Lore gives a character a 'natural' insight into discerning masked item properties. This insight continues to grow each time a character levels but at a rate determined by its class.

Candidate items requiring identification usually possess some sort of magical enhancement or property, but not always. Some books, potions and scrolls may also need to be identified using the Lore rating of the examining character. Cursed items are always very difficult to detect. The bard class, as part of their innate bardic lore background, are ideally suited for deciphering the hidden treasures that are unearthed.

To compare for a moment, "classic" D&D uses the Lore function (sometimes implemented as a character "skill") to help solve puzzles, determine the characteristics of creatures, discern the terrain or interact with NPCs through conversation, among many other uses. The expanded use is not, however, the case in Baldur's Gate (game) mechanics. It just identifies.

Description, from the Baldur's Gate (game) manual:

"Each character has a lore rating. Every item has a lore value. If a character's lore rating is equivalent or higher than an item's lore value, then that character may identify that item. As characters gain levels, they are able to identify items based on their experience.

A character receives bonuses (and penalties) to their lore rating based on their Intelligence and Wisdom. The modifier is not cumulative with each level, but each ability bonus is applied separately. It is a "one-time" bonus at character creation."

In fact, what this means is that it's a flat bonus based only on your Intelligence and Wisdom scores. It is, in fact, recalculated if your Wisdom or Intelligence change, or are buffed or debuffed (contrary to what is stated above): so potions that give temporary bonuses to your Int and Wis will give a bonus to your Lore rating for their duration, for what it's worth. It should be noted that Int can be boosted as far as 25 with stacked potions of Genius or Mind Focusing: whereas Wis can only be set to 18 with Potions of Insight, or permanently increased from a starting max of 18 (in which case Potions of Insight are already useless) to as high as 21 with the use of the three Tomes of Understanding in the game - the only way to get around this limit being to export a character that's already had the bonuses, and then re-import it to start a new game.

Lore Increase Rate
Class Lore Increase
Bard +10 per level
Thief +3 per level
Mage +3 per level
All others +1 per level

Assessing Lore's In-game Impact and Utility Edit

In Baldur's Gate (game), an unidentified item which possesses one or more magical properties does not necessarily need to be identified (via Lore or by a merchant) to be used.

As a few examples: an unidentified Algernon's Cloak will still charm creatures and an unidentified Ring of Wizardry will still double the number of Level 1 mage spells. Also, the character screen will display any item's magical influence regardless of its ID status and the character animation will reflect the item's properties in the same manner (eg. an unidentified pair of Boots of Speed will still increase travel speed of its wearer). Notable exceptions to this game idiosyncrasy are the types of items which must be placed into Quick Item Slots (like wands), items which are not equip-able in those slots until identified.

The key, potential hazard of equipping unidentified items is the possibility of being cursed or poly-morphed. In a single-player environment, the danger is less critical since a preemptive save/reload can "undo" a player's hasty action. However, in a multi-player game, only a priest with at least 5 levels (or a visit to a temple) can restore a character's well-being. Resting will end the poly-morph effect unless the effect has been combined into a curse.

Generally-speaking, identifying every magical item can be expedited inexpensively with either a bard or mage who can write the Identify spell into their spellbook (with the exception of Conjurers like Edwin). An Identify scroll costs approximately the same as the merchant fee for identifying a single item so is economical for any arcanist member to have in their spell repertoire to use on demand.

Imoen, with her uncharacteristic thief INT level (17) is ideal for identifying low Lore value items like magical ammo and most +1 equipment using her Lore rating alone... with her seldom-enlisted roguish cousin, the bard, still better. Mages identify well with the initial Lore boost at character creation due to high INT level but level-up slower than thieves. In BG1, Garrick is a reliable, early-accessible bard to intermittently enlist for his utility Lore potential since he will readily dispatch and rejoin parties with just about any reputation... a boon of his neutral alignment. Evil Eldoth's membership may not be as easy to manipulate, depending on the party reputation. All bards can learn the Identify spell.

Item Lore ValuesEdit

The following table displays the minimum Lore ratings needed to identify items. In the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition as of v2.3.67.3, several values were raised.

Item Lore
Dart +16
Dart of Fire +16
Dart of Ice +16
Dart of Acid +16
Throwing Axe +110
Dagger of Troll-fighting +110
Bullet +110
Periapt of Proof Against Poison10
Sunstone Bullet +110
Dagger +110
Bag of Plenty +110
Buckler +110
Kendra's Chain15
Throwing Dagger +115
Throwing Dagger +115
Throwing Hammer +115
House Catanzaro Insignia15
House Ryrrl Insignia15
Bullet of Fire +115
Bullet of Ice +115
Bullet of Electricity +115
Red Potion15
Violet Potion15
Bullet +218
The Eyes of Truth18
Arrow +120
Arrow of Dispelling20
Short Sword +120
Battle Axe +120
Golden Axe +120
Ghost Locket20
Dagger +220
Agathor's Near-Universal Solvent20
Flail +120
Club +120
The Thresher +220
Bolt +120
Short Sword +120
Mage Robe of Cold Resistance20
Mage Robe of Fire Resistance20
Mage Robe of Electrical Resistance20
Heart of the Golem +220
Dagger +220
Dart of Stunning20
Drow Bolt of Sleep +120
Drow Bolt of Stunning +120
Drow Bolt +120
Drow Dart of Sleep +120
Small Shield +120
The Claw of Kazgaroth20
Dagger of Venom +220
Quiver of Plenty +120
Case of Plenty +120
Topsider's Crutch20
Paralytic Bolt +120
Small Shield +120
Small Shield +120
Quarterstaff +120
Neera's Staff +120
Short Sword +120
Short Sword +120
Katana +120
Drusus +120
Short Sword +120
Dart of Wounding21
Sling +121
Arrow of Fire +225
Acid Arrow +125
Arrow of Fire +225
Arrow of Ice25
Arrow of Ice25
Arrow of Ice25
Arrow of Fire +225
Arrow of Fire +225
Arrow of Antimagic +125
Bullet +325
Gemblade +125
Ring of Fire Resistance25
Bolt of Biting25
Senses of the Cat25
Shortbow +125
Shortbow +125
Arrow of Ice25
Leather Armor +125
Batalista's Passport25
Batalista's Passport25
Staff Mace +225
Wakizashi +125
Ninjatō +125
The Amplifier30
Arrow of Biting30
Arrow of Piercing +130
Arrow of Biting30
Beruel's Retort +130
Bolt of Ice +130
Ostentatious Boots30
Boots of Speed30
The Paws of the Cheetah30
Helm of Equus30
Hide Armor +130
Ring of Free Action30
Mace +130
Morning Star +130
The Stupefier +130
The Paws of the Cheetah30
Protection From Acid30 / 85
This icon indicates content from the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition campaign.
Protection From Cold30 / 85
This icon indicates content from the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition campaign.
Protection From Electricity30 / 85
This icon indicates content from the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition campaign.
Protection From Fire30 / 85
This icon indicates content from the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition campaign.
Longbow +130
Bracers of Defense AC 830
Gift of Peace30
Chain Mail +130
Relair's Mistake30
Cloak of Reflection30
Edventar's Gift30
Halberd +130
War Hammer +130
Hammer of Dawn +130
Gift of Peace30
Edventar's Gift30
Studded Leather Armor +130
The Horn of Kazgaroth30
Druid's Ring30
Edventar's Gift30
Honorary Ring of Sune30
Medium Shield +130
Medium Shield +130
Corvyr's Blessing30
Redshield +1, +4 vs. monstrous30
Tarloc's Contingency +130
Sling of Unerring Accuracy +130
Long Sword +130
Long Sword +130
Harrower +1, +3 vs. undead30
The Paws of the Cheetah30
Wand of Sleep30
Wand of Polymorphing30
Heavy Crossbow +130
Light Crossbow +130
The Iron Thorn32
The Protector +135
Amulet of Abnormally Awesome Ankheg Summoning35
Amulet of Protection +135
Belt of the Cunning Rogue35
Golden Girdle35
Girdle of Bluntness35
Girdle of Piercing35
Bolt of Fire +135
Ettin Club +135
Battle Tankard35
Ring of Protection +135
Brevin's Quarterstaff +135
Golden Girdle of Urnst35
Destroyer of the Hills35
Elves' Bane35
Belt of Antipode35
Bolt of Lightning35
The Frost's Embrace35
Talos's Gift35
Composite Longbow +135
Longbow +235
Shortbow +235
Splint Mail +135
Whispers of Silence35
Knave's Robe35
Traveler's Robe35
Adventurer's Robe35
Knave's Robe35
Cloak of the Shield35
Shortbow +235
Bastard Sword +235
Drow Scimitar +335
Adoy's Belt35
Ring of the Princes +135
Koveras's Ring of Protection +135
Medium Shield +235
Sling +235
Quarterstaff +235
Scimitar +135
Bastard Sword +235
Shield Amulet40
Arrow +240
Silver Circlet40
Clasp of Helm40
Cudgel of Montgomer +140
The Uncursed Staff +140
Sidestep Slippers40
Cloak of Minor Arcana40
Cloak of the Strange Beast40
Steadfast +240
Eadro's Blade +140
Bartleby's Wakizashi +140
Short Sword40
Sword of Troll Decapitation +140
Wand of Water Elemental Summoning40
Krotan's Skullcrusher +240
Morning Star +240
Mace +240
Krotan's Skullcrusher +240
Bolt of Polymorphing40
Bracers of Defense AC 740
The Dale's Protector40
Gloves of Missile Snaring40
Gauntlets of Crushing40
Gloves of Healing40
The Shadow's Blade +340
The Shadow's Blade +340
Cloak of Displacement40
Algernon's Cloak40
Cloak of Bravery40
Bastard Sword +140
Drow Crossbow of Speed +340
Ashideena +240
Battle Axe of Mauletar +240
No such index40
Helm of the Noble +140
Helmet of Charm Protection40
Two-handed Sword +140
Lock of Hair from Kirinhale40
Dart +240
Buckler +240
Ninjatō +240
Fallorain's Plate +140
Plate Mail +140
The Victor40
Bastard Sword +140
Large Shield +140
Large Shield +140
Buckley's Buckler40
Two-handed Sword +140
Spear +140
Bastard Sword +140
The Shadow's Blade +340
Two-handed Sword +140
Spider's Bane +240
Two-handed Sword +240
Wand of Fear40
Wand of Paralyzation40
Wand of Monster Summoning40
The Army Scythe +140
Light Crossbow +240
Arrow of Detonation45
Lon's Amulet45
Star-Strewn Boots45
Bracers of the Shuttered Lid45
Flute of the Immaculate Breeze45
Acid-Etched Dagger +245
Festering Spear +145
Peacock Cap45
Medal of Valor45
Lucky Boots45
Stone Ally45
Ring of the Tiny Fiend45
Buckler of the Fist +245
Firefly +245
Pritchard's Family Stiletto +245
Flail +245
Worn Whispers45
Worn Whispers45
Composite Longbow +245
No such index45
No such index45
Shadow Armor +345
Wakizashi +245
No such index45
Ring of Regeneration45
Moonlight Walkers45
Small Shield +245
Arla's Dragonbane +345
Sling +345
Katana +245
Rancor +145
Heavy Crossbow +245
The One Gift Lost50
Wolfsbane Charm50
Necklace of Form Stability50
Arrow of Slaying50
Battle Axe of Mauletar +250
Battle Axe +250
Amulet of Whispers50
Locket of Embracing50
The One Gift Lost50
Arrow +350
Bolt +350
Fleshripper +250
Bracers of Defense AC 650
Tangled Strings50
Stalwart Scales +250
Biter +250
Helm of Unwavering Purpose50
Bard Hat50
Myconid Bloom-Sac50
Ring of Wizardry50
Ring of Purity50
Short Sword +250
Vexation +250
Short Sword +250
Girdle of Hill Giant Strength50
Big-Fisted Belt50
Mighty Oak +250
Bolt +250
Manual of Bodily Health50
Manual of Gainful Exercise50
Manual of Quickness of Action50
The Dead Shot +250
Protector of the Dryads +250
Protector of the Dryads +250
Bracers to the Death50
Protector of the Dryads +250
Asp's Nest +150
Drow Piwafwi Cloak50
Golden Pantaloons50
Ring of Spell Turning50
Ring of Acuity50
Spear +250
The Whistling Sword +250
The World's Edge +350
The World's Edge +350
Wand of the Heavens50
Wand of Fire50
Wand of the Heavens50
Wand of Cloudkill50
Wand of Spell Striking50
The Guide +250
Periapt of Life Protection55
Belt of the Skillful Blade55
Backwhacker +255
Glimmer of Hope +255
Soft Feet55
Blightbringer +155
Corinth's Bow +255
Savage Shortbow +255
Nimblefinger Gloves55
Bracers of Defense AC 555
Screaming Bagpipes55
Crommus's Capelet55
Dread Hammer +255
The Guardian Devil55
Circlet of Lost Souls55
Blood Red Ioun Stone55
Cornugon's Revenge +255
Goblin Hide Armor +255
Shield of Egons +255
Severance +255
Astral Crossbow +255
Harold +255
The Root of the Problem +1, +3 vs. unnatural55
Boots of Phasing55
Boots of Etherealness55
Elven Chain +155
Cloak of Protection +155
Werebane +155
No such index55
Kiel's Helmet55
Durlag's Goblet55
Plate Mail +255
Scimitar +255
The Magma Bulwark +255
Ring of Fire Control55
Ring of Lock Picks55
Ring of Danger Sense55
Kiel's Buckler55
Spear +355
Aule's Staff +355
Battle Axe +360
Modron Heart60
Chill Axe +260
Mosela's Cudgel +260
The Hydra +260
Gauntlets of Weapon Skill60
The Forest Queen's Benediction60
Sable Cloak60
Cloak of the Beluir Watch60
Elements' Fury +260
Cold Fury +260
Shadowed Spear +260
Scimitar +260
Sword of Ruin +260
Magical Book60
Tome of Clear Thought60
Tome of Leadership and Influence60
Tome of Understanding60
Hands of Takkok60
Xarrnous's Second Sword Arm60
Kondar +160
Longtooth: The Grave Binder +260
Boomerang Dagger +260
Drow Flail +360
Drow Shield +360
Drow Lance +360
Drow Long Sword +360
Suryris's Blade +260
Halberd +260
Ashideena +260
War Hammer +260
Protector of the Second +260
Leather Armor +260
Rugged Leathers +260
Pellan's Shield +260
Pellan's Shield +260
Large Shield +260
Large Shield +260
Backbiter +360
Kondar +160
Varscona +260
Rashad's Talon +260
Long Sword +260
Two-handed Sword, Cursed Berserking +360
Two-handed Sword, Cursed Berserking +360
Leather Armor +160
Medium Shield +160
Long Sword +160
Wand of Magic Missiles60
Wand of Frost60
Wand of Lightning60
Wand of Magic Missiles60
Wand of Magic Missiles60
Greenstone Amulet65
Throwing Axe +265
Bala's Axe, Wizard Slayer65
K'logarath +465
Axe of Kruntur +265
Martyr's Morningstar +265
Bracers of Perseverance65
Commander's Chain Mail +365
Cloak of the Gargoyle65
Storm Pike +265
Trollblood Ioun Stone65
Purification Stone65
Ring of the Crusade65
The Ghostdreamers' Robe65
Crimson Dawn +265
Herdrin's Short Sword +265
Ophyllis's Short Sword +265
Girdle of Stone Giant Strength65
Kiel's Morning Star +365
Greenstone Amulet65
Mail of the Dead +265
Mithral Chain Mail +465
Chain Mail +265
Robe of the Good Archmagi65
Robe of the Neutral Archmagi65
Robe of the Evil Archmagi65
Robe of the Good Archmagi65
Pearly White Ioun Stone65
Dusty Rose Ioun Stone65
Pale Green Ioun Stone65
Robe of the Good Archmagi65
Greenstone Amulet65
Doppelganger Wardstone65
Level 1 Exit Wardstone65
Islanne Wardstone65
Kiel Wardstone65
Fuernebol Wardstone65
Teleportation Wardstone65
Level 2 Exit Wardstone65
Compass Wardstone65
Bone Wardstone65
Dwarven Rune Wardstone65
Dwarven Rune Wardstone65
Methild's Harp65
Splint Mail +265
Sandthief's Ring65
Shield of Devotion +165
Staff of Striking +365
Staff Spear +265
Short Sword +365
Rhyte's Last Arrow +270
Amulet of Protection +270
Stalker Gauntlets70
Kruntur's Armor +370
Wizzard Hat70
Raconteur's Regalia +270
Changeling's Vest70
Bloody Bone Plate +270
Ring of Protection +270
Robe of Netheril70
The Suncatcher +270
Dervish Crescent +270
Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity70
Belt of Inertial Barrier70
Chanserv's Fish +270
The Brawling Hands70
Elander's Gloves of Misplacement70
The Chesley Crusher +270
The Kneecapper +170
Telbar's Studded Leather +270
Studded Leather Armor +270
Plate of the Dark +170
The Practical Defense +370
Full Plate Armor +170
The Guard's Ring +270
Ring of Djinni Summoning70
Shield of the Falling Stars +170
Shield of the Falling Stars +170
The Burning Earth +170
Albruin +170
Wand of Cursing70
Amulet of Spell Warding75
Archer's Eyes75
The Protector of the Unworthy75
Bow of the Banshee +275
Jester's Bracers75
Headband of Focus75
The Night's Embrace +375
Reed of Echoes75
Daeros's Full Plate +175
Robe of Red Flames75
The Soulherder's Staff +275
Fractal Blade +375
Spell Breaker +275
Bracers of Defense AC 375
Chain Mail +375
Drow Elven Chain +375
Drow Adamantine Chain +575
Drow Full Plate +375
Karajah's Life and Death +375
Leather Armor +375
The Captive Audience75
Narbucchad's Demise +575
Icingdeath +375
Scimitar +375
Amulet of Power80
Heart of the Mountain80
Sundermaul +380
Helmet of Dumathoin80
The Bloodied Guardian +280
Echo of the Fiend +380
Tongue of Acid +380
Dragon Blade +380
Night Club +180
Gargoyle Boots80
Sword of Balduran80
Gorm's Arm +380
Twinkle +380
Sword of Balduran80
The Vampire's Revenge +180
Durlag's Pride +280
Eilistraee's Boon +185
Circlet of the Archmagi85
Crown of Lies85
Protection From Magic85
Protection From Poison85
Protection From Undead85
Cursed Scroll of Weakness85
Cursed Scroll of Clumsiness85
Cursed Scroll of Foolishness85
Cursed Scroll of Ugliness85
Cursed Scroll of Summon Monster85
Protection From Petrification85
Cursed Scroll of Petrification85
Cursed Scroll of Ailment85
Cursed Scroll of Stupidity85
Robe of Arcane Aptitude90
Gift of the Demon +590
Shandalar's Wardstone90
Wardstone Forgery90
Wardstone Forgery90
Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise100
History of the Nether Scrolls100
Legacy of the Masters100
Bracers of Binding100
Tzu-Zan's Bracers100
The Spirit's Shield +2100
Cloak of Balduran100
Improved Cloak of Protection +2100
Helmet of Opposite Alignment100
Helm of Balduran100
Armor of Missile Attraction +2100
The Jester's Folly100
Glimmering Bands100
Sartessa's Vengeance +1100
The Ossifier100
Gold Digger +1100
Sensate Amulet100
Viper's Edge +2170