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The spell "detect magic" lasts for 1 minute/level. It says:

You detect magic items and spells, or identify a magic item. On the round you cast it, you sense if any are in range. On round 2, you know how many there are. On round 3, you know exactly which things are magic. If cast on a magic item, you learn its powers.

But It does not make sense: for my level 1 cleric the duration is one minute (1/1 right?). 3 rounds are 18 seconds. I don't get this. Does it mean that I need to take 4 rounds (72 seconds) just to make the first step of the spell? Or am I doing it wrong?

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Does it mean that I need to take 4 rounds (72 seconds)... I think you are confusing rounds and minutes. –  Gates VP Mar 6 at 22:11
    
Sorry, I meant 4 Times 3 turns... –  NetHacker Mar 6 at 22:56

2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted

The duration on Detect Magic is a bit more detailed then that:

concentration, up to 1 min./level (D)

In order to use it, you have to keep concentrating. The more rounds you concentrate on a given target area or subject, you get more information as detailed in the spell.

You can turn to another target area or subject, and so long as you keep concentrating the spell lasts the full duration. But the information you get on the new target will depend on how many rounds you concentrate on it.

At level 1 you have 10 rounds maximum, so you could do the full 3 round duration on a sword, then 3 more on a shield, then 3 more on Bob the Barbarian, then 1 round on something else (with just one round looking at something, you get less information, as described in the spell).

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It's not more detailed since I have the Beginner box manual. But now I get it. The more I wait the more powerful it will be? –  NetHacker Mar 6 at 16:24
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@NetHacker The longer you use it on a given target, the more information you get, yes. That's what the spell text is describing with the rounds. If you change to a new target, the same thing happens and you can keep using the spell on different targets until the 1 min/level duration runs out. So at level 1, you could use it for a total of 10 rounds. –  Tridus Mar 6 at 16:26
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Not so much more powerful, it just takes a few rounds before you really discern the magic auras well enough to tell them apart and identify them. And if you start looking at something else, it again takes a few rounds for you to get all the info about those auras. And as long as you keep concentrating, you can keep doing this until the duration runs out. –  mcv Mar 6 at 16:28
    
If you compare to the 3.5 rules for the same spell, I believe the intent is for it to work the same, but some of the words got changed around for Pathfinder to make it more confusing: d20srd.org/srd/spells/detectMagic.htm That link clearly mentions the number of rounds spent looking at a single thing, whereas the pathfinder Beginner Box talks about the "round you cast the spell" as round 1 –  Yamikuronue Mar 6 at 16:33
    
@Yamikuronue The PFSRD version says this: "The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject." So I think it's still pretty clear what they intend. –  Tridus Mar 6 at 16:35

During that one minute (or 10 rounds), you can still see the auras discovered in round 3, and can make spellcraft checks to identify the magic as detailed in the rest of the spell. Additionally, you could walk to a new area and start the three-round count over, or focus on a different target. You also could choose to stop concentrating early so you can do other things.

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