Let's say a Level 1 Cleric finds a very powerful ring (e.g. Ring of Three Wishes). Since the cleric has no idea what this ring is for, what kinds of skill checks etc. can he use at which DC to identify the ring fully?

What information would you as a GM reveal to the cleric player if he makes a skill check of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25?

I could not find useful guidelines for this kind of "detect magic" or "spellcraft checks".


1 Answer 1


Skills can't be used for this directly. Instead, the detect magic and identify spells are used, which grant spellcraft checks as part of their spell effects.

This skill is also used to identify the properties of magic items in your possession through the use of spells such as detect magic and identify.

Detect magic grants you the opportunity to make spellcraft checks after studying an item for three rounds, while identify works identically except it gives you a +10 to those checks. Clerics don't normally get identify, so they're stuck with the bonus-less detect magic.

According to the game, a successful check reveals all the properties of an item. GMs might adjust this to fit the way magic works in their campaign, of course.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So there is just the possibility of either you know everything or nothing at all about the functionality of the object? \$\endgroup\$
    – mawimawi
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 13:09
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @mawimawi As written, yeah. If that seems unsatisfying, a house rule inserted there to make the process more interesting/complicated/non-binary wouldn't upset anything else (unless it upsets your players, in which case the usual "what do we consider fun?" conversation is incoming). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 18:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Keep the last sentence in mind always. Why did my bag of holding try to eat me the first time I used it? I apparently was expected to make a knowledge planes check to detect that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @David Wilkins I really want to hear that story now... \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 20:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GreySage Bag of Devouring looks like a Bag of Holding. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 9, 2016 at 21:09

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