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It seems like, RAW, if a Divination Wizard is in the party then the DM would have to ask that player whether they want to interrupt the roll ... on every single roll that any NPC makes.

That's going to be really tedious :( It could also sometimes include rolls that the players might not otherwise know had been made.

Clearly allowing the Wizard to make the call after the roll is known would be hugely broken, as would making a judgement as a DM as to whether they likely want to use it.

How do DMs normally handle that?

Is there any balanced way to apply Portent after the initial roll?

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With the Divination Wizard in my party, the basic idea has always been that the Wizard tells me beforehand if they want to mess with a roll.

This usually takes the form of "I'm going to cast this and replace their saving throw" or "If this guy attacks my Rogue buddy, I'm failing his roll" and if none of those things happen, I just roll as usual.

I always make sure to include enough story and description to give players an idea of what's going to happen and give them a moment to interrupt.

So if the evil advisor to the king is about to deceive him into getting the party thrown into jail, I will first say "The advisor bends over to the king and whispers things in his ear while giving you the evil eye" and then wait a second or two and if nobody reacts with "I'm interrupting this" then I make the roll, whatever it is. Could be a Deception, could be a Saving Throw for the king, depends on what happens.

But the players will know what in-game fiction they can interrupt and if the Wizard asks "what kind of roll is this? I might want to change it", then I tell them, and they can decide to apply portent.

It could also sometimes include rolls that the players might not otherwise know had been made.

This shouldn't come up as often as you think. A portent can only be applied when you can see the target, and generally when you see them you'll be aware of what they're doing. In the few exceptions, I'd call it out beforehand.

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In my last campaign as DM I had a Lucky Halfling Divination Wizard player. Generally I roll monsters attacks, saving throws etc. behind the screen. The Divination Wizard could then, on his own, declare if he wanted to change such a roll to a Portent dice (generally a low roll). On the other hand, he could also replace an allies or his own rolls with Portent, before they rolled them (as the rules say you should).

Because my screen rolls were invisible to my players, it didn't really matter if I rolled and the player told me he wanted to change the outcome. It just needs to happen before the outcome is resolved, e.g.,

DM: "The bugbear attempts to attack Bob with its club."

  • no telling if he has hit the player yet

PC: "Bob is low on health, so I'm replacing the attack roll with my Portent 3."

DM: "Alright, the Bugbear "rolls" a 3, with its Hit Bonus that's still a miss"

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The DM style matters a lot here, and more proactively descriptive DM's are easier to work with when it comes to 'calling' your portent

I have played with DM's who will roll, decide the outcome and then narrate, for example:

DM: "Does a 15 hit?"

Player: "Yes"

DM: "The enemy hits you and it hurts, take x points of damage"

If you have a DM who does this it is very difficult to know what is going on in enough time to call your roll. I have played with such a DM and had to have a conversation with him because this style is either a huge nerf (you never get to use portent) or a huge buff (you can use portent after knowing the roll).

In the end the DM could not adapt their style so I ended up just calling portent even after the roll, and asked for the DM to trust that I was playing fairly.

Other DM's try and give descriptions of what actions are being taken, and then roll to determine the result, for example:

DM: "The enemy is going to try and hurt you"

Player: "Aww why me DM, you are not fair! You are the worst DM ever!"

DM: "Does a 15 hit?"

Player: "Ha no it doesn't, in your face DM!"

This style is much easier to work with because you know what is being rolled, and why, before the dice clatter. This gives you the chance to think and call portent early, and allows the power to work as intended.

There are way more DM styles than I can call here, but these are 2 of the main types and show the issues or benefits with how styles can interact with portent. There is no "how DM's normally handle it" because each DM is different, but I find usually once a DM settles into a style it is very difficult for them to accommodate things like portent if their style doesn't already fit. If you have one of those DM's you need to have a conversation with them and come to a solution, which could range from 'suck it up', 'DM will adapt', 'you can call even after knowing the roll', or 'well I am going to be an illusionist instead', and various options in between.

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