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D&D 5E Identify Mundane Items?

Just wondering if anyone knows of ways players can dicern the purpose, use, or other very specific aspects of a mundane item? For example, my players just nicked a set of keys from an NPC. They arent important to the plot, just the keys to this guy's house, a couple chests, and couple doors related to work. Is the only way for them to learn where these keys work is either re-find and stalk the original owner and start trying out locks? Or is there magic that can act like identify for how and/or where mundane items are meant to be used?
 

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I cannot think of any spells (outside of wish) that would do this.

Use of skills and ability checks might though. (Investigation to discover the locksmith who made them and the matching locks, and then asking them perhaps?)
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Just wondering if anyone knows of ways players can dicern the purpose, use, or other very specific aspects of a mundane item? For example, my players just nicked a set of keys from an NPC. They arent important to the plot, just the keys to this guy's house, a couple chests, and couple doors related to work. Is the only way for them to learn where these keys work is either re-find and stalk the original owner and start trying out locks? Or is there magic that can act like identify for how and/or where mundane items are meant to be used?
d&d doesn't have wardcraft or anything like streetwise so the answer is absolutely yes but it depends. Here is a great video on modern common keys. There are also ways to identify the blank & what brand/ brands/kinds of devices use that sort of key with some comparison. I'd put the skill as int based somewhere between arcana & thieve's tools leaning heavily towards arcana. Common keys can be anything but you can & probably should rattle off a bunch of examples if you feel like it's a common key (dc2-5 or mayyyyybe 10 to identify common keys) & you can do that by including something generally close to the actual thing plus a few other things (the video should give some great ideas). Nearly every house key is trivially identifiable to manufacturer as long as they aren't those fun custom ones to make it a bit obfuscated. Knowing it's a standard door lock type housekey isn't much of a security problem though since those locks are only marginally more of a hurdle than the windows most houses have. Extremely secure (and very expensive) locks are easy to recognize & knw the manufacturer (maybe even lock model itself) but tend to be secure enough that even a skilled attacker won't even bother with consudering the lock after a glance. There is a lot more detail in this post that will also give you neat ways of describing the results of "I roll X on thieve's tools" than "bob picks the lock"
 


They aren't important to the plot...
Then I wouldn't worry about it.

If I steal keys from the school janitor, I have a pretty good idea what they open already. If I'm stalker-enough to want to find out where he lives, I can ask around.

If they are important to the plot and players seem to be frustrated, there's no harm in dropping a clue like "ROGUE player, you had your thieves' tools specially crafted by a master crafter. You know what quality looks like, and these keys are well crafted. You'd guess only a handful of keymakers in the city have the skill to make these...." I don't like handing out freebies, but if it's something the character probably already would know, that's another matter.
 


Find Object. "Where is the lock that matches this key."

"Describe or name an object that is familiar to you. You sense the direction to the object's location, as long as that object is within 1,000 feet of you. If the object is in motion, you know the direction of its movement.

The spell can locate a specific object known to you, as long as you have seen it up close--within 30 feet--at least once. Alternatively, the spell can locate the nearest object of a particular kind, such as a certain kind of apparel, jewelry, furniture, tool, or weapon."
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
How would one of your current characters you are playing do this?
It depends on all the surrounding context in the game that are only known to the DM and the players at that table. My point is that this is the player's role, not the DM's. They describe what they want to do and the DM narrates the results, perhaps asking for a roll if it meets the criteria in the rules.
 

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