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D&D 5E Questions from a DM that's kinda new 5E

ElterAgo

Explorer
One of my players is running an arcane trickster. There's a few things he wants to do that haven't come up before for me.

1) He wants to use Silent Image or Minor Image to something like make a duplicate image of a door a couple feet forward so he can crouch behind the illusion, pick the lock, open the door, go into the room, and then close the door. With no one able to see him the whole time. Do you agree that would work? Would a guard at the end of the hall get a save to notice the door 'move' closer?

2) He wants to set up some paid informants in the cities they travel to on a regular basis. How much would you go into this? How much should it cost? How hard should I make this? What kind of checks should be used?

3) He wants to make some poisons to put on his thrown daggers. The rules to craft poisons seem... early unworkable?!? Or maybe we just aren't reading it correctly. Is there some kind of guide to make this easier for us to understand? Also are there any rules on harvesting poisons from snakes, spiders, or whatever?

Thanks in advance.
 

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DemoMonkey

Adventurer
1) The rules cover that. "If a creature uses its action to examine the sound or image, the creature can determine that it is an illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC. "

The question is, would the guard use their action? I would leave that up to their passive perception.

2) Up to 100 gp/month. The amount spent is the % chance that someone will have some info for them. (There's no rule for this, it's just a suggestion.)

3) The rules are vague on purpose. It's not really intended for poison to be a major tool in the toolkit without major cost.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
One of my players is running an arcane trickster. There's a few things he wants to do that haven't come up before for me.
Alright, here we go!
1) He wants to use Silent Image or Minor Image to something like make a duplicate image of a door a couple feet forward so he can crouch behind the illusion, pick the lock, open the door, go into the room, and then close the door. With no one able to see him the whole time. Do you agree that would work? Would a guard at the end of the hall get a save to notice the door 'move' closer?
There's no official rules for this since illusion spells tend to be more freeform. Casting the spell itself might give him away due to the verbal component so casting it beforehand or getting him to briefly not mind the rogue may work. Once that's done, it comes down to the guard not seeing the door. If its in his peripheral, I think he's safe but if its in his focus, he'll likely investigate and catch the rogue.

I'd make it a contest. Thieves' Tools vs. Passive Perception. If he succeeds, the rogue opens the door before the guard notices. If he fails, the guard notices a bit before the rogue can finish.

2) He wants to set up some paid informants in the cities they travel to on a regular basis. How much would you go into this? How much should it cost? How hard should I make this? What kind of checks should be used?
Skilled Hirelings can fulfill this need. They cost 2gp/day. Doesn't seem like alot until he has 5 of them and he has been gone or doing downtime for a month. Suddenly its 300gp for that time. The informants can use the "Researching" downtime activity. The hirelings themselves make the check and for each hireling that succeeds, you can give the characters new information about whatever the player thinks he's likely to hear.
3) He wants to make some poisons to put on his thrown daggers. The rules to craft poisons seem... early unworkable?!? Or maybe we just aren't reading it correctly. Is there some kind of guide to make this easier for us to understand? Also are there any rules on harvesting poisons from snakes, spiders, or whatever?
Crafting means you can make whatever mundane gear. You actually pay nothing in gp, but the materials you use must be worth half the value. You can make as many items as you need, up to a maximum value of 5gp.

Poisons are usually either extracted or concocted. In the case of concoction, use the crafting rules. Concocting poison is extremely expensive and time consuming. It should only really be done during downtime. It takes 20 days and 50gp worth of materials that the DM decides to make a vial of poison. Its not very efficient, but adds up if your players have a couple months of downtime.

Extracting (harvesting) poisons are much quicker and more likely mid-adventure. The DMG has rules for this. The creature that you're extracting from must be incapacitated or dead. It takes 1d6 minutes to extract and the extractor must succeed a DC 20 Intelligence(Nature) check or Poisoner's Kit check. The type of poison depends on the creature extracted from. Not all monsters that do poisons are on this list, however, the poisons on the list are carbon copies of the type of effect from the creature that has them. You can use this as a guide.

For example, if you're extracting Guardian Naga poison, it should be a DC 15 Con save that does 45 (10d8) poison damage.
 

aco175

Legend
There is some stuff on minor image to make a tree or rock to hide behind when sneaking. It comes in handy in a lot of situations. The DM takes into account who is looking and how much out of place things are.

Poison is not something I encourage. I find the rules and damage output for thieves is good already. I tend to have a check to recover poison from snakes and such and another check to apply in battle. Once in a while the rogue will poison himself and complain. We have a good thread from a few weeks ago about this.

Having contacts in other towns is a great opportunity to roleplay. I thought there was a background that allows contacts as well. I wouldn't think that there is a monthly rate to be a contact, but only when you get information from them if there is no give and take. Informants may be giving the same info to many people and the PC is only one of them. A great way to introduce plot elements and this should be encouraged. Same with the fighter who may know an armorer in the next town and a smith in another. These build plot feeds you can use and the PCs love helping friends. I even go as far a giving some NPCs out like this at the start of a campaign.
 

3) He wants to make some poisons to put on his thrown daggers. The rules to craft poisons seem... early unworkable?!? Or maybe we just aren't reading it correctly. Is there some kind of guide to make this easier for us to understand? Also are there any rules on harvesting poisons from snakes, spiders, or whatever?
Point him to the new Poisoner feat.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
One of my players is running an arcane trickster. There's a few things he wants to do that haven't come up before for me.

1) He wants to use Silent Image or Minor Image to something like make a duplicate image of a door a couple feet forward so he can crouch behind the illusion, pick the lock, open the door, go into the room, and then close the door. With no one able to see him the whole time. Do you agree that would work? Would a guard at the end of the hall get a save to notice the door 'move' closer?
Generally when a player takes an action that seems like it could work, but could also fail to work, and has consequences for failure, you resolve the uncertainty with a check. In this case, I think the action itself seems pretty reasonable, but could fail if the guard, for example, realizes the hall is shorter than normal. So either a Wisdom (maybe Insight?) check on the guard’s part against the rogue’s spell save DC seems like a pretty reasonable way to resolve that uncertainty. That’s probably how I would handle it.
2) He wants to set up some paid informants in the cities they travel to on a regular basis. How much would you go into this? How much should it cost? How hard should I make this? What kind of checks should be used?
If they have the Criminal background, I’d allow that as part of their Contact feature. Otherwise, I’d probably just have the informants charge for information on a case-by-case basis. When the rogue needs to know something from the contact, you can determine whether that’s something the informant would know or not, potentially making a roll like Intelligence (Investigation) for the information to settle uncertainty if you’re not sure, and charge an amount that feels appropriate based on the value of the information. Of course if the rogue wants to haggle, you determine if the informant would accept this offer, refuse it, or if uncertain, have the player make a Charisma (maybe Persuasion?) check.
3) He wants to make some poisons to put on his thrown daggers. The rules to craft poisons seem... early unworkable?!? Or maybe we just aren't reading it correctly. Is there some kind of guide to make this easier for us to understand? Also are there any rules on harvesting poisons from snakes, spiders, or whatever?

Thanks in advance.
When in doubt, fall back on the core mechanic. Ask yourself, “could this action succeed?” If no, it fails. If yes, ask yourself, “could this action fail?” If no, it succeeds. If yes, ask yourself, “does this action cost the character something or have a consequence for failure?” If no, it succeeds. If yes, ask the player to make a check.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
When it comes to illusions, it's quite dependent on situation. A guard who has walked past a door a thousand times knows what the hallway looks like, no intelligence check needed. In some cases, they may be so bored as to not notice but that's a different issue; if I thought the guard might not notice something out of place I'd make it a perception check not an intelligence check.

If the guards are not familiar with the area, there may still be something out of place to let them know to do an investigation check as an action. So there is no one answer even in my own game.

Contacts and what-not are part of certain background and potentially a patron. It depends on what risk level you're looking at IMHO. Keep in mind that real world gold value doesn't necessarily match game world gold value. As mentioned above I'd consider them hirelings.

I don't allow poison in my games, it's just not worth the hassle. However there is a new feat in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything:
You can prepare and deliver deadly poisons, granting you the following benefits:​
  • When you make a damage roll that deals poison damage, it ignores resistance to poison damage.​
  • You can apply poison to a weapon or piece of ammunition as a bonus action, instead of an action.​
  • You gain proficiency with the Poisoner's Kit if you don’t already have it. With one hour of work using a poisoner’s kit and expending 50 gp worth of materials, you can create a number of doses of potent poison equal to your proficiency bonus. Once applied to a weapon or piece of ammunition, the poison retains its potency for 1 minute or until you hit with the weapon or ammunition. When a creature takes damage from the coated weapon or ammunition, that creature must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or take 2d8 poison damage and become poisoned until the end of your next turn.​
 

1) He wants to use Silent Image or Minor Image to something like make a duplicate image of a door a couple feet forward so he can crouch behind the illusion, pick the lock, open the door, go into the room, and then close the door. With no one able to see him the whole time. Do you agree that would work? Would a guard at the end of the hall get a save to notice the door 'move' closer?
If I'm understanding you correctly, he's setting up the following: door, rogue, image, guard. In this case it depends on the layout of the area. If the illusion can cover the area involved, then the rogue should be good. If you want to make it possible for the rogue to be seen, you can have the guard make a passive Investigation check against the spell DC to let him know "something" isn't right, then require him to make another Int/Investigation check as per the spell. I honestly recommend against this, as the PC is spending a resource (or at least was smart using a cantrip in a small area). Even if annoying to your plans, you should encourage and reward smart play from the players.
2) He wants to set up some paid informants in the cities they travel to on a regular basis. How much would you go into this? How much should it cost? How hard should I make this? What kind of checks should be used?
Information peddlers are likely to be common in most settings. I'd require some downtime (one work week) and spend about 5 gp to meet with them. When they return to town, they can make a Cha check to find them again to see if they have any information. You should decide if they have any information, and have the NPC offer various bits of information in moderately vague terms (e.g. "I know what the mayor's been up to") and base the cost of the information on the value of it. In my mayor example:

5 gp - Mayor's trying to ally with a local guild to consolidate power
25 gp - Mayor's having an affair
50 gp - Mayor's skimming from the treasury
100 gp - Mayor's doing something relevant to your plot
500 gp - Mayor's a demon worshiper that's planning to sacrifice townsfolk until he gives enough souls to set it free

Obviously you should adjust these prices based on how much treasure you give out.

3) He wants to make some poisons to put on his thrown daggers. The rules to craft poisons seem... early unworkable?!? Or maybe we just aren't reading it correctly. Is there some kind of guide to make this easier for us to understand? Also are there any rules on harvesting poisons from snakes, spiders, or whatever?
If you have it, the crafting rules from Xanthar's Guide to Everything are workable. If not, assuming he's proficienct, I'd simply allow him to make a potion of poison each day of downtime by spending half the cost. There are more poisons in the DMG if you want to allow him to be creative.

For harvesting poisons, I'd require a Int/Nature check to harvest 1 vial/use from a creature slain in the last minute. The DC should be based on how powerful you think the poison is compared to the base poison in the PHB. In addition, I'd have the poison lose it's potency over time (a week grants advantage, 2 ruins it). The PCs pays for materials to stabilize it, and the cost should also be relative to the cost of the basic poison from PHB.
 

1) He wants to use Silent Image or Minor Image to something like make a duplicate image of a door a couple feet forward so he can crouch behind the illusion, pick the lock, open the door, go into the room, and then close the door. With no one able to see him the whole time. Do you agree that would work? Would a guard at the end of the hall get a save to notice the door 'move' closer?
Depends (and illusion magic can get crazy, which makes it fun). If an f***ing door in my house suddenly appeared to me 3 feet closer than I know it should be, I should know something is seriously wrong. Yet, illusion magic operates to make me doubt my own senses. Further, it depends on the spell. Minor Image is a 5' cube whereas Silent Image is a 15' cube. In my house, my doors are all taller than 5'. So, yes, you can create a door. Will it look right? Depends on the spell. Also, lighting and sound matters. The spell creates an image, but it doesn't block light or the sound of your character letting out a nervous fart. The only reason I can't see the caster is because I believe there's a door, though sound may make me think someone's behind the door. Light or sound where there shouldn't be any is normally a dead giveaway.

So, the guard might use his Action to think about it (Investigation vs. spell DC). You might consider giving him advantage if the PCs are sloppy, such as the light source or sound issue. If he succeeds, some clue tipped him off. If he fails, he rationalizes it all in his mind and accepts the illusion.

2) He wants to set up some paid informants in the cities they travel to on a regular basis. How much would you go into this? How much should it cost? How hard should I make this? What kind of checks should be used?
You don't just declare "I want a spy network" and it magically happens. It might take months, and a lot of coin. D&D leaves it largely up to you. Pathfinder, in its Ultimate Campaign accessory (which translate well to D&D), proposed this might cost around 510gp to create a network of spies and thieves around town.
3) He wants to make some poisons to put on his thrown daggers. The rules to craft poisons seem... early unworkable?!? Or maybe we just aren't reading it correctly. Is there some kind of guide to make this easier for us to understand? Also are there any rules on harvesting poisons from snakes, spiders, or whatever?
The DMG already has rules on harvesting poisons (p258), and there's a feat in Tasha's Cauldron to auto-create damaging poison. It's a fine art, no different than modern medicine, and in D&D, it's often not cheap because poisons are seen as a feared coward's tool, equalizing the greatest warrior with the untrained peasant who wins if only they can scratch their opponent.
 

cmad1977

Hero
1) if the PC is using a resource I tend to err on the side of “it works”. As others have said though... a guard MAY investigate. I’d give advantage or disadvantage to the appropriate parties.

2)awesome thinking! Again others have had great ideas. Maybe an NPC or two can be paid up front. Upon return maybe they have a lead to a new adventure OR they have info that helps the group in some way. Then they’ll need more money of course... and more to grow the operation.

3) poisons... I’d either make them limited but available doses cost a decent amount(especially if theyre illegal) do maybe +1d4 damage for like... 1 minute.
And/or...
It’s an adventure! Maybe the poison is like a minor magic item.... BUT it must be harvested from the mighty Squaghemoth. And only the most knowledgeable hunters know how to hunt and harvest the poison.... BUT the hunter is missing in a distant land...

Ok... maybe too far.
 

nevin

Adventurer
One of my players is running an arcane trickster. There's a few things he wants to do that haven't come up before for me.

1) He wants to use Silent Image or Minor Image to something like make a duplicate image of a door a couple feet forward so he can crouch behind the illusion, pick the lock, open the door, go into the room, and then close the door. With no one able to see him the whole time. Do you agree that would work? Would a guard at the end of the hall get a save to notice the door 'move' closer?

2) He wants to set up some paid informants in the cities they travel to on a regular basis. How much would you go into this? How much should it cost? How hard should I make this? What kind of checks should be used?

3) He wants to make some poisons to put on his thrown daggers. The rules to craft poisons seem... early unworkable?!? Or maybe we just aren't reading it correctly. Is there some kind of guide to make this easier for us to understand? Also are there any rules on harvesting poisons from snakes, spiders, or whatever?

Thanks in advance.
poisons from natural creatures generally have a short shelf life, and as a DM remember in almost any town, city or kingdom poisons will be illegal or at least socially unacceptable. If it becomes public knowledge that they are using poison it will hinder them socially and maybe even make them a criminal with a price on their head. No "good " character should be ok with it. Even some thieves guilds might kill him for using poison. Getting caught using poison could land him in jail and possibly locked into dealing with the most unsavory people for any kind of business. he might have to go to the assassains guild suppliers to buy basic items because no one else will do business with him. s

I'd probably look at what the creature's natural poison does and let him coat a weapon with it and use the same rules the creature used. DC, damage , etc. I wouldn't let the poisons last for more than a few weeks though. I'd suggest week one full strength, week two -3 to DC , after that useless to maybe a mild sickening effect.
 

nevin

Adventurer
some DM's go to the no one knows how to harvest it trope but if you know where the venom comes from, Fangs, saliva etc, it's not hard to harvest. It might be hard to harvest "Safely" depending on the poison though.
 

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