Having to waste a resource on detecting magic sucks, and giving everyone magic sight for free can be boring. Magic practitioners learn (or are born with?) during their training to sense magic in one of five ways.
Arcanists will tell you it’s something you’re born with, and they’re almost correct. In truth, it’s no different from the hand you favor. Students awakening to their power bend in one way, but with effort this can change, if not to your desired sense, at least to a different one. This is why no one uses taste except for crazy old witches; ain’t no one got time for that mess.
by Jenna Hepo-oja, at https://jahkailija.artstation.com/projects/dVokX
no magic - The magic sense so common people think it’s the default. With Magic Sight, a practitioner can see active magic coming off of people and objects as an octarine glow that emits no light, and can see passive or latent magic as a dull light if they’re standing close enough. Magic Sight does not penetrate barriers.
no magic - The second most common after sight, but still trailing by a large margin. Those who hear magic perceive it as a subtle tone light as air, and can pick out several sources at once. They are limited to hearing magic in their vicinity, though barriers do not block the sound of magic. The range is smaller than the distance at which a Seeing Mage can perceive active magic effects, but the music of active and passive sources of magic are equally distinguishable. It is difficult to follow the sound of music to its source, with the distinction usually being ‘somewhere in the area’ or ‘somewhere right in front of me.’
no magic - Now we get to the less manifested senses of magic, whether by choice or rarity of occurrence. Those who smell the acrid scent of magic do so at a range usually smaller than the range of Magical Hearing. I say usually to hint at one of the great advantages of magic sniffing. Through smell, a practitioner can gauge the strength of a source of magic by how thick the scent hangs in the air, and powerful sources can be perceived from farther away, even at a distance beyond which those with the Sight can see. It is also relatively easy for a Sniffer to ‘follow their nose’ to the source of magic.
no magic - The Magic Touch has a steady niche in those who work in enchantings, in magic forgings, in arcane tinkering. With the Touch one must be touching an object to determine whether it is magical, but in doing so they gain information on the type(s) of magic affecting the thing (to include any curses placed on it) and the strength of the magic. This is more than enough for most people.
magic - However, there is one step further. To taste the magic that hangs on a thing, to ingest it into your body gives you a degree of knowledge like no other. This magical sense is only found in witches and alchemists after the old style, for use in creating potions and identifying herbs. With a lick, Tasters can discern all magic properties of a thing, to include the type and strength of magic and what the magic was woven to do. In addition, they will know when the thing was imbued and whether it was done so at creation, as well as when the magic last activated.