The Crystal Ball has very little text - it requires attunement, and anyone attuned can cast Scrying with a set DC while touching it. Obviously, this has limitations, such as when Scrying fails, you can't scry on that person for 24 hours! But someone else can...

What if my helpers each attune to my Crystal Ball to use it after I fail to scry on an Ancient Gold Dragon? It has legendary resistance, so it's actually impossible to scry on with the first try without attacking the dragon first or something else.

Can we do this 24 (or 25, I haven't checked) times before the next day on the same person, or will something stop us besides the Scrying spell, like attunement or magic item rules?


3 Answers 3


You can not use it 24 times a day, due to attunement rules.

For attuning to a magic item one must spend a short rest:

Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item while being in physical contact with it. [...]

Hence, if a Scrying fails and one of your companions wants to try, they must spend a short rest to attune to it. The time needed before attempting to cast another Scrying is then 70 minutes: 10 minutes of casting and 1 hour for the short rest. Your group can cast the spell from the Crystal Ball 21 times per day, not 24.

Pay attention that a person does not need to spend a short rest to unattune, once another creature tries to attune to the same item the first attunement ends (emphasis mine):

A creature's attunement to an item ends if the creature no longer satisfies the prerequisites for attunement, if the item has been more than 100 feet away for at least 24 hours, if the creature dies, or if another creature attunes to the item. A creature can also voluntarily end attunement by spending another short rest focused on the item, unless the item is cursed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for pointing that out! I'm not going to accept, though, until I get confirmation that Skeletal Wolf's scheme does or doesn't work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phoenices
    Nov 2, 2021 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phoenices I've seen that you asked several questions about this topic, I was going to ask a very similar one (if someone can attune to an item used by someone else). I still can't see any flaws in Skeletal Wolf's, but I truly believe that is quite hard to find a DM allowing that scheme... Moreover, it don't think that attuning rules were designed to allow such scheme. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Nov 2, 2021 at 17:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can I ask what you mean by "attune to an item used by someone else" - one that someone is currently using? Begin while it's in use, or finish while it's in use? I'm planning to ask if 600 people can be attuning to an item so that once per turn a new person attunes, activates the once-a-day item ("Once per day YOU may...) and begins reattuning the next round, but I think I'll wait a day and see if other answers clarify some. Yes, I totally agree. RAI has nothing to do with some of this nonsense, and definitely not with more than 21 uses per day. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phoenices
    Nov 2, 2021 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phoenices Sorry, I meant "attune to an item someone else is already attuned to". \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Nov 2, 2021 at 20:16

Attunement ends when another creature attunes the item, however attunement only happens at the end of the short rest. There is no need to wait for the pervious person to finish using the ball to begin resting.

As long as someone remains in contact with the item, focus on it, and fulfills the conditions of short rest, they can attune the item whilst someone else uses it to scry. I am not aware of any rules saying to attune an item you need to be in sole possession of the item, or that the item needs to be not in use during attunement.

By staggering your short rests you can have one short rest ending every 10 minutes and therefore continuously cast scry, up to 6 times per hour, or 144 times per day (assuming you can find enough people to help, keep in mind that failure means that person won't be useful for 24 hours).

The casters will need to sit in a circle around the ball, each touching it.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! If you need any guidance, have a look at the tour and at the help center! That's a very interesting approach, it might works for a Crystal Ball: indeed, the examples for attuning say "This focus can take the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), meditation (for a wondrous item), or some other appropriate activity". here, meditation seems the good choice and doesn't require any particular interaction, beside keeping touching it. Anyway, as a DM, I wouldn't allow it, requiring that attuning to the Ball needs another "appropriate activity" that prevents the casting of the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Nov 2, 2021 at 7:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for creative reading of the rules, but I wouldn't allow it either. It seems counterintuitive to allow attunement and use of an object simultaneously. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2, 2021 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would say that watching the previous half dozen or so casters casting their spell would be a fine "appropriate activity" to attune to the crystal ball. As a caveat, I would likely have a Great Wyrm (regardless of type or alignment) react violently as new sensors attempt to arrive in its lair every 10 minutes. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2, 2021 at 14:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @yesennes You are either "attuned" or not. You are not "attuned" until after you have spent a short rest touching the item. I would rule that the full time is required to break the attunement of another. Otherwise, it potentially only takes seconds to break an attunement if you have access to an item. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2, 2021 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SomethingSImple it's to account for failure: "On a successful save, the target isn't affected, and you can't use this spell against it again for 24 hours." \$\endgroup\$ Nov 4, 2021 at 0:35

This works for 21 castings per 24 hour period.

The rules for attunement state:

A creature’s attunement to an item ends if the creature no longer satisfies the prerequisites for attunement, if the item has been more than 100 feet away for at least 24 hours, if the creature dies, or if another creature attunes to the item.

Person A begins the day already attuned to the ball and casts scrying. After that, person B can spend an hour attuning to the ball, and it automatically unattunes to person A when person B attunes to it.

Casting scrying takes 10 minutes, so the time between castings is 70 minutes, so the first person to cast scrying would be eligible to cast it again after the 21st person (1st casting at time=0, 20 more castings times 70 minutes is 23.3 hours).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can multiple creatures attune to the same item at the same time? I thought that defeats the purpose of attunement? \$\endgroup\$
    – sharur
    Nov 1, 2021 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @sharur No. If Jack is attuned to the crystal ball, Jill may attune to it via the usual attunement process (1 hour), which breaks Jack's attunement to the ball. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1, 2021 at 17:54

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