29 December 2011

(New Magic Item) Saudamard's Club

Saudamard was a strange and unique hero, an orphaned Hin (the name halflings use for themselves in the Mystara setting) raised by animals in the wilderness. Saudamard himself claimed that he was raised in a nest of rust monsters in the Cruth mountains, but for the majority of his life, this was not taken seriously. Even his name, bestowed upon him by other Hin local to the region around Longflask and Aergruth, in the northeast corner of the Five Shires when he began to pop up once in a while, was part of the joke, a rough play on the Karameikan phrase Sau D' Amarad, or "Prince of Beasts".

Saudamard either never got the joke, or didn't take offense to it, and though he remained wild and uncouth for a Hin, he gained some popularity among the locals as a vigilante of the backroads, sometimes showing up to aid travelers beset by bandits or monsters.

When the Hin of the Shires invaded the Black Eagle barony, a corrupt fief of Karameikos, whose King encouraged the military action and made no attempt to aid the Baron, his estranged cousin, Saudamard was in the thick of things, wearing his usual battle worn and trail dusty leather armor, but carrying only a simple club. A fitting end to a people's hero, Saudamard fell in the battle that freed his kin from the atrocities of their wicked neighbor, but odd stories began to spread, tales that during the battle, enemies hit by Saudamard's club saw their armor and swords crumble apart into ruin, and were forced to fight defenseless and without arms or flee the field. Dismissed at first, the tales became so common and popular that Saudamard's old stories of being raised by the rust monsters started to be taken seriously.


Saudamard's Club appears as a well made but battle worn club, about 2 feet in length, with the handle wrapped in stout leather and stone rings, etched with tribal art style depictions of rust monsters, where a normal club might have rings of metal.

The Club is foremost a Club +1, granting its bonus to the wielder's hit and damage rolls. In addition, any successful hit on non-magical metal (including armor, weapons, etc) causes the target to Save vs. Paralysis or have that metal item immediately crumble away into rusty dust. Unlike a real rust monster, the club has no affect on magical metal.

Due to the chaotic bumping and jostling of combat, there is a 5% chance per combat (not per attack) encounter of the wielder accidentally striking his own armor or possessions, invoking the club's power.

This flaw is realized by the weapon's owners rather quickly, and is the reason none have kept the club very long since Saudamard's death. It might currently be found around the Five Shires or Karameikos, abandoned or sold by its last owner.

30 May 2011

Classic DnD Dragon Magazine Adventure Index

As you can see, I've made these indices a bit more helpful than those usually found online, including notes on the intended setting, party make up & levels, and a brief description of the premise of the adventure to help you pick an adventure that's right for your group and campaign. Additionally, since a lot of folks have a favorite author or two whose work they value above others, I've listed the author of each adventure.

Issue: 21 (Dec '78)
Title: The Hall of Mystery
Author: Don Turnbull
Setting: Generic Dungeon Crawl (with Aurthurian myth references)
Levels: 8-12 (as with many early 'adventures', no such information is given, but based on the monster selection, high end Expert level PCs should suffice)
Suggested Party Make-Up: standard well rounded party, I suggest at least one cleric to support the fighter and spellcaster types. Not a whole lot of use for thieves here, alas.
Note: The author, who was also editor of White Dwarf magazine and the AD&D Fiend Folio, like many designers and DMs of the era, hosted his own ever growing mega-dungeon, The Greenlands Dungeon. This short dungeon crawl is noted as being "a section deep in" that dungeon, but no further information is provided. For more tidbits on the Greenlands dungeon, refer to early issues of White Dwarf magazine.
Description: In what might be described as an early 'one page dungeon', the PCs are tossed into a very old school, very plotless dungeon crawl. Nice variety of monsters though, and some neat teleporter 'traps' to randomly (and unknowingly, causing all sorts of fun and confusion) zap the party from place to place on the map, though. A nice option for a a session campaign interlude.

Issue
: 55 (Nov '81)
Title: The Creature of Rhyl
Author: Kevin Knuth
Setting: Generic Dungeon Crawl
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 3 or more PCs, ideally including one 3rd level magic user, elf or cleric and multiple 2nd or 3rd level fighters, dwarves or halflings
Description: For years, the mad magician Astylis has summoned a fell beast to terrorize the people of Rhyl with nightly raids. After the kidnapping of the prince and the theft of some royal heirlooms, the king finally sent his men into the mountains to find Astylis' lair and rescue the prince. The king's men failed, but perhaps the party can succeed in besting Astylis' dungeon, defeating his dragon (yes, dragon) and rescuing the prince?

Issue: 92 (Dec '84)
Title: The Sword of Justice
Author: Jon Mattson
Setting: Generic Dungeon Crawl
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4 to 6, preferably of Lawful alignment. Dwarves and Elves are helpful, for their racial abilities with secret doors and such, but not required.
Description: A magic sword said to be able to judge the truth of any man's words is brought out to settle a murder trial, but both the sword and the accused, an eccentric elf, vanish mysteriously during the trial! After tracking the fugitive to a run down mansion, commonly thought haunted, the party must explore the place, retrieve the sword and if possible, capture the fugitive.


An Important Note:
Unfortunately, some online indices of Dragon magazine material often label various late 1990s era material, including the so-called 'fast play' starter adventures like "The Ruined Tower", by Jeff Grubb in issue 251, as Classic D&D. These materials are not Classic D&D. Instead, they are a very dumbed down, rules light version of AD&D 2nd edition, intended to introduce new players to the game and hook them into playing AD&D. While the adventures are generally fun, quick to play and very easy to adapt to Classic D&D, the presence of such AD&D features as "Halfling Thieves" clearly show that these are not Classic D&D.

29 May 2011

Classic DnD Dungeon Magazine Adventure Index - part 7


As you can see, I've made these indices a bit more helpful than those usually found online, including notes on the intended setting, party make up & levels, and a brief description of the premise of the adventure to help you pick an adventure that's right for your group and campaign. 


Issue:
53 (May/Jun '95)
Title: Elexa's Endeavor
Setting: Generic dungeon crawl, with Known World adaptation notes
Levels: 4-7
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs, with at least one thief and one magic-user or elf
Description: While resting in a small rural town, the party is contacted by a local cleric, newly back from a religious crusade, who needs help clearing some brigands out of her families nearby castle. After a short but harrowing trip through the local woods, the party is in for a pretty straightforward dungeoncrawl, concluding with an epic battle with a band of brigands.

Issue: 54 (Jul/Aug '95)
Title: Redcap's Rampage
Setting: Generic urban and dungeon crawl
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 2-5 PCs, with at least one cleric and one magic-user or elf
Description: After hearing rumors of a coming goblin invasion, the locals decided to renovate their town's keep. Accidents and mysterious incidents began to thwart their efforts, the PCs get to investigate. The angry Redcap (a malicious fey being related to the Brownie) is only the beginning of their troubles, as a band of wererats awaits.

28 May 2011

Classic DnD Dungeon Magazine Adventure Index - part 6

As you can see, I've made these indices a bit more helpful than those usually found online, including notes on the intended setting, party make up & levels, and a brief description of the premise of the adventure to help you pick an adventure that's right for your group and campaign. Additionally, since a lot of folks have a favorite author or two whose work they value above others, I've listed the author of each adventure.


Issue:
44 (Nov/Dec '93)
Title: The Hand Of Al-Djamal
Setting: Known World Urban (Glantri)
Levels: 9-12
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs, including at least one magic-user or elf, and one cleric
Description: A museum curator in Glantri city has a problem, mummies he acquired to display wont stay dead. He hires the party to deal with the undead, preferably without destroying the bodies. Will the PCs fulfill his request and find the vengeful creature that keeps animating the corpses? Obviously, a cleric or two would come in handy. The goblins in the adventure are well detailed with fleshed out personalities, and any PCs who speak the goblin language can make the adventure a lot more interesting.

Issue: 46 (Mar/Apr '94)
Title: Dovedale
Setting: Generic wilderness and dungeon crawl
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 2-3 PCs, with at least one thief or halfling
Description: The small town of Dovedale has two pretty interesting features. First is a river that's said to be home to a talking fish. Second is the nearby band of goblins, whose chief is an avid fisherman hellbent on hooking the talking fish. The rest of the goblins are causing trouble for the town and the party is hired to find their lair and flush them out.

Issue: 48 (Jul/Aug '94)
Title: Them Apples
Setting: Generic wilderness, with Known World adaptation notes
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-8 PCs
Description: Wistil is a small village of halflings and their renowned apple orchards. While the hin here are friendly, their success in the regions farmers markets has made them a few enemies. When a rival makes a pact with a mischevious wood drake to cause a blight on Wistil's orchards, the party is hired to help find the source of the mysterious blight. Solving the puzzle gets a lot more complicated, of course, and sends the party on a wild romp involving hill giants, wood drakes, and pesky druids.

Issue: 50 (Nov/Dec '94)
Title: The Object Of Desire
Setting: Generic Arabian fantasy waterborne and dungeon crawl
Levels: 5-8
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs, with at least one cleric
Description: A wealthy caliph hires the party to escort his niece and her dowry on a sea voyage to her wedding. While distracted by an annoying servant of the caliph who's also along for the trip, the Princess is kidnapped and taken to an island cave complex, where the party must find and rescue her.

Issue: 51 (Jan/Feb '95)
Title: The Witch Of Windcrag
Setting: Generic dungeon crawl
Levels: 2-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs
Note: This is a Side Treks encounter, not a full fledged adventure
Description: While visiting home, the PCs are reminded of the tale of the witch of windcrag, a local bogeyman type figure who starred in many of the bedtime stories and wives tales of their youth. Well, turns out the witch is real, she's actually a harpy, and the party can finally end her reign of terror by exploring her cavern lair and defeating her.

26 May 2011

Classic DnD Dungeon Magazine Adventure Index - part 4

As you can see, I've made these indices a bit more helpful than those usually found online, including notes on the intended setting, party make up & levels, and a brief description of the premise of the adventure to help you pick an adventure that's right for your group and campaign. Additionally, since a lot of folks have a favorite author or two whose work they value above others, I've listed the author of each adventure.


Issue
: 24 (Jul/Aug '90)
Title: In The Dread Of Night
Author: Ann Dupuis
Setting: Known World Urban (Karameikos)
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 5-8 PCs
Description: A few of the people of Sisak, a town in Karameikos, got tired of their livestock being stolen and set out to investigate, now they're missing too. The adventure is pretty straightforward; find the evil wizards tower and defeat him and his horde of orc lackeys. What makes this adventure really worthwhile is the fact that it contains a completely fleshed out Known World town, Sisak. The town can easily serve as a base of operations for low to mid-level parties.

Issue: 25 (Sep/Oct '90)
Title: Hrothgar's Resting Place
Setting: Known World Wilderness and Dungeon Crawl (Karameikos)
Levels: 4-7
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs, with at least one cleric and one magic-user or elf
Description: The party discovers the journal of the leader of an adventuring band from Soderfjord, in which he relates a madness that overtook one of his companions, Hrothgar. Since the journal includes a map to the cavern complex where Hrothgar met his end, near the town of Kelvin, it's easy for the party to investigate and recover the treasures overlooked when the journal writer's party explored the place a quarter century ago.

Issue: 26 (Nov/Dec '90)
Title: Caravan Guards
Setting: Generic wilderness, with Known World adaptation notes
Levels: 6-8
Suggested Party Make-Up: 6-8 PCs, with at least one magic-user or elf
Description: After being hired to guard a caravan travelling from Darokin city to Selenica (or any two cities you wish, if not using the Known World setting. The inclusion of those two cities is entirely irrelevant to the adventure itself.), the party is in for a big surprise when their employers turn out to be flesh eating monsters!

Issue: 27 (Jan/Feb '91)
Title: Tarfil's Tomb
Setting: Known World Wilderness and dungeon crawl (Karameikos)
Levels: 10-14
Suggested Party Make-Up: 5-7 PCs, with at least one cleric
Description: While visiting Kelvin, the prophetic dreams of a local cleric lead the party to the tomb of an ancient hero, to destroy the corruption the villains are causing. The undead in this adventure are particularly powerful and nasty, so a cleric in the party is very important, if not absolutely required.

Issue: 28 (Mar/Apr '91)
Title: Manden's Meathooks
Setting: Known World Wilderness (Glantri)
Levels: 4-6
Suggested Party Make-Up: 3-6 PCs
Note: This is a Side Treks encounter, not a full fledged adventure. Additionally, although it doesn't affect the encounter at all, the material in the adventure was originally intended for the Hollow World adventure HWA1: Nightwail, but cut from there due to space editing, and adapted for use in Glantri in the magazine.
A band of brigands is using a hurricane lamp to ambush travellers resting at a well used campsite. Can the party survive the lamps magic and defeat the brigands and their leader?

25 May 2011

Classic DnD Dungeon Magazine Adventure Index - part 3

As you can see, I've made these indices a bit more helpful than those usually found online, including notes on the intended setting, party make up & levels, and a brief description of the premise of the adventure to help you pick an adventure that's right for your group and campaign. Additionally, since a lot of folks have a favorite author or two whose work they value above others, I've listed the author of each adventure.


Issue:
15 ( Jan/Feb '89 )
Title: In Pursuit Of The Slayer
Author: Carl Sargent
Setting: Generic Wilderness Chase
Levels: 6-9
Suggested Party Make-Up: 6-8 PCs, with at least two fighters or dwarves, and access to mounts
Description: The party gets caught up in the wild cross country pursuit of a once noble and just hero who has turned to evil and threatens to raise an undead army to terrorize the land, but there's a twist. Could an evil curse on an item the hero posesses be the cause of his actions? This is a pretty fast paced adventure, with a handful of side encounters along the route of the chase and a grand combat at the end.

Issue: 20 (Nov/Dec '89)
Title: Pride Of The Sky
Randy Maxwell
Setting: Known World wilderness (Broken Lands)
Levels: 8-12
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs, with at least one cleric
Description: Lured by legends and rumors of a crashed flying ship, the party delves into the temple dungeon a band of Manscorpions has converted the wreck into. The adventure utilizes material from the Orcs of Thar Gazetteer (non-human clerics) and could also be used as an introduction to flying ships and other material found in the Top Ballista sourcebook for a DM wanting to bring that material into the campaign.

Issue: 21 (Jan/Feb '90)
Title: The Bane Of Elfswood
Author: Stephen J Smith
Setting: Known World Wilderness (Norwold)
Levels: 15-18
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-5 PCs, with at least one cleric and one magic-user or elf
Description: While enlisted by an Elven NPC to help avenge the deaths of her family members, the PCs explore part of Norwold's wilderness, battling some powerful undead and uncovering the evil plot of a vengeful druid.

Issue: 22 (Mar/Apr '90)
Title: Rank Amateurs
Author: John J Terra
Setting: Known World Wilderness and urban (Glantri)
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 6-8 humanoid PCs designed using Gazetteer 10: Orcs of Thar
Description: As noted above, this is an adventure for monstrous characters using the rules in the Orcs of Thar Gazetteer. While the main plotline concerns a no-win situation mission the PCs are sent on by their chieftain and are expected to realize the futility of at some point, the bulk of the action concerns exploring a ruined fort now controlled by other humanoids.

Issue: 23 (May/Jun '90)
Title: The Vineyard Vales
Author: Randy Maxwell
Setting: Known World Wilderness (Soderfjord)
Levels: 2-4
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs
Description: The PCs are recruited to help rid a small farming community of the locust plagues that are destroying their vineyards. Can the party uncover the schemes of the evil magic user that is responsible and defeat him and his minions to save the crops?

24 May 2011

Classic DnD Dungeon Magazine Adventure Index - part 2

As you can see, I've made these indices a bit more helpful than those usually found online, including notes on the intended setting, party make up & levels, and a brief description of the premise of the adventure to help you pick an adventure that's right for your group and campaign. Additionally, since a lot of folks have a favorite author or two whose work they value above others, I've listed the author of each adventure.


Issue:
9 ( Jan/Feb '88 )
Title: The Djinni's Ring
Author: Vince Garcia
Setting: Known World Arabian Fantasy Urban (Ylaruam)
Levels: 3
Suggested Party Make-Up: Pregen 3rd level Elf included
Note: This is a 'choose your own adventure' style solo adventure, specially crafted for the pregen character. With a bit of work, the scenario could be expanded to suit an entire low level party.
Description: Moonstone, an Elf from the Canolbarth Forest, finds himself in the Emirates or Ylaruam, where he is enlisted by a Djinni to recover the magical rings that can free the creature from the dark curse keeping him imprisoned.

Issue: 9 ( Jan/Feb '88 )
Title: The Ghostship Gambit
Author: Randy Maxwell
Setting: Generic Waterborne, with Known World and module X6: Quagmire! adaptation notes
Levels: 3-6
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-6 PCs, with at least one elf (for interaction with elf NPCs/adversaries, a non-elf PC who speaks Elven will suffice)
Description: A busy but remote port town is being harassed by a mysterious "ghost ship" and looking for help. Can the party discover the real culprits and put an end to their attacks?

Issue: 12 ( July/Aug '88 )
Title: At The Spottle Parlor
Author: Rick Swan
Setting: Known World Urban (Glantri City)
Levels: 2-4
Suggested Party Make-Up: 1-3 PCs, with at least one fighter (not strictly required, but helpful in the melee heavy events)
Description: The party is invited to a night a gaaming with a noteworthy wealthy NPC, but things get pretty ugly as the night goes on, eventually erupting into combat.

Issue: 13 ( Sep/Oct '88 )
Title: Of Nests And Nations
Author: Randy Maxwell
Setting: Known World Urban (Specularum)
Levels: 8-12
Suggested Party Make-Up: 3-5 PCs
Description: Riots and murder are rampant in Specularum, and the PCs are needed to track down the group responsible, defeat their leader and put an end to the violence. This is a fairly intricately plotted adventure that takes the PCs all over Specularum and can be fleshed out into a mini-campaign in and of itself.

Issue: 14 ( Nov/Dec '88 )
Title: The Wererats Of Relfren
Authors: Grant Boucher and William Kurt Wenz
Setting: Generic Urban
Levels: 3-6
Suggested Party Make-Up: 4-8 PCs, with at least one thief
Note: DMs running this adventure for a party containing demihumans are advised to consult the rules regarding lycanthropy and demihumans and consider the potential lethality of the scenario
Description: A small mountain town is plagued by a band of wererats led by an evil NPC, and need the party to overcome the threat before the coming of a yearly festival. The scenario itself is fairly straightforward, but the inclusion of a completely fleshed out small town to use as a base for further adventures makes this a valuable adventure.

23 May 2011

Classic DnD Dungeon Magazine Adventure Index - part 1

I've combed through my collection of Dungeon magazines, and documented all the published adventures for BX, BECMI and RC D&D.

As you can see, I've made these indices a bit more helpful than those usually found online, including notes on the intended setting, party make up & levels, and a brief description of the premise of the adventure to help you pick an adventure that's right for your group and campaign. Additionally, since a lot of folks have a favorite author or two whose work they value above others, I've listed the author of each adventure.


Here we go!

Issue: 1 ( Sept/Oct '86 )
Title: The Elven Home
Author: Anne Gray McCready
Setting: Generic Wilderness
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 1-4 PCs
Description: The party discovers the dwelling of an elven family in the wilderness, will they learn the secrets of the mysterious pond the elves watch over? This is a rather short encounter area, not a full fledged adventure, but for a party that is wounded or lost, could make a nice little diversion during a game. If the encounters with the elves go well, they could serve as future allies and a safe haven in the wilds. While not required, an elf PC in the party could make the role playing interaction with the NPCs a lot more interesting.

Issue: 2 ( Nov/Dec '86 )
Title: The Keep At Koralgesh
Authors: Robert B. Giacomozzi & Jonathan H. Simmons
Setting: Generic Dungeon Crawl
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 6-8 PCs, with half of the party of level 2 or 3
Description: While resting in town between adventures, the party hears a legend of riches hidden in a nearby ruin from the town's blacksmith. Can they defeat the horrors within the ruins and bring back the blacksmith's heirloom? This is a pretty standard dungeon crawl, with unique, fully detailed monsters and a few unusual encounters, such as combat while partially submerged in a pool. Most groups will probably complete the scenario in 2 to 4 sessions of play. The dungeon's ties to dwarven history could lead to interesting role play opportunities for a dwarf PC, if the party has one. Should the party complete the quest and return the blacksmith his heirloom, they will have earned a valuable ally in whatever town you place him.

Issue: 5 ( May/June '87 )
Title: The Trouble With Mylvin Wimbly
Author: Andrew McCray
Setting: Generic Wilderness
Levels: 1-3
Suggested Party Make-Up: 6-10 PCs, with at least one halfling (for interaction with NPC halfings, not strictly required)
Description: A well meaning halfling is driven to petty theft to sruvive after betraying his former employer. Will the party help him defeat the angry magic-user and reclaim his life? This is a somewhat short wilderness encounter that leads to a brief dungeon crawl if the party decides to help defeat Lazambar, the chaotic magic-user looking for Mylvin. The party should easily complete the adventure in one session, but if they find Lazambar's treasure map, it can be used as a lead in to the next chapter of the campaign, and of course, if Lazambar is defeated but not killed, he will surely nurse a grudge and turn up again at some point to harass the party. Mylvin himself might make a loyal addition to the party if he survives and the party forgives his theft that leads into the adventure.

Issue: 6 ( July/Aug '87 )
Title: Tortles Of The Purple Sage, Part 1
Authors: Merle Rasmussen & Jackie Rasmussen
Setting: Known World Wilderness (Savage Coast)
Levels: 4-10
Suggested Party Make-Up: 2-8 PCs, with at least one cleric of level 6 or higher (for healing on extended forays away from settlements), and at least a moderate outfitting of magical items
Note: Though it is not required for play, the scenario is a follow up to the events in module X9: Savage Coast
Description: The river known as the Great Northway is thought to be the key to trade in the Savage Coast region of the Known World. The PCs accompany a trade caravan as it treks along in search of the river's mouth (on foot or boat, their choice), discovering many of the unique folk and monsters of the area. As mentioned above, the adventure can easily serve as a sequel to the Savage Coast adventure module, or stand alone.

Issue: 7 ( Sept/Oct '87 )
Title: Tortles Of The Purple Sage, Part 2
Authors: Merle Rasmussen & Jackie Rasmussen
Setting: Known World Wilderness (Savage Coast)
Levels: 4-10
Suggested Party Make-Up: 2-8 PCs, with at least one cleric of level 6 or higher (for healing on extended forays away from settlements), and at least a moderate outfitting of magical items
Note: See TotPS1, in issue 6
Description: This adventure continues and expands the first installment, fleshing out the trading post town that serves as a base of operations in the Savage coast to use for urban encounters, and detailing a couple short dungeon crawls along the caravan route. These two adventures, combined with the Savage Coast adventure module, as well as the Savage Coast freebie download materials at wizards.com , can provide a complete campaign setting and multiple plots. The mix of wilderness, urban and dungeon adventuring creates an interesting environment for expert and companion level parties.

22 May 2011

A couple options for Magic Users

The Classic D&D game grants a lot of abilities to magic users through their spells, including a few I think should be learned skills, not requiring the casting of a spell to perform. Among these are the abilities to read magic, detect magic and identify magic items.

Hold up though, I'm not just going to give every 1st level magic user the power to perform these activities any time they wish with a 100% success rate! Like the class skills of the thief, these skills start out weak and undependable, and increase in reliability as the magic user progresses in levels.




Magic User's Level



Read Magic %



Detect Magic %



Identify Item %



1


35

20

3


2


50

30

7


3


65

40

10


4


80

50

15


5


95

60

20


6


99

70

25


7


99

80

30


8


99

90

35


9


99

99

40


10


99

99

45


11


99

99

50


12


99

99

55


13


99

99

60


14


99

99

65


15


99

99

70


16


99

99

75


17


99

99

80


18


99

99

85


19


99

99

90


20


99

99

95


21


99

99

99


Some notes on the table:

Read Magic: All magic users are taught to write in magical code, so it makes no sense to me that interpreting the magical code of other spellcasters would be so difficult as to require using a spell. There is one important factor to keep in mind, however, since this skill is just a learned ability, not a spell or imbued magical power, it's not without flaw. The magic user must be conversant in the base language used to write the magical code. For example, William is a scottish magic user who drafts his scrolls in Gaelic. For Pierre, a french magic user, to be able to decipher William's scrolls using this skill, he must also have some skill in the Gaelic language. If not, the read magic spell, as presented in the Basic rules, is still available, and without the chance of failure. A result of (1)00 on the skill check is an abject failure and may provide flawed translations, while a roll of 01 is a decisive success and may grant additional information, DM's fiat.

Detect Magic: Another skill that is so innate to being a magic user that it seems illogical to have to 'waste' a spell performing. Almost all fantasy fiction I've read includes some reference, minor or otherwise, to aura-reading by practitioners of magic. Granted though, from the point of view of a spellcaster, all creatures (and perhaps all living things, including plants, depending on the mythos) are inherently magical, so the chance of failure here reflects the magic user's improving ability to accurately interpret the difference between 'ambient' magic and items or creatures that are actually enchanted. A result of (1)00 on the skill check is an abject failure and may provide false readings, while a roll of 01 is a decisive success and may grant additional information, such as a hint at the nature of the enchantment, DM's fiat. Once again, if a magic user needs a 100% accurate reading, the Detect Magic Spell is still available.

Identify Magic: Through his studies to become a magic user, and further training to advance in level, the magic user surely picks up a vast array of trivial knowledge related to the craft. These seemingly useless (at the time one learns them) bits of lore can later come in handy when trying to determine the nature, history and powers of a magical item. However, this should not be treated as a 100% accurate, "read the item's entry in the rule book" style identification of the item. Instead, we take a little inspiration from the AD&D 2nd edition Complete Bard's Handbook.

Field Use: Upon acquiring a new magical item, the magic user may spend 1d2 hours studying it, checking his notes, jogging his memory, etc. Then a skill check is made, and each successful use of this skill should reveal one of the following bits of information:
Whether item is intelligent, Whether items is cursed/evil, Item's name, Famous past owners, Age of item, Where it was made, Who crafted it, Who can use it (Class, Race or Alignment restrictions), General effects (related as 'creates a blazing inferno' or 'shoots deadly bolts of magical force' instead of 'fireball' or 'magic missile', for example), How to activate it (Command Words, etc)

Each bit of information gleaned provides a +5% bonus to the Library Use roll below, but once a field use skill check is failed, no further successes may be gained until an adequate library is consulted (DM's judgement on what constitutes an adequate library based on the obscurity of the item). Remember, each use of the skill gleans one piece of information, and takes 1d2 hours.

Library Use: Now, armed with some basic knowledge of the item from the field use skill checks, the magic user can consult a library and attempt to fully identify the item. After 1d4 days of study (The DM may apply modifiers to the length of time needed according to the rarity and obscurity of the item), a skill check is made, applying any bonuses learned through field use above. If the roll is successful, the player should be provided with any information on the item the DM wishes to reveal. Remember, some items may have powers or curses that even the most learned of sages have failed to discover, so the DM may decide to keep a secret or two.

In either field or library use of this skill, a roll of (1)00 on the skill check is an abject failure, and may provide false information. Likewise, a roll of 01 on the check is considered a decisive success and may provide additional information, lower the time required to study the item, etc.

As always, if the magic user needs a fast or 100% accurate identification of an item, the use of the Analyze or Lore spells or a Slate of Identification, or hiring of an NPC sage with access to either one, is available as normal.

A note on the use of these abilities by Elf class PCs:
Whenever fiddling with the rules related to magic users, I'm forced to weigh the impact of the changes on the elf class as well. In general, I either deny the tweaks to the elves, or limit them in some way to keep the magic user a viable class in light of the elf's added martial prowess.
In this case, I allow elves access to these skills, but they are treated as being two levels lower in experience when consulting the chart, which also means that they have an actual rating of 0% success on the charts until attaining 3rd level. However, since each skill notes that a roll of 01 is always a success, 1st and 2nd level elves have a base 1% chance of success with all three skills.