free.

Either give them a proper long rest or only a short rest, and adjust the difficulty accordingly.

I’ve run this both ways. I’m sure many DMs know what this is like: either your party blows everything early in your dungeon, or they play conservatively and it looks like the end of your dungeon won’t even be a challenge.

Here’s the thing: your players don’t know what tomorrow holds. You’re only having this issue because you’re the DM and you know what you have planned. So change your plans. If you don’t want them to get their spells back, adjust your encounters accordingly so as to be manageable, but still engaging. Or maybe you think they would better enjoy a significant challenge on a fresh set of spell slots. Adjust your encounters accordingly.

I’ve never implemented a half-rest sort of mechanic where every gets some of their spells back, so I won’t speak to how that might work, but I can say this: I’ve never needed to. I’ve had success both ways, either giving them a full rest or giving them nothing back. You just have to be flexible.

For what it’s worth, I see no reason from your description not to give them a proper long rest. A long rest requires 8 hours of down time and at least six hours of sleep. I’m usually somewhat flexible with those numbers, but the rules do not say it has to be good sleep.

dnd 5e – If a PC’s ability score increases due to an item, does it increase the corresponding modifier for the ability score or any skills/attacks?

The modifier is directly linked to the stat, so a STR of 19 has a modifier of +4. That just happens automatically.
STR based attacks will therefore benefit from the higher modifier.
Skill checks will improve if they use the STR modifier as it has improved.

Basically, the modifier instantly increases to match the new total of the stat then that flows over into attack rolls, damage rolls and ability checks/saves that use that modifier.

From the SRD:

When a character makes an attack roll, the two most common modifiers to the roll are an ability modifier and the character’s proficiency bonus. When a monster makes an attack roll, it uses whatever modifier is provided in its stat block.

Ability Modifier. The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack
is Strength

dnd 5e – If a PC’s ability score increases due to an item, does it increase the corresponding modifier for the ability score or any skills/attacks?

The modifier is directly linked to the stat, so a STR of 19 has a modifier of +4. That just happens automatically.
STR based attacks will therefore benefit from the higher modifier.
Skill checks will improve if they use the STR modifier as it has improved.

Basically, the modifier instantly increases to match the new total of the stat then that flows over into attack rolls, damage rolls and ability checks/saves that use that modifier.

From the SRD:

When a character makes an attack roll, the two most common modifiers to the roll are an ability modifier and the character’s proficiency bonus. When a monster makes an attack roll, it uses whatever modifier is provided in its stat block.

Ability Modifier. The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack
is Strength

dnd 5e – What can I ask the PCs to sacrifice to save people (NPCs) from a plague?

DND 5.0 ed

New on 5.0, played the 3.5 edition.
Inside my new campagne the PCs are followed by a big plague. They are immune and they have a stone that can save the sick people that, otherwise NPC will die. In some way the plague will follow the PCs so they are, in some way, responsabile of the poeple who get sick. Using the stone they can heal people, but I want they do a moral decision in order to sacrifice some of their life to save people, if they want.

What can I ask the PCs to sacrifice to save people (NPCs) from a plague? The only things that I have in mind is a long curse like -1 to all hit roll for a week or, more strong, heal people will cost some EXP points. (at start only few, but any time they will us ethis power ther spend more exp points)

Do you have better ideas? How can I balance this things?

dnd 5e – Am I correctly calculating the difficulty/XP for this encounter for a 15th-level party of 5 PCs?

You calculation is correct.

15th level party, medium difficulty, 5 PCs

XP Threshold: 5(2800) = 14,000 xp  
4 monsters so 2x Encounter Multiplier:  
  
1 fire giant 1(2)(5000 xp) = 10000 xp  
1 ogre       1(2)( 450 xp) =   900 xp  
2 ettins     2(2)(1100 xp) =  4400 xp  
                             --------  
                             15300 xp  

  1. Determine XP Thresholds. First, determine the experience point (XP) thresholds for each character in the party. The XP Thresholds by Character Level table below has four XP thresholds for each character level, one for each category of encounter difficulty. Use a character’s level to determine his or her XP thresholds. Repeat this process for every character in the party.

  2. Determine the Party’s XP Threshold. For each category of encounter difficulty, add up the characters’ XP thresholds. This determines the party’s XP threshold. You’ll end up with four totals, one for each category of encounter difficulty.

Consulting the XP threshholds table, Medium for a 15th level character is 2,800, so with 5 characters that’s 14,000 for a medium encounter, and 21,500 for a hard encounter.

3. Total the Monsters’ XP. Add up the XP for all of the monsters in the encounter. Every monster has an XP value in its stat block.

A fire giant, an ogre, and two ettins is 5,000+450+1,100+1,100 = 7,650 XP.

4. Modify Total XP for Multiple Monsters. If the encounter includes more than one monster, apply a multiplier to the monsters’ total XP. The more monsters there are, the more attack rolls you’re making against the characters in a given round, and the more dangerous the encounter becomes. To correctly gauge an encounter’s difficulty, multiply the total XP of all the monsters in the encounter by the value given in the Encounter Multipliers table.

Consulting the table:

Number of Monsters Multilpier
3-6 x2

We double 7,650 to 15,300.