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Version 0.29: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

Any item can be completely identified by reading a scroll of identify. While these scrolls are common, you may not get enough immediately. Identifying items through other methods will leave you with more items to use in the moment.

Checking items you have identified

Press \ for a list of items already identified. While viewing the list, the command - will toggle the view to items you have not yet identified.

If there is only 1 unidentified item of a type (i.e. last unidentified potion or scroll), it will be identified for you.

Pre-identified items

Most backgrounds start with identifiable items in their inventory which they will recognize elsewhere. For example, a Fighter starts with a potion of might, while a Conjurer starts with a potion of magic.

Identifying items in shops

Anything bought from a non-antique shop will automatically be identified. This is especially useful for identifying potentially harmful potions or scrolls, such as potions of degeneration or scroll of noise. All of these are quite cheap and identifying them this way will prevent you from harming yourself by experimenting with them.

Identified Equipment

Armour, weapons, and jewellery are all fully identified when you step on a tile containing them. Some artefacts can be generated with effects that harm you when you unequip the item, such as giving magical contamination or temporarily draining your maximum health, so beware of equipping them! In addition, nonartefact items can sometimes come with harmful effects if you unequip them:

  • Weapons of distortion can teleport you near monsters or even banish you on unequip, unless you are a follower of Lugonu.
  • Amulets of faith may be a boon, depending on your god and current piety. However, unequipping them will lower your current piety by 1/3.


Wands will automatically be identified (along with their number of charges) when picked up, and stacked with other wands of the same type.

Monster equipment

All monster equipment is identified on sight. For example, weapons held by enemies will automatically have their brand and enchantment level identified. Potions will be identified as they are used.

Identifying items through use

Other consumables may be identified by using them. Having potentially dangerous items already identified will make using unknown consumables safer.


All scrolls identify when read, even if their effects aren't obviously perceived.

If you really want to optimize read-identifying scrolls, be sure that you:

  • Are on an unexplored level, standing on stairs leading to a clear level (to retreat if it's a teleportation, noise, or another harmful scroll, and to make the most out of magic mapping)
  • Test the most numerous unknown scrolls you have first. Not only will you have more identified scrolls to use at the moment, but common scrolls like identify and teleportation are more likely to be discovered - avoiding wasting more valuable scrolls.
  • Don't have any allies nearby (to not offend or immolate them)
  • Are carrying at least one enchantable weapon, preferably unbranded or with a brand you'd like to replace (enchant weapon and brand weapon), and one piece of enchantable armour (enchant armour)

Conditions can be adjusted as your knowledge improves. For example, if you are playing as a formicid, you don't have to worry about accidentally teleporting, due to the permanent stasis effect. Some of the less common scrolls are very valuable and therefore it is not wasteful to use a scroll of identify on single scrolls that have been single for some time (e.g. brand weapon).

Identifying scrolls is all about balance. On the one hand, you shouldn't waste scrolls of identify out of sheer curiosity, but on the other, it's massively annoying to die on level 3 with several scrolls of teleportation, fear, or blinking in your inventory. When read-identifying scrolls, watch out for the following detrimental effects:

  • Scrolls of noise may attract unwanted attention to your position.
  • Scrolls of immolation give all creatures in view the Inner Flame status condition, which causes them to explode violently upon death. If you have no way to kill things from a distance, keep away from your explosive monsters (friend or foe!) until the status wears off.
  • Scrolls of silence prevent all spellcasting in an area around you for some time. While this can be helpful for melee-based characters, spellcasters will essentially be rendered helpless for the duration.
  • Scrolls of torment cause serious damage, though they are never directly lethal (deals half of your health, less if you resist negative energy).
  • Scrolls of poison create harmful clouds on all unoccupied tiles in your line of sight. While it doesn't immediately deal damage to you, it can cut off an escape path. Also, anything with poison resistance is completely immune.


All potions auto-identify when quaffed, but some (potions of mutation and degeneration) can be semi-permanently harmful. It may be sensible to wait until you have larger potion stacks before trying them, so that you are more likely to discover the potion of curing, the most common (and fairly useful) potion.

You will also automatically identify potions when you see a monster quaff them.

It is not cowardice to avoid quaff-identifying potions entirely. Scrolls of identify are common enough that using them on every unidentified potion you find is not unreasonable.


  • 0.27 removed much need for identification.
Prior to 0.27, all weapons, armour, and jewellery identified on equip instead of when you step on its tile. Curses, along with harmful items such as rings of teleportation and amulets of inaccuracy, made blind-equipping items a liability without scrolls of remove curse. All these items were removed. Still existent items like distortion branded weapons and amulet of faith could punish the player if you hadn't properly identified them.
If you had a scroll of remove curse, you can safely identify most equipment by equipping it. Non-artefact armour and rings were always safe to wear with remove curse. If you didn't mind faith, amulets were safe. Weapons always had a small risk of having distortion, but were otherwise safe.
  • Prior to 0.23, all monster equipment didn't identify on sight.
  • Prior to 0.16, wands did not automatically identify when picked up and the brand of weapons wielded by monsters did not identify on sight.
  • Prior to 0.15, most jewellery would not fully identify when worn, and scrolls of identify could occasionally affect multiple items.
  • Prior to 0.14, scrolls of curse weapon, armour, and jewellery could be found which would curse a random equipped object of that type. These scrolls are now obtainable only through Ashenzari, and are therefore always identified. Also, weapons, wands, and scrolls would fully identify when used, some backgrounds started with knowledge of items they did not possess, and potions of blood and porridge were not pre-identified.
  • Prior to 0.10, scrolls of enchant weapon, scrolls of fear, scrolls of holy word, scrolls of torment, and scrolls of vorpalise weapon would only identify when read if they affected something.
  • Prior to 0.8, wield-IDing magical staves would only work if the spellcaster's skills exceeded a certain value, much like with weapon enchantments.
  • Prior to 0.6 and the removal of the Divinations school of magic, you could also identify items using the Identify spell.
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