D&D 5E What's the point of Augury in 5E? Can we give it a better point?

Ondath

Hero
. . . because it's been an horrific adventuring day, all the high spell slots are used up, there's a balrog out there - somewhere - looking for you, and you'd really like to take a long rest? "Should we camp in this seemingly safe dwarf-crypt?"

The DM knows where all the traps are, all the wandering monsters, knows all the NPC motivations, and how the forces of nature will strike. "Can I conscript my farmers one week later to give them time to finish harvest (or do they need the training right now)?"
Except, the second example doesn't work with Augury as it is written. You need to take the queried course of action within 30 minutes. And I'm not sure if the results also need to happen in 30 minutes (which would invalidate the first example as well), but in either case, asking about a decision you'll take within a week is a no-go.

That's the thing. If this was a less limited "Let's read the bones and see if this is a good idea" spell that can be applied for a far longer stretch of time, I think it could work. But the 30 minute time frame, as well as there being only four options (one of which, weal and woe, seems 90% more likely than the others), render the spell useless in my eyes.
 

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GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Except, the second example doesn't work with Augury as it is written . . .
Well, the next-30-minutes version of the action is, "I want to conscript my farmers right now." Weal or woe?

The 30 minute time frame isn't about the outcome, it's about the decision or action which leads to the outcome. I suspect that most uses of Augury will result in a decision or action more or less immediately after the casting of the spell.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
That's the thing. If this was a less limited "Let's read the bones and see if this is a good idea" spell that can be applied for a far longer stretch of time, I think it could work. But the 30 minute time frame, as well as there being only four options (one of which, weal and woe, seems 90% more likely than the others), render the spell useless in my eyes.
I think it’s fair to consider any course of action you at least start within the next 30 minutes would be a suitable augury case, not necessarily resolve.
 

ChameleonX

Explorer
A few minutes of research indicates that the spell originally had the DM give a short and/or vague indication of the result of the proposed action, not necessarily just the literal words "weal" and/or "woe."

It seems as the editions progressed, this became increasingly simplified to the point of being next to useless.

Ergo, the solution to make the spell more useful while still keeping to the spirit of its use would be to take the options less literally.

If the result is weal, you could say, "You receive a brief vision of yourself tossing coins and gems in the air in exuberant joy."

If the result is woe, you could see, "a shiver rolls down your spine as a you hear a distant scream and the sound of crunching bone. Your allies don't seem to have heard it."

Weal and woe could be, "you hear a voice whisper in the back of your mind; gold and glory await those who slip the lurking flame's snare."

And so on.
 

Ondath

Hero
A few minutes of research indicates that the spell originally had the DM give a short and/or vague indication of the result of the proposed action, not necessarily just the literal words "weal" and/or "woe."

Ergo, the solution to make the spell note useful while still keeping to the spirit of its use would be to take the options less literally.

If the result is weal, you could say, "You receive a brief vision of yourself tossing coins and gems in the air in exuberant joy."

If the result is woe, you could see, "a shiver rolls down your spine as a you hear a distant scream and the sound of crunching bone. Your allies don't seem to have heard it."

Weal and woe could be, "you hear a voice whisper in the back of your mind; gold and glory await those who slip the lurking flame's snare."
That's an interesting idea!

Also, Baldur's Gate 3 has corrupted me so much that I read all of your descriptions with the BG3 Narrator's voice...
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
But why would you spend ten minutes ritual casting Augury at higher levels? If it's relatively safe stuff, just test it and don't waste 10 minutes (or a spell slot) casting the spell. If it's something potentially dangerous, cast one of the higher level Divination spells like Contact Other Plane and... Divination.

Maybe it's my playstyle, but I just see no situation where Augury doesn't end up being superseded by another option.
Pardon by you misread what I said. I said cast as a ritual (10 minutes) OR for use higher level play when 2nd level slots are for utility not combat. Your accidental combining them is what hides the value.

Level 3-6? Don't have 4th level spells yet? Augury beats Divination because you don't have it. And you can cast it as a ritual so it's not using up one of your important slots.
Levels 7+? Do you need/want guidance but don't have 10 minutes for a ritual? It's okay, a 2nd level slot isn't a big cost, and you can have feedback ten times as quick. Maybe putting the rod in the statue's hand will stop the flow of water filling the room, as opposed to the bowl.

Oh, and you mentioned Divination twice as if it's your go-to. Since if you cast it more than once per long rest it can start giving you bad information with no way to know, making it untrustworthy. You're much better saving that for a big question every day and using Augury for simple questions. And the other you mention, Contact Other Plane, isn't on the cleric list at all so that's a different story, and has chances for psychic damage and going insane every time you cast it. Commune, other big one, has the same limitation as Divination.

So maybe it's your playstyle - you never play characters low enough to have Augury but not the higher level spells, and you never every need more than one divination spell a day. Others can play without those two limitations and find it useful.
 




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