Identifying Magic Items

There are three main ways to ID magic items:

1) Trial and Error

Potions are a good example – a few sips yields the nature of the potion in most cases. The exact properties aren’t determined eg a few sips of will reveal a Potion of Fire Breathing, but the exact dimensions of the fire breath aren’t known. A few uses in combat will also reveal basic properties but nothing (if anything) beyond that eg you could tell a long sword was +1, but not that it has the Defender property

2) Detect Magic

Good for determining the strength and type of magic on an item, by examining its aura eg with the Long sword + 1, Defender above, Detect Magic would reveal a moderate strength aura, infused with abjuration magic

3) Identify

A powerful spell that reveals the exact nature of the item – properties and how to activate them, charges remaining etc. However, it requires a 100 gp pearl as a material component, which is consumed by the magics of the spell. Spell casters usually charge a pretty penny for the spell – not only to cover the cost of the component, but to exploit the desperate nature of their customers.

4) Legend Lore

A bardic ability that reveals historical knowledge about the item. The nature of an item and its properties can be ascertained by a bard, sometimes allowing the user to begin using it. A lucky bard may even remember a password, long forgotten to the common man but alive recorded in an ancient poem

Identifying Magic Items

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