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Thread: Trail and error item identifying
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 06:23 PM #21
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Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 08:06 PM #22
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
I view identifying magic items by trial and error as a page from the same book that has "Standard Party Procedures When Encountering A Door." It was fun while I was writing it, the first time, but eventually it just gets old and formulaic.
At this point, it's very old and formulaic.
"A rock on a stick has a 5' reach unless otherwise specified."
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 10:02 PM #23
"Hey that treasure that I presented as treasure and that you had every reason to believe was treasure? Wasn't treasure. Have fun with that!"
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 10:42 PM #24
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
A little bit of "Gotcha" is fine, a very little bit . . .
D&D is a game for me, and the players get to know more information than the PCs. So, if they pick up magic armor or weapons, then I simply tell the player the "plus".
If the magic item is simply treasure, a little flavor text and description should be enough for the PCs to figure out what it does. If you try it on, then you magically know what the magic item does. That makes sense to me.
Only if the item's properties form an interesting mystery (such as part of an adventure) or make a specific plot point, would I bother hiding those properties.
The good thing about D&D is that each group (DM and players together) can decide how rules like item identification will play out.
It's kinda like folks that play Monopoly by RAW, and those that put money under Free Parking.
Glamour is a rocky road!
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 10:47 PM #25
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 11:09 PM #26
Anecdote: One time someone in our group found an enchanted, sentient bastard sword. That particular DM never told us the details of what powerful magical items did, even with an Identify spell, so the player spent an entire campaign fighting with (and against) the sarcastic, whiny blade. When the campaign ended, the DM told us that the bastard sword's magic was just that it was kind of a bastard.
...ANYWAY, I think the 100g Identify spell is pretty lame. I think the Detect Magic spell along with an Arcane Lore check is the way to go - just scale the DC to the item quality for anything below Legendary. Legendary items and artifacts, of course, are revealed in exactly the manner the DM finds most convenient, but unless they're being especially sneaky or subtle anyone who can detect magic can probably tell they're exceptionally powerful.
Thursday, 11th October, 2012, 12:05 AM #27
Do this a few times, and you'll find your campaigns dragging to a halt as PCs refuse to trust NPCs, ignore plot hooks as dangerous, refuse to go grab whatever crystal they're searching for since "it's probably cursed" and take dungeon exploration as an excuse to use overkill on every surface around.
It's not a good idea to get into "Gotcha!" DMing and adversarial relationships with your players, unless you really know what you're doing (perhaps some sort of one-shot clearly labeled as "Evil DM").
Always be a trustworthy DM.
Thursday, 11th October, 2012, 01:48 AM #28
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
Thursday, 11th October, 2012, 02:14 AM #29
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Just tell them what the darned thing is and get on with it, but there might be days when it would add some color to an otherwise boring or routine adventure and could spice things up a little.
Sort of like salt, used sparingly it makes things taste better.
Thursday, 11th October, 2012, 03:19 AM #30
Absolutely every other solution at their disposal to identify the cursed ring leads to no Gotcha at all.
I guess this could lead to the PCs deciding to never trust anyone again, but that seems like an overreaction.