Role Playing Games/magic scrolls


QUESTION: In the game of Dungeons and Dragons do magic scrolls show up as magical if detect magic is cast on them?
Thank you.


There are two answers to this question - the short one, and the longer explanation one.

The short answer is yes, they do radiate a magic aura, the intensity of which will be based on the level of the spell on it.


Because the writing of the spell onto the scroll also stores the energy for the spell to work, replacing all the other possible spell components.  AND...

To read a scroll, if you aren't of the class normally able to cast that spell and you try to read it, you may need a read magic spell of some kind, and if you try to cast it, it may damage you in some arcane way (up to the DM).

Incidentally the "magic" part that is detectable is not the parchment or vellum or papyrus the scroll is made of, but the writing ON the scroll is.  What that means is, AFTER the spell has been cast, then the scroll will NO LONGER radiate magic since USUALLY the spell casting wipes the spell off the scroll itself.

I hope this helps.

btw - sorry for the time it took to reply


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Andrew,

A really logical and sensible answer, it covers all of my doubts perfectly.

One supplementary question thought, if you don't mind?

Clerical scrolls are not written in "magical writing" and they require the necessary God's intervention and assistance for them to work.

Is there anything distinctly "magical" about a clerical scroll, and would they show up as magical if detect magic was cast on them?

Thanks again for your help.


Hi again.

Your question really has its root in whether a written spell actually contains the full energy of the EFFECT of the spell in question, or whether it is an arcanely charged writing that TRIGGERS (or calls for) the effect to happen.

If it's the full effect, then the writing is powerfully charged as I mentioned before, whether charged with arcane or divine energy.  A Detect Magic spell would clearly detect it.

If it's just the trigger, then the "magic" involved in the incantation/gesture/material component aspects of what is essentially the spell request(or invocation of the deity's power)/casting would have magical aura as well, although not as powerful.

Either way a Detect Magic will spot it until it gets "used up".

The difference in perspective is really up to the DM, and the game source material would support either approach.  Oh, and yes, a Dispel Magic cast on a scroll, whether mage or priest one, will wipe it clean/erase it, as a logical extension. (I could feel the question coming.)

Of course, here is the beauty of the game - this works this way IF and ONLY IF the DM says it does.  DM's prerogative is to be able to change and redefine anything in the books.

I hope this helps.


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I`m fluent in several games, their administration, crossing over systems, and in general advice. If you need help with anything from AD&D, Harnmaster, or any of the White Wolf Game Studio games (Vampire, Werewolf, Wraith, Changeling, Mage, Hunter, Trinity, Aberrant, or even the old and lost Streetfighter game), feel free to ask. I`ll help as best I can, and I have a huge stack of gaming books to refer to if necessary, so the information usually should be accurate. I also have some game resources for Legend of the Five Rings, the old FASA Star Trek RPG, the newer Last Unicorn Games Star Trek: the Next Generation RPG, as well as some of the Star Wars game, some RoleMaster, and so on...


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