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5E Share Astonishing PC Power Combos Discovered in Play

I love it when, in game, a confluence of PC actions engenders a surprising result. I’ve been playing in a group of players that are, predominately, new to D&D, and am often pleased to find that options that are deemed “subpar” by the D&D Borg/Internet Hypermind, actually are decent or good in the wild...aka in play.

I would love to read what others have experienced.

In Cragmaw Castle, the combination of the lowly Witch Bolt spell with Ensaring Strike cast by a lowly Ranger, restrained and quickly killed a fleeing bugbear and saved the group from the alarm being raised.

So what, ‘subpar’ options have you seen in play, that work better then you expected?
 

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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
In 3e I designed an encounter featuring a giant trapdoor spider. The PCs noticed the burrow and deduced what it was from afar. They were 3rd level.

The wizard was being played by a person who had never played a tabletop RPG before. He looked around his character sheet and asked...."How much weight does my levitate spell lift?

Moments later the 300lb boulder was dropped on the burrow, the spider was crushed, and my entire encounter went out the window.

Not a combo, just an old spell looked at with a new perspective.
 

That is cool, and definitely counts as a “Fresh Eyes” story....but Levitate is almost always a good spell in any edition. 😀
 

humble minion

Adventurer
I know that as a low-ish level paladin the optimal max-damage use of spell slots is supposed to be burning them for Divine Smite unless you're using Bless or Compelled Duel, but I've gotten some great use out of Wrathful Smite when facing animal-intelligence enemies. They're normally attacking you because they're hungry, give them a reason to be scared of you and run away, and they will.

And it has to be said, the elf ranger is one of the most powerful members of our party. At least on those rare occasions when her player can roll more than 3 on an attack roll...
 

Perun

Mushroom
And it has to be said, the elf ranger is one of the most powerful members of our party. At least on those rare occasions when her player can roll more than 3 on an attack roll...
I know the feeling, my characters are cursed the same way generally, but particularly in failing Wisdom saves :cautious:

I'm not overly fond of multiclass characters (never played one), but in our current party Rogue 5/Fighter 6 (Swashbuckler/Battle Master) half-elf with Elven Accuracy deals the most insane amounts of damage.

As an additional funny note, two characters in the party use toll the dead on a fairly regular basis, our dwarf storm cleric and gnome invoker. Just by looking, you'd never guess it was the same spell -- the cleric regularly deals single-digit damage (on 3d12), while the gnome rarely deals less than 20 points of damage.
 

Iry

Adventurer
5E is a great edition for power combos. While Individual power is somewhat bounded, team combos are still amazing. Here are a few simple ones:

Commander's Strike on the rogue gives you another sneak attack in the round.

Stunning Strike let's a cleric critically hit with Inflict Wounds.

Grapple an enemy and drag them across a bunch of Create Bonfires.

Giant Spiders (Beastmaster or summoned) + Web + Darkness or Fog Cloud is oodles of advantage.

Flaming Sphere and Sentinel or Shield Master keeps them locked down or pushes them back as they try to leave.

Two Ancestral Barbarians is just rude, foul, and uncouth even if you just take 3 levels.
 

the Jester

Legend
Two creatures with Sentinel attacking the same target give it no good options.

EDIT: I'm incorrect on this- I was conflating it with a similar ability from a custom subclass.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
Two creatures with Sentinel attacking the same target give it no good options
The feat addresses this concern: When a creature within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn't have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.
 

the Jester

Legend
The feat addresses this concern: When a creature within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn't have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.
Oh, you're right- sorry, I am conflating this with a custom fighter path, the devoted defender, which offers a very similar ability without such a clause. My bad.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Grave cleric and any nova striker with assassin abilities. The target is vulnerable to an autocrit. The deadliest assassin in my campaign world is built using PC rules and he is able to deal around 300 damage... in one blow.
 

Eltab

Hero
Halfling Arcane Trickster took Sweeping Blades cantrip (name is close but not quite) and now runs through mobs of enemies and sets off a "grenade" in the middle of them. Add enough Monk or Barbarian for the speed boost to actually be able to out-run enemies.
For more fun, set up a scout post at night, let the enemies get past you beyond earshot, and cast Dancing Lights 30 feet above/behind them so your friends can see where the sneaking enemy is. (Requires darkvision to work.)

Dragon flies over clustered heroes and uses Frightful Presence from directly overhead. Now they have to run away from each other and the dragon can stomp somebody down without interference.
 

NaturalZero

Adventurer
Does anyone watch Critical Role?

In a recent episode, Laura tricked the DM into letting a powerful NPC share a cupcake with her before cutting her hands off. He had forgotten that it was laced with a magical flavoring that gives disadvantage on Wisdom saves (It's the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount). She then cast Modify Memory and convinced the NPC that they had come to a deal to lift an unbreakable curse. It was one of the most epic roleplaying moments i've seen at a table.
 

Player Druid: Hey can I have a Squirrel as a weapon? 1D6?

Me as a first time DM: Sure.

Player Druid: Can I cast Wildshape on it?

You see where this is going except me: Yeah sure whatever.

Proceeds to watch the Druid, as a Bear, and the Squirrel, as a Lion now, tag team The Warg boss with ease.

Yep,I should've had the Warg Shadow warp/illusion into the Dark Hall where the Wizard was and let the Bear and Lion be surrounded by the Warg's goblin guards.

Oh well, next time with a different group I'll do that.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
An all paladin group is interesting, and hard to kill. 4 wizards and one tank is an interesting group. Especially if they see people closing.
 

Eltab

Hero
An all paladin group is interesting, and hard to kill. 4 wizards and one tank is an interesting group. Especially if they see people closing.
Wiz1: (casts Illusion on the Fighter) "He transforms into a dragon."
Ftr: "RAWRR ! "
Wiz2: (steps behind Fighter, casts Fear)
Wiz3: (had lousy initiative roll) (steps behind Fighter, casts Fireball on whoever enemies did not run)
Ftr: "I love it when a plan comes together"
 

The day the Warlock and Barbarian in my party got together and realized that the Warlock can Hex Strength and the Barbarian gets Advantage on Strength checks whilst raging was the day our poor DM realized that unless a monster was bigger than Large, it was going to get wrassle'd, and if there was any say, lava, long drops, traps, or the like, that was where it was going to get wrassle'd to. With one encounter recently, he one of the PCs nearly died in the first attack sequence of the first round of the battle, and the DM was like "Out of character, but you guys might want to think about a tactical withdrawal here". And we did, briefly, but then the Barbarian realized that the mean monster which did this was standing in front of a pool of lava, and the Warlock had already Hex'd it's strength, because that's his default thing to do. Shoves wouldn't have done the job, as it would have taken too many, and it could have got out. But Grapple, move, hold it in there? Yeah. And now any enemy is likely to be a victim of similar.

We've also got huge usage out of Gust, for various bizarre reasons, because it's basically like having a fairly powerful fan that you can spin up instantly at a distance (albeit briefly, but you can just keep casting it, out of combat).
 

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