D&D Next (5E) Trail and error item identifying - Page 2




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  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by the Jester View Post
    This.

    I always found the "experimentation technique" to be the most fun method of identifying magic items, personally.
    To me, it was fun in the same sense as a good joke. And got spoiled by over-use in the same way. Once it gets to by-the-numbers: jump, wave hands in flame, walk into wall, stick head in bucket of water . . . it's both ridiculous and *yawn* at the same time.

    Now a character forgetting he was wearing the unidentified ring, and wishing out loud for a cup of hot chocolate (and then getting it) was a thing of epic-always-to-be-remembered fun of course . . .

 

  • #12
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    Unfortunately for my unorganized self, trial and error tends to resolve to:

    Player: I'm putting on that ring I found.

    DM: Ring?

    Player: The one with the blue gemstone... You know... I found it like two sessions ago- never got around to identifying it.

    DM: Oh... uh... yeah... (digging through reams of paper looking for some note I scrawled somewhere...) That ring... It's... Umm...

    Player: I jump, does anything happen?

    DM: Ummm one sec...

    Player: I try to punch at the elf- does it seem to make it easier or anything?

    DM: Err...

    Player: You don't remember do you?


    Inevitably I end up just skipping the headache and letting players quickly identify items.

    The rules presented are easy enough to ignore though, so if it makes others happy to have them in there I'm all for it!

  • #13
    I can only see good things coming out of this. But that depends how you view the role of magic items, I suppose. In my games I prefer to keep them somewhat mystical and special, and the approach so far is a great step to re-mystify the whole concept! I also have only fond (and hillarious) memories from the time when it all came down to trial and error.

  • #14
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    I like the concept of items being a mystery unless you choose to attune with them, which of course comes with the risk of bonding to a cursed item.

    Cursed items of course should still be useful though, just with undesirable side effects that can add to the role-play. Once you attune, most of the items basic powers and properties should become immediately known and available to the user, with the DM option that some powers and abilities remain secret to be unlocked only based on the story and how much the PC's goals dovetail with the item's goals.

    Identify spells and the like should go away. They're essentially a pointless resource drain that serves little useful purpose other than to annoy. Likewise, I don't wish to return to my AD&D days where experimenting with items became so annoying and burdensome that we literally just wrote out a 5 page document detailing every possible test we could do. We then handed it to the DM, and said "Here, we do all of this. What do we find out?"

    Finally, the DMs in group dispensed with the hopping on one leg nonsense and just told us what the items did. I think the attunement rules can offer some of that same old school mystery feel and risk, while allowing everyone to get off the annoying Identify treadmill.

  • #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scribble View Post
    Unfortunately for my unorganized self, trial and error tends to resolve to:

    Player: I'm putting on that ring I found.

    DM: Ring?

    Player: The one with the blue gemstone... You know... I found it like two sessions ago- never got around to identifying it.

    DM: Oh... uh... yeah... (digging through reams of paper looking for some note I scrawled somewhere...) That ring... It's... Umm...

    Player: I jump, does anything happen?

    DM: Ummm one sec...

    Player: I try to punch at the elf- does it seem to make it easier or anything?

    DM: Err...

    Player: You don't remember do you?


    Inevitably I end up just skipping the headache and letting players quickly identify items.

    The rules presented are easy enough to ignore though, so if it makes others happy to have them in there I'm all for it!
    I used to have this problem but I write out everything I give out in my adventure and if I roll something randomly during play (something that never happens in my 3e/pathfinder games due to the nature of the combat) I write it down on my game log along with everything else about the players I need to run a session.

    I keep it on it's own clipboard and just slide the page from the last session to the bottom of the pile. Now I hardly lose anything.

  • #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlantl View Post
    I used to have this problem but I write out everything I give out in my adventure and if I roll something randomly during play (something that never happens in my 3e/pathfinder games due to the nature of the combat) I write it down on my game log along with everything else about the players I need to run a session.

    I keep it on it's own clipboard and just slide the page from the last session to the bottom of the pile. Now I hardly lose anything.
    Yeah I've tried that... You're dealing with Epic Level disorganization skill here.

  • #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scribble View Post
    Yeah I've tried that... You're dealing with Epic Level disorganization skill here.
    My condolences!

  • #18
    Quote Originally Posted by the Jester View Post
    This.

    I always found the "experimentation technique" to be the most fun method of identifying magic items, personally.
    Yep.

    And I don't mind identify (with 100 gp pearl components), since it provides a reason to have a wizard with utility spells or visit a sage.
    "The Soul of D&D? It's rolling a natural 20 when you're down to 3 hit points and the cleric's on the floor and you're staring that sunnavabitch bugbear right in his bloodshot eye and holding the line just long enough to let the wizard unleash a fireball at the guards who are on their way, because they're all that stands between you, the Foozle and Glory." - WizarDru

  • #19
    Earlier in the thread I mentioned the detect magic spell. After following the subsequent discussion, I am actually contemplating the consequences of eliminating that spell. I'm thinking more narratively about how characters in myth and literate come upon magical items. Rarely is there a wizard standing by to say "By Jove! You've just uncovered a +3 sentient flaming sword of destiny!"

    How long did it take Gandalf to figure out Bilbo's ring was in fact the One Ring? For that matter how did Bilbo even discover it was magic. He found it on the cavern floor and at that point it was an interesting trinket, a souvenir for this strange adventure he'd been coopted into. The he met Gollum who was all obsessed about getting it back and that's the first hint at something more.

    A fighter finds a nice shiny sword in a tomb and says "Hey that's seems better than my sword. I'm taking it." Its just loot at that point ot a mundane upgrade in gear. Then while trying to make his escape he swings it at skeleton, misses, and it cleaves through a marble column. Now he realizes: "magic sword!"

    With magic items, the discovery is part of the fun. Even if detect magic doesn't fully identify the properties, it's a free ability to at leat sort times into magical and not-magical, and takes away from the mystique a bit.

    That said, I think it's equally bad to deny arcane characters one of their major roles in fantasy, that of the expert on magic who does help identify or at least explain magical phenomenon.
    Last edited by GameDoc; Wednesday, 10th October, 2012 at 02:32 AM.

  • #20
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    Trial-and-error can be fun. Occasionally. Maybe the first three or four times. After that, it just gets old, IME.

    Things I don't want nowadays...
    • Remembering on my end to add +X to attack and damage while keeping it mysterious from the player
    • Keeping track of unknown magic items and telling players to refer to them as "Magic Sword you found in Room 17 of The Cupcake and Pastry Dungeon"
    • Spending half an hour in a game of 20 questions every time the party finds a magic doodad
    • Spells requiring 100 gp pearls and/or a wizard in order to be able to tell basic information I'd rather not keep track of.

    If we can avoid that? Groovy. Otherwise, it's just not fun as a default way of dealing with new stuff.

    -O

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