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Identifying Magic Items


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So I don't generally hand out a lot of magic items in my campaign but in my PbP game there was one randomly generated in a treasure and the Sorcerer in the group asked if he could "Detect Magic". I house ruled in the past Witch Sight could allow a sorcerer to see magic auras, but how does a PC determine what an item actually does?

Is there a spell or rutual I'm missing/forgetting?

Surely there must be a way for a Sorcerer/Mage to figure items out...?


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If you read the description on page 224 of the rules, the implication is to let it be "learn-by-use."

Personally I don't like the idea of magic items having some kind of "glowy" aura (ala D&D and every video game ever), but I try to make it clear that an enchanted item is set apart by its physical qualities - unique forge marks, strange metals, physical properties that defy physics/explanation, etc.

If you want to tie identification to mechanics I've had success using a "world lore" skill check or an "evaluate" check to help the player suss out at least a few clues about an item's function. I'm a big fan of letting an item's powers emerge through play. How else am I ever going to get them to put on that cursed Ring of Berserk? ;)

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There was a spell called Analyse Magic, for Gloranthan RuneQuest, which we used to see what properties a magic item had. Mystic Vision could also be used by sorcerers and I believe that is available in Basic Magic.


I don't think there is a BRP equivalent, though.



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Think I'm going to house rule a ritual called Analyze Dweomer. Takes 1 hour to initiate and an additional hour per special property. 100 BP worth of ritual trappings, and a MP per hour.

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  • 1 month later...

There's various in-play ways players can find out about the powers of items.

Research, legends, oracles, dreams, visions, lore.

But then, my campaigns are generally low-magic and I tend to use only a few special magic items in my campaigns, each with history and a reason for existence.

For the equivalent of a D&D +1 sword, I would just say it's particularly sharp or well-made or something and tell the player as soon as they used it in combat or inspected it with some sort of craft skill.

Your mentalists might be able to get some insight into an item (past owners, powers, a vision of a dramatic moment in the item's past) by handling it.

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