Wizard Of The Tavern

Detect Magic 5e: With Answers to common issues

Detect Magic 5e

  • Detect Magic 5e: 1 st level- divination 
  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: Self
  • Components: V S
  • Duration: Up to 10 minutes
  • Classes: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard
  • Detect Magic 5e: 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.
    The spell can penetrate most barriers, but it is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.

Detect Magic

Detect Magic is one of my all-time favorite spells.

Its uses are both great and versatile.

Even being able to be used in combat!

That said, there are a lot of misunderstandings on what detect magic can detect.

As such, this article will answer that and much more

Is detect magic 5e a ritual?

Detect magic is underneath the category of ritual spells so it can be cast as a ritual.

It should be noted that not every class however can cast ritual spells.

Only the bard, cleric, druid, artificer, and wizard can cast ritual spells.

Meaning classes like warlocks and paladins cannot cast ritual spells.

For a full understanding of ritual spells, you should definitely read my guide on ritual spells that goes over every common question that people have with ritual spells and more.

Does Detect Magic work on invisible creatures/objects?

Detect magic does not work on invisible creatures or objects.

The reason being is that the spell specifically states you: “see a faint aura around any visible creature or object.”

As such since a creature or object is invisible, detect magic will not trigger these things.

Detect Magic and spells on people.

This is a little bit more tricky.

If a spell is being concentrated on and they are visibility, then 5e detect magic will trigger.

If however, it is a spell-like modify the memory that once in effect lasts indefinitely, then detect magic will not appear as the spell becomes part of the person.

However, spells like glyph of warding that has a duration to end, then detect magic will pick it up.

Makes sense?

If not, no worries, basically if the spell is being concentrated on, or has a duration to end, then it will appear by detect magic for 5e.

However, it will not if the spell is not being concentrated on and is a spell with no duration end.

Does detect magic detect magical beings?

The short answer is no.

While beings such as fey and zombies are magical. 

They are not deemed part of a school of magic and as such do not follow the guidelines of what detect magic can detect.

As noted in the line “you learn its school of magic”

To help you out here is an article going over 25 types of magical beings.

Can detect magic detect potions?

Yes, Potions are deemed magical by sage advice

As such, they count as magical objects and will appear in detect magic. 

Do note, however, they will not reveal their school of magic as they are magical. 

But do not have a spell infused into them until they are consumed.

As such, the school of magic will only be detected when someone is under a lasting effect of a potion.

Such as a potion of invulnerability.

What can detect magic detect?

Now that you know what detect magic can’t detect, let’s go over what detect magic can detect.

To make things simple, here is a list going over everything that detect magic can detect

  • Magical objects
  • Spells being concentrated on
  • Spells with Duration

A small list right? 

Well, outside of the few circumstances above, this is a pretty large encompassing list.

This means magical items that range from common to legendary are found with this spell, as well as spells that have a limited duration or require concentration to keep lasting.

Best uses for detect magic?

The obvious best use for detect magic is…. Detecting magic!

Being able to find any magical item that is visible to you is a huge boon to the party.

Now you never need to be able to worry about missing out on magical items, or finding out what is magical on someone.

The uses for locating are great!

Plus the fact that it is a ritual spell means you never need to worry about expanding a spell slot since ritual spells don’t use them up.

But the real gem to this spell is that detect magic reveals the school of magic a spell, or item has.

This, while not as great as identity, is great for pinpointing what magical spells or objects are.

See a magical staff that oozes necromancy?

Might be best not to touch it just yet.

Or if you see plate armor with transmutation?

Probably a +1 plate.

Knowing your schools of magic transforms the power of detect magic.

As such here is a chart giving a brief description of each school of magic and its functions.


And there you have it!

What detect magic is, as well as common questions and solutions that you will see in your campaign.

Be sure to learn the schools of magic and their uses to fully transform your skill with detect magic in 5e.

But more importantly, learn all the uses of ritual spells by reading my article going over a list that every class gets for ritual spells.

It’s a really popular article that a ton of people found helpful!

error: Content is protected !!