Similar to this question, but specific to D&D 5e, how are players meant to find out the effects of items/potions/scrolls/weapons/armor?
Say, they find a potion in some chemist's chest. It is red and smells nice. Should they perform an investigation/perception check? Or an arcana/nature check? If I tell the players specifically to do an Arcana check, then I am already hinting at the fact that this potion will have some magical effect. It could just be a natural elixir concocted by Druids to help your health regen.
Same goes for weapons. They find the legendary bow of X, which has a +3 to hit and a 10% chance of striking other enemies near the target. I describe the bow as unique, glowing, made from dragon scales and hovering on air. Would they investigate their properties? Or just I just let them fire at a wall until something happens?
Our playstyle so far has been to use active checks for a quick understanding of the item (drink a little bit of Potion as an Investigation check to find whether it heals or not, sensing magical properties of the bow with Arcana checks). When time is available, and experimentation is necessary, allow the PCs to do some creative testing and, based on their ideas, "After Y time, you realize that the bow sometimes hits several points of the wall instead of just your target".
According to the RAW, is there a specific way of checking the stats/effects of such items?