Divine Sense 5e
Become your party’s personal divining rod.
We were sauntering through the High Forest, a place of rich earth and old growth. Suddenly our Paladin stopped dead, and looked as if about to be ill. He removed his helmet and turned his nose to trace some invisible fume…and then his eyes widened as he unsheathed his mighty Moonblade. We got in an attack formation, though we could not see the source of his terror…
What is Divine Sense 5e?
DnD 5e’s Divine Sense is a Paladin class feature that reveals the location of celestials, fiends, and undead within 60 feet, as well as their type, with an Action.
The beings in question must not be behind total cover, which in DnD is defined as “completely concealed by an obstacle.” Consecrated or desecrated objects within 60 feet are also revealed.
Divine Sense 5e description
According to the Player’s Handbook, Divine Sense means that:
- The presence of strong evil registers on your Senses like a noxious odor, and powerful good rings like heavenly music in your ears.
- As an Action, you can open your awareness to detect such forces. Until the end of your next turn, you know the Location of any Celestial, fiend, or Undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover.
- You know the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence you sense, but not its identity (the Vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich, for instance).
- Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the Hallow spell.
- You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier. When you finish a Long Rest, you regain all expended uses.
Higher Charisma raises the number of times you can try sussing out divine presences with Divine Sense per Long Rest. Some DMs award lots of Long Rests to adventurers, while some space them out more widely.
If your campaign is the latter variety, you should save your Divine Sense for when you have a particularly strong hunch that something is off.
Is Divine Sense useful?
Divine Sense can be quite useful to confirm suspicions as to whether a character is faking their identity, can create dramatic moments in an adventure, and reveal important information as well.
Divine Sense is especially useful in 5e campaigns where undead, fiends, or celestials are hiding in plain sight, such as the gothic horror setting of Curse of Strahd.
Sometimes newer players take a “shot in dark” and use Divine Sense in every room they have vague suspicions about, but this rarely pans out and is a waste of the feature. Pay attention to the clues the DM is giving you, and save your Divine Sense for when you are sure something is amiss.
What does Divine Sense do in 5e?
Divine Sense is mostly useful for uncovering a Non-Player Character (NPC) of the types celestial, fiend, or undead that are obscuring their identity.
Characters in DnD 5e will often have their identity obscured for narrative reasons, such as leading the players into a trap or spying on them. Divine Sense lets you uncover their identity, and surprise them.
Divine Sense can detect:
- The exact location of Celestial
- The exact location of a Fiend
- The exact location of an Undead
- The presence of Desecrated grounds like cemeteries or catacombs
- The presence of Consecrated grounds like churches or altars
- The presence of Desecrated objects like unholy weapons or undead body parts
- The presence of Consecrated objects like blessed amulets or vials of holy water
Divine Sense can’t detect:
- Cursed items
- Characters on different planes
- Characters behind total cover
- Any other character type except celestial, fiend, or undead
- Anything beyond 60 feet
If you successfully sense that a character is a celestial, fiend, or undead and choose to attack them, the DM should give you an Attack of Opportunity as a reward in most situations. Maybe you can even Divine Smite them for trying to trick you!
Divine Sense 5e can also be used to detect consecrated or desecrated places and objects. Consecrated and desecrated objects might be useful on your journey or reveal context about the area you’re traveling, while consecrated and desecrated places can give you a clue as to the nature of the area and how you should prepare.
What does consecrated and desecrated mean in 5e?
In the DnD 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide on page 110, Desecrated Ground is described as “areas of any size” with “unseen traces of ancient evil,” such as cemeteries or catacombs.
On the other hand, land that has been “purified” by holy water or holy power becomes Consecrated. The same principles apply to desecrated or consecrated objects.
How does Divine Sense work in 5e?
Divine Sense in DnD 5e is pretty straightforward: It locates the exact square of celestials, fiends, undead within 60 feet of you. It detects the general presence of consecrated items, desecrated items, consecrated places, and desecrated places within 60 feet of you.
That’s it. But there has been some controversy about how Divine Sense works nonetheless.
The controversy stems from the first sentence in Divine Sense’s description:
“The presence of strong evil registers on your Senses like a noxious odor, and powerful good rings like heavenly music in your ears.”
Some players interpret this to mean you detect “strong evil” or “powerful good” all the time. But this part of the description is simply “flavor text.”
Divine Sense’s description clearly debunks this interpretation, as it states in the following sentence:
“As an action, you can open your awareness to detect such forces.”
That means before you “open your awareness,” not detection. It would be quite powerful for a level 1 class feature to detect evil and good wherever it is, not to mention spoil many plot points. Divine Sense is not that divine!
GameCows Tip: If you successfully Divine Sense that an NPC is lying about being a celestial, fiend, or undead, keep it to yourself! Instead of attacking them right away, gather information. Maybe there is more to the story…
What is the difference between Detect Evil and Good and Divine Sense?
Detect Evil and Good is a spell that lasts 10 minutes, while Divine Sense is a class feature that lasts one round. Detect Evil and Good spreads 30 feet, while Divine Sense spreads 60 feet. Detect Evil and Good penetrates total cover, while Divine Sense doesn’t. Detect Evil and Good detects aberrations, elementals, and feys, while Divine Sense doesn’t.
One of the biggest differences between Detect Evil and Good and Divine Sense is that Detect Evil and Good, being a spell, has verbal and somatic components.
This means you can’t easily cast Detect Evil and Good in front of characters you are trying to detect without making them suspicious. Divine Sense, on the other hand, can be cast sneakily without anyone around you being the wiser.
Here is Detect Evil and Good’s description:
“For the duration, you know if there is an aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, fiend, or undead within 30 feet of you, as well as where the creature is located. Similarly, you know if there is a place or object within 30 feet of you that has been magically consecrated or desecrated.
The spell can penetrate most barriers, but it is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.”
Most players would say Divine Sense is stealthier and goes farther than Detect Evil and Good, while Detect Evil and Good is more obvious, stronger, and detects more types of enemies.
But both perform similar functions: Find out if something fishy is going on around you, and where that fishiness is originating.
Can Divine Sense detect invisible enemies?
You can detect invisible enemies with Divine Sense in 5e as long as they are celestials, fiends, or undead, but that doesn’t mean they will become visible. When detecting invisible enemies with Divine Sense, you will know that they are in your vicinity, and exactly where they are at the moment.
Successfully detecting where invisible enemies are with Divine Sense also doesn’t mean you can attack them as if they were visible. You Divine Sense won’t allow you to hit it as if it was visible.
Invisibility’s description states:
“Attack rolls against the creature have disadvantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have advantage.”
As long as the creature remains invisible, you still have disadvantage against it when attacking. Divine Sensing an invisible creature’s location lets you target it with spells like Dispel Magic, which remove its invisibility. Afterward, you can attack it like normal.
Divine Sense 5e FAQs
What blocks Divine Sense?
Divine Sense is blocked by total cover. Total cover is described as: “A target has total cover if it is completely concealed by an obstacle.” This means Divine Sense is blocked by any kind of cover at all, even if it is a transparent cover such as glass.
Can Divine Sense see through walls?
Divine Sense can only see through a wall if the target has part of their body protruding from the wall. Divine Sense is limited by “total cover,” meaning an obstacle completely obscures the target. So if a target is completely behind a wall, Divine Sense can’t see through it. If a target is partially visible, Divine Sense can sense them.
Does Divine Sense work on the ethereal plane?
No, Divine Sense doesn’t work on the ethereal plane in 5e. According to DnD designer Jeremy Crawford on Twitter:
“If two people are on different planes of existence, they are infinitely far away from each other.”
“Infinite feet” is a lot farther away than Divine Sense’s radius of 60 feet. Some DMs might let you get away with Divine Sensing a character that is hiding in a different plane about to strike, or traveling in and out of planes. Ask them!
Does Divine Sense work on objects?
Yes, Divine Sense in 5e works on objects that are consecrated or desecrated. Consecrated objects are “blessed by positive energy” while desecrated objects are “tainted by unholy energy.”
It may be up to your DM’s discretion to determine whether the objects you are trying to Divine Sense fall under the category of either “consecrated” or “desecrated.”
Can Divine Sense detect cursed items?
Divine Sense detects consecrated or desecrated items, but not cursed items. Sometimes an item can be cursed and consecrated/desecrated at the same time.
An item’s description sometimes says if it’s consecrated or desecrated, but oftentimes it is the DM’s call. Items such as blessed swords or holy water are usually consecrated, while items such as evil goblets are desecrated.
Does Divine Sense detect alignment?
No, Divine Sense 5e does not detect alignment. Older editions of DnD let players detect alignment, but this feature was almost entirely removed in the 5th edition. The only way to detect alignment in DnD 5e is with a Glyph of Warding, which can be set to go off for specific alignments.
Jeremy Crawford even confirmed this on Twitter in April 2018: “Divine Sense doesn’t detect alignment or curses. The feature’s text explains what it means by strong evil and good: fiends, undead, celestials, desecration, and consecration.”
Can Divine Sense detect goblins?
No, Divine Sense cannot detect goblins in 5e. Goblins are classified as humanoids or goblinoids. Divine Sense can only detect celestial, fiends, or undead in 5e.
Does Divine Sense detect Aasimar?
Divine Sense cannot detect Aasimar, because Aasimar are classified as humanoid in DnD 5e. Only those creatures classified as type celestial, fiend, or undead can be detected with Divine Sense.
Does Divine Sense work on Tieflings?
No, Divine Sense doesn’t work on Tieflings, since Tieflings are only “touched by fiends” and not fiends themselves. Tieflings are classified as humanoid and are not divine.
Does Divine Sense work on Rakshasas?
Yes! Rakshasas are fiends, so Divine Sense can detect them even if they are hiding with Minor Illusion, Invisibility, Disguise Self. or Major Image. Divine Sense won’t work on Rakshasas if they are Plane Shifting, however.
How often can you use Divine Sense?
You can use Divine Sense the amount of your Charisma ability modifier + 1 per Long Rest.
We sense this article is over! Try other Divine methods like Channel Divinity 5e, Thunderous Smite 5e, or other Paladin Spells in 5e.