The Q about Augury and contracts has been closed as a duplicate to a Q that (IMO) it is not a duplicate to. The reason is, as I have stated in a comment:

This is not a duplicate because that linked Q is asking about the timing, this one is asking about the validity of signing contracts as a course of action.

It has also been duplicated to a third Q on how Augury works, which is certainly not a dupe of the Q in question. Duplicates are supposed to be exactly the same or nearly exactly the same questions expressed in different ways, so there is a transitivity here. If Q1 and Q2 are not duplicates of each other, then they cannot both be duplicates of Q3 at the same time.

Q1 is distinct from Q2 because Q2 was originally part of Q1 and removed from there, asked as a different Q, because it was distinct enough to require a separate Q. They should not both be duplicates of this one.

Here are my questions:

  • Why is it a duplicate? The answers of one question do not address the answers of the other. The premises are not identical, despite the components being the same (spell and contract).

  • How should it be updated to be distinct from the other?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would love to elaborate more on why it's not a duplicate, but I'm lost as to how it could be mistaken as a dupe to begin with (timing and validity are just really distinct in my mind, so what gives?). Hopefully some helpful explanation can shed some light on the matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 11:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that, since doppel voted to close as duplicate, the close shows as duplicate regardless of all other vote reasons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 11:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW after VTC'ing as duplicate, I revised it to point at both prior augury questions. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener That is counterintuitive. How can one question be a duplicate to two other questions? Are those two questions also duplicates of each other? If they are not, they cannot be duplicates of a third Q at the same time. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 12:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Part of this conversation has been moved to chat since I feel it is going on a tangent that may be a disservice to discussing this on meta. I acknowledge after some conversation with @markovchain that the double-dupe may be pretty counter-intuitive in this scenario, and close reasons of Unclear or such may have been more appropriate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:36

3 Answers 3


Direct answer: your question sounds a lot like the question "is it possible to cast augury at a contract at all?" and we've already answered this question. I happen to feel that we've answered it incorrectly -- I really don't think the dm should allow this -- but we should solve that by fixing the wrong answer, not by answering it again on a different question.

(You've pointed out that there do exist contracts that produce effects within the 30 minute window, and that's technically true but I don't feel that it redeems the question.)

Side comment: I think it's really weird that you posted the question asking for "Rules As Written only". There are no rules as written about this. It's just the one paragraph in the description of augury. Asking the question in this way is going to attract a lot of wrong answers which claims to be Rules As Written but are actually shaky interpretations of that one paragraph.

This concern would seem to point to a close reason of "opinion based" rather than "duplicate".

Side comment II: A lot of the time, when we get questions of this nature ("here's something that should be open to DM interpretation, tell me the One Correct Way to do it, my question is slanted in a way that makes it look like I want X answer"), it's because people are trying to win an argument with their DM. We try to discourage people from using the site in this way. I'm not necessarily saying you're doing this, I'm just saying we get a lot of questions like this that are.

The most recent version of your question is better, because it asks a question which has a clear answer (even if it's still mostly a duplicate of the other augury-contract one).

But it still makes me unhappy, because it reminds me of playing "spot the loophole" with my more rules-lawyer-y players. "Spot the loophole" goes like this:

Player: "Hey, can I do X innocuous-sounding thing?"

Me: "Oh, um, sure, that sounds fine."

Player: "Just to be clear, X innocuous-sounding thing works in all circumstances, right?"

Me: "Yeah, I guess."

(at the table)

Player: "Okay, I do X thing in combination with Y loophole and Z, and it kills the villain instantly."

Me: "Wait, that's not how X thing works --"

Player: "But you explicitly said that X thing worked in all circumstances!"

Your question asks "are there any circumstances under which contracts don't work?" but omits to mention the specific circumstances you're wondering about. This makes me feel like you're trying to ask the question in a way that tricks us into giving an ill-considered answer.

I understand that you're writing your question under some constraints here, and you're probably trying to optimize for having a really short question. But the longer version you had originally didn't mention this exploit, either.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In response to the direct answer, if you were to give the "correct answer" to the dupe'd Q (that you cannot use augury on a contract at all), it will be a frame challenge there, and not a direct answer. This means that Q is not the venue to give that answer. Meanwhile, I've asked a Q that does invite those answers and they will not be frame challenges there. So, how would the question be redeemable? Are you providing an actionable suggestion? \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Response to Side Comment 1: RAW tag seems appropriate as the other linked Q (about liches and bags) was rife with non-RAW perspectives, and this was a Q about contracts and legalese. Response to Side Comment 2: how should the Q be asked in a way that it does not look like it is slanted towards answer X? \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain Regarding the RAW tag, keep in mind that a) it's not for signalling to people how to answer — it must label a visible aspect of the problem, b) in-game legalese regarding contracts doesn't equate with game-rules legalese, so that's not content that qualifies the question for the tag. // That said, I did think that the tag was categorising question content, in the sense of it being a problem that arises for you when trying to read the spell super-legalistically. The comment above does make me doubt that original belief though, as perhaps it was not the intent. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie The intent is to get a RAW answer. The fact it happens to be talking about legalese in D&D is just a bonus. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 15:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain Based on people saying they don't know why the tag is there, it might be running afoul of (a) then, by not clearly presenting in the post itself how rules-legalese is involved in the problem (rather than merely desired in the answers). (This is a side issue, though it is likely contributing to the community not thinking the question is clear.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I've run out of hope that this Q can be fixed. Based on our last conversation about tagging, and the reception of the Q as a "strange" Q, seems like it adds no knowledge to the Stack. Deleting the Q instead is preferrable. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain I'm not sure about that. I do think that the question lacks focus (or the focus is lost somewhere in its abundant text), but it does seem to be a real question. Perhaps rather than asking about all contracts, it could be grounded in a specific “minimally contrastive” example? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. If you really want to focus on Rules As Written, I suppose you could ask: "is there Rules As Written support for casting augury about signing a contract and thus getting information from after the 30 minute window?". The answer would be "no, there's just the one paragraph of spell text and it's ambiguous". \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is distinct from your earlier question which asked: "this other question says it's legit to cast augury about signing a contract and get information from after the 30 minute window, so does that work Rules As Written for all contracts or just for some of them?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanB The new question you propose needs a new Q as it has a different answer. And my question was "does augury only work for some contracts?" You've very heavily added meaning where there is none. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 3:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I've pruned the Q down to 2 paragraphs. I think it is "more acceptable" in this form, but it no longer explains the parameters of the Q. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 3:48

I'm not a D&D 5e expert, but I do understand D&D, have passing familiarity with 5e, and I understand how our system works.

I find your question super weird and I do not really understand what you're looking for from us that isn't already covered by the two prior questions it's currently closed as a duplicate of:

Here's your specific questions:

  • When using augury to sign a contract, are only some contracts viable for the purposes of this spell, given the following course of action: "I will sign this contract and agree to be bound by its terms"?

  • In the case that it cannot process all contracts, what are some illustrative examples of contracts that cannot be parsed by augury?

  • In the case that the course of action "I will sign this contract and agree to be bound by its terms" is not actionable or specific, is there an alternative formulation of the plan, such that the same goal is achieved -- ie, augury advises the caster if it's a good or bad idea to sign it?

To me, these read as the following:

  • Please prove a global positive or negative on all possible contracts having a meaningful augury response from this question.

  • Please come up with some contracts that cannot be augured.

  • If that question I listed isn't a valid one to ask of augury, tell me a different one.

I feel that this is all super vague and beyond our reasonable scope to handle. This is a spell to which a DM indicates one of the following in code language: "good things await you" (weal), "bad things await you" (woe), "both await you" (weal and woe), or nothing to say at all on this front. Bearing that in mind:

  • You're requesting us to handle the "viability" of all potential contracts and come up with some for you in a super abstract form. A contract is just an agreement. What's the problem here? Why is it not clear how augury works in this circumstance? Why do you need a global proof? How is this not already just answered by how augury works and the timeframe of the feedback?
    • Further, everything is a viable question for augury. You just tell it something you're gonna do and the DM responds whether they feel that's a good idea. Why wouldn't signing a contract be something they can respond to?
  • You're asking us to generate meaningful content along these super abstract lines. This is along the lines of idea generation the way you've requested it, because this doesn't seem like the kind of thing we can give a meaningful single best response to in the broad abstract scope you've requested it.

So we've got one weird question about a sweeping abstraction with no real problem to it and I don't understand why you're even really putting it forward, which is worth action all on its own, and you're adding in two further questions asking us to come up with any examples of a broad set of stuff, which strike me as fairly different anyway.

Things are probably much clearer to you in what you're going for, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around what's being asked or why it even would be asked.

I don't really know what to do with your question. I find it has some major content issues so I wouldn't really know where to begin. I was strongly considering closing it as unclear because of the content issues I found it to have, but I opted to instead close it as a duplicate and point it back to two existing questions covering the scope and behaviour of augury.

I should note this isn't a Moderation Ultimatum Wherein This Question Will Remain Closed Forever 🔨. I'm just casting a fifth and final vote as a site user in this circumstance.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ About the Moderation Ultimatum comment, I would have raised a meta Q had it been someone else who cast the 5th vote to mark it as a duplicate. My meta Q is not about your moderator action at all, and I do note yours was simply the 5th vote. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for that clarification. Mostly I added that so that people would feel comfortable with the idea of reopening it without fear of a moderator re-closing it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 12:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ So about the actual explanation of why it is a dupe. I'm not asking for a sweeping generalization of all possible contracts. I'm asking for one example in which augury does not work on a contract. So my first Q: "...are only some contracts viable..." If the answer is "yes" then the second Q asks for an example. As I noted in my first paragraph of the Q, it was also inspired by this, where there is much talk about not all plans are valid for augury. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Close reason as "unclear" or "opinion based" might be better than dupe, or even "too broad" based on what you've presented in this meta post. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:05

The Q needs to be deleted

It seems like the reception of the Q in this meta is such that the genuinely Q does not add knowledge to the Stack. Be it a duplicate of 2 other questions, or too broad, etc, it seemed to be asking for too much and as such is not answerable. It has also been hinted that it is irredeemable.

Unfortunately, I asked the Q to address, what I felt, to be a narrow concern about a certain spell, and changing its meaning away from "are only some contracts viable for augury? which ones are not?" makes it into a Q that I am not interested in learning the A to, because then I would not be learning the answer to the Q I am actually asking.

There is a dissonance between myself and the Stack at large somewhere with regards to this Q, but I cannot see where it is. It is cleaner and less work to just delete the Q.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've removed the question at your request. I agree there must have been some dissonance we couldn't figure out how to broach, and for now I do feel it's better retiring this question. I think in the future it may be best to focus on concrete scenarios (i.e. actually happening at the table, or during preparation, or etc) since that is a virtue on here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 15:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not the stack at large. Like I mentioned in my (deleted) answer, your problem here is the audience that the question attracted. When you write a question that attracts more attention from people who object to that question than from people who approve of it, the question is going to end up closed and the only real way to get it opened is to edit the question so that that ratio is no longer unfavorable. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 21:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ In general, community action of any sort in response to a question is going to depend largely on what the eidos formed by the unique combination of participants attracted to that question is like. When that eidos is formed with a strong, decisive opinion that may be because the community as a whole believes this thing to be the case, but the eidos may also be significantly divorced from the perspective of the community as a whole. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer +1 for correct use of the term eidos in a paragraph. nice. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 21:34

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