Tips for identifying items

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Identification is a scarce resource in Crawl. Here's some tips on how to make life easier for yourself.


At the start of the game, it's often worth collecting all (or most) of the weapons that you encounter. You might want to exclude the really wimpy ones like knives or clubs if you really can't see yourself wanting to wield one. Once you manage to find a scroll of detect curse, read it. Any weapons which are cursed and which don't have anything out of the ordinary in their description can be discarded. Wield all of the others in turn.

If a weapon is 'special' (eg xxx of sharpnes/protection/venom etc) then it will be identified immediately on wielding. If this doesn't happen, then it's a normal weapon. That doesn't mean that it's +0,+0, however. To work out the plusses on a weapon you will need to fight with it: how long it takes to be identified will depend on (AFAICR) your Fighting and weapon skills (but is random, so it could happen almost immediately, or could take ages).

Note that if a weapon is 'glowing' that doesn't necessarily mean that it's any good. There are plenty of +0 glowing short swotrds in the dungeon... However, any *really* unusual adjectives (like 'slimy', 'pitted', 'golden' etc) indicate that the weapon is a randart. These are often worth identifying even if they are cursed. What's a randart? It's a special, one-off unique item which may have powers above and beyond the ordinary. Identify it to find out what they may be.

I usually decide on a weapon type of choice fairly early on (to build skill levels in). I collect all weapons and detect curse on them. If wielding one of the weapons shows it to be special, I change my mind about my weapon type of choice and wield it :). If not, I throw away all of the other weapons, and wield each one of my chosen type in combat for long enough to work out their plusses and keep the best one. Once I've found a decent ego weapon (sharpness, venom,...) I ignore any non-ego weapons from then on.


Like weapons, it's often worth stockpiling armour, detecting curses on it, and then wearing each uncursed item. This is especially true in the Orcish Mines: you can collect a *lot* of armour off the orcs, and there's usually an orcish ring mail of cold resistance or something similar in the pile. It is a bit of a hassle having to collect all of the armour together: detect curse scrolls aren't that common, so you want to be carrying as much inidentified stuff as possible when reading one.


In general you identify potions by drinking them :). I often leave off drinking any potions until I have a decent collection: this means that if one of the potions was poison or degeneration you'll probably have an antidote to hand. Potions of healing are much more common than any other sort, so if you've found a total of 10 potions and 4 of them are the same type then it's a good bet that those are the healing ones: knowing that can save your bacon!

If you find a shop which sells identified potions, buy all of the 'bad' ones. They'll only cost you 1 each, and once you've bought a potion of eg. degeneration that type will be identified for you in future, so you'll never drink one by mistake :). Just seeing the potion in the shop won't identify that type for you: you need to buy it.


Like potions, scrolls are usually best identified in the early game by reading them. If any appear not to do anything, then save those until you can identify them as they're probably useful.

Once you're past the first few levels, it's often worth being careful when reading unidentified scrolls as the scroll of fire starts to crop up, and it will ruin many of the other scrolls in your inventory if you read it. It's safest to drop all of your scrolls bar the one you want to test, move 5-6 squares away, and then read the scroll.

Rings and Amulets

Be careful trying these in if you don't know whether they are cursed or not: a bad cursed ring can ruin your whole day. In general, it often worth trying on an unid'd ring on the first level or two (as you haven't lost much if it's bad), but otherwise wait until either you've detected curses or you have a Remove Curse scroll.

If you're sure it's uncursed or you have a Remove Curse, try it on! If it's not identified immediately, you'll probably have to wait until you can identify it with a scroll.

If you're wearing an unidentified amulet, try eating a chunk of flesh when you're not hungry. If you can, it's an amulet of the gourmand.

If you're wearing an unidentified uncursed amulet and seem to be missing a lot in combat, it may be an amulet of inaccuracy. This is the only really nasty item which you tend to find uncursed.

If you find a cursed ring, don't throw it away. Identify it later, and it may turn out to be useful after all (like a ring of teleportation).


Copyright (C) Mark Mackey 2001