[RPG] spell or effect that reveals or identifies alignment


I am looking for an effect that you can cast on a creature or character to reveal its true alignment. As long as it reveals true alignment, I don't care if it's a single target effect, a zone effect, or anything else. Also, I don't mind if it has any limitations; I'll take what I can get.

Is there anything that does this? What are my options?

Best Answer

There's one effect/ability that does this, but you've got to be a sprite... or get one!

(All thanks to @DrunkCynic, who put two and two together.)

In all of the core set and the Encounters supplements I can only find one thing that gets you a sort of divination of alignment: the sprite's Heart Sight ability:

The sprite touches a creature and knows the creature's current emotional state. If the target fails a DC 10 Charisma saving throw, the sprite also knows the creature's alignment. (MM, p.283)

As a third-level Warlock you can gain the Pact of the Chain boon and take a sprite as your familiar: "when you cast [Find Familiar] you can choose... [a] sprite. (PHB p.107)" And now you're just a touch and a telepathic back-and-forth away from knowing one's alignment.


There's nothing like the old Know Alignment of my youth. But you can Commune and pester your deity for the information.

Alternatively, you've got Glyph of Warding which can trigger on the alignment. (But process of elimination is slow.) Or you might be able to make a case to a GM that Detect Thoughts plus some skill at interpreting those thoughts might get you to alignment, but we're venturing past RAW, here. (Other spells in the ballpark are even more-problematic to try to apply with any surety.)

Magical Items

There are a few magical items that could be used in a process of elimination, as they will harm one of the wrong alignment. These items are: the Talismans of Pure Good/Ultimate Evil and the Books of Exalted Deeds/Vile Darkness. (The Obsidian Steed has a small probability of also achieving this.)

Many items can only be attuned by one of the proper alignment, but I can't think of a way to force another's attempt to attune. If you could, though, we've got a clear winner: the Eye or Hand of Vecna, either of which will change the user's alignment to NE.


A coworker reminded me at lunch of the one I'd missed: kill the target, and follow its soul to its eventual destination. Not very practical, but neither are any of the magical items....

For your reference, an Angry GM article on how vestigal alignment has become in 5e. However, he does have some constructive ideas on how to make alignment more relevant, too. (Be warned: Angry GM's materials are liberally... flavored with rude and vulgar language.)