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Inspired by the recent news item about the Swiss farmer discovering a hoard of 4,000+ Roman coins, it seems reasonable that frontier residents of a fantasy world beset by invading Orcs, dragons, etc. would also resort to burying their wealth.

This presents an opportunity to clever adventurers — why go dungeon delving if you need only dig up treasure from the ground? Of course the trick is finding the coin hoards.

Is there a D&D 3.5e or Pathfinder spell or magical item that allows characters to detect the location of concentrations of treasure across long distances (let's say at least 10 miles from the spellcaster/user)?

The best I could find with Google is Treasure Scent, which is only effective out to 30 feet. Wish is another possibility, but the rules as written don't explicitly allow treasure detection with the Wish spell.

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Spell Research: Locate City1 Treasure

Warning: This answer/action would require DM Approval. Proceed with care.

Independent Research

A wizard also can research a spell independently, duplicating an existing spell or creating an entirely new one.

Spell research information can be found here.


Role-Playing/DM Fiat aside...

Sample spell text could be as follows:

  • You sense the distance and direction to the nearest treasure trove of a minimum size and type designated by you at the time of casting.
  • For instance, you could choose to find the nearest treasure trove at least as large as a chest, or you could choose to locate only the nearest dragon treasure hoard.
  • This spell measures the distance to the "nearest" treasure as the minimum distance one would have to travel to reach the treasure trove without moving through solid objects.
  • For example, the caster may know that a buried treasure chest is 10 miles away northeast of his position, but is unlikely to know how deep the treasure is buried.


Also, remember that someone, or something, probably will not like the fact that you located their stash. Dragons, for example, are pretty much extremely covetous, and dangerous to your health.


1Range: 10 miles/level. Area: 10 miles/level radius circle, centered on you

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good answers so far - I like Ruut's response best since researching and properly casting a Locate Treasure spell could reliably detect treasure over long distances. Creating & using this spell would be fun in a sandbox campaign. \$\endgroup\$ – RobertF Nov 24 '15 at 15:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ CCP @RobertF. Even better: create rings/amulets/staffs of treasure locating and sell them. \$\endgroup\$ – Roflo Nov 24 '15 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Roflo Good idea; It's the people selling mining equipment who get reliably rich in a gold rush. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 26 '15 at 3:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe Taking Roflo's idea seriously, the amount of buried treasure would decrease dramatically as soon as a few of those items were sold, since those holding them would begin to harvest the treasures so buried. At that point, the value of this item decreases, as does incidence of buried treasure of any sort remaining. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 10 '15 at 22:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Exactly as it was with mining equipment during Gold Rush. \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Sep 24 '17 at 12:16
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You could try locate object; it lasts one minute per level and has a range of 400ft+40ft/level. The specifics of what you can locate are a bit vague; you could certainly search for "a gold coin" (and hope it's in a bag of other gold coins), but it's less clear if you could usefully search for "gold" or "treasure". Regardless, you'd have to stay away from populated areas, or you'd just detect money in people's homes. Also note that you'd have to put all your own treasure in a lead-lined bag, or your spell would just detect your own stuff.

A much more efficient approach would be to cast divination, which gives "a useful piece of advice in reply to a question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity that is to occur within 1 week". You could tell it you want to find some lost treasure; it would probably give you back a cryptic riddle. Note that you need an offering worth 25gp to cast the spell.

When people start thinking about lost treasure, the topic of shipwrecks tends to come up. A druid could probably make some good money by shapeshifting into something aquatic and diving for sunken treasure. On the other hand, shipwrecks are likely to be inhabited by sea monsters, so this isn't really as safe as the "dig up treasure" options.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Taking the divination spell idea a step further, a caster could for a similar purpose employ commune, contact other plane, legend lore, vision, and similar spells. That is, if the gods aren't too busy or history shows that there's something important nearby (for some quantities of nearby). \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 23 '15 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I can see Divination+Commune being used to triangulate the position of a lost treasure. The players first cast Divination and ask "Show me the direction of the closest unguarded treasure worth over 10,000 gp." The players then hike a few days east and repeat the question as a Commune spell. \$\endgroup\$ – RobertF Nov 23 '15 at 20:47
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In 3.0, in Song and Silence, the dungeon delver class gets "treasure sense" at seventh level. That lets him detect treasure within 200ft/level, and is the best general-purpose treasure detector I am aware of.

Not quite 3.5, but it might fit your needs.

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Create Treasure Map will be what you need if you have a dead creature that has possibly hoarded flippin' great wodges of cash.

The spell has only a broad specified range:

You must choose the scale of the map when creating it, opting between nearby (e.g., one or two dungeon levels), local (e.g., a valley or community), or broad (e.g., a country or larger). The map reveals the locations of what the creature deemed most valuable within its area. Depending on the creature, the map might reveal a source of tasty food, suitable mates, or even your own treasure vault.

Only drawback is it's 100gp/map.

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