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The Guidance and Resistance cantrips both last for 1 minite, but a lot of saves and checks represent longer stretches of time, and I want to know if those cantrips can be applied in those situations.

For instance, can a creature on watch benefit from Guidance for their Wisdom (Perception) roll?

Can a creature traveling for extra hours in the day benefit from Resistance for their Constitution save to prevent exhaustion?

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No

The wording doesn't really cover this situation and I see how people could claim that less than a minute had passed between the spell being cast and the DM asking for the roll but that is crossing over between in-game and out-of-game contexts.

A common sense approach to the question says no, as the examples you provided in the question are long, potentially several hours in duration and neither spell has a duration even close to what you would need.

There isn't one moment in a forced march when a character becomes exhausted, nor is there one moment on a night watch where the character chooses to observe their surroundings.

For example, how would the PC with the Resistance cantrip know to cast it on you for an exhaustion saving throw? Even if you are the PC, how would you handle that? If you wait for the DM to say "Roll a CON save" and you interject with "I cast Resistance!", that's some powerful meta-gaming going on.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see why a character with Guidance or Resistance as a cantrip couldn't, outside of combat, just state they'll be recasting all night. Sure, if the check covers an actual activity lasting longer than a minute (e.g. exhaustion) maybe not, or if you're in a social setting it would be a bit weird to keep casting minor spells every minute, but on watch? The Wisdom (Perception) check really is a "notice a thing that is happening right now", I don't see any reason to forbid it. Similarly, repeatedly bolstering your Con saves all night, helps just fine if you're darted with poison 3 hours in. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14 '20 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Works even in a role-playing perspective for divine casters; they spend the night praying, that's all. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14 '20 at 13:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowRanger I'm not sure that casting a spell every minute is compatible with keeping watch, but I'm not sure about that. From a role-playing perspective I definitely don't think continual prayer is compatible with focusing on keeping watch. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14 '20 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanHinchey: Yeah, it's weird. On further consideration, Guidance might not work so hot, since in theory I suppose you're making a Perception check constantly, in which case the DM is either handling that via passive Perception (no Guidance boost), or (as in many games where the DM likes to give the players a feeling of participation) they're only asking for the roll when there is something to perceive (so you'd have to be casting in odd numbered rounds to enable boosted perception when you're actively searching in even numbered rounds, which feels ridiculous). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14 '20 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanHinchey: I wouldn't consider all forms of prayer incompatible though; D&D gives effectively infinite options for prayer. Trancing elves are alert to their surroundings and get unmodified perception; I see no reason a mostly silent prayer of some sort would necessarily interfere. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14 '20 at 19:22

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