Custom Dungeon World Move: Identify

I’ve been playing a little bit of Dungeon World with some friends lately(the system is awesome, very streamlined for beginners, and I really love the influence the players have in telling the action/story).  One thing that I found odd, coming from D&D proper, was the lack of any kind of an Identify spell.  The creators replied to my tweet regarding how to figure out a magical item and pointed to Spout Lore(if it fits), Ritual, asking a another being for help, and trying it out to see what happens.  That last option honestly sounds awesome and very “Dungeon Worldy” to me, but I thought I’d try introducing a custom move in a future game to see how it goes.

The following move is based heavily on Whiskeyjack’s idea in this thread, which they actually use in Apocalypse World.  Since the two systems “run on the same engine”, and share the same creators, I thought it would fit into Dungeon World easily enough.

This is an advanced move, accessible starting at level 2, available under the Bard and Wizard classes.  The downside to picking this advanced move upon leveling up is that the player could just try to figure out the magical item on their own and take a more unique or useful move instead.

Identify

When you have some quiet time you can study an item you know to be magical to reveal some of what it does; roll +Int and ask a number of questions to the GM who will answer truthfully
On a 10+, choose two from the 7-9 list
On 7-9, choose one from the list

  • You discover the item’s command word. Tell the GM how this happened and he will tell you what the command word is.  If there is no command word, the GM says so as their answer.
  • As you study the item it imparts to you a hint of its use. The GM will give you a one or two word hint/description relating to it’s use.
  • You remember some historical fact relating to the item you’re inspecting. The GM will ask you two questions about the item’s origin.
  • You think that you have figured out a way to reveal the item’s secrets, but it is going to cost you. The GM will tell you the cost and you can decide if you think it is worth it.

To pair with this new player move, in an effort to make things interesting, I will also offer this GM move for use on a 6-, Activate the magical item.  Perhaps this isn’t always relevant, the magical properties could be passive, but if the weapon needs to be activated in some way, have some fun and activate it.  They wanted to find out what it does right?

 

In this example, the dagger’s magical power is it renders the wielder invisible only if they stab themselves with it.

Cory: Okay, since we’re making camp anyway I want to identify this dagger I found.

GM: Alright sure, roll+Int!

Cory: Okay.  Oh man a 4?  Argh, guess I’ll try some other time.

GM: Not so fast…You’re looking over this dagger, trying to extract some magical energy to clue you in on what it can do.  After about 20 minutes you get careless and it slips accidentally stabbing yourself for d4 damage!  However, upon stabbing your leg you turn invisible.

Cory: Whoa, cool!  And I only take d4-2 damage b/c of my armor.  This will come in handy…