So here's the scenario: We are playing a two party DnD 5e game. Each party is rivaling the other (though we don't know if the other party is potentially our enemies or allies) since the game is happening during Eberron's war of the Five Nations, we assume the other party is our enemy.

The Enemy Party Wizard got a feather of our Kenku Rogue, and has been using it to scry on our party unbeknownst to us. Recently he used Sending to warn our rogue about an ambush and this is how our party learned he was scrying on us.

The thing is: we know we can buy an Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location to stop him from scrying on our kenku. But he can still scry on us, he has seen us through the scrying sensor before.

The question would if the familiarity would be considered a secondhand (+5 to saves) or first hand (+0 to saves)? Or if he can even scry on us if we cut his connection to the target he has (I guess that will be DM's decision but I'd like to have an idea)


1 Answer 1


DM's call, but most likely "Firsthand"

Scrying tells you how it measures familiarity:

Knowledge Save Modifier
Secondhand (you have heard of the target) +5
Firsthand (you have met the target) 0
Familiar (you know the target well) -5

"You have seen the target" is not on the list, so the DM will have to make a call what it is most similar to.

Firsthand fits best. In the absence of defined game terms, we use common English usage. Firsthand is defined in the dictionary as

coming from the original source or personal experience; gained or learned directly.

The ellipsis gives an example of something that would count as firsthand, a personal impresson of the target ("you have met the target"). In my opinion, having seen and heard the target through Scrying once or twice is not that different from having seen them in person. You do not have to touch someone when you meet them, nor be so close as to smell them either, so how you get to know them in this way is functionally quite similar. The important part is the first-hand experience.

Second-hand fits much less. It is defined as

(of information or experience) accepted on another's authority and not from original investigation.

This decribes the case where you have no first-hand experience of the target, but only heard about them or have descriptions of them through others. Seeing them personally (even through a spell) is more direct than just having heard "of" them. You have seen them through original investigation with the spell.

Familiar: Lastly, if the caster has been scrying on the group for an extended period of time, one could even make a case that this gets into "you know the target well" territory: they get to know its behaviours, mannerisms, way of thinking -- that is what one could count as knowing someone well. (Familiar is also not exactly defined in the game, see this Q&A, but here it clearly must be knowing them better than from a single meeting. Other spells set the bar lower.)

They certainly would be able to scry on you, even if you blocked their connection to the Kenku. Scrying even works on creatures that you only heard of.

As a side note: if the other party scrying on you were your enemies, why should they use Sending to warn your rogue about a dangerous ambush? It might be worth trying to check the assumption that they are indeed your enemies. They might be on your side, too.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "I have seen Groody" is not at all the same as "I have met Groody". If I told you right now that I had seen you, you would be very creeped out because we have never met. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2022 at 18:14
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I do not claim that it is the same. I only claim that (a) from the three options it is the most similar and (b) in the end it is their DM's call \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2022 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ You say they are "not that different", but I'm having trouble coming up with reasons they are similar. Other than "they both involve seeing", I can come up with zero similarities, and can only come up with significant differences. I would usually say "meh semantics, who cares", but semantics is exactly what this question is about. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2022 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ You also hear the target of a scrying spell (and their surreoundings). What are the significiant differences you come up with? Maybe if you disagree, formulate an answer that comes to a different conclusion? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2022 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov, maybe what’s throwing you off is the asymmetry of the knowledge. For the scryer its not that different from meeting, for the scried upon, it would be very different. But here we’re concerned about the scryer’s knowledge only. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2022 at 19:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .