Detect Magic 5e D&D Guide

Detect Magic is a versatile spell that can be used in a variety of ways. 

It is most commonly used to dig through a plethora of treasures to locate magical items, the latest version offers frequently overlooked applications.

These rules of Detect Magic are found in the Players Handbook on page 231.

Detect Magic 5e

  • Divination 1st Level
  • Time for casting: 1 action (Ritual)
  • Range: Self (30-Foot Radius)
  • Components: V, S
  • Duration: 10 minutes (Concentration)

For the duration of the event, you will feel a magical presence within 30ft. If you feel magic in this manner, you could utilize your actions to sense an aura of light around any object or creature in the area of magic. You also discover its magic school, in the event that it exists.

The spell is able to penetrate the majority of barriers, but it can be hindered by one foot of stones, one inch of metal (which is common), a thin layer of lead, or three feet of dirt or wood.

The rules of Detect Magic show the potential beyond just finding magical objects. The caster is able to detect magical effects on objects and creatures. 

It also allows the caster to understand the magic school that affects the object or creature and the item. 

There are some limitations since the spell is able to be blocked by a variety of types of materials and different thicknesses.

Who Can Cast Detect Magic In 5E?

The following classes have Detect Magic on their spell list:

  1. Bard
  2. Cleric
  3. Druid
  4. Paladin
  5. Ranger
  6. Sorcerer
  7. Wizard
  8. Artificer (TCoE 12)

The following subclasses get Detect Magic for free:

  • Paladin (Oath of the Watchers) (XGtE 55)
  • Cleric (Arcana Domain) (SCAG 125)

Additionally, Warlocks with the Eldritch Sight invocation can cast Detect Magic at will, without expending a spell slot (PHB 110).

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Elf (Drow) can also acquire the ability to cast Detect Magic at will from the Drow High Magic feature (XGtE 74).

Is Detect Magic good?

Detect Magic is most commonly used for searching through piles of loot for magical objects. It has some practical applications that are beneficial to anyone who is interested in adventure. 

It is used to spot illusions, potentially providing clues to traps, passages, and threats. If an enemy is discovered, it may provide a brief glimpse of the items they’re working with.

Detect Magic also has a duration. It allows the magician to cast the spell before they even have the chance in the event of coming upon something important. 

It is essential to remember that the spell’s duration is just about 10 minutes which is why it’s ideal for an overview scan or method of verifying the usage (or use or non-use) of magic within the area.

Detect Magic is an occult spell. However, if you plan to apply it quickly, it is recommended to be prepared. 

If it’s more likely that it’s going to be utilized to clear rooms or in possibly non-time-constrained circumstances, you may be able to make do without having it ready.

What is the process behind how Detect Magic?

Although the rules for using the Detect Magic spell are presented clearly, it is difficult to determine the meaning of these rules in games. 

If a character plays Detect Magic, nothing special occurs unless there’s an object or creature which is affected by the magic. 

The objector creature emits an appearance of magic. The aura will show when you use the spell.

This aura is visible only if it is concealed behind objects that are specified as having the exact thickness. 

That means, even if the object of magic is kept concealed in a pocket, or even tucked beneath a shirt its aura must appear. 

This would also include an illusion that is just outside the threshold of a door. The creature or object needs to be observed, i.e., not visible.

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To make Detect Magic more exciting, DMs will often assign colors to the various types of magic. 

If a person uses Detect Magic, the DM simply informs the player of what color the aura is. It gives a touch of mystery.

It can also assist the group in finding the item they are looking for when there are lots of options to pick from.

Can Detect Magic uncover invisible creatures?

Either it’s a yes or not. Its ability to determine the location of an invisibly sighted creature is dependent on any magical objects the creature could possess. 

If the creature does not have any magical objects, Detect Magic will not give the exact position for the beast. 

If however, the creature has possession of items that are magical and the aura of the items will be visible and, possibly, because of that, the location of the creature is able to be determined.

Detect Magic can be paired with Identify to resolve more difficult problems. You can cast Detect Magic to discover the presence of magic on the subject. 

You can then Cast Identify to determine the nature of that magic. This way you can create your plan in accordance with the issue. 

This is especially useful for things such as The Charmer which could affect your group or your NPC friends.

Are you able to perform Detect Magic as a Ritual Spell?

Detect Magic has the ritual spell property, meaning it can be used as a ritual spell. Spells that are ritualized have longer durations to cast but don’t require a spell slot in order to perform the task. 

This allows you to use Detect Magic while adventuring even easier since it does not draw the resources needed to cast it.

Ritual casting spells takes longer than 10 minutes. This is in addition to the level of the spell. For Detect Magic, that is 11 minutes (10 minutes plus 1st degree). 

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Also, they require concentration throughout the entire duration. The duration doesn’t change when you cast it in this way, either.

Players must be careful to be aware of the spells they can cast and which ones can be considered ritual ones. 

Wizards need only to keep them in their books (not prepared) in order to use ritual spells. In general, there is no requirement to use the slot of a spell that is prepared for spells like this.

Detect Magic 5E Dm Tips

Detect Magic 5e D&D Guide

As a DM, you have a pretty big part to play in Detect Magic. It’s up to you to know where the magic comes from and to notice when the player gets within 30 feet of that magic source. After all, they won’t be able to use their action to see the faint aura until you tell them that they’ve picked up on something.

DMs can also have fun with Detect Magic by giving each school of magic a color and then just describing the aura instead of saying the school of magic. This gives the player a more interesting experience.

It’s fun for players to feel like they know a little bit about real magic because they know, for example, that a green aura means necromancy.

Aside from that, DMs just need to remember that Detect Magic has rules, like how it won’t find curses, creatures that can’t be seen, or spellcasters. As a DM, making this mistake won’t ruin the game, but it’s important to let players know early on what the real rules are so that you can run Detect Magic the same way every time.

Final Words

Detect Magic is available at 1 1st level and comes with many applications. It is, in general one of the fundamental magic spells available to any wizard.

Even if it’s used to sift to find the magical treasure the application can make a profit quite quickly. 

However, it can be expanded beyond the normal application and utilized in many innovative ways.