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92 votes

The Detect Thoughts spell is trivializing social encounters. How to deal with it?

This has been said before here, but spells in social encounters aren't free. You're obviously casting a spell, especially the one you linked. That has verbal, somatic, and material components (though ...
Fibericon's user avatar
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71 votes

In a low-combat campaign, most PC abilities seem useless; what few fights there are barely use up resources. How do I deal with this as the DM?

This isn't an uncommon problem, and there are techniques for dealing with it. I could've written this post, a couple years ago. I learned at session 0 that everyone wanted less combat and more ...
Tal's user avatar
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60 votes

In a low-combat campaign, most PC abilities seem useless; what few fights there are barely use up resources. How do I deal with this as the DM?

Tal's answer has lots of great advice, but specifically addressing your hardly scratching resources + combat balancing issue... Rest Variant: Gritty Realism The DMG specifically recommends using the &...
BlueMoon93's user avatar
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56 votes

Frequency of cantrips outside of battle

About the Rules You are correct that even if you can do something as much as you want, it still takes time to do. Something that takes your action in combat should not be do-able more frequently than ...
KRyan's user avatar
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44 votes
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How should XP be awarded for an encounter when enemies flee, get intimidated, or are convinced to help?

Award XP for the types of play that you want to encourage. RAW, XP is awarded for defeating / overcoming encounters, but it's left up to DM discretion as to what that entails. Some (rare) groups ...
John Goblin's user avatar
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44 votes
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Do out-of-combat spells use spell slots?

Yes, they do. As described in the basic rules for spellcasting: When a character casts a spell, he or she expends a slot of that spell's level or higher, effectively "filling" a slot with ...
aslum's user avatar
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38 votes

The Detect Thoughts spell is trivializing social encounters. How to deal with it?

In games where Detect Thoughts has been used heavily, I have seen the GM treat the initial effect as a free insight success, which seems appropriate for a no-save 2nd level effect. The text of the ...
Icyfire's user avatar
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38 votes

Are rounds just for combat, or should we be using them at other times in the game?

Rounds, and where necessary turns, are used whenever there is a need for fast-paced tracking of time, regardless of whether or not it is in combat or not This is hinted at in the optional rule for ...
illustro's user avatar
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30 votes

Frequency of cantrips outside of battle

Exhaustion for your General Problem If you're concerned about a character exerting themselves for extended periods of time, you may consider requiring Constitution saving throws to prevent exhaustion....
Pyrotechnical's user avatar
24 votes
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The Detect Thoughts spell is trivializing social encounters. How to deal with it?

These answers pretty well cover several of your options, but I'd like chip in a few others. Targeting As others have said, be aware of how the spell is cast. You must be within 30' of your initial ...
guildsbounty's user avatar
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23 votes

As a DM, how can I keep martial characters relevant in non-combat encounters?

Make non combat encounters rely on combat rolls. This is my normal method to make visiting combat monsters interesting. Players have mostly enjoyed it. When a combat character arrives to meet other ...
Nepene Nep's user avatar
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22 votes
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How to manage XP in non-combat missions

The DMG gives you several alternate XP/leveling options on pages 260-261. You may benefit from "milestone" leveling rather than doling out XP per encounter. Thus characters level up when they ...
Jason K's user avatar
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21 votes

How should XP be awarded for an encounter when enemies flee, get intimidated, or are convinced to help?

Killing monsters is not a requirement for recieving experience. The DMG states (emphasis mine): Experience points (XP) fuel level advancement for player characters and are most often the reward ...
ravery's user avatar
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20 votes

In a low-combat campaign, most PC abilities seem useless; what few fights there are barely use up resources. How do I deal with this as the DM?

This is intended as a compliment to the other answers, to address avenues they don't explore at all... My background: I was part of the ~7 people co-running a college level club with a coordinated-...
Bennie's user avatar
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20 votes

Are rounds just for combat, or should we be using them at other times in the game?

Combat-like time is a tool to be used when it is needed. I like to refer to the system of initiative, turns, and rounds as "tactical time" rather than referring directly to combat. Combat is ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
19 votes

Has anyone tested the effect of allowing cantrips to be repeatedly cast between battles?

My first thought would that this would be tiring, even though it is only a cantrip, doing it repeatedly would drain the caster over a day but: A cantrip is a spell that can be cast at will, without ...
Steve's user avatar
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19 votes
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How to Encourage Players to Engage in Diplomacy and Negotiations Instead of Resorting to Combat?

Make sure your players are on board. Before even going down this path, you may wish to make sure your players are on board with it. If your players are showing up expecting to solve most problems ...
TimothyAWiseman's user avatar
15 votes

What actions, bonus actions or reactions can a character perform out of / outside of combat?

Similar to how you can take an action outside of combat, you can also take bonus actions (assuming of course, they are available). There are some noteworthy exceptions, specifically that if the bonus ...
Sh4d0wsPlyr's user avatar
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14 votes

The Detect Thoughts spell is trivializing social encounters. How to deal with it?

I agree with the other answers and want to add an additional solution. The spell isn't free. It uses up a spell slot. So give them more potential targets so they have to weigh up how and when to use ...
Ian Miller's user avatar
13 votes
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Can Rally and other Maneuvers be used outside of battle?

Firstly, it is worth noting that (as Eidolon notes) temporary hitpoints do not stack (pg.198 PHB). That is to say, if you have 10 temporary hp, and gain 12, you now have 12, NOT 22. Technically yes ...
Ladifas's user avatar
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13 votes
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How can I track time in non-combat situations?

The two most important things I've found are: 1. the current time needs to be known to everyone, and 2. it should require minimum effort. A clock does that for me. When I track time I've found the ...
user-781943's user avatar
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12 votes

How to manage XP in non-combat missions

You can also award XP based on how important the non combat event was toward progressing the general adventure. A technique I have found to work fairly well is to take the party's average level as a ...
keithcurtis's user avatar
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12 votes
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Has anyone tested the effect of allowing cantrips to be repeatedly cast between battles?

This is the norm You can normally cast spells and take other actions out of combat. Cantrips are no exception, and so you won't break anything or unbalance anything by allowing this, since rules and ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
12 votes

How to Encourage Players to Engage in Diplomacy and Negotiations Instead of Resorting to Combat?

People respond to incentives Economists aren’t right about much but they are right about that. 99.9% of all people surveyed would rather have sex than have red hot needles inserted under their ...
Dale M's user avatar
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11 votes

As a DM, how can I keep martial characters relevant in non-combat encounters?

Are you good at everything you're asked to do? Anyone can contribute to the success of the plan. Some people will have the education and background to succeed more often than others. Every character (...
MivaScott's user avatar
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10 votes
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How is XP awarded in AL for non-combat puzzles in Tomb of Annihilation?

The below answer was correct at time of writing (and asking), however, as of Season 8 rules, XP is no longer awarded, in any form, in DDAL play. The D&D Adventurer's League Primer for Tomb of ...
Tiggerous's user avatar
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10 votes

Frequency of cantrips outside of battle

You can cast every 6 seconds, but just because there's no resource cost doesn't mean it's not physically and/or mentally draining. Part of 5e's design philosophy is to not have specific rules for ...
r256's user avatar
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10 votes
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Experience in Eberron

XP is awarded for completing encounters, not just fights As a DM in 5E, you have massive freedom to craft your campaign and reward players as you see fit. Even when working from a source book such as ...
Zigmata's user avatar
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