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Analyze Magic

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:58 pm
by Maligannt
I like the flavor of this spell, but I'm confused on some of the details:

Is there any restriction on the number of turns that a magic user can spend analyzing an item? Ie does rolling a one end the spell? The spells description says a natural 20 is not a success, but the die roll adds caster level + stat. The die roll for a level 2 spell(caster level = 3)with a natural 20 would only be under 21 if the caster had a -3 caster stat odd to include this in the spell description.

The following paragraph says 'the caster can only learn about one feature per level of ability'' What is a level of ability? Is this supposed to be caster level?

Can the caster learn additional features of an item with an additional later casting of the spell or are we saying if an item has more than three abilities, only a caster of over level four(assuming ability level = caster level) can find those abilities no matter what time or expense is used?

Finally using the chart at the bottom of the spell makes no sense as written with the example in the spell:

My players have found a magic sword! (I've secretly determined it is +1 / 3 vs dragons)

The third level magic user casts analyze magic and rolls until he gets a result total over 21 and learns of the enchantment of the sword, +1, he also knows there is another feature.

At this point the chart/instructions at the bottom say that as the dm I'm going to roll a d20 and consult this chart. According to the chart and the example, I'd roll a d20 and based only on the result of the die roll, tell him weak, moderate, strong, or very strong. In the example given in the spell description, it says this would be based on the +1 feature which he's already discovered, so I could only be telling him weak or moderate. Uhm, yeah, he already knows about the +1, so whatever answer I give him about the previous feature wouldn't matter very much to him, would it?

Is this secondary answer supposed to be for the next feature of the item? So since it is +3, I'd be picking from the +3 row? That makes a little bit of sense (maybe he has hit the caster level per feature limit) but it doesn't match the example given in the spell description, where the DM is using the +1 row of the chart for the second effect of the sword, which is +3. The spell description instead says this chart would only be used if the player learns of this second feature, even though the second feature is the final feature of the weapon????

Perhaps it was meant for scenarios in which you are going to tell the player, it is a weakly enchanted sword, or a strong enchanted sword versus dragons? Not tell them it is a +1 sword, or +3 versus dragons, even after they successfully used analyze magic to identify the item? That very quickly gets time consuming as you as the DM would be forced to track this and add it secretly into their to hit and damage rolls. Ugh, oh and you might have been lying to them when you said it was very strongly enchanted, because the chart told you to tell them very strong for that +3 sword feature because you rolled a secret d20 yielding a 20?

Re: Analyze Magic

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:35 pm
by Dimirag
Maligannt wrote:Is there any restriction on the number of turns that a magic user can spend analyzing an item? Ie does rolling a one end the spell?
No restrictions, but the longer you use the spell the more rolls you have to make and the greater the chance of failure (rolling less than 21 on any roll ends the spell)
Maligannt wrote:The spells description says a natural 20 is not a success, but the die roll adds caster level + stat. The die roll for a level 2 spell(caster level = 3)with a natural 20 would only be under 21 if the caster had a -3 caster stat odd to include this in the spell description.
I guess this is just in case a GM adds extra penalties to the roll.
Maligannt wrote:The following paragraph says 'the caster can only learn about one feature per level of ability'' What is a level of ability? Is this supposed to be caster level?
Level of Ability = Character Level
Maligannt wrote:Can the caster learn additional features of an item with an additional later casting of the spell or are we saying if an item has more than three abilities, only a caster of over level four(assuming ability level = caster level) can find those abilities no matter what time or expense is used?
Both are viable and probably left to GM fiat, one way makes that casting the spell several times will allow for the knowing of all special abilities in time even for low level casters, the other way makes more hard to know the special abilities, I'm inclined towards the second way, otherwise the spell have some features that won't come in play often.
Maligannt wrote:Finally using the chart at the bottom of the spell makes no sense as written with the example in the spell:

My players have found a magic sword! (I've secretly determined it is +1 / 3 vs dragons)

The third level magic user casts analyze magic and rolls until he gets a result total over 21 and learns of the enchantment of the sword, +1, he also knows there is another feature.

At this point the chart/instructions at the bottom say that as the dm I'm going to roll a d20 and consult this chart. According to the chart and the example, I'd roll a d20 and based only on the result of the die roll, tell him weak, moderate, strong, or very strong. In the example given in the spell description, it says this would be based on the +1 feature which he's already discovered, so I could only be telling him weak or moderate. Uhm, yeah, he already knows about the +1, so whatever answer I give him about the previous feature wouldn't matter very much to him, would it?
I think that making the 21+ roll only enables the knowing of a special ability but not what special ability it is, the caster will know there is an enchantment, and after the roll it will know its a weak, moderate, or strong one, not that it is actually a +1 bonus.
Maligannt wrote:Perhaps it was meant for scenarios in which you are going to tell the player, it is a weakly enchanted sword, or a strong enchanted sword versus dragons? Not tell them it is a +1 sword, or +3 versus dragons, even after they successfully used analyze magic to identify the item? That very quickly gets time consuming as you as the DM would be forced to track this and add it secretly into their to hit and damage rolls.
Well, if they get that magic sword and use it without knowing its properties... would you add it secretly or let them know the +1 bonus?
Maligannt wrote:Ugh, oh and you might have been lying to them when you said it was very strongly enchanted, because the chart told you to tell them very strong for that +3 sword feature because you rolled a secret d20 yielding a 20?
Don't take it as lying, rather as having an estimate about the weapon's magical strength, its not the GM lying but the caster having the wrong reading.

Re: Analyze Magic

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:19 pm
by Solomoriah
Maligannt wrote:I like the flavor of this spell, but I'm confused on some of the details:

Is there any restriction on the number of turns that a magic user can spend analyzing an item? Ie does rolling a one end the spell?
No, ANY failure ends the spell.
Maligannt wrote:The spells description says a natural 20 is not a success, but the die roll adds caster level + stat. The die roll for a level 2 spell(caster level = 3)with a natural 20 would only be under 21 if the caster had a -3 caster stat odd to include this in the spell description.
Huh?

A third level caster would roll 1d20 and add 3, plus his or her Int bonus if any (so perhaps as much as +6 to the die roll). Assuming the best possible bonus (+6), it would take a natural roll of 15 to succeed (15+6 = 21). If the character had no Int bonus, then a natural 18 would be needed (18+3 = 21).
Maligannt wrote:The following paragraph says 'the caster can only learn about one feature per level of ability'' What is a level of ability? Is this supposed to be caster level?
Yes. Level of ability == caster level in all such cases.
Maligannt wrote:Can the caster learn additional features of an item with an additional later casting of the spell or are we saying if an item has more than three abilities, only a caster of over level four(assuming ability level = caster level) can find those abilities no matter what time or expense is used?
The spell description doesn't say, and I never considered the question myself; I'd lean toward not giving any more information to the caster for trying twice, unless he or she had gained a level since the first casting. But that part is up to the GM.
Maligannt wrote:Finally using the chart at the bottom of the spell makes no sense as written with the example in the spell:

My players have found a magic sword! (I've secretly determined it is +1 / 3 vs dragons)

The third level magic user casts analyze magic and rolls until he gets a result total over 21 and learns of the enchantment of the sword, +1, he also knows there is another feature.
Not "rolls until." If he fails on the first roll, he's done.
Maligannt wrote:At this point the chart/instructions at the bottom say that as the dm I'm going to roll a d20 and consult this chart. According to the chart and the example, I'd roll a d20 and based only on the result of the die roll, tell him weak, moderate, strong, or very strong. In the example given in the spell description, it says this would be based on the +1 feature which he's already discovered, so I could only be telling him weak or moderate. Uhm, yeah, he already knows about the +1, so whatever answer I give him about the previous feature wouldn't matter very much to him, would it?
He does NOT know about the +1. He knows the weapon has a bonus, which you roll on the table for, and the description on the table is what you tell him.
Maligannt wrote:Is this secondary answer supposed to be for the next feature of the item? So since it is +3, I'd be picking from the +3 row? That makes a little bit of sense (maybe he has hit the caster level per feature limit) but it doesn't match the example given in the spell description, where the DM is using the +1 row of the chart for the second effect of the sword, which is +3. The spell description instead says this chart would only be used if the player learns of this second feature, even though the second feature is the final feature of the weapon????
The GM is using the +1 row for the FIRST feature in the example. The player does NOT get to know that it's +1, just that it is "weak" or "moderate."

Re: Analyze Magic

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:48 pm
by Dimirag
Solo, he means that the dumbest and lowest level MU able to cast the spell will succeed on a 18+ (+0 for int 9, +3 for level) so there is no need for the "natural 20 = success."

Re: Analyze Magic

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:27 pm
by Solomoriah
Ah, I see.

I've revised my copy to omit that bit. I'll probably put out a new copy of the Spells Supplement sometime soon.

Re: Analyze Magic

Posted: Mon May 04, 2015 5:56 pm
by Maligannt
Thank you for the clarifications.

Re: Analyze Magic

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:08 pm
by Restless
Pardon the thread necromancy, but I was wondering something about Analyze Magic. Since it doesn't require handling a magic item the way the AD&D Identify spell does, does that mean that Analyze Magic doesn't trigger curses?

Re: Analyze Magic

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:39 pm
by Solomoriah
Apparently not. I may need to do a little rethinking on that... cursed items should be detailed in the spell description.