Many divination spells—detect spells in particular—say that they are blocked by any amount of lead.

But what if the thing you want to divine is in fact made of lead? Could that thing be divined?

If the caster were trying to detect the thing made of lead, it doesn't seem like it could block itself (because the caster's spell doesn't need to penetrate the thing), but I can't seem to find a rules reference.


3 Answers 3


Even spells blocked by lead can discern details about and locate appropriate objects made from lead

Spells like the 0-level Sor/Wiz spell detect magic [div] (Player's Handbook 219) "can penetrate barriers, but 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt blocks [them]," and spells like the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell locate object [div] (PH 249) are "blocked by even a thin sheet of lead." Thus, even if the magic item or object envisioned, respectively, is composed of lead, the item's aura will be perceived or the object will be located. (This also means, for example, the spell detect magic can be used to perceive magical auras on woodpiles or mounds of dirt, but not magic auras buried beneath those woodpiles or mounds of dirt!)

However, if a magic item that's made of lead blocks line of effect to magic auras beyond it or contains within it, for whatever reason, other magic auras, those magic auras won't be detected by the spell detect magic. Further, if some jerk hides the lead object envisioned inside a lead box, the spell locate object will be unable to locate the envisioned object.


If the lead is between your spell and the target, then it blocks. If the target is the lead, it shouldn't matter. Think of it like your eyes. If you are looking at a lead wall you'll find nothing, unless you are looking for a lead wall.

Quoting from the player's handbook Locate Object description on page 249:

The spell is blocked by even a thin sheet of lead.

And again from Message on page 253:

Magical silence, 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal (or a thin sheet of lead), or 3 feet of wood or dirt blocks the spell.

In short, spells that can be blocked are blocked if the path they take (Line of sight, touch, cone, etc.) is interrupted by an impassable obstruction.

If casting Locate Object on a target thin sheet of lead, with no obstacles in between caster and target, then that object would be Located.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand this is how normal senses work, but mechanically there does not seem to be support or contradiction to this as far as I could find. It matters on the surface whether the lead absorbs or reflects in order to do its shielding. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    Jul 19, 2017 at 11:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Absorption and reflection are not indicated in the spell either. It's at least as well supported that you find the thing by smell, where reflection would be meaningless. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Jul 19, 2017 at 12:23

Lead can be divined as long as it is not behind a barrier made of lead.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And you know this how? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2017 at 17:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Waylander, and welcome to the site. Please check out our tour to see how we work here. We expect answers to back themselves up with rules citations where applicable -- we can't take people just at their word. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2017 at 18:49

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