I'm planning on having the BBEG of my campaign cast Scrying on the PCs. Some of them have access to Detect Magic.

If he scrys on them while they're using Detect Magic, will they be able to see the invisible sensor from scrying, or otherwise detect a divination aura?


1 Answer 1


Yes, the Scrying sensor can be sensed with Detect Magic


"...The spell creates an invisible sensor within 10ft of the target. A creature that can see invisible objects sees the sensor as a luminous orb..."

Detect Magic

"...you sense the presence of magic within 30ft of you. ...you can use your action to see a faint aura around any visible creature or object that bears magic, and you learn its school of magic, if any..."

With this being said, I think how 'Detect Magic' works with 'Scrying' is up to interpretation. Detect Magic says you can sense the presence of magic; but that doesn't let you see the invisible 'Scrying' sensor unless you have other senses that allow you to see invisible things. Secondly, you can only use your action to see a faint aura around the sensor if it's visible to you; which the 'Scrying' sensor is not without the aforementioned ability to see invisible things.

I'm curious if you would still learn the school of magic as per the last line of the first paragraph of Detect Magic without visibly seeing the object or if that is an 'in addition to' clause and you always learn the school of magic even if you don't use your action to see the aura around it.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the bit about learning the school of magic is included in the aura - ie: you have to be able to see the magic source to get that information as well. Thematically, I've always taken it to be reading the aura that gave you that info. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve-O
    Nov 7, 2016 at 14:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Detect Magic also doesn't tell you how many magic sources are within 30 ft. So, assuming the scryee has any magic items of his own AND lacks the ability to see invisible things, there'd be no reason for him to get suspicious when Detect Magic pinged "True." \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve-O
    Nov 7, 2016 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ How redundant and useless would 'Detect Magic' be rendered if it also pinged your OWN magic items? After 2nd level it would be rendered near useless.... \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Nov 7, 2016 at 14:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @airtome: The way it's written, there's no exception for items held on your own person. Presumably the user can SEE all of his own items, and therefore distinguish them from other sources he can also SEE by the auras. That it's usefulness in detecting INVISIBLE sources is limited does not make the entire spell useless - that's not the intended purpose anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve-O
    Nov 7, 2016 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for this answer. I did not originally draw a distinction between seeing the aura and "pinging" magic, so that helps. I think you're right about not being able to see the invisible sensor, but I'm going to wait another day or two before accepting an answer in case anyone else has input. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eidolon108
    Nov 7, 2016 at 19:33

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