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Question for those who play D&D 4e.
I'm new to playing and DMing D&D4e. For those with more experience, how is distribution of magic items typically handled? Does the DM typically say something like "You pry from the cold, dead, hands of the fallen orc leader a finely crafted mace, which feels well-balanced and easy to use in your hands" or more like "You pry....a +1 Mace of Bashing (7th level)"?

In previous editions, there was an identify spell which cost a lot of time and effort -- magic items rarely got identified in the field -- but I must have glossed over seeing that in 4e.

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In 4th edition, they simplified the whole identification thing so that basically a character can work on identifying items during a short/extended rest. So basically, they did away with the need to cast rituals or spells to identify magic items.

That being said, the DM can determine how simple or complex the item is to identify if there is a desire to make things interesting. A fighter really should not be able to identify a magic staff nor a wizard identify a holy symbol terribly easily.

From my play experience, most DMs often give you the identity of magic items once you hit a short/extended rest, with the exception sometimes of unique/legendary items, which may come with strings attached.

So by that method, it would be reasonable to go with the "nice looking mace that's really well balanced" initially, followed by "after examining the mace more while on watch, you realize that it looks a lot like that +1 Mace of Bashing you saw in the weapons shop a couple of years ago".

That sounds reasonable.

Re: Identifying loot

Sounds good...and perhaps if the item were snazzy enough, make it a bit tougher to identify, "It's definitely a mace of great power and will take a bit longer to analyze completely"
whereas if it's something simple, "That's a +1 lightning mace. You saw them on blowout sale at ye old weaponsmith last week" :-)

Granted, a blowout sale means it's only 5 times your 1st-level character's net worth instead of 10 ;-).

Re: Identifying loot

This is largely how its done here in my group. And Andy has done playtesting with Wizards.

When I was playing in college, we would simply give whatever it was to whoever could use it the best. If two characters were interested, it would go to the one using the lowest level magic item.

Well, of course who gets what is up to the group; I was more concerned with how magic items are identified.

Ahhhhh! An identify spell, if possible. Why should you let them know what the thing is anyway? Don't tell them, and let the wackiness ensue! They'll figure it out soon enough.

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