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We are above level 5 and are not true neutral characters. We will be attempting to infiltrate and move around in a culture with an alignment very different from our own. There are going to be lots of people with the detect [good/evil/...] spells so detection is a large risk.

If someone goes to cast detect x on us, and our caster countered with a silent and stilled detect x, would the caster know that their spell was countered or would it give them a false negative? Much like if they had cast it unknowingly inside an antimagic field.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Can a spellcaster know why a spell failed? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2018 at 2:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nope, very different question - this one doesn't involve saving throws at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Mar 29, 2018 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not exactly a fool proof plan. May I suggest Undetectable Alignment instead? \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    Mar 29, 2018 at 8:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Snappie Its not an arcane spell, we have no divine casters and it would be too expensive to keep casting it from magic items \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Apr 1, 2018 at 6:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, if you happen to have a sorcerer you could buy a Ring of spell storage type 2 and ask a bard to cast undetectable aligntment on it, or if you have a bard yourself that doesn't have the spell, get a Page of spell knowlegde for 1k. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    Apr 1, 2018 at 13:46

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I don't think your plan will work quite as effectively as you would want.

If you take a look at the rules for Counterspells, you will find this piece -

It is possible to cast any spell as a counterspell.

This implies that, when used as a counterspell, you are actually casting the spell, albeit in a very specific way. And, as you can see from this below official FAQ entry, spells being cast can be observed, regardless of whether or not they have visual or somatic components. Even Psychic magic, which require Thought and Emotion components are observable. In-universe, this is represented by a 'swirly lightshow' or sound effect of some sort when you cast a spell.

What exactly do I identify when I’m using Spellcraft to identify a spell? Is it the components, since spell-like abilities, for instance, don’t have any? If I can only identify components, would that mean that I can’t take an attack of opportunity against someone using a spell-like ability (or spell with no verbal, somatic, or material components) or ready an action to shoot an arrow to disrupt a spell-like ability? If there’s something else, how do I know what it is?

Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.

It is possible to conceal spellcasting, but the only way of currently doing so requires a full-round action, which would be incompatible with how you Counterspell (which requires a readied action, and a readied action must be a less than a full round action). Also, you would need to be aware of any possible casters to be able to counterspell them - any hidden or invisible casters would immediately thwart your plan, as would anyone using an item or existing effect, rather than casting a spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is going to be happening outside of combat and its known that the spell is going to be cast \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Mar 29, 2018 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering To be honest, that makes it worse, since many GM's don't allow readied actions outside of combat... \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Mar 29, 2018 at 2:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Spellcraft says nothing about being able to identify a spell without components. And the feat you linked is third party, because third party often isn't accepted by GM's, you might want to note that in your answer. -1 for the factual incorrectness of your first statement \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    Mar 29, 2018 at 8:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Snappie Linked the wrong feat - try this one, which isn't third party, but is substantially the same. As to spells without components...we must be reading that section differently. It also doesn't say that you need to be able to hear anything, or see the motions...just observe the spell, implying the spell is a separate thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Mar 30, 2018 at 10:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Snappie how about this FAQ entry - more RAW for you? \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Mar 30, 2018 at 10:13

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