Can Prestidigitation be used to make a usable likeness for scrying?


Rules Questions


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According to the rules the minimum requirement for scrying is a "Likeness or picture" of the subject. In the rules it says Prestidigitation can be used to create "small objects, but they look crude and artificial". I was wondering if one could make a likeness of someone with Prestidigitation from memory then use that likeness as their connection for scrying?

Liberty's Edge

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Making a small sculpture of the target person with Prestidigitation?

1) You need a connection only if you have no knowledge of the person, but if you can make an image of him from memory you have at least secondhand knowledge.

2) A "crude and artificial" sculpture of someone will not resemble him, I wouldn't consider it a valid likeness.

3) Do you have some appropriate Crafting skills? If your character sculpting is at the level that he can make a snowman, making a credible likeness of someone from memory is impossible.


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Diego Rossi wrote:

1) You need a connection only if you have no knowledge of the person, but if you can make an image of him from memory you have at least secondhand knowledge.

Thanks, I misread that part, that makes scrying much more useful than I thought it was. My concerns have now been lifted as to how to handle how this would affect the game play aspects of using spell and making it worthwhile.


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basically a cantrip or orison isn't going to produce anything useful as a focus or material component. The RAW price for NPC casting is 10gp*0.5*1 = 5gp. With the ubiquitous availability of Zero level spells I'd knock that down to 1gp.

The easiest way to get a likeness or token from someone is to offer a marriage proposal. Often pictures and personal tokens were exchanged by mail.


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Using prestidigitation to create a likeness of someone is like drawing a stick figure and calling it a likeness of Mona Lisa.


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Which you can do, you'll just scry the stick figure drawing instead of actual Mona Lisa.

Liberty's Edge

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AwesomenessDog wrote:
Which you can do, you'll just scry the stick figure drawing instead of actual Mona Lisa.

No, you won't. Scrying spy creatures, not objects.

Scrying wrote:
You can observe a creature at any distance.

plus, it doesn't say anything about scrying the wrong target. So, if you try to scry Anne, you either scry Anne or you don't scry anything, you will not scry Bob.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
AwesomenessDog wrote:
Which you can do, you'll just scry the stick figure drawing instead of actual Mona Lisa.

No, you won't. Scrying spy creatures, not objects.

Scrying wrote:
You can observe a creature at any distance.
plus, it doesn't say anything about scrying the wrong target. So, if you try to scry Anne, you either scry Anne or you don't scry anything, you will not scry Bob.

You might scry the wrong Anne though… if you are attempting to scry someone you have next to no knowledge of and have never actually seen or met anyways… depends on your GMs disposition…

Liberty's Edge

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Chell Raighn wrote:


You might scry the wrong Anne though… if you are attempting to scry someone you have next to no knowledge of and have never actually seen or met anyways… depends on your GMs disposition…

If you have no knowledge of the person you need a link, so I think it is possible to target the wrong person or creature if the link is the wrong one. Probably not with a likeness, as it has no direct link to the wrong creature (unless you have been purposely misled) and, generally, you will search for someone more defined than "Anne".

Effectively, if someone is ransacking a mansion, find a painting of a woman resting on the floor and a plate on the nearby wall that says "Lady Anne" he can wrongly assume that the woman in the painting was Lady Anne and scry the wrong person, but, while mislabeling isn't that uncommon in RL, in-game requires a conscious decision on the GM part.
Distributing false images of himself isn't a bad tactic for a villain. ;-)


While a single casting of Prestidigitation to make a statue might not work. It should be theoretically possible to use the spell like a bunch of colored pencils and make something good enough with enough time, and skill roll.

But at that point if the GM wanted you to Scry you would. If the GM didn't want you to Scry no matter how high you roll it wouldn't be enough.


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Chell Raighn wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
AwesomenessDog wrote:
Which you can do, you'll just scry the stick figure drawing instead of actual Mona Lisa.

No, you won't. Scrying spy creatures, not objects.

Scrying wrote:
You can observe a creature at any distance.
plus, it doesn't say anything about scrying the wrong target. So, if you try to scry Anne, you either scry Anne or you don't scry anything, you will not scry Bob.
You might scry the wrong Anne though… if you are attempting to scry someone you have next to no knowledge of and have never actually seen or met anyways… depends on your GMs disposition…

Now I've got this vision of somebody using Scrying who doesn't quite understand how it works, and they end up scrying an Order of the Stick character . . . .


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If you have the skill to make the roll, why do you need the spell?


The prestidigitation spell contains the phrase: Finally, prestidigitation lacks the power to duplicate any other spell effects.

And as there is the 1st level spell Instant Portrait I would say that prestidigitation is not able to create a picture of a person at all.

Wether a picture created with instant portrait would be good enough for scrying is another question as it is of "too poor a quality to sell".


Zandragal wrote:

The prestidigitation spell contains the phrase: Finally, prestidigitation lacks the power to duplicate any other spell effects.

And as there is the 1st level spell Instant Portrait I would say that prestidigitation is not able to create a picture of a person at all.

Wether a picture created with instant portrait would be good enough for scrying is another question as it is of "too poor a quality to sell".

Note that you can still paint a portrait with Prestidigitation. It will just require that you roll the craft check and spend full time actually painting.

You are not duplicating the spell if you are not making it in an instant.


I wonder if a scryer got ahold of a painting that was of a young man and they said they were going to cast scry and use that painting as a link.

Assuming the man in the painting was in Disguise and looked dissimilar enough to not be recognizable outside of Disguise, would the scry fail because there was not a strong enough 'likeness' link... or would the spell (unknowing to the caster) go to the actual strongest link, which might be with the painter (since a painting should obviously have a link to the one who created it)? So then they end up seeing someone completely different than the painting? Possibly then concluding that the 'Lord Max' in the painting is fake... but thinking the painter is the faker and seeking him out...

What if the painting was from 50 or more years ago and the currently pictured model looks radically different (still them, just older and much different in appearance), similar to how an older relative might look?
At what point would the icon used for scrying determine the best link is with its creator, rather than it's image or model?

Or what if now, 50 years later, there is a person (a child or grandchild) that is legitimately the spitting image of their [grand]mother at the time of scrying?


There is a third possibility as to whom said painting would act as a link for… the current owner of said painting… if the painting is a prized possession of an individual it would act as a strong link to that individual if used for scrying.

As to the above about using prestidigitation to create artwork provided you expend the time needed for a standard craft check… while you could try to bend the rules of prestidigitation to get that result, the spell does still very clearly state it can only make crude objects and images. By RAW it doesn’t work.


^Another possibility is that since the painting is of somebody in disguise, the scrying might lock in on whoever the disguise was patterned after. Bonus points if something else coincidentally matches up for the spell to latch onto -- now the scryer is looking at Lebowski, but it's the wrong Lebowski . . . .


Perhaps try a different tack. I've used prestidigitation for my bard as a way to create an obvious illusion (think of it as a hologram) of a person or object (a ship for example). Small, nothing bigger than a breadbox, see-through, but a definite likeness. No sounds, no smells, no tactile sensation, obviously not real...but looked decent. Perhaps a similar idea will work for you? See the image of the Jedi Master, can now recognize him to scry him?

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