Ichabod the Inscrutable has created a magic item that casts the Awaken spell. He wants to use it on his pet crow, and then send it to spy on his rival, Zizak the Zephyr.

The relevant portions of the Awaken spell state:

The target gains an Intelligence of 10. The target also gains the ability to speak one language you know.


The awakened beast or plant is charmed by you for 30 days or until you or your companions do anything harmful to it.

Ichabod is concerned that his rival will somehow detect the crow, and foil his spying attempts. Obviously, if Zizak saw the crow talking or writing a novel, he'd know something was amiss.

What about magical and other means? Are there any class features that could reveal the crow? The Awaken spell mentions the charmed condition, but not that the condition was generated by the on-going effects of a charm-related spell. An ideal answer would cover every possible means of detecting an Awakened creature.

How can an Awakened creature be detected as such?

An ideal answer would cover every possible means of detecting an Awakened creature, regardless of whether 30 days has passed or not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are we to assume that the creature is being detected before or after the 30 days? And I assume nonmagical class features that detect things like a creature's intelligence score or known languages or whether or not a creature is charmed (assuming this is before the 30 days) would be valid answers? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 An ideal answer would cover all possible ways to detect an Awakened creature. I hadn't thought of nonmagical class features, but I think those would be excellent additions. I'll clarify this in my question, TY! \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


Detect Thoughts, as per Thomas Markov's answer, is the most intuitive solution. I've listed below some other, more obscure spells which could identify the crow as being 'awakened'. They're not obscure in themselves, but they're pretty unlikely solutions: all of them require the caster to be pretty paranoid, and most of them require the caster to be weirdly paranoid about this one specific crow.

But first, let's clarify that:

Spells that identify magical effects won't work

The duration of Awaken is instantaneous and produces a permanent effect, so the awakened creature isn't magical or under the effect of a spell in mechanical terms. You've correctly identified that this extends to the charmed condition that the creature is in: it's a special case of being charmed which isn't the result of an ongoing spell effect. Dispel Magic and similar spells would have no effect on the creature's awakened state, nor its being charmed by you, and spells that identify spell effects (such as Identify) will draw a blank.

Spells can reveal the crow's heightened intelligence

If the crow is charmed, it could be made the target of Beast Bond. The spell will have no effect, because the crow's intelligence is greater than 4. Whilst there might be other explanations for the spell's failure, the caster will likely know that something is up.

Spells can reveal the crow's ability to speak

Command is the most obvious. Simply compel the crow to 'recite' and it will be forced to give away its ability to speak

Spells can directly reveal information about the game world

This depends a little on DM adjudication, but a cleric or similar could just cast Divination and ask 'Is this crow awakened'? Probably hard to riddle your way out of that one, so likely to get a clear enough answer. This is one of the most feasible strategies, because it would be reasonable for a paranoid caster to ask something like 'am I behind watched?' and zoom in from there with subsequent castings. Commune is more likely to get you a straight answer (yes/no) to a specific question. Contact other plane would also do it for less pious casters.


Battlemaster Fighter and Mastermind Rogue have abilities which can discern enemy abilities relative to their own. Included here for completeness but they're not normally available to NPCs and Zizak would have to have an intelligence of less than 10 for this to work.

Arbitrary 'The 9th level spell Wish could obviously do this'

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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget the old mundane means, like a nature check to show that that crow is acting differently than a normal crow. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 4:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's probably one of the likeliest ways for him to first notice that there's something odd about the crow. Most of the others, including "detect thoughts", require him to have some reason already to pick out that particular crow and deliberately cast something on it. The nature check might be how he first got the idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – A. B.
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 6:53

Detect thoughts.

This spell should get the job done quite easily:

For the duration, you can read the thoughts of certain creatures. When you cast the spell and as your action on each turn until the spell ends, you can focus your mind on any one creature that you can see within 30 feet of you. If the creature you choose has an Intelligence of 3 or lower or doesn't speak any language, the creature is unaffected.

Since the crow speaks a language and has an intelligence of 10, detect thoughts will make it immediately evident that the crow is awakened. The crow doesn't even get a saving throw; detect thoughts just works.


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