Does the spell Nondetection (and therefore the Unseen Seer ability Guarded Mind) protect the target from all divination spells or just the ones given as examples in the PHB (see quote)?

The warded creature or object becomes difficult to detect by divination spells such as clairaudience/clairvoyance, locate object, and detect spells. Nondetection also prevents location by such magic items as crystal balls. If a divination is attempted against the warded creature or item, the caster of the divination must succeed on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) against a DC of 11 + the caster level of the spellcaster who cast nondetection. If you cast nondetection on yourself or on an item currently in your possession, the DC is 15 + your caster level. If cast on a creature, nondetection wards the creature’s gear as well as the creature itself.

I am especially interested to know whether it works against See Invisible.



Ask the Kobold: I Spy with My Little Eye by Skip Williams, nuff said.

The nondection spell description could say that it defeats all divination spells (regardless of their descriptors or modes of operation), but it does not. Instead, it specifies a broad subset of divination spells against which it is effective.

So, what divination spells are subject to interference from nondetection? The spell description gives a few clues: nondetection gives some protection against divination spells that are directed against the warded subject or the area the subject is in. In particular:

  • Divination spells with the scrying descriptor. Clairaudience/clairvoyance is the best example here. If you see the scrying descriptor in the second line of the spell description (right after the spell’s name and school), the divination caster must make a caster level check for the spell to work.

  • Divination spells with any range entry other than personal or touch. When a divination spell has a range of personal or touch, it grants the spell recipient some extra ability to perceive things and nondetection cannot ward its subject against the spell. When a divination spell has a range other than personal or touch, the spell must be directed at an area or at a specific subject and nondetection is effective against it. It’s worth noting here that scrying spells generally have ranges other than personal or touch.

Here’s a quick (and incomplete) list of divination spells that nondetection does not affect:


arcane sight, greater arcane sight, augury, commune, commune with nature, comprehend languages, contact other plane, divination, find the path, find traps, foresight, guidance, know direction, legend lore, moment of prescience, read magic, see invisibility, speak with animals, speak with plants, stone tell, telepathic bond, tongues, true seeing, true strike, vision

And if the man who wrote the book is wrong, then all the rules are.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, Zanath. I've updated your post by including some relevant quotes from the article directly in the answer. We like to do this both as a convenience for people who find our site via search engines, and so that the answer maintains value if the linked site moves or disappears. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Jun 25 '12 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like Skip William himself wrote the following e-mail, which was kindly pointed to me by my online campaign webmaster. I don't know if his sources are reliable. "Non detection works (on) any divination, not just the examples listed in the spell description. I realize now that when I responded earlier to this question I was thinking of the lower-level Misdirection spell." \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Sep 6 '12 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have found the original link to the guy who claims he asked Skip William himself community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/24027461/… \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Mar 14 '13 at 17:56

It most definitely does work against See Invisible. The spells listed there are used mainly as examples, not as an end-all list. The passage that highlights this best is:

...becomes difficult to detect by divination spells such as clairaudience/clairvoyance...

...If a divination is attempted against the warded creature or item,...

Emphasis mine. Nondetection protects against all divination magic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does it work against True Seeing? \$\endgroup\$ – dlras2 Mar 11 '12 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like it. I can't find anything in the text of Nondetection or True Seeing that would make Nondetection not apply to True Seeing. True Seeing is powerful, for sure, but it's still a divination, so Nondetection still protects against it. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Mar 11 '12 at 21:13

I should think that if a creature with true seeing (or normal sight, for that matter) were to look directly at a creature covered by Nondetection they would see the creature because it's not invisible. I think Nondetection was meant to protect against indirect divinations such as scrying and crystal balls with true seeing, etc.


It seems that the recipient of the Nondetection spell gains SR against Divination spells that are not normally subject to SR. Sort of an "invisible to magical detection", but not normal detection.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question wasn't what effect Nondetection has on Divination spells, it was what Divination spells are and aren't affected by Nondetection. Your answer provides information that was already provided (in far more detail) in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Oct 22 '14 at 3:02

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