Straightforward issue here: in the D&D 5e version of true polymorph, the creature or object becomes permanently polymorphed into the creature or object of the caster’s choice after an hour has passed. Down the line, if a caster used the detect magic spell and examined the newly transformed creature or object, would they be able to detect magic?

In other words, if a wizard transformed an adventurer into a spoon with true polymorph, waited 61 minutes and tossed the spoon into a drawer full of perfectly normal spoons, would one of the party members then be able to use detect magic to determine which of these spoons is their party member?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related on What is the meaning of permanent in description of true polymorph with special note to Polisurgist's answer. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 16 '19 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ ooh good question +1 \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Dec 16 '19 at 21:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the wizard is powerful enough to throw around true polymorph and maintain it for an hour while the party tries to save their friend, you can bet every one of those spoons has had magic aura cast on it to look like a transmutation spell of 9th level is affecting it. =P \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Dec 16 '19 at 21:38

Yes, the magic is still active

True polymorph(PHB, 283) was altered and the spell text no longer calls it "permanent". Instead, the spell description now says(emphasis mine):

The transformation lasts for the duration, or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies. If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the transformation lasts until it is dispelled.

Since the spell is currently active and dispellable, it is also active magic that can be detected by detect magic. Active magic is active magic, there aren't degrees of it. There is either magic there, or there isn't. If there is, it's detectable. This is not an instantaneous effect whose magic has ended (and thus not dispellable.) It is an ongoing effect, and ongoing effects are active magic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah the answer here mentions this lack of any actual errata reference in a comment \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 16 '19 at 21:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm unconvinced. Just because it can be dispelled doesn't mean it radiates detectable magic. Do you have something that says this is the case instead of a vague interpretation? \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Dec 16 '19 at 21:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66 I'm not sure how to be more explicit. If there is active magic that can be dispelled, then there's active magic that can be detected. They are the same thing. It's active magic. Just like throwing the spoon into an AMF should revert it back, too. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 16 '19 at 21:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66 No, it isn't. The evidence is that detect magic can detect anything bearing magic. Someone under the effects of TP (after the hour duration) is still under the effects of that magic. If you can show that the magic isn't actually there (and therefore wouldn't be dispellable either, or be affected by antimagic field), then that would be a good counter. My proof is that it is dispellable. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 16 '19 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66 Dispel Magic ends spells, you can't end a spell unless it is actively producing magic (as shown by the fact that you can't dispel instantaneous spells), thus true polymorph is actively producing magic and can be detected by detect magic \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 16 '19 at 21:56

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