3.5 - Discovering that your item is cursed

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OK, so I'm DMing my first adventure and looking for advice.

I intend to have an 'ally' of the one of the PCs give them a magic item that, along with its beneficial properties, is also secretly an Amulet of Inescapable Location. Since the effect isn't obvious, what opportunities should they have to discover its nature if they don't suspect anything? Should I give them 'passive' spellcraft or knowledge: arcana checks? Under what circumstances and at what penalties, if any?

Thanks!
Wow!  For a "newbie", that's a damned intelligent question, with lots of story hooks attached.  I actually said "wow!" out loud, ask my wife.  Let me think about this for a moment, I'll get back to you after dinner and dishes are done.
 
OK, so I'm DMing my first adventure and looking for advice.

I intend to have an 'ally' of the one of the PCs give them a magic item that, along with its beneficial properties, is also secretly an Amulet of Inescapable Location. Since the effect isn't obvious, what opportunities should they have to discover its nature if they don't suspect anything? Should I give them 'passive' spellcraft or knowledge: arcana checks? Under what circumstances and at what penalties, if any?

Thanks!

 if he use detect magic he can sense the extra effect but only the school of this extra effect, but like other effect the character dont know it unless make a spellcraf for a visual emanation of a spell or using identify on the item.

but the "ally" can use the spell lv 1 to hide the magic emanation that have no save or change the emanation that have save and have a duration of 1 day/ CL,
Pepe pecas pica papas con un pico con un pico pepe pecas pica papas si pepe pecas pica papas con un pico donde esta el pico con que pepe pecas pica papas.
As usual, you keep forgetting that as DM, you have Carte Blanche.  In other words, you don't have to tell the players anything.  If you've got a great plot line going, you RUN WITH IT.  That is what makes for memorable games.  The simple identify spell would give it away, but you as DM can just ignore it.  (Unless it's a game-breaker, the plot is far more important!)

I'm sure some rules would cover hiding some enchantment of that medium level.  Or just that the identify spell sniffs out the first spell and not the secondary one.  Or something. 
If its 3.5, an identify spell should probably point it out. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

If its 3.5, an identify spell should probably point it out. 

but with the spell lv 1 you can hide the effect again identify, but if you use the spell to change the magic aura the spellcaster to try to identify the item need make a will save to know that is a bluff or if fail think that the change effect is the real.
Pepe pecas pica papas con un pico con un pico pepe pecas pica papas si pepe pecas pica papas con un pico donde esta el pico con que pepe pecas pica papas.
Nystul's Magic Aura (PHB, page 257) is the spell mentioned that disguises a magic item's aura as that of a different school of magic or even nonmagical... Identify determines all magic properties of an item unless it's an artifact... Nystul's Magic Aura also doesn't work on artifacts...

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/11.jpg)

Nystul's Magic Aura (PHB, page 257) is the spell mentioned that disguises a magic item's aura as that of a different school of magic or even nonmagical... Identify determines all magic properties of an item unless it's an artifact... Nystul's Magic Aura also doesn't work on artifacts...

Illusion (Glamer)


Level: Brd 1, Magic 1, Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One touched object weighing up  to 5 lb./level
Duration: One day/level (D)
Saving Throw: None; see text
Spell Resistance:No

You alter an item’s aura so that it registers to detect spells (and spells with similar capabilities) as though it were nonmagical, or a magic item of a kind you specify, or the subject of a spell you specify.


If the object bearing magic aura has identify cast on it or is similarly examined, the examiner recognizes that the aura is false and detects the object’s actual qualities if he succeeds on a Will save. Otherwise, he believes the aura and no amount of testing reveals what the true magic is.


If the targeted item’s own aura is exceptionally powerful (if it is an artifact, for instance), magic aura doesn’t work.


Note: A magic weapon, shield, or suit of armor must be a masterwork item, so a sword of average make, for example, looks suspicious if it has a magical aura.


Focus: A small square of silk that must be passed over the object that receives the aura.

Pepe pecas pica papas con un pico con un pico pepe pecas pica papas si pepe pecas pica papas con un pico donde esta el pico con que pepe pecas pica papas.
Thanks everybody! The curse effect is not absolutely central to the plot, so if they were clever enough to use some sort of magical analysis I'd probably let them discover it. I'd probably give them a spellcraft (or knowledge: arcana?) roll to realize that the aura is wrong if they happened to use detect magic on it. I'm wondering more if they should have a chance to notice something's 'off' just through extended use.

Come to think of it, such an opportunity would make more sense in the case of something like a -1 sword, where it's actually impacting their activity whenever they swing it, rather than operating in the background like the proposed amulet. 
I'm going to preface this with the truth that I know this discussion is 3.x E, and I'm not all that familiar with anything beyond 2E.  Just so you know that what I'm about to say is based purely on 2E knowledge.

In the 2E DMG, the Amulet of Inescapable Location description explicitly states:

Normal item identification attempts, including detect magic, will not reveal its true nature.



Now, I will not profess to know whether or not the item description was changed from 2E to 3.x E, but at the very least you should look at the item description to see if it's even allowable or not.  Granted, as the GM you have the awesome power of hand-wavium, with the ability to turn mere nothing into unobtanium.  And for your game, if you feel the item can be identified by looking at it through a straw from a sippy cup, then by all means go for it.

All I'm saying is that the description of the item may not allow it, meaning you may have to just wing it.  Use chicken - their wings are tasty.
I'm going to preface this with the truth that I know this discussion is 3.x E, and I'm not all that familiar with anything beyond 2E.  Just so you know that what I'm about to say is based purely on 2E knowledge.

In the 2E DMG, the Amulet of Inescapable Location description explicitly states:

Normal item identification attempts, including detect magic, will not reveal its true nature.



Now, I will not profess to know whether or not the item description was changed from 2E to 3.x E, but at the very least you should look at the item description to see if it's even allowable or not.  Granted, as the GM you have the awesome power of hand-wavium, with the ability to turn mere nothing into unobtanium.  And for your game, if you feel the item can be identified by looking at it through a straw from a sippy cup, then by all means go for it.

All I'm saying is that the description of the item may not allow it, meaning you may have to just wing it.  Use chicken - their wings are tasty.

Ah, good catch. I'll check that. I love the 'straw from a sippy cup' thing - maybe I'll have to make that an item! Although first someone would have to invent straws...and sippy cups...and plastic...hmm.
I was rather partial to the "power of hand-wavium" line, myself.  
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