Guidance...

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
First, why are you allowing advantage on a lock pick. That's not a helpable action in my games.
I was just quickly thinking of examples. Pick lock, possibly not help-able (although two players of rogues with expertise in thieves tools might well disagree!) But many other tasks, likely yes. Of course this will always be up to a DM - one could just squash helping.

3 prof + 3 expertise + 4 dex + d8 bardic inspiration = 12-38. I don't see that as a meaningfully different range than 13-42

IMO this shows that it's actually not guidance that's the problem!

So doing the same exercise without bardic inspiration because we both agree it's a resource and should be able to have strong effects.

Without guidance = 11-30
With guidance = 12-34
Ah, so to get a "nearly impossible" result in tier-2 with +10 and advantage, is about 9% likely*. To get a "nearly impossible" result in tier-2 with +10, guidance and advantage, is about 41% likely. The cantrip is making quite a difference. Even without help, the change in getting a "nearly impossible" result is from 5% to about 18%.

However, it's also important to respect ability spiking via stacked buffs (which led 3rd ed to have that whole buff-types thing, and systems like Earthdawn to apply a rule of three). Guidance, being nigh-costless, is egregious in that it freely pushes everything upward. Above I think where the designers - from the extant text - appeared to have expected the limits to be.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
The ability check isn't connected to fictional time at all. A check does not exist in the fiction. It is just a mechanic the DM uses to resolve uncertainty as to the outcome of a task when there's a meaningful consequence for failure. The task is what the DM is adjudicating and the effort that the spell is affecting while the check resolves the outcome. Since the spell lasts up to 1 minute, the task must therefore also be 1 minute or less. The check doesn't occur at the beginning of the task or the end or somewhere in the middle. It's outside the context of the fictional world. The spellcaster cannot pinpoint the moment at which the check is made, nor spam the spell if the task takes longer than one minute.
I like this approach, which is kind of metaphysical. One obvious quibble is that if the checks are indeed not connected to the fiction, how does one know to make them at all? And having made a roll, how does one translate it back into the fiction? If they're strictly unconnected, there should be no way to draw the result of the roll back into the right part of the fiction. Perforce they are connected.

I think then what one ends up saying is that they're not connected in indiscernible ways, and the consequence of those ways is as you detail. The issue with that approach is of course that it can support anything with equal justice, so one perhaps ends up taking neither a mechanical or metaphysical position, but one of pragmatism.

Which seems fine :)
 

dnd4vr

Hero
So... the guidance cantrip. Toward the end of my last campaign the group got pretty tired of it. What, if anything are groups doing about guidance spam?

I ask because I am thinking of making it a level 1 spell.
We removed it from the game as well. We thought of making it a feature for the Cleric, like a weakened form of Bardic Inspiration.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I like this approach, which is kind of metaphysical. One obvious quibble is that if the checks are indeed not connected to the fiction, how does one know to make them at all?
The DM decides if a check is made. Players just describe the task they attempt and wait for the DM to either narrate the result of the adventurer's action or, if the outcome is uncertain and there's a meaningful consequence for failure, call for a check before doing so.

And having made a roll, how does one translate it back into the fiction? If they're strictly unconnected, there should be no way to draw the result of the roll back into the right part of the fiction. Perforce they are connected.
I'm not sure what you mean here. I think you might have some presuppositions I'm not aware of. Would you clarify?
 

dnd4vr

Hero
What do you think of the level 1 spell option?
As a level 1 spell, I would make it a bit better in some ways:

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This version affects up to three targets (like bless) and allows them to choose to use the bonus or not, maybe keeping it for another check within the duration.

Think of it like Bless for non-combat stuff. There is no concentration, but the bonus is applied only once during the duration, not all the time. Seems like a fair balance IMO.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I'm not sure what you mean here. I think you might have some presuppositions I'm not aware of. Would you clarify?
I was responding to your words...

The ability check isn't connected to fictional time at all.
I think it can't be unconnected to fictional time, as the DM must be able to associate the result of a check with a temporally ordered event. A check must be made contemporaneously with a fictional event. If they got out of order, that'd be hopeless.

Instead, I think the statement is one about how one chooses to rule checks regardless of if they are connected or unconnected to fictional time / in or not in the fiction.
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I was responding to your words...
Okay, but I don't understand the response.

I think it can't be unconnected to fictional time, as the DM must be able to associate the result of a check with a temporally ordered event. A check must be made contemporaneously with a fictional event. If they got out of order, that'd be hopeless.
Sure, you're making the check at the table around the time the player describes what he or she wants to do. You're not making it sometime before the player does that or a great deal of time afterward, generally speaking. But the check itself doesn't exist in the game world and doesn't occur at any particular point during the task.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
Guidance has V and S components. I talk to the player and establish what that V and S look like, and make them stick with it. It’s obviously a spell and has social consequences.

Most Guidance spam happens because the DM lets the player ignore the V and S and slip it into everything, or gloss over the fact it is a very obvious spell.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
So... the guidance cantrip. Toward the end of my last campaign the group got pretty tired of it. What, if anything are groups doing about guidance spam?

I ask because I am thinking of making it a level 1 spell.
Here's my take on this.

First, it's difficult to address this without knowing how your group is "spamming" guidance and how it works at your table.

Second, I think if the DM announces the DC before the d20 roll (ability check) and allows guidance to be cast after the roll, then it will only be cast (and used) in a limited set of circumstances, i.e. when the result of the roll is below but within 4 points of the DC. This places the tension on the d4 roll because it matters to the resolution of the task.
 
I was just quickly thinking of examples. Pick lock, possibly not help-able (although two players of rogues with expertise in thieves tools might well disagree!) But many other tasks, likely yes. Of course this will always be up to a DM - one could just squash helping.


Ah, so to get a "nearly impossible" result in tier-2 with +10 and advantage, is about 9% likely*. To get a "nearly impossible" result in tier-2 with +10, guidance and advantage, is about 41% likely. The cantrip is making quite a difference. Even without help, the change in getting a "nearly impossible" result is from 5% to about 18%.

However, it's also important to respect ability spiking via stacked buffs (which led 3rd ed to have that whole buff-types thing, and systems like Earthdawn to apply a rule of three). Guidance, being nigh-costless, is egregious in that it freely pushes everything upward. Above I think where the designers - from the extant text - appeared to have expected the limits to be.
Thinking through guidance, the only times it's really useful is if the skill in question can't be helped with or if another PC helps while another casts guidance.

For the first type of situation it's just replaced the help action so no big issue.

For the 2nd type of situation - those circumstances typically will involve a scene where spending your time casting guidance will mean your not able to do some other useful action. I don't see an issue with this.

For social encounters - there's already more bad with casting spells than benefit a +1d4 would grant

For actions the whole group must take - there's extremely limited benefit in giving a single member +1d4

Essentially, when actually examined, guidance is no where near a no cost +1d4 to all skills. That it can stack with the help action on a few checks is no issue - especially lock picking checks - I mean it's not like the PC's having a better chance at getting a locked door or chest opened that they had a chance to get opened to begin with is a bad thing - especially since the rogue is the only one likely to be able to pick locks anyways...
 

Hriston

Adventurer
You touch one willing creature. Once before the spell ends, the target can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to one ability check of its choice. It can roll the die before or after making the ability check. The spell then ends.
I'm posting the text of the spell because I think this gets to the heart of the matter, at least with my interpretation.

The target of the spell is "one willing creature." The spell then goes on to say that this creature (the target) "can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to one ability check of its choice." Now, we know that this creature is not going to roll a d4 or add it to an ability check that it has made. Those are things that the player of the creature is going to do at the table where the game is being played. And yet, the spell requires that this die rolling and adding at the table must take place within the one minute duration of the spell in the fiction. This leaves the DM in a conundrum as to how to interpret this type of spell, and I think there are at least two possible ways to resolve this.

You can interpolate the phrase "player of the targeted creature" for the word "target", which then makes sense of the instructions for die rolling and adding, like so:
Once before the spell ends, the player of the targeted creature can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to one ability check of his/her choice. S/he can roll the die before or after making the ability check. The spell then ends.
This makes it clear, I think, that the duration of the spell is something which is considered to be in effect at the table and that the die rolling and adding is taking place under that duration (which of course is not an actual minute at the table).

The alternative is to treat the target as the creature itself and interpolate in the creature's fictional actions represented by the mechanics being used at the table in place of the references to mechanics found in the spell. I.e. something like:
Once before the spell ends, the creature can gain the benefit of divine guidance and add the additional benefit thereby gained to the resolution of a task of its choice that it has undertaken and that has an outcome that is in doubt. It can gain this benefit before or after resolving the attempted task. The spell then ends.
This is obviously unplayable and not my preference.

Somewhat in support of the first reading is this passage which is buried in the combat rules:
Throughout this section, the rules address you, the player or Dungeon Master. ... “You” can also mean the character or monster that you control.
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
It depends on your game and how common skill checks are. I personally feel that its an exceptionally powerful cantrip, and I do see the spam. Ultimately for my game, because it was a way to make the druid feel cool, I left it in...though I've considered many changes myself.

I considered an idea where its concentration but just provides the whole party a +1 skill check. That at least removed the extra rolling and the super buff to checks, but it also applies to more skill checks so it has a wider appeal.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
It might have been said already, but a simple fix is to make it a flat +1 bonus instead of a d4. For a cantrip, that isn't too day IMO.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It depends on your game and how common skill checks are. I personally feel that its an exceptionally powerful cantrip, and I do see the spam. Ultimately for my game, because it was a way to make the druid feel cool, I left it in...though I've considered many changes myself.
Do your players ask to make or declare they are making ability checks (for which you usually say "Yes")? Or do you just ask for a lot of ability checks as DM as per "Rolling With It" (DMG, p. 236)?

Do you take into consideration the duration of the task when it is declared? If you do, does it make sense to you that a task that takes longer than one minute should benefit from the guidance spell?
 
It might have been said already, but a simple fix is to make it a flat +1 bonus instead of a d4. For a cantrip, that isn't too day IMO.
Honestly at that point - i'd just make it a +1 skill aura as long as a cleric with the cantrip was within 30 ft of you.
Which if someone really has problems with it applying to nearly every check would probably be the best way to fix it.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Honestly at that point - i'd just make it a +1 skill aura as long as a cleric with the cantrip was within 30 ft of you.
Which if someone really has problems with it applying to nearly every check would probably be the best way to fix it.
No, that would be even more powerful in some ways. Admittedly, it would be easier to bookkeep maybe, but nothing I would want at the table.
 
No, that would be even more powerful in some ways. Admittedly, it would be easier to bookkeep maybe, but nothing I would want at the table.
It's already a +1d4 bonus to nearly all skills for the OP. Lowering that down to a +1 solves his cricism that it boosts checks to high. Making it reliable and no booking at that point hurts nothing for him.

I never thought i'd see the day when a +1 to all checks was stated as being too powerful. I mean what the what?
 

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