This spell allows a priest to sense how far a character, creature, object, or area is from a condition of balance—in other words, the degree to which its alignment is removed from true Neutral. The spell gives no indication of the "direction" in which the alignment is removed from true Neutral except under certain conditions which follow. The spell does, however, indicate along which axis or axes of alignment the variation lies.
For example, a priest uses this spell to analyze the balance of a Chaotic Neutral creature. The spell indicates that the creature is removed from Neutral by one grade, and the variation is along the Law/Chaos axis; thus, the creature must be either Chaotic Neutral or Lawful Neutral. If the creature were Chaotic Evil, the spell would indicate that it is removed from balance by two grades, one along each axis; thus, the creature must be Chaotic Evil, Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil, or Lawful Good.
A priest has a 5% chance per level of correctly determining the direction of variation along one randomly chosen axis. This means that a 10th-level priest evaluating the balance of a Chaotic Neutral creature would have a 50% chance of learning that the creature is Chaotic (and hence Chaotic Neutral, since it is only one step away from balance).
Similar to spells such as detect evil, this spell will not yield a result on a hidden trap.
If cast on a creature with an intelligence level of "animal" or "non-," it will always read true Neutral (i.e., zero steps removed from balance).
The material components are four iron coins which the priest tosses in his hand while concentrating on the spell. The coins are not consumed in the casting.