Appraise and the value of magic items.


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

I've searched the forums and have been unable to find exactly what I'm after.

Quote:
A DC 20 Appraise check determines the value of a common item. If you succeed by 5 or more, you also determine if the item has magic properties, although this success does not grant knowledge of the magic item’s abilities. If you fail the check by less than 5, you determine the price of that item to within 20% of its actual value. If you fail this check by 5 or more, the price is wildly inaccurate, subject to GM discretion. Particularly rare or exotic items might increase the DC of this check by 5 or more. You can also use this check to determine the most valuable item in a treasure hoard. The DC of this check is generally 20 but can increase to as high as 30 for a particularly large hoard.

The way I'm reading it is you can determine the value of regular items (jewellery, artwork, trade goods, gems. etc], and you can determine if a particular item has magical properties, though not the details of said properties.

But how do you determine the actual value of a magical item? Do they fall under the 'rare or exotic items'? Use the skill as is? Up the DC?

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Without knowing what an item does, you cannot know how much it will cost.

Since you need spellcraft (in concert with detect magic, identify or similar magic), I' say that if you know what it can do, you know how much it costs. As a spellcaster - and one who knows about those properties - you probably know how much it costs.

Grand Lodge

Cheers!


After identifying a magic item, appraising them should be the same based on the appraisal check.

Even tho this might be premature in most campaigns as yet, I was looking at the Spellcraft / Detect Magic combo to ID magic items. This is fine for normal items but what I didn't find is a way to ID Artifacts / Relic's and/or epic items. It specifically states under spellcraft that it would not work for Artifact type items. So, how would you ID them?


Shoga wrote:

After identifying a magic item, appraising them should be the same based on the appraisal check.

Even tho this might be premature in most campaigns as yet, I was looking at the Spellcraft / Detect Magic combo to ID magic items. This is fine for normal items but what I didn't find is a way to ID Artifacts / Relic's and/or epic items. It specifically states under spellcraft that it would not work for Artifact type items. So, how would you ID them?

Interesting.

Every spell in the Core Book (Identify, Arcane Sight, Analyze Dweomer, Greater Arcane Sight) that I can think of to identify magic items' properties specifically states that it doesn't work on artifacts.

Execpt Detect Magic, the lowly little cantrip, which is lacking this particular restriction. I would assume this was an oversight on the part of the writer - I see no reason for level 1, 3, 6, and 7 spells to be unable to do something that a simple cantrip can do.

Furthermore, even though Shoga references a specific ruling under Spellcraft on this, I am unable to find that ruling. Shoga, could you please cite that page reference? Is it somewhere other than the Spellcraft skill?

So, assuming the Detect Magic thing is an oversight (or there is a rule in the book that I haven't been able to find), then there is no spell to my knowledge that can reveal the powers of an artifact.

I suppose someone could Wish to find out.

Arguably, Legend Lore or Vision might reveal all the legendary knowlege of an item, but it would require weeks of casting (Vision is faster than Legen Lore) and would only reveal legends, like "This axe is great at chopping up bad guys, even better at chopping up goblins, and it makes you a good smith and craftsman too, and it hurts non-dwarves who wield it". I'm not sure such legends will really tell someone exactly what the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords can really do, not the way an Identify spell would (if Identify worked, which it doesn't).

So, apparently artifacts are mysteries.

Maybe a kindly DM would offer enough clues that a PC might be able to Legend Lore the basic generalities, and then he could experiment with it enough to figure out the exact details over time and use and familiarity.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

buzzby wrote:
Any advice would be much appreciated.

I'm not sure if this is RAW, but here is how I do it.

1) If they succeed in the roll, I tell them if the item is magical.

2) If they succeed, I also tell them the price (approximate) of the item even if it is magical so long as the item is in the DMG, MIC, or campaign books used.

3) If the item is a custom item or they fail, they get nothing.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I'm afraid I don't understand how an Appraise check of 25 can determine if an object is magic. Appraise a skill that normal, mundane characters can pick up. (And we're not talking about a long, careful examination. Appraising an object is a standard action, and characters can't take 20 on it.) So a Fighter just looks at a door from across the room and can tell its dwoemered with an Appraise roll?

I'm also at a loss to imagine how Appraise can find the most valuable item in a treasure hoard in 6 seconds. (If it's a big hoard, it's a tough roll, but still takes only one full round.) "After a moment's pause, I can tell that the most valuable item in this castle's treasure vault is 13 feet from the left edge of the room, 27 feet down from our end, sealed in a light wooden chest. It'll be on the right side of the chest, buried about half-way down in copper coins."

(Oh, and regarding artifacts, in D&D 3.5 I would assume that's up to the Bard and her bardic knowledge class ability, which would reveal lore about famous things, but Pathfinder bards don't have that ability.)


as quoted by DM Blake,

"Furthermore, even though Shoga references a specific ruling under Spellcraft on this, I am unable to find that ruling. Shoga, could you please cite that page reference? Is it somewhere other than the Spellcraft skill?"

Sir, I superimposed the word "Spellcraft" for "Identify". I was referencing a conversation I had with my group last week and didn't refresh my memory of the specifics. My apologies. I went back and looked over it all again to refresh my memory.

I figure you are correct in that the Legend Lore ability, Vision / wish spells would be the only way to truly identify an artifact.
Even extensive study of knowledges based on the type of item and / or the owner wouldn't give you specific artifact abilities.

Detect Magic wouldn't id a normal magic item or artifact. Its main purpose is to define what kinds of magic elements are involved with an item as well as the relative strengths. So, for example, a bag of holding type 1 would glow with a medium Conjuration aura considering thats the kind of magic that was used in its construction plus the permanency spell which would be a medium strength universal aura.


Shoga wrote:
Detect Magic wouldn't id a normal magic item or artifact. Its main purpose is to define what kinds of magic elements are involved with an item as well as the relative strengths. So, for example, a bag of holding type 1 would glow with a medium Conjuration aura considering thats the kind of magic that was used in its construction plus the permanency spell which would be a medium strength universal aura.

Better read that one again (especially the last sentence of this paragraph):

Pathfinder Core Rules, Detect Magic spell, page 267 wrote:

3rd Round: The strength and location of each aura. If the items

or creatures bearing the auras are in line of sight, you can make
Knowledge (arcana) skill checks to determine the school of magic
involved in each. (Make one check per aura: DC 15 + spell level,
or 15 + 1/2 caster level for a nonspell effect.) If the aura eminates
from a magic item, you can attempt to identify its properties
(see Spellcraft).

And

Pathfinder Core Rules, Spellcraft, page 106 wrote:

Attempting to ascertain the

properties of a magic item takes 3 rounds per item to be
identified and you must be able to thoroughly examine
the object.

And

Pathfinder Core Rules, Spellcraft, page 106 wrote:
Identify the properties of a magic item using detect magic 15 + item’s caster level

So yes, it's exactly how Pathfinder expects normal magic items to be identified.

Of course, there is also the level 1 Identify spell for the right classes, but all it does is duplicate the effect of detect magic with a +10 to the roll, just in case maybe their Spellcraft scores are low, or maybe they just hate to fail when the d20 betrays them by rolling super low:

Pathfinder Core Rules, Identify spell, page 299 wrote:

This spell functions as detect magic, except that it gives you a

+10 enhancement bonus on Spellcraft checks made to identify
the properties and command words of magic items in your
possession. This spell does not allow you to identify artifacts.

It still doesn't help anyone identify artifacts though.


Now to answer the original post:

Appraise will never tell you what the magic item is. With a good Appraise skill check, you might know that the ring you are holding is magical, but that's as far as it goes.

Just staying within Core rules, that ring could be worth a mere 2,000 gp, or an astounding 200,000 gp, or anywhere in between, and there is no way any Appraise check will tell you which it is.

But, if you know the properties of the item (perhaps you are a mage, or know a mage, who has used Detect Magic, Identify, Arcane Sight, Analyze Dweomer, or Greater Arcane Sight to determine the properties of the magical ring), now you can use your Appraise skill to determine the value.

Depending on your interpretation, a +1 longsword, or a Cloak of +1 resistance, or a potion of Cure Light Wounds, or a Ring of +1 protection, etc., might all be "common items" and therefore easily appraised.

Other magic items that are less common (+3 sword, ring of Water Walking, Boots of Speed, etc.) or really unusual (Sunblade, ring of Djinni Calling, Well of Many Worlds, etc.), might qualify for this rule:

Pathfinder Core Rules, Appraise skill, page 90 wrote:

Particularly rare or exotic items might increase

the DC of this check by 5 or more.

Which leaves a lot of room for DM's interpretation on what qualifies as "common" and what qualifies as "rare", as well as just how rare it is, since "by 5 or more" leaves the rule wide open for the "or more" part to get way out of control.

Me, I'm satisfied with this (my generic system for determining appraise DCs of magic items):

No magic item is "common", so every magic item automatically adds the +5 to the DC. Then I add +1 for every whole 10,000 GP in the price. So to appraise a +1 or +2 sword, the DC is just 25. A +3 sword is DC 26, a +4 sword is DC 28, and a +5 sword is DC 31. A Well of Many Worlds is DC 33, and a rign of Djinni Calling is DC 37.

On a case by case basis I might adjust up or down, if I feel the item is more or less "rare" than it's sticker price would seem to indicate. For example, my simple little system says a +5 weapon, a carpet of flying, and a darkskull are all the same DC 31 to appraise, but I just cannot except that there are as many darkskulls in the world, bought and sold at market, as there are +5 weapons, so I'm sure I would slide that one up a few DC, maybe to 35ish, just because it's very rare and virtually unheard of.

I guess that's a house rule, but it's not much of one, since the RAW says it's up to me to decide the rarity of the item being appraised, without telling me how to make that decision, so I just use this as a guideline so I'm fair each time.


I know this an old thread, but we were just discussing this in our campaign tonight. We have found an object that has somewhat revealed itself with properties of an artifact (aka, not normal magic item). This item is not essential to our campaign - it was rolled as a random addition in our backgrounds.

Here are our decisions concerning artifacts:

1) The "Identify" spell DOES WORK on artifacts. We believe that the "no artifact" aspect is an artifact (teehee) from the 3.5 rules. The Identify merely adds +10 to the spellcraft check in pathfinder, and no longer outright identifies an object.

2) Due to the fact that our artifact is semi-dormant, a roll total of 44 by our cleric (nat 20, 14 spellcraft, 10 identify) does not identify all aspects of the item.

3) An artifact cannot be identified by spellcraft alone. It requires knowledge and lore checks. If you can identify most/all the properties of an artifact, but have never heard of it, you probably cannot identify the artifact specifically, obviously.

4) It's DM discretion. In our case, it's not vital to the campaign. If we manage to activate more of the properties, we will be able to more quickly identify the artifact. If the item is central to the campaign, a 60 count might not even reveal all.

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