One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
How do you use the identify? Does your MU have one hour/level to cast the spell or no information is gained? How does this work if said item is taken to a magic school or perhaps a high level MU? How do your players know what magic items they have found? Command words? How much information can money buy?
I'll be perfectly honest to admit that I've rarely used it. I think I've been too generous with the information that spell-casters can garner by using Detect and Read Magic spells on items while also giving them a Spellcraft proficiency roll.
Identify is used to receive specific information about magical item charges, special functions, command words, and the like, beyond that which should be deduced by the aforementioned spells.
I am a 2nd edition player, and through that lens, would expect a wizard to spend the mentioned 8 hrs preparing the item(s) upon which the Divination spell would be used. Thereafter, the DM rolls for the mage (10% per level; max of 90% chance; roll of 96-100 reveals false info) to determine the types of specific information I listed above. One item per level can be Identified, with a duration of one round/level, so higher level mages not only have greater chances to successfully garner information about magical items, but they also can retrieve MORE information about those items.
After casting the spell, the rigors involved reduce the wizard's Con by 8 pts (temporarily), and it takes 8 hrs to regain them.
2e DMG gives the average cost of 1000 gp (!) for each item or function determined...
I run identify pretty much by the book. Since the reason for the one-hour-per-level time limit is because the magical energies somehow merge with the new owner, I allow my players to work around that limitation by simply not "claiming" an item. If they find a magic wand in a treasure hoard, they simply put it in a chest on their mule and bring it back to town to be identified. If no one uses it, the time limit doesn't come into play.
The players test magical weapons and armor through mock combats. We played through the first couple of these to see how they worked:
PC1: "OK, I take off my armor and magic items, so I'm AC 10, and I'm going to test this new shield we found."
PC2: "I attack PC1 with my dagger for vanquishing (non-lethal) damage."
DM: "OK PC2, make your roll."
PC2: (rolls) "I hit AC 10."
DM: "You miss."
PC2 (more rolls) "I hit AC 9."
DM: "You miss."
PC2 (more rolls) "I hit AC 5."
DM: "You hit."
PC1: "OK, so it's not a shield +5."
PC2: (more rolls) "I hit AC 8."
DM: "You miss."
PC1: "OK, so it's better than +1."
PC2: (more rolls) "I hit AC 7."
DM: "You hit."
PC1: "Cool! I have a shield +2."
After having done this a few times, we now hand-wave the process. Assuming the PCs are in a safe place and have access to magical healing to recover the incidental damage from all those non-lethal attacks, I let them "take 20" and just give them the results. Still, this isn't something they can do in the midst of a dungeon.
For items with command words, even identify won't be much help. "Great, we found a wand of fire, but now we need to figure out how to use it." Speak with dead, commune, and legend lore spells might be needed.
I run it mostly by the book as well. Because my game is via a forum, I have given the players a Wand of Identify. It makes things way easier, and we just can move along. However, the items still must be ritually cleansed (taing 8 hours). I also do not give command words and such. Usually they can find them on the items, carved magically in some language or other, often invisible to the naked eye. One way or another, they get those. I also give out straight pluses of items, as it's easier than letting them flounder around trying to figure them out. I just skip all that and let them know, "Hey, it's a +2 longsword" or stuff like that.
thanks for the replies men. I have been allowing the items to be identified in Verbobonc at the silver consortium. This has been including the command words for items like the ebony fly, wand of paralyzation and a wand of fire. As the Mirror of mental prowess is going to be a big part of them taking on the lower level i am gonna make the command words for said mirror take a little more effort.
I am gonna use a dungeon magazine adventure as a sort of quest. Then hopefully enough time will pass for the alert to come off at the temple. Where it goes from there i will try and leave up to them. I am gonna do my best not to railroad. ha! famous last words.
Do you also use the rule of the identifer having to put the magic item on? That's how it was run in the 1st edition game I played in, maybe it was a house rule? But you still got the information from the spell right then and there. I found a robe once and it turned out to be a robe of the arch magi and I immediately asked what colour? Turned out it was grey thankfully (I was neutral) but had I been good or evil the damage it would have done would have killed me. So identifying items had that risk. Or if it was cursed, well there you go you are cursed, congrats but now you know what it is.
i should reread the spell. i thought just handling the item was enough to identify. This is when or if they use the spell on their own. When they take an item to the school and pay to have it identified i give them a full description.
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