2013-06-03 Identifying Magic Items


Youseph Tanha asked on Google+ how people identified magic items.

I said:

In my games, I don’t think unknowns add to the enjoyment of the game. After all, nobody knows about them. That’s why I only keep information from my players if one of the following is true:

In all cases, the How of the identification doesn’t matter and therefore I will just allow any character to discover it by examination in thematically appropriate ways (swinging it, aiming it, studying it, handling it, …).

Example magic item of the “random effect” variety: the wand of the chimera consists of a number of intertwined branches with detailed animal heads at the end: a wolf, a goat, a dragon.

  1. hell hound, HD 1–6, AC 4, breathe fire with 1d6 per HD, bite 1d6, MV 12, SV 17-HD (16–11)
  2. giant bat, HD 2, AC 7, bite 1d4, MV 3/18 (fly), SV 15, echolocation sees invisible and in the dark
  3. lion, HD 5, AC 6, 2 claws 1d4, bite 1d8, MV 12, SV 12
  4. giant eagle, HD 4, AC 7, 2 claws 1d4, bite 1d8, MV 3/24 (fly), can carry a human
  5. giant goat, HD 3, AC 7, horns (2d6), MV 18, SV 14, +4 to damage when charging
  6. dragon, breath damage = current hit points, MV 9/24 (fly)
1d6 Color HD AC 2 claws bite breath SV
1 black 7 2 1d4 2d10 acid 8
2 blue 9 0 1d6 3d10 lightning 6
3 gold 11 -2 2d4 6d6 fire 4
4 green 8 1 1d6 3d8 chlorine 7
5 red 10 -1 1d8 4d8 fire 5
6 white 6 3 1d4 2d8 ice 9

The hit points of the wand user remain unchanged! The HD are only used to determine the attack of the new form.

This is based on Labyrinth Lord; licensed under the OGL.

Section 15: Chimera Wand, Copyright 2012, Alex Schroeder



“In my games, I don’t think unknowns add to the enjoyment of the game. After all, nobody knows about them.”

This is why I let my players see all my maps and read all my DM notes before every session.

– Jerome 2013-06-03 10:02 UTC

That’s right, same thing! :-P

AlexSchroeder 2013-06-03 10:43 UTC

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