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Recently during play of Storm King's Thunder, Chapter 5 we rolled up a cursed magic item Dust of Sneezing and Choking. This item appears to be a beneficial magic item upon use of an Identify spell.

Because Adventurers League (AL) requires that all magic items are given a certificate for official play, the certificate would result in either of the following scenarios:

a) The certificate displays the true name of the magic item, in which case the player will know it is cursed thereby spoiling the main purpose of having secretly cursed magic items.

or

b) The certificate displays the false name of the magic item, in which case the player could take it to another table where a new DM is unaware of the item's true quality and it would play there as a beneficial item.

What is the right way!? Is there an officially AL sanctioned way to handle disguised cursed items?

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First off, AL doesn't require certificates for anything other than trading for new items from Fai Chen these days, so the certificates thing is a red herring. See page 5 of version 5.1 of the ALPG for discussion of use of certificates in trading.

As for the right way to deal with secret cursed items, I haven't seen any official guidance (it's not mentioned in either the AL player's guide, the AL dm's guide, or the current AL FAQ), but the way I've seen it handled in the past is you give the item to the player and they log it as usual. You tell them what it really is and they are expected to have their character use it as whatever the character thinks it is. This requires the player to act in good faith, but there's no other way to handle it if you want to support the case where the player moves to another table with a DM who didn't hand out the item.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 What version of the PG are you looking at? The SKT version (5.1) only mentions certificates on page 5... \$\endgroup\$ – Garrett Rooney Mar 3 '17 at 20:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right--I was looking at an older edition. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 3 '17 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've updated the text to point to the PG. \$\endgroup\$ – Garrett Rooney Mar 3 '17 at 20:43

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