So say I scry a friend of mine (to see how he is doing) and find to my horror that he is being held captive by a group of orcs!
Could I then cast divination with the following query:
I would like to rescue my friend in the coming week (goal), where should I travel to to rescue him? (advice needed).
(For reference, here is the divination spell)
Similar to augury but more powerful, a divination spell can
provide the caster with a useful piece of advice in reply to a
question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity that is to
occur within one week. The advice can be as simple as a short
phrase, or it might take the form of a cryptic rhyme or omen.
If the caster doesn’t act on the information, the conditions may
change so that the information is no longer useful. The base
chance for a correct divination is 60% + 1% per caster level.
The Judge should roll this secretly. If the dice roll fails, false
information is delivered.
Or do I need a bunch of concrete information about where he is being held before I can cast the divination spell (I thought that was what the divination spell was for, to divine information).
That is absolutely the purpose of divination and a completely reasonable use. HOWEVER, divination does not provide clear-cut answers. I typically offer the answer in the form of a poem or riddle.
For example, in last night's game, the PCs used Divination to ask "Where is Princess Shandalah being held captive?" The answer was "The princess must be freed/from the crypt of great greed." This was an oblique reference to Badr al-Mosak, who I had described a dozen sessions ago as "the greediest man who ever lived". But they figured it out. Of course, they have no idea where his crypt is, but at least they know she's in the Crypt of Badr al-Mosak.
Then why does it talk about an activity undertaken within a week? If you don’t have a plan or intend to do anything for a week then what?
I saw it more like giving advice to assist a concrete goal rather than telling you what to do.
I believe the answer is (on a successful die roll) guaranteed to be valid for up to a week, assuming that the players don’t do anything else that might negate it. After the week is up, all bets are off. Maybe the princess gets moved or is dead at that point. Then again, if it doesn’t make sense for things to change, or the GM just doesn’t want to scrap an entire dungeon, maybe she’s still there. But she might not be, because it’s been more than a week.
So basically if you have very little information (my friend is held captive by orcs and I don’t know where!), divination provides a next step in the form of a riddle.
But if you have a lot of information (my friend is held captive by orcs in the citadel of Gad-Gudhur, home of the Orctzar himself! I can either assault it frontally through the gates of Grimnock, from the air or through the sewers of eternal despair) divination can provide more targeted answers like the weakness of the Orctzar or the best route of approach to rescue said friend.
Would that be an accurate summary?
That's precisely how I treat the spell, yes.