Identifying Magic Items


D&D 5th Edition allows you to identify an item by spending one hour studying it. See Dungeon Master’s Guide chapter 7:

During the typical D&D adventuring cycle, the party will take a short rest after discovering a magic item, at which time the character can identify a magic item they’ve obtained.

Narratively, this leaves opportunities on the table. Mechanically, it undercuts other options.

Narrative Opportunities

Giving up the properties of a magical item on a short rest is a lost narrative opportunity. Mystery builds an air of suspense and reverence around a magic item that makes it exciting. Especially if additional features are revealed over time. This can make a player feel like the item has grown with the character, and they form a special bond.

Narrative mystery is also lost for potions, which only require a sip to identify. Any player can identify any potion with a simple object…

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