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Paladins detecting as magic


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As they are not spells, we know that supernatural abilities do not provoke attacks of opportunity, are not subject to Dispel Magic (which specifically calls out spells, not magic), and do not create manifestations when used (though they may have more immediately obvious effects one can use to notice their use).

However, supernatural abilities are still magical, as evidenced that they are still defeated by antimagic zones. And as Detect Magic is not limited to spells, you may use it to detect the properties of any magic auras on a given creature.

The question arises from Paladins, who have passive supernatural abilities--abilities that are not used or triggered but instead provide a static, ongoing benefit, like Divine Grace and the paladin's auras.

Because these abilities are not activated and are always on (without any option to turn them off), taken literally, a paladin would appear to detect as magic at all times, whether they would like to or not. Is this interpretation accurate?


No.

Paladins have supernatural abilities, extraordinary abilities and a handful of spell-like abilities, in addition to their spellcasting abilities from 4th level onwards.

Neither Detect Magic or Spellcraft contain wording to let you identify supernatural abilities. They also don't identify auras on spellcasters.

Instead, look at Arcane Sight. This spell explicitly allows you to spend a standard action to determine whether a creature has any spellcasting or spell-like abilities, whether these are arcane or divine (spell-like abilities register as arcane), and the strength of the most powerful spell or spell-like ability the creature currently has available for use.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
JDLPF wrote:
Neither Detect Magic or Spellcraft contain wording to let you identify supernatural abilities. They also don't identify auras on spellcasters.
Detect Magic wrote:

You detect magical auras. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.

1st Round: Presence or absence of magical auras.

2nd Round: Number of different magical auras and the power of the most potent aura.

3rd Round: The strength and location of each aura. If the items or creatures bearing the auras are in line of sight, you can make Knowledge (arcana) skill checks to determine the school of magic involved in each. (Make one check per aura: DC 15 + spell level, or 15 + 1/2 caster level for a nonspell effect.) If the aura eminates from a magic item, you can attempt to identify its properties (see Spellcraft).

What does Detect Magic do, if it cannot detect magic? The spell even outright tells you that, yes, you can identify the schools of auras on creatures. If a person has a magical aura on them, Detect Magic specifically states you can detect it. And supernatural abilities are explicitly stated as magical.

I do not know where Spellcraft comes in. It cannot be used when detecting auras on creatures (only magic items), and cannot be used to determine what supernatural spells are (as it specifies identifying spells being cast, which supernatural abilities are not).


Saethori wrote:
JDLPF wrote:
Neither Detect Magic or Spellcraft contain wording to let you identify supernatural abilities. They also don't identify auras on spellcasters.
Detect Magic wrote:

You detect magical auras. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.

1st Round: Presence or absence of magical auras.

2nd Round: Number of different magical auras and the power of the most potent aura.

3rd Round: The strength and location of each aura. If the items or creatures bearing the auras are in line of sight, you can make Knowledge (arcana) skill checks to determine the school of magic involved in each. (Make one check per aura: DC 15 + spell level, or 15 + 1/2 caster level for a nonspell effect.) If the aura eminates from a magic item, you can attempt to identify its properties (see Spellcraft).

What does Detect Magic do, if it cannot detect magic? The spell even outright tells you that, yes, you can identify the schools of auras on creatures. If a person has a magical aura on them, Detect Magic specifically states you can detect it. And supernatural abilities are explicitly stated as magical.

The spell only detects functioning spells and magic items. IT doesn't detect all magic.

Quote:
Aura Strength: An aura's power depends on a spell's functioning spell level or an item's caster level; see the accompanying table. If an aura falls into more than one category, detect magic indicates the stronger of the two.

Supernatural abilities are neither of those. Detect magic does not register anything for those.


Keep reading after the section you quoted.

Aura Strength: An aura’s power depends on a spell’s functioning spell level or an item’s caster level; see the accompanying table. If an aura falls into more than one category, detect magic indicates the stronger of the two.

This sentence defines what the term 'aura' refers to, namely a functioning spell or item. A wizard doesn't detect as having an aura. A wizard with Mage Armor does. A magical beast doesn't detect as having a magic aura. a magical beast summoned using Summon Monster does.

Edit: Ninja'd.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The table at the bottom (in the PRD) of the spell description list what you detect:

Detect Magic

Spell or Object Aura Power
Functioning spell (spell level): Faint - 3rd or lower; Moderate - 4th–6th; Strong - 7th–9th; Overwhelming - 10th+ (deity-level)
Magic item (caster level): Faint - 5th or lower; Moderate - 6th–11th; Strong - 12th–20th; Overwhelming - 21st+ (artifact)

A paladin supernatural powers aren't spells, nor magical items.

For the same reason normally demons, elementals and undead don't have a magical aura (unless conjured by a spell).

Scarab Sages

Diego Rossi wrote:
For the same reason normally demons, elementals and undead don't have a magical aura (unless conjured by a spell).

Which is very useful, because it would otherwise be very difficult to discern the difference between summoned creatures and naturally occuring creatures.

Scarab Sages

To the OP, yes paladins are magical, but no, the spell Detect Magic won't detect their magic if it is caused by (Su) abilities.

Remember, in pathfinder, there are degrees of magical detection. In theory, the entire planet and all life was likely created by magic. That said, if everything detected as magical, the Detect Magic spell would be useless....So the wizards created a lesser spell that detects only some magic, in order to have a useful spell.

It's kinda like Air being transparent. If air wasn't transparent, then sight would be much less practical, because the air would block line of sight to almost everything.

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