Dungeons & Dragons Online

Should prepared spell class meta affect narrative via intuition and foreshadowing in our campaigns?

A wizard opens the bestiary book looted from the mad mage to thumb through for leisure before bed. They take a heavy bong rip and greets the book with a cloud of smoke, where the spine is heavily worn on a particular page. There are coffee stains and cipher notes around a section regarding a dissertation on monsters that achieve the innate ability to resist all physical damage. Knowing the fighter carries a mundane bastard sword, the wizard prepares the spell "magic weapon" for tomorrow's journey, to aid their heavy hitter for what evils the mad mage may have been privy to in this region.

The paladin has a nightmare before 2nd watch. In it, they were back in the inquisition days, but this time, at daily communion, when the priest offered wine the congregation became sick, foaming at the mouth, paralyzing them in violent convulsions. All the paladin could do was watch helplessly. The Paladin awakens drenched in a cold sweat. An omen from the divine or just another scheme of the devil to cause doubt for the holy conquest? Better safe than sorry. The paladin prepares "purify food and drink" for tomorrow's trek through swamplands, lest spores ruin our rations.

The knowledge cleric fidgets with their augury rosery impulsively, even when not casting it. Time and time again they run fingers from bead to bead, moving lips to silent prayers. Even while sound asleep, they subconsciously whisper "guide me" under their breath. A divine inner peace washes over them regarding the new day, but also a feeling of civil unrest and confusion among lost souls. As an act of faith, they release their focus on spiritual weapon, guiding bolt, and inflict wounds, to replace them with calm emotions, comprehend language, and zone of truth.

I am of the sort that prepared spell classes meta should have at least a % chance to have foreshadowing knowledge regarding what is to come, compared to their counterparts. Sometimes, their intuition fails on false assumptions or skewed bias, but…. and a BIG BUT… these classes are designed in the meta to be a bit more guided by divinity or research.

Am I alone? I spoke to several friends who all disagree. They think that the excitement is in the surprise of not knowing, but having a specific spell for a specific occasion by chance. The reward, according to them, is the crapshoot of guessing what to take into the next day. I think otherwise. I think it's way more frustrating when you had an obscure spell that you know but did not prepare, and the frustration of this outweighs the reward of having it ready by chance. I think if a player prepares a spell for a special "gut" intuition via insight or religion, the player then becomes hyper-aware of what hints to listen for and would hang on to the DM's every word, waiting for the right moment to shine when suspicion arises.

Films foreshadow with more nuance, because the viewer does not intervene, and because the film can be watched again to catch all the hints that were missed on the first viewing. I think there is nothing wrong with a more hamfisted approach to D&D foreshadowing. The "who, what, when, where" should be on the front end of the story, while the "why and how" should be the big reveal or the cryptic secret.

Is it God's will that I be tested when I do not hear his guiding voice? Or, is it the test of my enemies that God prepares me for the righteous pain I'm about to reign down? If it is ALWAYS walking by faith with no more guidance than the pagan barbarian, then what cruel path do I walk that I, the ordained mouthpiece of god, not ever discern? My lord's breadcrumbs nourish me. Should I starve because the DM thinks knowing something in part will ruin the fun? Or what of the savant wizard; To have such a smorgasbord of a menu to choose from and not a single hypothesis regarding what is to come?

I would like to hear the internet's thoughts on how foreshadow narrative should or should not be involved with prepared spell class meta.


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