The school of Divination contains secrets and truths. The right divination spell in 5e can cure all woes; whether it be a glimpse into the future, insight on a person, truth behind the illusions, or a secret long forgotten.
This list will contain the top spells and effects of divination class spells, starting with cantrips or level zero spells to the level nine spells.
Guidance – Cantrip
Guidance is hands down one of the best spells in the game. While its power may pale in comparison in scale to other spells, the power of this spell is its universality, accessibility, and reusability.
Guidance is a divination cantrip in which the caster asks to be guided to success by the Gods themselves, giving the target the ability to add 1d4 to the next ability check of their choice.
The target can be the caster herself or another willing creature that she can touch. The target can then choose to roll the d4 before or after the ability check, as long as the results have not been revealed by the DM.
Now one to four points may not seem like much, but consider that a single point change on a stat modifier means 2 points in that stat and that most classes gain ability points every 4 levels. By those metrics, one single use of guidance is equivalent to anywhere from 2 to 8 points or 4 to 16 levels.
Keeping that in mind, this spell is a cantrip that is accessible to a caster at level 1 and can be reused roughly every six seconds. It can even be useful in combat encounters if there is a switch or lever that needs to be pulled to stop the water from flooding the room you are trapped in.
Detect Magic – Level One Ritual
Detect Magic is a standard spell to well… detect magic. For up to 10 minutes, the caster has the ability to sense the presence of magic within 30 feet of her. The caster can use her action to see a faint aura around any visible creature or object within the 30-foot field of vision.
This spell can be useful for finding magical items, magical beings, magical traps, and magical illusions that could be hiding another door out of the room. As a bonus, Detect Magic can be cast as a ritual; rituals take one minute longer to cast but do not consume a spell slot. So if there is time, Detect Magic is a great precaution to take before entering an unknown room or hallway.
|Casting Time||1 action|
|Duration||Concentration, up to 1 minute|
|Effect||The target adds 1d4 to the next ability check of their choice|
|Target||The caster or a willing creature they touch|
|Reusability||Can be used multiple times, roughly every 6 seconds|
Identify- Level One Ritual
Identify is a spell used to decipher the magical properties of an item. With a casting time of one minute, identify can only be cast as a ritual spell. It will be rarely used in battle as one round of combat is six seconds, so casting identify will take ten rounds of combat without interruption to the caster.
The caster must also be able to touch the object in question. Identify will reveal its magical item’s properties and how to use them, whether it requires attunement, if there are any special requirements for attunement (such as race, alignment, or class), and how many charges it has, if any.
Basically, this will prompt the DM to hand over a description of the magical item or allow you to look up the magical item in the appropriate handbook. A bonus use of Identify is to use it on a creature to see what spells if any are affecting the creature.
Detect Thoughts – Level One
Detect Thoughts is a versatile level one spell that gives the caster the ability to detect the thoughts of creatures within 30 feet of him. The creatures must speak languages and have an intelligence of 3 or more. The spell works automatically and can read the surface thoughts of a target.
The spell can also last up to one minute, so talking and asking the target questions can lead their thoughts to a desired location. The caster has the ability to pry deeper into the mind if the target fails a wisdom saving throw, giving the caster access to the target’s reasoning, emotional state, and general likes or dislikes. However, probing deeper gives the target an indication that their thoughts are being invaded by a third party.
Detect Thoughts can change targets as an action, giving the caster the ability to detect the thoughts of about ten people in one casting. With the creature intelligence limitations, Detect Thoughts will also have the ability to spot animal shapeshifters like Wild Shape druids or werewolves.
Detect Thoughts can also screen out human shapeshifters such as Dopplegangers. The spell can also find creatures that are invisible, sensing general thoughts in the 30-foot radius around the caster. One more utility is to spot the ambush, the 30-foot reach can spot the thoughts of an oncoming ambush set for the party.
|Target||Creatures with intelligence of 3 or more that speak languages|
|Duration||Up to 1 minute|
|Effect||Reads surface thoughts|
|Additional Effect||Deeper probing if target fails a wisdom saving throw|
|Limitations||Gives target indication of third-party invasion|
|Target Switching||Can change targets as an action|
|Maximum Targets||Can detect the thoughts of about 10 people in one casting|
|Ability||Spot animal shapeshifters like Wild Shape druids or werewolves|
|Limitation||Cannot detect thoughts of creatures with intelligence less than 3|
|Ability||Screen out human shapeshifters such as Dopplegangers|
|Ability||Sense general thoughts in the 30-foot radius around the caster|
|Utility||Spot an oncoming ambush set for the party|
Augury – Level Two Ritual
Augury is the first of the archetypal fortune-telling spells, a Magic 8-ball styled spell. The one-minute cast time means that it can only be cast as a ritual. Augury gives an omen to the caster about a specific course of action that the caster plans to take within the next 30 minutes. The omen comes in four forms:
- Weal for good results
- Woe for bad results
- Weal AND Woe for good and bad results
- Nothing for results that aren’t especially good or bad.
Augury is a fine portent of the future, as long as the caster is not too vague on their next intended course of actions.
Locate Object – Level Two
Locate Object gives the caster the ability to locate an object. Generally, the spell can point the caster in the direction of a particular kind or type of object, such as a certain material robe, jewelry, or weapon.
A good use for it is for navigating an unknown town for particular wares. Specifically, the caster can focus on a particular object that is familiar to them and find that one object within 1000 feet of them. It can be used to try to pinpoint a location of a magical item or an item that was stolen from a party member.
As a bonus, people might be able to be found if the object is worn or in the possession of that person. Trying to find a villain on the run? Locate Object on a particularly shiny button on their lapel.
Find Traps – Level Two
Great for the classic dungeon dive and the trapped hallway, Find Traps is a divination spell that will locate the presence of any trap within a line of sight to a maximum of 120 feet.
The spell defines a trap as anything that would inflict harmful or undesirable effects on the user. So, along with the obviously damaging traps, sensed traps would include pit falls and alarms. However, this spell only reveals the presence of traps, not the location, but the caster would know the general type/nature of the trap.
Clairvoyance – Level Three
With Clairvoyance, the caster is able to place an invisible sensor into a location of their choosing. The location can be a place they are familiar with, to check on the state of home or a friend’s home.
This can be useful to see if someone’s threat of having kidnapped someone is true or not. The location can also be unfamiliar, such as a castle they are going to be infiltrating.
Through this sensor, they can choose to hear or see through it and as an action, they can change from hearing or seeing through the sensor. This can be useful for reconnaissance to see just when a room or person is most vulnerable.
Tongues – Level Three
Tongues is the ultimate communication tool. It is a spell that allows the target to understand any spoken language they hear and when they speak, it allows them to be understood by anyone who can understand language.
The spell lasts for one hour. The spell is most useful as a translator between multiple groups with no common language, especially in areas where the party may not know they are trespassing.
Divination – Level Four Ritual
Divination is an upgraded form of Augury except that the caster will be able to ask the Gods a single question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity that will occur within the next seven days.
The results come in the form of an omen, phrase, or short phrase. Cumulative uses within the same day will not guarantee increased accuracy. This is most useful in preparation for a big event such as a breakout or a siege, whether the current level of preparation is adequate or inadequate. Divination can be performed as a ritual or an action.
Commune – Level Five Ritual
Commune is a further upgrade of Divination and Augury. With a one-minute casting time, it can only be performed as a ritual. The caster communes with the Gods and is able to ask the other Gods three questions that can be answered with a yes or a no.
Questions that the Gods are unable to answer will be answered as unclear. The trick to this spell is to ask well-worded, specific, and thought-out questions. “Will reinforcements arrive by sunrise?” or “Will fire be effective on undead skeletons?” may be better questions than “Will we win tomorrow?” or “What weapons will the enemy have?”
Legend Lore – Level Five
Legend Lore is a divination spell that essentially allows the caster to use a high-level identify on a person, place, or object. The spell brings significant lore of the target to the caster’s mind. The lore can range from current tales, forgotten stories, or even secret lore not widely known.
The more information the caster knows about the target, the more precise and helpful the spell can be. While the information is accurate, some of the lore could have figurative ambiguous language.
I suggest doing some previous research on the object before casting the spell. If there is time to spare, cast the spell once, research the more obscure lore, and then cast the spell again.
Scrying – Level Five
Scrying is the quintessential crystal ball spell. It is an upgraded form of Clairvoyance, but instead of a location, the caster can choose to peek in on a creature.
The more familiar the caster is with the subject, the higher the rate of success of the spell. On a failed wisdom saving throw, an invisible sensor is created near the target and moves with the target, staying within 10 feet.
The caster can see and hear through the sensor. Keep in mind that a target that wants to be seen can choose to fail the saving throw on purpose and that creatures that can see invisible objects will see the sensor.
Find the Path – Level Six
Find the Path is a spell for navigating to a destination. It shows the shortest, most direct physical route from the caster’s location to the desired location. The spell fails if the end destination is moving or not specific.
Therefore, it is important to label the location. Instead of “a green dragon’s lair”, use the dragon’s name or descriptor, such as “Lair of the Poison Fanged Dragon”.
True Seeing – Level Six
True Seeing gives the target true sight and the ability to see into the Ethereal Plane up to 120 feet. True sight gives the caster the ability to see in both normal and magical darkness, see invisible creatures and objects, automatically detect visual illusions, and succeed on saving throws against visual illusions.
True sight is also able to discern the original form of a shapeshifter or a creature that has been transformed by magic.
Foresight – Level Nine
The God-level divination spell. Foresight grants the caster sight upon sight. For eight hours, the target gains the ability to see into the immediate future. The target cannot be surprised and has advantage on all attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. Also, creatures trying to attack the target have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target.
Basically, whoever has this spell is both very likely to hit their enemies and very unlikely to be hit by their enemies. Additionally, the target is highly unlikely to be hit by any critical hit. At disadvantage, the enemy would have to roll TWO natural twenties to get one critical hit on someone with foresight.