So I'm playing in a campaign right now, and my party has just received a threatening letter that was left in their dining room stuck to the wall with a dagger. We don't know the writers actual name, which is what we're trying to find out.

Currently we consist of:

  • Human Cleric 5
  • Aasimar Shaman 5
  • Elf Unchained Sumoner 5
  • Human Cavalier 5
  • Ifrit Unchained Rogue 3/AntiPaladin 2

What spells/abilities/skills can we use to determine who left it? I've already thought of the spell Scrying, and we were able to pick up a scroll of it at the local temple, but we weren't able to test it out before the end of the last session, so I'm looking for backup options.


2 Answers 2


You can make a Diplomacy check to gather information, asking people nearby if anyone saw someone near your dining room. You can make a Sense Motive check as you walk around and see if anyone acts suspicious when you bring the topic up.

If the trail is recent, you could get an animal to do scent tracking. The DC for this is 10 for a very recent trail, +2 per hour the trail is old. If you had a scroll of lesser planar ally, you could summon a creature such as a foo dog which speaks common and has the scent special ability. If you can find someone with a trained bloodhound, that would work just as well.

The commune spell (spell level five) allows you to ask your deity yes-or-no questions. The divination spell (spell level four) might also give useful information.

Your last option is to accept that someone's probably going to try to attack you in the near future, and have your group take reasonable precautions against attacks, and expect to identify the attacker when they do the attack. This is not very satisfying from a narrative standpoint, but it's the most common outcome when an adventuring party receives a note like this, assuming the attacker took reasonable precautions against getting discovered. (Presumably the attacker thinks they've taken reasonable precautions against getting discovered, so all the approaches above are essentially hoping the attacker has made a foolish error.)

Also, consider that your DM might be more interested in the story outcome where you get ambushed and then defeat them in a dramatic battle. If your DM is nice, they might allow you to generate a different outcome if you push for it hard enough. But this might not be the be the best use of your effort.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I'm going to end up having to go with a scroll of Commune. The real issue is, we're afraid that the scrying and other lesser divinations won't work because we think the target is a vigilante, which has a lvl 1 ability to make scrying on their vigilante persona automatically fail if they aren't currently in that persona. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 21:43

Buy a scroll of Object Reading

The 1st level psychic spell object reading allows one to use the psychometry application of the Appraise skill to determine a not-historically-significant object's last owner, generally by receiving visions of what they look like. No one in your party can cast that spell or use that skill unlock (unless they took Psychic Sensitivity or a trait that lets you cast any single psychic spell even a single time per day), but you can buy a scroll from the store for 25 gp reliably in even the smallest of settlements.

Cast Speak with Plants and/or Speak with Animals (or Speak with Vermin or Speak with Stone)

Did the room have any mold or a flowerbox or anything like that? Your Shaman can cast Speak with Plants by equipping a Nature Spirit with their Wandering Spirit class feature.

They (or maybe the Cleric) can also cast Speak with Animals. Are there mice or other non-vermin vermin in the room/walls?

If you have the ability to speak with Vermin like roaches or fleas, that is probably best, but that looks unlikely with your party composition unless you've got some pretty specific builds or magic items.

Stonetell, as usual, is best for this but that is even less likely an ability you have.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, our DM likes to play animals as rather... difficult to communicate with. If we ask, "did you see who put this note here" we're more likely to get a response of "what's a 'note'" than a straight "yes" or "no". I thought about "Object Reading" but unfortunately, I don't think it will work out for various reasons, one of which is we suspect the perpetrator to be a vigilante, which by itself would negate basically all of our attempts to identify them. It IS a cheap scroll though, so not really a big loss if it fails. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 21:34

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