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I had an interesting question raised a couple sessions ago, and I haven't been able to find an answer yet.

Spy's Bauble, a first-level divination spell from Ebonclad, states:

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a small bauble used in the spell)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

Your touch turns a small bauble – a button, gem, coin, piece of jewelry, or the like – into a scrying sensor. You can see and hear through the bauble as if you were in its location. The spell ends if the bauble is moved more than 100 miles from your location, enters another plane of existence, or is destroyed.

How does the character experience the scrying?

  • Seeing only one location at a time, like changing the channel
  • Seeing both at the same time, like picture-in-picture
  • Seeing the remote location as an overlay, like a HUD
  • ???

I went with HUD in the moment, but I'd like a definitive answer, if one exists.

Here's the relevant text from the Scrying spell, for maximum clarity and to avoid unofficial spells:

On a failed save, the spell creates an Invisible sensor within 10 feet of the target. You can see and hear through the sensor as if you were there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What's the name of this spell, and where did you find it? I don't recognize the spell description... \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Dec 11 '19 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @guildsbounty It's called Spy's Bauble, and it's a part of the Ebonclad setting. However, the basic Scrying spell has the same ambiguity. \$\endgroup\$ – zimdanen Dec 11 '19 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Added the relevant text from the core Scrying spell. \$\endgroup\$ – zimdanen Dec 11 '19 at 17:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The original wording of the question implied he was looking across all remote-sensing divination spells, and noting that none of them explain exactly how you're "seeing" or "hearing" through your scrying sensor. Which is something I saw as well on going and reading through them all. Of all of them, only Beast Sense has an implication (but not a clear one) that you can't use your own senses while looking through your remote-sensor. Hence my "do you only mean this one?" clarification. Perhaps that might actually be a good question on its own... \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Dec 11 '19 at 17:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! just want to make sure all of the spell description is included (just to cover answers that aren't sure if they ahve all the info.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 11 '19 at 18:06
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Spy's Bauble has almost the same wording as Scrying, which is that:

You can see and hear through the sensor as if you were there.

This does not specify anything about whether or not you can still perceive your current location, or if you can perceive both at the same time, or can switch your perspective between the two.

However, we can compare it to another game mechanic that allows remote sensing, a familiar:

Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar's eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the familiar has. During this time, you are deaf and blind with regard to your own senses.

This spell explicitly clarifies that when you use the ability to perceive through the familiar's senses, you lose the ability to perceive through your own. Spy's Bauble and Scrying both lack this caveat, so it follows that you still have the ability to perceive your actual location normally at the same time as you can perceive the remote location, and you don't have to deliberately switch between them.

This makes perfect sense for the Scrying spell, because it always uses, as a focus, some sort of appropriate tool such a mirror, font of water, or crystal ball in which the spellcaster presumably can see an image and from it hear sounds - it does not take over their senses in entirety. This kind of scrying is a common fantasy trope. However, it's not explicitly described that way by the spell itself, so it's fine if the DM or table sees that working differently - the RAW don't require the caster to keep or stay anywhere near their focus once they've actually cast the spell.

It seems that Spy's Bauble doesn't quite have the strong narrative theming that Scrying has, since the spell describes no focus which you would conceivably use to view through the bauble itself. Either way, the rules as written impose no restriction on your ability to perceive both locations simultaneously. Precisely how that might seem to manifest to the caster is up to the DM or the players, in the absence of any guidance in the spell's description.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I missed that part in the Scrying spell, because it's in the components and I was just looking at the text. \$\endgroup\$ – zimdanen Dec 11 '19 at 18:08

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