Hello all! Today is my second time writing this Spell Archive and I want to look at a spell that almost never sees use at your average table: Nystul’s Magic Aura. So sit back, pull out your spellbooks, and get ready to make them appear nonmagical!
Nystul’s Magic Aura
2nd Level Illusion
Casting Time: 1 Action
Duration: 24 Hours
You place an illusion on a creature or an object you touch so that divination spells reveal false information about it. The target can be a willing creature or an object that isn’t being carried or worn by another creature.
When you cast the spell, choose one or both of the following effects. The effect lasts for the duration. If you cast this spell on the same creature or object every day for 30 days, placing the same effect on it each time, the illusion lasts until it is dispelled.
False Aura: You change the way the target appears to spells and magical effects, such as detect magic, that detect magical auras. You can make a nonmagical object appear magical, a magical object appear nonmagical, or change the object’s magical aura so that it appears to belong to a specific school of magic that you choose. When you use this effect on an object, you can make the false magic apparent to any creature that handles the item.
Mask: You change the way the target appears to spells and magical effects that detect creature types, such as a paladin’s Divine Sense or the trigger of a symbol spell. You choose a creature type and other spells and magical effects treat the target as if it were a creature of that type or of that alignment.
Okay, a bit wordy and definitely one of the more abstract spells you’ll see at an early level. As you can see, it actually has little to no impact in combat, not dealing damage or inflicting status conditions on enemies. So why take it? Let’s take a second and talk about the two different effects it has.
With False Aura, you can make your sorcerer not constantly emit an aura of magical awesomeness, you can mask your Holy Avenger to appear as a normal longsword to those magical peepers, and you don’t have to explain why your Warlock’s Book of Shadows that’s made of the flesh of hundreds of demons is magical! This can also apply to familiars, meaning that your average magic user will not be able to discern that your rainbow raven is actually a fey spirit. In all seriousness, using this spell on magical items/people before entering say, an anti-magic castle/area where they would be privy to checking for that sort of thing is a great plan. If your sorcerer is fine with it, you can cast this on them for 30 days and detect magic will never be able to see the pure greatness radiating from them.
Mask is the more, I won’t say interesting half of the spell, but less commonly used. I see mask almost exclusively as a DM tool, to hide a fiend, undead, or fey from the paladin’s divine sense. Perhaps the wizard BBEG wants to send wights out scout the party without them lighting up like a christmas tree to the party Paladin. With this, those creatures can bypass triggers of spells that only activate on certain creature types or those that detect, such as Eyes of the Grave, available to the Grave Cleric. But hey, if your party is trying to sneak a devil they summoned through a consecrated church, Nystul’s Magic Aura should do the trick!
One last thing to note, the target must be a willing creature or something not worn/carried by an enemy. Therefore, you can’t slap the enemy, make them appear as a fiend, then magic circle them to trap them.
Tips and Tricks
So we actually mentioned some common tips and tricks earlier. One of my personal favorites is using the spell on a spellbook or arcane focus, so enemies that pry for items that emit magic will never get a ping from the source of your magic. If you find that your DM is one to take advantage of enemies using detect magic, then this spell is a great way to bypass that and keep hidden.
Perhaps the most tips and tricks I can give apply more to the DMs out there than the players. However, one of the best tips I can give is never use this spell without a reason. Having the Flametongue loot appear as a normal longsword that can’t be figured out unless you cast dispel magic on the seemingly non-magical sword is kind of backwards and doesn’t quite reward the players. Consider it instead for its Mask effect, making an angel that is helping the party not ping off as celestial to the paladin. Perhaps a Necromancer that is raising an undead army uses this on each and every undead he raises, or maybe he even has underling wizards that do this task. This way, the Undead will be able to pass through magic circles, consecrated ground, etc. Be creative with your use of this spell, not unfair.
Sadly there aren’t many ways to really reskin this spell. It’s pretty straightforward in what it does and since it doesn’t do any kind of damage nor inflict a status effect, it’s a little difficult to reskin. The closest I can think of is perhaps an Artificer-esque Wizard installing a tiny little antimagic device onto the item or person, suppressing the appearance of the magic. Since the spell is restricted to Wizards, maybe consider how your school of magic that you specialize in affects the appearance of the spell!
Thank you all for reading! Nystul’s Magic Aura is one of my favorite of the more abstract spells that don’t see much play, and if I ever play a wizard I make sure to take this spell. Thank you all for reading through and feel free to discuss this spell with us on our forums or on our social media! I hope you all have a great day and find some great use out of this article!