Divine Sense 5e: Paladin Abilities

Divine Sense is an ability available to Paladins at Level 1 in Dungeons & Dragons 5e.

Divine Sense

The acrid odor of evil fills your nose as a nauseating cloud while the presence of good enchants you like an angelic choir. As an action, you can open your senses to the spirits around you to detect such forces. Until the end of your next turn, you become aware of the location and type (Celestial, fiend, Undead) of any such being within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You learn the type of being, but not its exact identity (you sense an undead, not the Vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich, for instance). You also detect the presence of any desecrated or consecrated item or land in the same area.

This ability can be used a number of times equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier (minimum 1) per long rest.

How Does It Work?

In previous editions of D&D, Paladins could detect evil at will. This has been reworked significantly in 5e. Starting at level 1, a Paladin can use an action to detect the presence of any Celestial, fiend, or Undead within 60 feet of you. In combat, this lasts until the end of your next turn. Out of combat, it lasts for approximately 12 seconds (up to DM).

The player can use this ability at least once a day, plus their Charisma modifier. They regain all charges after a long rest.

Since Divine Sense requires an action to use, a player cannot use it and attack on the same turn. This does limit its usefulness in many combat situations, but Divine Sense in 5E is still an ability that Paladins should be making use of.

Best Uses For Divine Sense 5e

Divine Sense still has several uses, though most of them are a bit niche. The effectiveness of many of these will depend on the campaign you’re playing. The majority of Divine Sense’s best uses are out of combat to make a quick discovery. Such uses are:

  • Tell if someone is a vampire hiding as a human.
  • Locate invisible Fiends. Useful in combat to save spell slots or prevent attacking empty squares.
  • Identify Fiends who have changed shape. That suspicious-looking frog may just be an Imp in disguise.
  • Determine if the Celestial offering the party a quest is the real deal.
  • Tell if an enemy is actually undead to prevent your cleric from wasting Turn Undead.
  • Locate a Fiend or Undead in a crowd.

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