Wand of Wonders has an effect that allows you to target a creature with Detect Thoughts, but Detect Thoughts has a range of self. This is obviously an inconsistency, but how to resolve this?

Do you just read the targets mind? Does the target gain mindreading? Does the spell simply fail as it has no legal target?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I find it difficult to believe this is a real problem rather than just 'look I found an inconsistency'. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 9:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do questions have to be real problems? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 22:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To me things like this are too obvious. Rule is strange, DM says 'x' and when there is only one real 'x' the question seems pointless. You answer enough questions here that we probably expect you to know that. There is basically, in my mind, no point in you asking this question other than because you want to ask a question (and not a dig at you, but you do that a lot as I think I commented back when you only had about 1k rep). Sometimes you can just find an inconsistency, chalk it as an inconsistency, use your own expert knowledge, and move on unless it becomes important, which this won't. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 23:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not that you can't ask a question of course, but you won't be able to ask a good one in those situations. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 23:01

2 Answers 2


I can read the text two different ways. Your question seems like it's calling out to the possibility of the second one, but I definitely would not recommend using it, except if you're looking to mess with your players.

The logical interpretation : you benefit from the spell

The most logical way to read this is the following : you obtain the effects of Detect Thoughts and use its effect on the target creature. If you did not target a creature, the spell does not take effect and you take the psychic damage. Works as intended.

Good to note that, while it is probably intended that you can only use that ability on the target creature, nothing in the text prevents you from using that ability again on any other target, until the spell runs out.

The "cheesy" interpretation, or playing on the wording

The spell's description mentions the following :

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.

There is no mention of targeting. You simply use the ability that is granted to you by the spell, just like you would look or speak to someone. This means that the only effect of the spell is to give the target of the spell this pseudo-mind-reading ability for the duration.

Normally the spell is limited in its possible targets by its range : self. However, the Wand of Wonder's description of the effect mentions it takes effect "on the target you chose". Specific beats general, and the targeting of this spell by this effect is more specific than the targeting of this spell in general, so the spell could target another creature.

Because of that, with that reading, the target of the spell could spend their action to use the pseudo-mind-reading ability, for the duration of the spell.

This obviously isn't the expected way to read and use that effect for the wand, but I believe that is the pseudo-loophole you wanted to talk about through this question.


You detect the thoughts of the selected creature.

The Wand of Wonder does not change the range of detect thoughts as its range is not expressed in feet. So when you cast it, it still has a range of “Self”, meaning it still targets you as usual. Then just read the spell description to see what happens:

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.

Here, the Wand of Wonder has us preselect the “any one creature”, and allows us to select one within 120 feet, instead of the 30 feet noted in the spell description. So we are then able to detect the thoughts of the selected target.


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