The word augury means an omen or fortune. Because of this, the use of the spell is easy to figure out. But when I first saw it on my party member’s spell list, I was slightly confused.
This spell grants an omen based on your question or statement. Talk about vague. While there are instructions, most of this spell is up to the DM to interpret how they wish. So, the Augury spell is a way to DM the DM.
Augury 5e Written Effects
- Level – 2nd Level Divination Spell
- Class – Cleric
- Target – Self
- Range – Special
- Components – V, S, M
- Duration – Instant
When you cast Augury, you must use your voice, hands, and materials to create a connection between the physical and spiritual world. When you do, you get to ask a higher power about a specific decision.
The decision must be something that you will make in the next 30 minutes, and the DM controls what the answer and outcome will be. The options for the DM to say are the simple words, Weal, Woe, Weal, and Woe, or Nothing.
What Augury Really Does in 5e DnD
The Augury spell can be useful whenever you want to know if your party should do something. To explain this well, I’m going to use the example, “Should we open this door?”
I will give an example of what it would mean if you asked this question and the DM gave you each available answer. Remember, the DM must say one of these. They cannot give a longer answer.
If you asked the DM if you should open the door, the DM would say “Weal” if they believe it is a good idea to open the door. For example, it may mean there is treasure behind it, and definitely would mean the door is safe.
Most of the time, Weal tells you that you’re on the right path and that your party would benefit greatly from it. So keep going because there is little to no risk involved with a Weal.
If the DM says, “Woe,” to opening a door, it could mean that there are dangerous monsters behind the door, that the door is trapped, or something even more sinister. It could mean that opening the door could lead to a path that causes a party member to go crazy.
Most of the time, if you hear a Woe, that’s the DM telling you to get out of there and don’t look back. It’s a gracious warning that someone may be making a new character or losing something valuable.
Weal and Woe
If the DM says, “Weal and Woe,” it means that there are risks and benefits to opening the door. There could be treasure and monsters behind the door. Most of the time, “Weal and Woe” is a risk but isn’t deadly. However, this all depends on the DM’s methods.
Weal and Woe is different than nothing – which we’ll go over next – because something good and bad will surely happen. It’s not a chance; it’s a sure thing in the DM’s mind.
If the DM doesn’t say anything or takes it literally and says, “Nothing,” then it means that the future is undecided. That the outcome is neutral and depends upon what you do after you open the door.
Try not to get upset at this answer because the DM probably needs you to roll something to know if it’s a good idea or not. If the DC on something is in the middle, then it’s even more difficult to tell.
Augury Rulings in 5e
Augury rulings depend on the DM, but most DMs follow specific guidelines when dealing with Clerics that use Augury. Some of these are up in the air, while others are stated in the rulebooks.
The spell doesn’t take into account circumstances that may affect the outcome. For example, if someone casts a spell that interferes with the outcome or something happens to a party member before you make it to the outcome.
Again, this is stated in the book but is still vague. So, the DM will need to clarify the rulings on what is considered an outside force and what is part of the packaged omen.
Too Many Castings
Every time you cast this spell after the first, there’s a 25% chance the DM will give you a fake answer. This is a cumulative percentage, so it doesn’t change if you cast it three times rather than just two.
The percent resets once you take a long rest. The DM must make a roll whenever they are rolling for a real or fake answer. If the answer is fake, it is random, but players won’t know it.
Direct Connection with DM
Augury is direct communication with the DM, which would be a higher power in-game. The Cleric may see this as the god that they worship. It isn’t your player that is asking the question, though; it is the Cleric – player-character.
So, don’t ask, “should my character do this?” Instead, roleplay while asking the question by asking, “would it benefit us?” or “should I?” You’ll get more out of the DM, and it’s more realistic.
Woe or Weal for Who?
The risk and benefit taken into account are something that the DM will consider from the perspective of either the Cleric or how the Cleric words the question. The Cleric may say something like, “Is it good to open this door?”
Because that is vague, the DM may play with it or answer for the Cleric alone. But if the Cleric asks, “does it benefit the party for us to open this door?” then the entire party will be considered.
The spell states that you can use “specially marked sticks, bones, or similar tokens worth at least 25 gp,” to cast the spell. So, this generally means that you have to have any token that the Cleric considers special as long as it’s worth 25 gp.
You can pick up these materials in most towns with magic or divinity shops. You can probably pick most of them up at churches as well. The Clerics there may know where to find them if there are any nearby.
When Skill Checks Matter
If the outcome relies on a skill check – or something similar – the DM will probably say nothing. This means that there are other things that are to be taken into consideration before the DM knows what will happen.
If you roll a one, then the answer would be “Woe.” But if you roll a 20, the answer is inevitably a “Weal.” But the DM doesn’t know what you’re going to roll. If it doesn’t matter what you roll, then the DM will probably give you an answer rather than not say anything.
Examples of When to Use Augury Spell
It isn’t easy to find ways to use the Augury spell. While you can use it for anything, it may not benefit the Cleric or the party to ask some questions. These examples may help you get started in the right direction.
Sometimes, it’s fun to use Augury for something silly, especially when you are getting ready for a long rest and have slots to expend. But other times, it’s the difference between life and death.
Checking for Traps
Checking for traps is a great way to use the Augury spell. You can ask something like, “should I open this door?” or “should our party proceed down the hall?” You can be vague or extremely straightforward.
Something like, “should we check for traps?” can work, but the wording may be confusing for the DM. Does saying “Woe” mean it’s bad to check for traps or that there are traps?
Should we Trust this NPC?
Trusting an NPC that no one can break through with Insight is tough. When everyone thinks they can trust them, but it could just be because the NPC has a high Charisma, it can put the party on edge.
You can secretly use Augury and ask the DM if you should trust the NPC. Alternatively, you can state your plan with, “we plan on trusting this NPC and following him,” which gives a clear way for the DM to answer.
Should X Drink/Eat This?
This is a straightforward omen. Should the Barbarian shove down these mushrooms or drink this random rainbow potion? If the food or potion will kill them, then it’s straightforward.
But if the magical effects are all about preference, then it may not be. Some people want to be turned into a werewolf, while others do not. This question may be answered from the Barbarian, the Cleric’s, or the moral being’s point of view.
Rogue Wants to Visit this Town
Let’s say that your Rogue is wanted in a town bordering the one that you are about to enter. Your Ranger wants to know if they should visit the town. You, the Cleric, ask the question for the Ranger.
However, the Rogue is the one to who it refers. This is when things get complicated. If it ends in someone’s death, then it’s probably a Woe. But as long as your DM isn’t too nitpicky, they’ll guide you with an answer.
Bard Wants to Hit on X
Let’s pretend your Bard is in town and meets this handsome Gnome that he can’t stop admiring. He wants to flirt, but the Gnome is a bit suspicious. Anything can happen. Should the Bard make his admiration known?
This can be tricky, but most of the time, the answer will either be “Woe and Weal,” or Nothing. Because there isn’t usually a strong good or bad outcome from the Bard’s romantic endeavors. But you never know.
Question: How Do You Use Augury 5e?
Answer: To use Augury, ensure you have a slot available, and then lay your divining item on the ground and ask your question. This will give you instant access to the DM’s omen.
Question: What Does Augury Look Like?
Answer: Augury probably doesn’t look like much. Whether or not the voice is heard by everyone or just the Cleric is also unknown. So that is up to your DM. If the Cleric is the only one that knows, it could change everything.
Question: Can Other Classes Use Augury?
Answer: Not generally. But you can multi-class into Cleric with any class, which will eventually give you access to Augury. Cleric spells – unlike Wizard spells – aren’t easy to learn when you’re not a natural.
Question: Is Augury a Good Spell in DnD?
Answer: AUGURY IS A GOOD SPELL IF YOU USE IT RIGHT, AND THE DM HELPS YOU ALONG. IF YOU DON’T ASK A GOOD QUESTION OR SHARE HELPFUL PLANS, THEN THERE’S NOT MUCH THE DM CAN DO WITH ONE-WORD ANSWERS.
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE BEST AUGURY RESULT?
Answer: This depends on what you’re asking. But for most questions, you want to hear a “Weal,” as this is the “Good” option. But in some cases, “Woe,” is the answer that you are looking for.
Augury 5e Guide – Where is its Place?
Every spell has a place in the land of Dungeons and Dragons. I love vague spells because I love giving the DM power and giving the player a chance to get creative and roleplay.
Augury allows both of these things to happen. The DM can share a tidbit of their plans while the players can have a glimpse into the future and use their intelligence to make decisions.
Although it’s not as fun as some other spells in many cases, Augury is definitely a spell I’d want to use. Plus, there’s always going to be that guy who refuses to listen and has to make a new character because he said, “YOLO,” to a “Woe.”
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