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The divination spell states:

Similar to augury but more powerful, a divination spell can provide you with a useful piece of advice in reply to a question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity that is to occur within 1 week.

I'm not sure what limitations the language about "a specific goal, event, or activity" imposes. The immediate motivation for this comes from a Kingmaker campaign that I'm currently running. After an attack on their capital, my players came up with the idea of casting divination once a week to ask "Will anything attack our kingdom this week?"

I'm trying to figure out if this is specific enough, and if not, what would be specific enough. On one hand, it's not a specific event - they aren't expecting any particular attack. On the other hand, it's arguably a specific goal - keeping their citizens safe from large-scale threats.

Also, I expect my players to use divination many times during this campaign, so I'd like to know how this language limits the spell beyond this one case.

One limitation I've imposed so far is that sufficiently obscure or protected knowledge might be beyond divination's power. For example, "Where is the legendary artifact called 'The Eye of Ragnarok' hidden?" would yield the equivalent of "I don't know". I've seen this limitation mentioned before in published adventures, and my players seem fine with it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not entirely sure this can be answered objectively, so we might need to draw on good subjective from GM's who have experience with divination-oriented players. Would that type of answer be acceptable? (IE "this is what I've done and it's been well received") \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 4 at 8:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I was expecting "good subjective" answers. If someone has insight into the design process, that would be great, but I wasn't expecting it. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben S. May 4 at 18:16
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Specific means specific

specific adjective: clearly defined or identified

So, do you think "anything", "attack" and "kingdom" are specific?

Given that "anything" literally encompasses everything in the multiverse, "attack" could be anything from counterfeiting coinage, through covert interaction and invasion all the way to a nuclear strike, and "kingdom" is probably a significant chunk of both physical territory as well as a geopolitical sovereign state the request doesn't seem particularly "specific" to me.

Of course, given the breadth of the question, the answer is going to inevitably be "yes" each and every week. So if they want to blow 25gp on a no brainer I guess I would let them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As entertaining as it is to me to imagine the GM coming up with a dozen ways that the kingdom could be "attacked" that has nothing to do with what the players expect, I don't feel like this truly answers the question. By this interpretation, the 4th level spell Divination is worse than conjecture. Furthermore, you don't show knowledge of the context (the "kingdom" in Kingmaker isn't some massive imperium for most groups, most of the campaign and, according to the rules for Kingdom events, you are not likely to be attacked, by any definition, every week) \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 5 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's true that, at this stage of the campaign, the kingdom comprises only two small towns. I'm inclined to agree that the question is too broad, but I'm trying to decide what would be specific enough. For example, is "Will an organized fighting force attack the town of Meadowbrook this week?" sufficiently specific by narrowing it down to a location and kind of attack? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben S. May 5 at 20:18

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