Barring Control Weather or other unnaturally weather alteration, how reliable is the weather prediction part of Druidcraft cantrip?

You create a tiny, harmless sensory effect that predicts what the weather will be at your location for the next 24 hours. The effect might manifest as a golden orb for clear skies, a cloud for rain, falling snowflakes for snow, and so on. This effect persists for 1 round.

Someone mentioned that this can be used to predict cloudy night to prepare sneaking into the castle. But can the prediction fail without magical interference?


It's very reliable. According to the description, it "predicts what the weather will be". No ifs, ands, or buts. This suggests perfect accuracy.

That said, it's not very precise. (Precision is not the same as accuracy.)

The description isn't clear whether it shows a single effect that predicts the weather over 24 hours, or if it changes in appearance over the course of the round (6 seconds) depending on the weather. Either way, if it shows you that you have a cloudy night, that doesn't mean it will be cloudy for the entire night, or at any particular moment. So if you're sneaking into a castle, be prepared for the moon to shine through an inconvenient gap in the clouds.

Similarly, it says it shows the weather "at your location". This is equally imprecise - it could be anything from the exact point you're standing at the time to the entire region you happen to be in. In the first case, unless you snuck into the castle to do your weather prediction for sneaking into the castle, be prepared for the weather to be a little bit different. In the second case, you only have a very vague idea. The city where I live often predicts rain, but I don't often see any - it mostly rains down the south end.

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    \$\begingroup\$ so if it's perfectly accurate then you could combine this with any weather-effecting magic you have a means to send information back in time. say your low level druid friend offers to stay out of the way of the rouge sneaking, and he will cast a spell to make it snow IFF the sneaking succeeds without any undesirable out come. If you don't see snow when you predict the weather then your know that sneaking won't work today and better try tomorrow. \$\endgroup\$ – dsollen Feb 13 '18 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dsollen I would rule that weather prediction only shows what nature is "intending" to do, not what might change in the future due to divine intervention or arcane power or whatever. So a weather control spell that has already been cast will affect the prediction (because nature has already accepted the change), but a weather control spell that will be cast an hour ago will not show up in the prediction (so a savvy druid will realize that someone is controlling the weather). \$\endgroup\$ – Brilliand Feb 13 '18 at 22:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmmm. I don't know that "predicts what it will be" suggests perfect accuracy at all. I can predict what a given stock's price will be at the end of next week — but you shouldn't bet your retirement on me being accurate. (And this is completely separate from precision — I could predict that the value will be $134.23801.) \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Mar 30 '18 at 22:44

When a spell has a chance for inaccuracies, it says so. This does not. Therefore, the spell cannot fail without magical interference.

It doesn't say what the weather might be, it says what it will be.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But it says that it predicts what it will be. Predicting the weather is exactly what the weather services today in the real world do, and they're not always right. \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Mar 31 '18 at 4:19

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