Since sorcerers are inherently magical (or maybe more accurately, inherently contain magic), would the detect magic spell reveal an aura around the sorcerer?

If so, would this also be the case with a warlock? I would assume wizards to be a definite no, since their magic is more of a harnessing of magic than any personal ability.

I believe this is unrelated to any possible aura attributed to prepared spells. To quote my below comment:

To my mind a prepared spell is just that, the preparation of materials and maybe a quick study of somatics/verbal. This wouldn't make the spellcaster any more or less magical. This is why I specifically reference the Sorcerer


2 Answers 2


Excerpt from Detect Magic

For the duration, you sense the presence of magic within 30 feet of you. If you sense magic in this way, you can use your action to see a faint aura around any visible creature or object in the area that bears magic, and you learn its school of magic, if any.

Except from Sorcerer description

Magic is a part of every sorcerer, suffusing body, mind, and spirit with a latent power that waits to be tapped. Some sorcerers wield magic that springs from an ancient bloodline infused with the magic of dragons. Others carry a raw, uncontrolled magic within them, a chaotic storm that manifests in unexpected ways.

So obviously, while considering that 5e does not separate flavor text and official rules the RAW is yes. (DM's can decide how to handle it on an individual basis obviously)

As for Warlocks:

A warlock is defined by a pact with an otherworldly being. Sometimes the relationship between warlock and patron is like that of a cleric and a deity, though the beings that serve as patrons for warlocks are not gods.

So not necessarily, however once you have been blessed with an ongoing magic power like darkvision things change.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you suggesting that once an invocation has permanent effect, like devil's sight, then the Warlock will always emanate a magical aura? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 5, 2016 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast a similar question has been asked here. \$\endgroup\$
    – smbailey
    Nov 18, 2020 at 22:30

No, detect magic doesn't detect sorcerers (or other spellcasters) as magical

The Sage Advice Compendium addresses a related question:

Is the breath weapon of a dragon magical?

If you cast antimagic field, don armor of invulnerability, or use another feature of the game that protects against magical or non-magical effects, you might ask yourself, “Will this protect me against a dragon’s breath?” The breath weapon of a typical dragon isn’t considered magical, so antimagic field won’t help you but armor of invulnerability will.

You might be thinking, “Dragons seem pretty magical to me.” And yes, they are extraordinary! Their description even says they’re magical. But our game makes a distinction between two types of magic:

  • the background magic that is part of the D&D multiverse’s physics and the physiology of many D&D creatures
  • the concentrated magical energy that is contained in a magic item or channeled to create a spell or other focused magical effect

In D&D, the first type of magic is part of nature. It is no more dispellable than the wind. A monster like a dragon exists because of that magic-enhanced nature. The second type of magic is what the rules are concerned about. When a rule refers to something being magical, it’s referring to that second type. Determining whether a game feature is magical is straightforward. Ask yourself these questions about the feature:

  • Is it a magic item?
  • Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description?
  • Is it a spell attack?
  • Is it fueled by the use of spell slots?
  • Does its description say it’s magical?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, the feature is magical.

Let’s look at a white dragon’s Cold Breath and ask ourselves those questions. First, Cold Breath isn’t a magic item. Second, its description mentions no spell. Third, it’s not a spell attack. Fourth, the word “magical” appears nowhere in its description. Our conclusion: Cold Breath is not considered a magical game effect, even though we know that dragons are amazing, supernatural beings.

Detect magic, like other game mechanics, operates by this same logic with regard to what is considered magical. The spellcasting abilities of creatures (innate or otherwise) are considered "the background magic that is part of [...] the physiology of many D&D creatures". Detect magic is designed to detect magical effects, not the background magic that suffuses creatures or the universe.

Chris Perkins confirms this sort of interpretation here:

Can detect magic detect magic potential of spellcasters even if they're not actively casting a spell?

It's not a wizard detector, if that's what you mean.

Given that the question he's responding to asks about spellcasters in general, it seems clear that his response is not specific to wizards - he's suggesting that the spell doesn't automatically detect spellcasters simply due to their magical abilities.


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