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Well say I have the "detect magic" spell as a level 1. It is kind of a waste of a spellslot to just use it willy nilly. However I could stand still every step and cast it as a ritual for 10 minutes.

This however seems really silly when dungeon crawling, to stop at each "point of interest" and start a ritual. If I tell my party to "just stop at each door to let me check if it's enchanted" I feel really awkward to just make the game slower.

When is an appropriate time to tell the party "Hey, I'm going to waste everyone's time just to check if there's magic in the air"?

I'm wondering especially since I joined a new playgroup, and this time a group with people I didn't know beforehand.

To clarify what the real question is: my problem is not so much with the specific of the ritual (or any cantrip) but rather the repetitive nature of such requests to the DM. (And group in total). Rituals/cantrips can be repeated ad infinitum, and thus there's no real drawback.

Except there is: I know from experience playing Magic the Gathering commander that in a new playgroup the moment I play rhystic study everyone gets slightly annoyed. Not because of the effect, but because I constantly ask them for each action they do: "Do you want to pay 1?".

I fear the same thing happens when I wish to use cantrips/rituals for exploration: someone wishes to check a door. I say "wait I prepare xyz". Someone walks down an alley I say "wait I prepare xyz.... again".

In the current group I just joined I feel really awkward. Pregame talk got them saying they "really needed someone to check for traps a bit more". But the moment I started playing the story continued with them in character ignoring all advice written as "bluff by evildoers" and easily steamrolling all traps.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question, as written, is a bit subjective. However, it is also asking 2 separate questions. I would recommend editing out your question on Guidance and just focusing on ritual spells as a whole. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Oct 13 '20 at 15:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ For the guidance bit (which I think is unrelated and can/should be removed), please see this question on Casting guidance cantrip for every roll? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 13 '20 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ As an aside, are you aware that Detect Magic lasts for 10 minutes after you cast it? You could reasonably check several rooms using the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Oct 13 '20 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch nah I mean more the annoyance of constantly saying to the party "I do x, ok?" and constantly repeating the same sequence. A bit like how in mtg rhystic study create groans not because how good it is, but because you constantly nag the others. \$\endgroup\$ – paul23 Oct 13 '20 at 21:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi @paul23, FYI I made a minor edit to your post to remove the "edit:" syntax as we have a policy to not signal edits in text. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Oct 14 '20 at 12:23
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Rituals have their place

How and when to use them is up to you as a player and as a character as well as up to the DM.

There are a lot of considerations, but the biggest you and your party need to consider is time. If the time is there, then there really isn't a problem. But you won't always have all the time in the world, and your DM will be able to let you know through narration or encounters.

Otherwise, this is really up to you and your table as to what works and what makes sense and keeps everyone having fun. Different playgroups are all different and figuring out pacing and when to do things does take time - there is no magic answer here, just time and awareness. But talk to them about the utility of rituals and to give you a chance to use them when you think it'll help.

Personal experience

When I first played a wizard I realized I had a similar issue. I knew comprehend languages, but asking the group to take extra time in-game while I got it up was awkward. However, the ritual utility is a game feature, and as long as I felt it was appropriate and had the time to do it, I just asked if we could hunker down while I cast to help better solve issues.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah but I'm a bit shy of what common courtesy is/etiquettes are in playgroups you just joined. \$\endgroup\$ – paul23 Oct 13 '20 at 14:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @paul23 You don't have to spend 10 minutes of game time to cast a ritual. In real-life time casting a ritual and casting a regular spell takes the same time. \$\endgroup\$ – STT LCU Oct 13 '20 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah but it's more like "wait don't test for traps, let me walk over to cast guidance", "wait before continuing let me check for magic" "wait before jumping that ledge let me give you more guidance". \$\endgroup\$ – paul23 Oct 13 '20 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @paul23 As guidance isn't a ritual, I removed that part of your question. Please see the comment I put above about that cantrip and it's use - does that help? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 13 '20 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @paul23 So....ask. If you don't know how the rest of your group (and your DM) feels about spamming ritual magic, ask them. Etiquette beyond basic "don't be a jerk" depends heavily on the group you're playing with, so the only way to find out how your particular group feels about certain things is to talk to them about it. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Oct 13 '20 at 15:47
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D&D has a different dynamic to MtG. When you are reminding people of your Rhystic Study, it's to their detriment. When you are reminding people of your spell, it's to their advantage. Don't feel bad about constantly using rituals or cantrips. They are designed with that in mind.

It isn't "Wait for me to cast Guidance" or "Wait for me to cast Detect Magic", but "Remember to include the Guidance I cast on you" and "I use Detect Magic to aid in searching this room for treasure".

If you are worried about butting in, make your party aware before you set off that you'll be giving them out-of-combat buffs, and what those are. Depending on the GM and group, that can be e.g. "Assume that I Guidance any time I could, unless I say otherwise".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ OP has clarified that they aren't taking 10 minutes at the table, you may want to update. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 13 '20 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I'm answering for any spell that has no limits to casts per day, which is cantrips and rituals \$\endgroup\$ – Caleth Oct 14 '20 at 11:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait...there are tables that as long as a character has guidance, they roll an extra d4 on any check? <mind blown> \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 14 '20 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch out of combat, sure. On the roll20 charactersheet, the placeholder for "global skill modifier" is named Guidance \$\endgroup\$ – Caleth Oct 14 '20 at 12:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Guidance is not a ritual spell, so I am not sure why you are using it in your answer about spells cast as rituals. Ritual spells have a significant limit: spell casting time + 10 minutes ... and in the case of find familiar (and some others) consumed material components. I think you are mixing apples and lug nuts, but it's your answer so do as you please. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 14 '20 at 12:52
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Personally, I do get a bit tired of it of somebody at the table is constantly trying to make us "wait ten minutes while I do a ritual", but only if it's being done for no clear reason.

For example, I wouldn't like it if you were halting the game at every single door to cast detect magic on the off chance that this one might be bespelled. But if there's a reason to suspect magic is at play, sure, go for it. If you're asking to throw a detect magic in the middle of a treasure horde to help pick out any magic items, mystic traps, or magically concealed doors, I certainly wouldn't complain.

To some extent, this is going to require some trust between you and the DM, so it'll depend on the game you're in. As a DM, I don't put traps on random doors or in the middle of an otherwise featureless hallway, so for me it's annoying to have a player acting like I'm out to get them with every door and barkeep; I'm not that kind of DM and it feels like a lack of trust in me.

But some DMs do seem to delight in "gotcha!" traps that just come out of nowhere and punish you for failing to search every five-foot square before stepping into it, and sometimes it takes a little out-of-character conversation to make sure everyone understands the philosophy at work and that they don't need to act like that.

So I guess my advice is, read the room, and particularly pay attention to the DM's mood. If the DM seems to be getting irritated or is starting to respond in a clipped, "There's no magic." then you might be overdoing it.

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If you were really these characters, you would be CAREFUL.

Death is around every corner, the only reason that isn't necessarily the case is because the DM deliberately tries to keep the game at a reasonable challenge level. If you play the game where you put yourself in the characters shoes, they don't know the next fight will contain an appropriately scaled encounter or none of the traps will kill them outright.

Spells like detect magic come from the days when every door you opened wanted to kill you, and you had to watch every step.

In 5e, you don't have to spend 10 minutes casting detect magic, casting with or without a slot takes the same table time, and being impatient in game is mostly a dick move.

Also, 10 minutes isn't actually as long as people tend to think. Imagine you walk into a room in real life and you wanted to investigate it for secret doors, or traps, or treasure. It would take longer than 6 seconds. There seems to be an assumption that an investigation check can be done as a single action, but if the GM is playing with any realistic timescales they would do well to make a check take 10 minutes (I do) which just happens to line up nicely with a ritual. This means when you go into a room every character does their thing for 10 minutes.

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