When is Detect Thoughts 5e d&d spell helpful?
When the target is unaware they are being interrogated or doesn’t know much about magic, Detect Thoughts 5e can be useful. The PCs are interrogating the baddie while the bard is using Detect Thoughts. They ask him specific questions like “Who do your work for?” Although the baddie isn’t willing to answer, he knows “Mr. Redbeard.” Redbeard is also a wizard who knows magic and can help the PCs.
How smart, intelligent, and paranoid does the target look?
The GM can answer these questions. However, suppose the target figures out that this spell is being used. In that case, it should sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or another song to itself whenever it gets asked questions by PCs. It should ignore what they say and not listen to any PCs, so its surface thoughts don’t get steered in any particular direction. It may help the target not to hear the questions. But this is dependent on the baddie.
Flunkies may be able to give away the game by their thoughts.
In a world that expects this type of tactic, a veteran operative could “think” false information. For example, a character might say one thing but think another, assuming they have something. That would be a lie detector test that is not as reliable as people believe.
Familiars can be quite cunning, and this one is no exception. Because it believes this would cause the PCs to lose their minds, it could think false thoughts. The bonus is that the PCs will likely think that the familiar is not clever enough to misdirect like this. The duration of the interrogation is limited to concentration for up to one minute. It is not too long for contentious interrogations.
What happens if the ‘Detect Thoughts’ spell is cast on someone while they’re asleep? What happens if the DM casts the ‘Detect Thoughts’ 5e spell on someone while they are asleep?
If the rules do not specify the outcome, the decision is always left to the DM.
Even if the rules state the expected result, the DM may decide as the circumstances might not be typical.
You could, for example, cast “Detect Thoughts 5e” on someone who is possessed even though they are asleep. What happens next?
As a guideline, use the rules to interpret the facts and the outcome fairly and honestly. Don’t listen to any rules lawyer telling you what the book says. The book doesn’t know anything about the game at the moment. If the book is wrong and you have a different answer, apologize to the characters and move on.
What others have not discussed is that your DM should inform you about the likely outcome. While they might request an arcana check, your character doesn’t need to know what their spells are. It should not be a “do it, then find out what it does” kind of magic.
The DM would not use this approach for any other aspect. The thief wouldn’t be able to jump for another building from 10 feet away without knowing if it is possible. Acrobatics checks would likely be required, but the DM should warn that it could be a difficult roll. Are you sure that you want to do it?
- If the character is competent in this area, there should be a “fair warning” before they do something that might not be a good idea.
- Is the spell caster not competent? It can lead to unpredictable results.
- Is it possible that the spellcaster is familiar with the formula? The result should not be unpredictable.
- 2nd level Divination
- Classes: Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard
- Casting Time1 Action
- Range: Self
- Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material
- Duration: Concentration up to 1 minute
- Material: A copper coin.
You can listen to the thoughts of certain creatures for the duration of the detect thoughts 5e spell. You can focus your attention on a creature within 30 feet of you while casting the spell. The creature will not be affected if the chosen creature has a lower Intelligence than three or if she doesn’t speak any language.
First, you read the creature’s surface thoughts. You can focus your attention on the thoughts of another creature or try to understand the thoughts of the same creature better. To deepen your understanding, the target must have Wisdom backup. If you do, you can access his arguments and any thoughts that concern his mind. The spell is successful. The target’s mind is always visible to you in all cases. Except when you pay attention to another creature’s thoughts, the target can use her action turn to roll Intelligence against your roll Intelligence. The spell ends if she has the upper hand.
The target’s questions guide the train of thought. This spell is particularly effective during interrogations.
This spell can be useful to detect thinking creatures invisible to you. Cast the spell in a single action or for the entire duration. You can locate thoughts up to 30 feet away from you when you cast them. Although the spell can override most obstacles, it can be blocked by 2 feet stone 2 inches of precious metal or a thin layer of lead. A creature with an Intelligence of less than three or who speaks any language cannot be detected.
Once you have detected the presence of a creature, you can read its thoughts for the remainder of the Detect thoughts spell’s duration, as described above.