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So unbeknownst to my group I DM for, the young child in the village they are at is an aspect of Chauntea, Goddess of the Harvest.

Having recently acquired a Bag of Beans, one party member gave 2 beans to who they think is a little girl, and asked her to plant them.

There really isn't any reason the NPC wouldn't fulfill the request, so I've been contemplating the effect they should have when sowed by a character with Divine powers specialized in this fashion.

Past editions have emphasized that skill and damage rolls by the divine ranks should be considered maximum. I don't know if that should have bearing on an item that is largely random and chaotic.

Side note: before handing out the magic item, I had prepared material for some of the more extreme results, so I'm ready for any results. I just don't know if it should still be as random as a player using the item.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question has been flagged as opinion-based. Rather than asking 'should it still be random' without any criteria to judge the should, you might try for a more objective question ('In 5e do any rules or precedents point toward divine beings interacting differently with magic items'), or at least a good-subjective one ('here is how the gods work in my games and what I would like the players to understand about that - given that, what kinds of affects and interactions support what I am trying to do?' \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 13, 2022 at 17:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this question relies on a premise that is easy to counter, without appeal to bad subjectivity (as is shown with the current answers). 'should it still be random' here obviously means 'In 5e do any rules or precedents point toward divine beings interacting differently with magic items' and can't really be interpreted differently. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2022 at 3:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ If I were to make an amendment to add a bit more context, what would be the best way to go about that? Starting a new question, or commenting on each of the replies? \$\endgroup\$
    – Xisnue
    Nov 17, 2022 at 8:24

3 Answers 3

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In 5e, deities are more of a narrative force than characters

In previous editions, players have seen stat blocks of deities and decided if it has hitpoints, we can kill it. Fifth edition got away from precise stat blocks for divine beings, and gave you, the DM, the freedom to make good story.

So what effect should these beans have? Anything and everything you need, to push story forward in a fun and interesting way. Given that's the deity of Harvest, something that can feed the people would seem fitting. It does not need to be on the list of effects, that's for players and NPCs and, as I wrote above, deities shouldn't really be treated that way anymore.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If the players know the list of effects, I disagree that it could be something not on that list. Because in that case, that would reveal plot information to players, even if only on a meta-gaming level. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 13, 2022 at 16:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster: that could well be desired, and a great way "to push story forward in a fun and interesting way". FWIW, I doubt that many players would jump straight to "the little girl is an aspect of Chauntea", but would definitely think something interesting is happening (is she a cleric? is the field blessed? etc.). \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Nov 13, 2022 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass my thoughts exactly. I just wanted to avoid getting close to bad subjective in my answer and didn't know how to put it in words to avoid that. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Nov 14, 2022 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have considered giving the beans additional possible effects, and I may still adjust the table for. I'm just worried they may start giving more beans to this NPC in order to get 'superior' results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xisnue
    Nov 17, 2022 at 8:22
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Precedent suggests the Bag of Beans could work normally

There are two examples of avatars in 5e:

  • Tiamat's Avatar in Tyranny of Dragons
  • Auril the Frostmaiden's Avatar(s), in Rime of the Frostmaiden

Both have stat blocks describing their abilities, and nothing there indicates that they would have any power to make magic items behave differently. So, based on precedent of existing 5e avatars, these beans could work just normally, unless you have defined a special trait for that avatar that changes that.

That said, I fully agree with Molot's answer that gods in 5e are more of a plot device, and it is up to you to decide what you want to happen here. If you feel it would be better for the story if these beans brought richer fruit or things that are not on the default list -- go for it. It may give the PCs an idea something is not normal about the girl, and that is absolutely fine. Only you can know what powers an avatar that you created has.

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A magic item supplies its own magic

Most magic items don't interact directly with any magic or supernatural abilities a creature has on their own (though there are exceptions such as class-specific items like a Rod of the Pact Keeper). Rather, the item has its own magic "built in", such that it can be used by any creature, even those with no magic of their own. The DMG doesn't have much to say about this in general, but it is specifically confirmed for certain classes of items, such as (all emphases added) potions:

Different kinds of magical liquids are grouped in the category of potions: brews made from enchanted herbs, water from magical fountains or sacred springs, and oils that are applied to a creature or object.

Scrolls:

Most scrolls are spells stored in written form [...]

A scroll is a consumable magic item. Whatever the nature of the magic contained in a scroll, unleashing that magic requires the user to read the scroll.

Regardless of explicit confirmation like this, all magic items, unless otherwise noted, work regardless of any magic the user may or may not have. So, a magic bean planted by a divine avatar should have the same effect as a magic bean planted by anyone else. It shouldn't matter who planted it.

Gods don't have to follow the rules

What might matter, though, is what the nearby avatar of the harvest god is thinking about while the seed is planted, regardless of who's doing the planting. If the avatar's thoughts and feelings have the power to shape the world like a god, then their will could influence the bean in some way, since it falls within the harvest god's domain. (And of course, the avatar might have stronger feelings about it if they are the one doing the planting.) The specific effect of that influence is entirely up to you, the DM. You could roll for the effect normally and then amplify the effect, or keep re-rolling until you get a result that the avatar would find favorable, or cause an effect that is not on the list entirely.

If your goal is to use this event to hint at the nascent divinity of the avatar, then regardless of what happens, you can narrate the effect in a way that makes it clear that some external force is influencing or enhancing the effect of the bean. For example, if the chosen effect is that a single tree grows, you might narrate the single tree growing, then pause just long enough that the players think the effect is done. And then suddenly the tree's roots grow out to the sides and sprout three more trees.

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    \$\begingroup\$ TL;DR: The magic item does whatever is within the god's power and desire, meaning, whatever the DM thinks will fit. \$\endgroup\$
    – EvilSnack
    Nov 15, 2022 at 2:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is somewhat long, to make two very simple points, but I think highlighting those two simple points makes this answer the best one right now. (Groody's answer is good for similar reasons, but doesn't mention that magic items use their own supply of magic unless otherwise stated.) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2022 at 1:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EvilSnack My first thought upon reading the OP's question: "Magic items work however the god wants them to (within whatever limits the GM puts upon the powers of that god and that item)." \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2022 at 1:02

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