The experience of detecting a magical aura is intensely personal.
A versatile spell, invaluable to the magical investigator.


This simple divination is invariably the first one that a magician learns to cast. Every magician is able to cast it; along with operate portal and create bond, it represents a shared suite of powers common to everyone who works magic. Being able to perceive magical auras is a key part of learning to cast spells and perform rituals. Once an apprentice magician masters the ability to attune their perceptions to magic, the spell allows them to perform a number of simple functions relating to magical energies.

While many magicians think of magical auras in terms of visual effects, the experience of detecting magic is highly personal. Some magicians, especially those who have studied the music of the spheres, interpret magical effects in terms of musical notes. Magicians with naga lineages in particular are known for their discerning senses and report feeling, smelling or even tasting magical auras through the use of this spell.

Detect magic is versatile but does not provide in-depth information about a magical effect. Where complex magical effects are concerned, the Bright Lantern of Ophis is much more effective at divining details of a magical effect.

For all its versatility, a magical investigator can rapidly deplete their store of personal mana. Anyone who wants to specialise in this kind of divination may want to invest in a Seer's Probe which allows the wielder to cast extra detect magic spells in a day (and, as a bonus, grants access to voice for the dead as well).

Finally, it is worth noting that perception of magical auras is not restricted to magicians - the Magpie Infusion is a herbal preparation that can be used to duplicate the effect of detect magic in a limited fashion.



This flexible spell can be used to perform a number of separate tasks, but only one may be used each time the spell is cast. Each of these uses requires the assistance of a referee.


By casting the spell on a single target that is close enough to touch, you can determine the name of any specific rituals or ceremonies that could be used to discover more information about it. This effect only reveals the name of rituals that are in Imperial lore. Certain rituals (Ties that Bind, Hand of the Maker, the Insight ceremony) will almost always provide information and are only mentioned if there is explicit extra information to be uncovered.

Divination will also name other ways of gathering information. For example, it will reveal whether there is information to be gathered about an item using the Insight ceremony, or whether an arcane projection in a certain realm and of a certain magnitude might be used to learn more about an effect.

Discern Enchantment

By casting the spell on a single target that is close enough to touch, you determine the magnitude and realm of any ritual enchantment, on the target. If the enchantment is the result of a boon from an eternal, the spell will reveal this and the realm the eternal is associated with. If the target is under the effect of a curse it will also reveal the magnitude and realm of the curse.

Identify Ritual Performance

You can use this spell to discern the magnitude and realm of a ritual that is being cast if you are close enough to hear the words of the ritual.

Identify Magical Item

By casting the spell on a single magic item you can determine its basic abilities. When used in this way it does not reveal the presence of any additional qualities such as the presence of a curse, hallow or hidden roleplaying effect. Using the spell in this way will also detect any enchantments on the target item.

Discern Arcane Mark

You may cast this spell on a single target to determine if they have an Arcane Mark, and whether than arcane mark is the same as your own (assuming you have one). When cast for this specific purpose, it does not discover any other information about enchantments on the target. This use of detect magic is closely tied to the Right of Challenge of the members of the Conclave orders.

Identify Regio

You may cast this spell on a regio to confirm it is a regio, and to determine which of the six realms it is associated with,. It will also reveal if that regio has any intrinsic special properties. It will identify if a regio is "strong" or not (that is if it will allow targeting of large-scale rituals on a territory), or provide information on any special bonuses that might apply to rituals cast there.

Discover Conjunction

Detect Magic can also be used to interact with the Sentinel Gate, the powerful teleportation portal that stands in Anvil and allows characters to quest and take part in battles. When you use the spell in this way, you can ask a referee if a specific conjunction is anticipated. You must specify as exactly as possible the destination you are looking for - it is not enough to just name a territory or region. For example, you might ask if there will be a conjunction to "The shrouded glen, on the outskirts of Mournstead in Liathaven" - it is not enough to just ask if there is a conjunction to Liathaven or Liath's Ring. When used in this way, the referee will tell you if there is a conjunction; when it will open; how many people may pass through it; and any special circumstances that related to that conjunction.

The 'day' part of when it will open always refers to the 'game day', even at or after midnight. e.g. 'Saturday 00:00' or 'Saturday 01:00' is at the end of Saturday night, not the end of Friday.

Special Circumstances

Some effects can conceal information from detect magic, but in that case the presence of the obscuring effect itself is always detected by this spell. There are no enchantments that will cause detect magic to give false information.

If the spell targets an item, and that item is under the effect of Mark of Ownership, then details of that mark are revealed in addition to any other information sought with the specific spell use.

Sample Vocals

The following are sample vocals you can use to cast this spell if you don't want to make up your own.

  • (with eyes closed and one hand almost touching the target) "By the light of the hidden moon, let my inner eye be opened. Let my inner eye be opened and let me see more than mortals do. Let me see more than mortals do and look beyond the world of colour and shape. Let me look beyond the world of colour and shape and see the true world beyond. Let me see the true world beyond, and let my inner eye be opened. Let my inner eye be opened, bu the light of the hidden moon."
  • (evoking the Door) "Upon my brow is the crown of four stars; it grants me authority to command the hidden gate. Let the star of the east attend and grant me wisdom; let the star of the west attend and grant me insight. Let the star of the south burn away the shadow; let the star of the north grant me sight beyond the veil. Let the paths of the future be shown to me, Sentinel Gate I command you speak to me with the voice of the Heavens."
  • (sketching each rune in turn in the air above the target) "I cast the runes before me. I invoke the bright lantern. I invoke the light of truth. Illuminate this (man/woman) with the light that reveals all. I bring for the light that drives away confusion and lays bare the secret lore at the heart of all things."
  • (during a careful examination of the target) "I have been called and I am here; the Doctor, who sees keenly and separates truth from deception. My keen eyes cannot be deceived, my keen wit cannot be led astray, my voice cannot be stilled when I speak of hidden things. Nothing can hide from my gaze, and all secrets are laid bare before me. I come to present my diagnosis, as I have been bid."

Common Elements

  • Rune Magic: The obvious runes to include in detect magic are Sular, Aesh, Ophis and Irremais all of which deal with knowledge or information. The runes Diras and Wyr might also be appropriate to some casters, especially when exploring a mysterious or enigmatic magical effect. Finally, a rune that reflects the nature of the target might suggest itself - the rune of plots suits an attempt to detect an arcane mark for example.
  • Astronomancy: the Key suits detect magic in general, as does the Spider, but it is worth noting that the Door has obvious correspondences when using the spell to determine the presence of a conjunction on the Sentinel Gate.
  • Dramaturgy: Two personae are associated with this spell. The Doctor works through careful examination and study of a target, while the Witch represents a more intuitive approach. Lantern, which reveals things when lit, is also a good match for this spell - either pretending to kindle an invisible flame in an actual phys-rep or calling its authority as a tool of revelation and discovery.
  • Other traditions: A Dawnish witch might evoke the power of a wise sphinx, while a Wintermark or Varushkan magician might call on totems associated with wisdom (ravens and spiders or squirrels respectively).
  • Realms: Detect magic, as a divination, has clear correspondence with the realms of Day and Night, but it could also been seen as an expression of wisdom and thus tied to the realm of Winter. Determining information about an object, or about the Sentinel Gate also has obvious resonance with the Autumn realm.