My knowledge domain cleric just levelled up and got the Channel Divinity: Read Thoughs ability. Provided I use this ability during combat and the enemy fails their saving throw, would reading their surface thoughts give me an advantage in battle?

Combat happens fast and I am deducting that most of the things that go through the enemy's mind would be something along the lines of "I need to move away from here", "I'll slice this small human" or "Fire breath is ready, she's going to burn" which I would argue that is the definition of surface thoughts.

Now, knowing what the enemy is about to do, would that give them disadvantage to attack me or advantage to their saving throws?

As an action, choose one creature that you can see within 60 feet of you. That creature must make a Wisdom saving throw. [...]

If the creature fails its save, you can read its surface thoughts (those foremost in its mind, reflecting its current emotions and what it is actively thinking about) when it is within 60 feet of you. This effect lasts for 1 minute.



2 Answers 2


This would be up to your DM

The ability does not state that you impose disadvantage against attacks made on you, or that you get advantage on saving throws. The rules for Advantage and Disadvantage (p. 171 PHB) say:

Sometimes a special ability or spell tells you that you have advantage or disadvantage on an ability check, a saving throw, or an attack roll.

So rules as written, it does not automatically have that effect, as it does not tell you it does. Your DM however can grant advantage or disadvantage, as explained in the same section, if they think it makes sense

The DM can also decide that circumstances influence a roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result.

Considering you spent your action and your use of Channel Divinity on it, and they had a save, and you forgo the immediate use of suggestion which possibly could remove them entirely from combat, I do not think it would be unreasonable for a DM to grant such advantage or disadvantage. But it is their choice.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I know that at the end of the day, the DM has complete authority over what can or cannot work, however, I wanted to hear other people's opinions on whether this could work. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2023 at 11:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Notably, the desired effect is very similar to Foresight, an actual spell (but a 9th level one). \$\endgroup\$
    – Phoenices
    Jan 19, 2023 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phoenices True, but with the notable difference that Foresight lasts for 8 hours for all attack / ability / saving rolls whereas OP is trying to get advantage against one action from one creature. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2023 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phoenices Not just one action, right? The effect lasts for a minute, so I imagine you'd get the advantage for several rounds if you get it at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – amalloy
    Jan 19, 2023 at 21:20
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ But it IS unreasonable to grant such an advantage. Since duration is 1 minute, that would mean you get an advantage that last whole combat. For only one save that is too strong for chanel divinity usage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Negdo
    Jan 20, 2023 at 13:54

No. Abilities don't do things that they don't say they do, and the ability does not say that it gives you advantage or gives them disadvantage.


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