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  1. #11
    I always just at the first time a players uses the spell describe that they detect the items they are wearing plus any other Pings of magic in the radius (the way the magic pings might vary taste / smell / colour) and then after that first use of the spell the character has become essentially proficient with the spell that they are able to suppress the detection of the items in there own possession and if they know that their travelling companions are carry specific magical artefacts then they are also suppressed, if they wish due to the knowledge that they are there. i normally have the caster roll a d% roll when using detect magic, this is normally an irrelevant roll, but if for some reason another travelling companion had sneakily acquired a magic item and was keeping it hidden then this might stand out from the parties normal background magic

  2. #12
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cozy View Post
    So, is this correct?
    You all let the players se that there are additional magical items in a room with detect magic.
    (Exept: blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.)

    It would make life a bit easier
    Yep

    And if the plot requires I do something different, then I let the players know by giving them some clue. Maybe something like "You cast detect magic, and as you extend your senses, something is wrong, but you don't know what." That way they can trust that they can be casual or less precise, but when they need to be precise they know I will give them info so they know that. I do the same thing with secret doors, traps, tracks, clues etc when passive perception is used but I want them to do something more than that. "You feel an unnatural chill on the back of your neck." Or "The slight echoes your voices have been making in the stone hallways has changed here, something is different, but you're not sure what it is."

  3. #13
    Agreed, about Detect Magic on a "in real life" vs "fun of a game that uses mutable time-frames". If a real detective used a Detect Magic, and had magic items. I'm sure they would have to turn over the apartment to get auras into visible line of site - or they'd have a CSI team that goes in without magic items so they have a "clean read." And if that's the gritty world a DM runs, more power to them. But, since getting jobs, we've had to...make some less gritty decisions to maximize our time and fun.

    That's why I try to make Perception, Investigation, Insight, and such rolls Tower Rolls. This way, there's some added anxiety over "did I fail?" But, more-so (and you'll see this in Baldur's Gate 3 - too, which was reassuring), because plot rolls can be "succeed on a 1" without having to tell the players they "cannot possibly fail". They get the "good stress" and your description then can make it feel like it was a close call, or a near-miraculous discovery, when it was really a foregone conclusion. And by doing this regularly, they never know if it's a plot required success, or just off-the-cuff ad-lib.

    So, if you want to do a semi-gritty, have them do a Tower Arcana or Tower Investigation while it's active to "discover an item". That way any plot-required items are going to be found no matter what. Maybe make a DC and if they fail the tower roll they still miss out on the bonus loot items, but they simply cannot fail the plot ones.

    One could say that the roll is pointless. And, it is. But, this way the PC don't know, so they feel that investment in a non-combat aspect of their character is worth it, and feel more well rounded in their contributions. Heck, sometimes, if I want to play it up. I attribute the "miraculous" discovery to the PC who's having the worst luck with those types of rolls, so they don't feel useless.

    And as for that comment about "how it manifests" (sound, touch, vibe, etc.) - YES, YES this!! Flavor adds variety and connectivity. In The Wheel of Time, they talk often about how the casters each approach the same end-effect in a different way based on how they were introduced to their power(s). In D&D, I've long embraced that same idea. Whether it's how a class perceives magic, or how a culture does. One of Ed Greenwood's books used "The Weave" as a way for casters to 'see' the magic when detecting it and when casting it. As if knitting threads of energy. The story implied that you could - eventually - recognize not only the type of weaving, but even the individual who wove it, because (like handwriting) we each have our own voice. So, maybe a Bard can even 'hear' the weave of magic in different tones beyond simply school. Maybe a wizard's conjuration sounds different than a clerics? Maybe a cleric of Bane is a rigid tone, while a Bards may be more playful.
    Last edited by estrolof; January 14th, 2021 at 08:28.

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