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Are there any rules for who can use a player's magic items?

  1. If a character has a magic item with a daily power, can a wizard steal it from his hands in mid-fight and use the power against him?
  2. Can a character give the item to an ally and let him or her use the power?

I'm trying to make sense of this in relation to characters finding and using magic items in dungeons. One can assume that ownership of a magic item is lifted when the owner dies (so a player can use a Sword of the Ancient King), but what about ownership of items when the owner is merely captured/jailed/knocked unconscious? And what happens if a character has an item belonging to a dead owner, who is then suddenly resurrected?

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Not an answer, but in earlier editions some/many items which had limited uses had command words that activated them. This would mean that you can steal an item, but can't use it unless you already know the command word (for example, because the wizard had already used it on you). –  Dakeyras Aug 14 '13 at 9:05
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In the "Keep on the Shadowfell" campaign, it specifically says that if the NPC used the daily power during the fight then players cannot use that power until they have a full rest. –  Mooing Duck Aug 21 '13 at 23:05
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

For this answer, I'll be going by the Rules Compendium's rules on magic items, which are very few and described in Magic Item Level and Rarity. The Player's Handbook has its own rules for magic items which were overcomplicated and entirely replaced. This article on the WotC site discusses the change.

Magic items are not loyal

One can assume that ownership of a magic item is lifted when the owner dies (so a player can use a Sword of the Ancient King), but what about ownership of items when the owner is merely captured/jailed/knocked unconscious? And what happens if a character has an item belonging to a dead owner, who is then suddenly resurrected?

Magic items don't have a sense of loyalty to any owner: just like any mundane weapon, their owner is whoever's wielding them. The exception here may be magic effects that require you to attune to them, but that's not necessarily out of a sense of loyalty.

Of course, you're free to sit down with your players and work out some loyalty rules for magic items if you think it would be fun!

Power usage is limited only by the item itself

  1. If a character has a magic item with a daily power, can a wizard steal it from his hands in mid-fight and use the power against him?

  2. Can a character give the item to an ally and let him or her use the power?

Item powers are pretty straightforward: an item daily/encounter power is just like any other daily/encounter power, and that is it.

The answer to your conundrum is in considering this scenario: Suppose you have an entire trove of magic items with daily powers available. You can go ahead and use up each daily power if you like, and so your character would have effectively limitless access to daily powers. The only limit is your items can only have their daily powers used once each day.

To me, this suggests that if you use your Fireball Scepter's* encounter power to shoot a fireball, the reason that you can't use it again anytime soon is because the scepter has run out of juice. Magic items themselves have a limited capacity for their items to be used by anyone. If you handed that scepter to someone else, it would still be out of juice for a little while.

If someone else takes (or is given) your magic item, they can use its powers. However, they can only do so if those powers have not already been used.

* I just made this item up for the example. It may or may not exist.

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Note that daily uses for items were "taken into an alley and shot" for essentials. The new rules have item rarity instead of a character's item uses per day. From the perspective of the rules compendium, there is daily item uses limit, save for that provided by the item. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Aug 14 '13 at 7:43
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Note also that many items say you have to "attune" to them by wearing them for 24 hours before their abilities can be used. –  Oblivious Sage Aug 14 '13 at 13:03
    
Necklace of Fireballs: wizards.com/dndinsider/compendium/item.aspx?id=1903 (just so you're not making stuff up.) :) Is worth doing a compare and contrast between that and the greater necklace which is encounter, the Diamond Cincture (at its 3 levels), and a generic daily magic item. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Aug 15 '13 at 2:07
    
Thanks for the answer, Jonathan. I sense there may be an encounter against sleight-of-hand thieves coming up in my campaign. –  Ravn Aug 22 '13 at 5:56
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Personally, I'd argue that a thief would need to identify the magic item before using it, unless they'd witnessed its use. Of course, magic item identification only takes a short rest, but that means a mid-combat pickpocket or disarm won't be using your Magical Trinket of Awesomeness's daily power against you (during the same combat). Of course, if they had witnessed the use of a daily or encounter item power, they still wouldn't be able to use it during the same encounter, because the item's charge was used. –  Brian S Nov 6 '13 at 17:03
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