Scrying says:

Components V, S, M/DF (a pool of water), F (a silver mirror worth 1,000 gp)

The Magic rules say that:

If the Components line includes F/DF or M/DF, the arcane version of the spell has a focus component or a material component (the abbreviation before the slash) and the divine version has a divine focus component (the abbreviation after the slash).

I'm still confused because it has both a material and focus component. As a wizard casting this spell, what exactly do I need?


2 Answers 2


As written, the required components for scrying are pretty confusing; read literally as-is, an arcane caster requires both a pool of water and a fancy mirror, whereas a divine caster requires a divine focus and a fancy mirror.

However, that almost certainly wasn't the intent; it looks like the description for Scrying suffered a little in the copying from 3.5e to Pathfinder. The original 3.5e version is much more specific about the requirements the spell has:

Components: V, S, M/DF, F


Arcane Material Component
The eye of a hawk, an eagle, or a roc, plus nitric acid, copper, and zinc.

Wizard, Sorcerer, or Bard Focus
A mirror of finely wrought and highly polished silver costing not less than 1,000 gp. The mirror must be at least 2 feet by 4 feet.

Cleric Focus
A holy water font costing not less than 100 gp.

Druid Focus
A natural pool of water.

This list is notably absent from the Pathfinder version, which is in keeping with Pathfinder's general trend of trying to simplify spell component requirements, though it seems that the intention was to retain a difference between the arcane and divine versions of the spell. It doesn't help that the 3.5 version of the spell was pretty unusual to begin with, as it specifies a unique divine focus (whereas the general rules for components say a divine focus is always an appropriate holy symbol or similar faith-related item), and thereby muddies the waters somewhat as to the definitions of things.

In my game, I would just refer to the components specified by the 3.5e version of the spell to make sense of Scrying. The arcane material component will almost never be important because of the ubiquitous spell component pouch anyway, so all you really need to worry about is the different focus that each version of the spell requires.

Alternatively, as HeyICanChan suggests, you could houserule the component description to read:

Components: V, S, F (a silver mirror worth 1,000 gp)/DF

And then note in the text of the spell that a divine caster needs a pool of water in which to scry, as well as their normal divine focus; it's possible that this is closest to what was intended for Pathfinder's simplified version of the requirements.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It doesnt seem like its "missing", but simplified. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras I've reworded to "absent", to avoid implying a copy mistake - I agree they were probably trying to simplify, but didn't do a very good job in this instance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 10:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan are you basically saying that the entry should read F/DF rather than M/DF, F? (I don't disagree, it would make a lot more sense that way) \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 12:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sort of. It should say V, S, F (a silver mirror worth 1,000 gp)/DF then the text of the spell should say that a divine caster also needs a pool of water in addition to his "item of spiritual significance" to cast the spell. It's just that Pathfinder's effort to simplify a spell's Components entry couldn't accommodate some of the more prop-heavy 3.5 spells so Pathfinder fakes it… and ends up with nonsense like with scrying that then confused later spell writers. (A DF is only supposed to be either a holy symbol or holly and mistletoe, for instance.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 12:19
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I guess. I mean, the scrying spell is complicated in 3.5 but clear enough according to itself — the same can't be said about the Pathfinder version. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 12:38

Yes, you require both

As Carcer pointed out in his answer, the spell used to be a little more complicated back in 3.5, but Pathfinder simplified it. As explained on the Magic rules:

Material (M)

A material component consists of one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Don’t bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. Assume you have all you need as long as you have your spell component pouch.

If the Components line includes F/DF or M/DF, the arcane version of the spell has a focus component or a material component (the abbreviation before the slash) and the divine version has a divine focus component (the abbreviation after the slash).

The proper way to read the components is that everything not explicitly mentioned as "or" is a requirement to cast the spell. The slash (/) means that its optional, arcane casters will use a material focus (M) and divine casters will use a divine focus (DF), but not both.

This separation will occur every time the spell appears both on arcane spell lists and divine spell lists. But if not mentioned as an optional component, it is as required as the vocal and somatic components of the spell. Of course, things like Eschew Materials will work for both type of spells, arcane or divine (and now psychic too).

But yes, even though it has a negligible cost, and can be assumed to be found inside your component pouch, you require both the Material and Focus components to cast the spell. And I can't seen to find any examples of a spell that requires either a material or focus component. It will either require both, or one of the two.

Also, keep in mind that focuses are not consumed when the spell is cast.

Focus (F)

A focus component is a prop of some sort. Unlike a material component, a focus is not consumed when the spell is cast and can be reused. As with material components, the cost for a focus is negligible unless a price is given. Assume that focus components of negligible cost are in your spell component pouch.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think I'm almost on board, but to be clear: The spell requires an arcane caster to also annihilate a pool of water because Pathfinder's revised components line couldn't handle requiring a divine caster to provide both a divine focus and a 1,000-gp mirror? (Because then the components line would be V, S, DF, F and that cannot be?) Is that accurate? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if that is raw, but it is surely how I will run that spell from now on. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan if that was the intent, the "pool of water" part could be ignored entirelly, IMO. Divine casters use their divine focus (holy symbols) instead of whatever no-cost material component is listed for their spell. But let me ask you something, a puddle is considered a pool of water? A quick google translation tells me yes, but Id rather ask a native speaker. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 17:33
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ That's kind of my point. From a story perspective, there's no reason for a wizard to have to annihilate an innocent pool (or puddle—synonyms? Sure, why not?) of water and stare into a special mirror to scry, yet there is a reason for a cleric to invoke the gods with his holy symbol and stare into a special mirror to scry! (The 3.5 joke was that for scying a wizard needs 1,000-gp mirror, a cleric needs a 100-gp bowl, and a druid needs a full bladder. Druids rule!) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 17:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Im completely fine with a puddle being destroyed when the spell is cast, its a matter of flavoring the spell effect. For instance, in my mind right now, the caster captures the reflex of the stars (if its day, the spell makes it show the cosmos) in the location that his target is right now, and inserts it into the mirror, which will translate that into the location of the person he is trying to watch so he can look at them through the mirror. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 17:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .