From CrawlWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

Some items have unknown properties, which can be revealed by identification. For example, you won't know what a murky blue potion does or what a glowing short sword is until they are identified. A scroll of identify is the easiest way to check some items, but there are a few other methods as well.

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.

Potions & Scrolls

Potions and scrolls are either unidentified or identified. Unidentified potions/scrolls are in blue text and have vague descriptors, such as a scroll labelled README, or a green potion. Identified items aren't in blue text, and their names tell you what the item does, e.g. scroll of teleport or potion of curing.

Identifying a potion or scroll will reveal its "true", identified type for the rest of the game. So if you identify a green potion as a potion of curing, all green potions you come across will be revealed as potions of curing.

The most common ways to identify potions and scrolls are as follows:

  • Using a scroll of identify on the potion or scroll.
  • All potions and scrolls are identified when used, even if they didn't do anything.

Using an unknown item "blind" will let you identify it faster, but it generally wastes the item you just used. This can be a good thing, since an identified item can help you survive a situation you otherwise would've died in. In any case, some amount of blind use is practically required. This is because scrolls of identify are initially unknown too, meaning you'll have to blind read until you reveal scrolls of identify in the first place.


Reading unknown scrolls can be dangerous, because some scrolls have negative effects. At the same time, you'll want to maximize the positive effects of the scrolls you do read. If you want to optimize blind reading, you should:

  • Be on an unexplored level, standing directly on the stairs leading to a clear level.
  • Make sure that no monsters - allied or hostile - are in your line of sight. This way, you won't blow yourself up with a scroll of immolation.
  • You carry at least one enchantable weapon, preferably one you want to brand or replace the brand of. This makes the most out of enchant weapon and brand weapon.

Also, you should test the most numerous unknown scrolls you have first. Usually, you'll be more likely to identify common scrolls, such as identify and teleport.* In addition, you'll have more copies of that scroll available to use. (If you read a scroll you have 5 copies of, after reading, you'll have 4 copies of a potentially useful scroll. If you read a scroll you only have 1 copy of, you've identified the scroll, but now you have no copies of that scroll - not very helpful!)

These conditions can be adjusted as your knowledge improves. If you've already identified scrolls of revelation, then you don't need to use scrolls on an unexplored level. If you've identified most scrolls, you might want to stop blind reading, since you're likely to 'waste' a rare scroll.

If you are in an emergency situation, and have nothing better to do, you can read unknown scrolls in hopes that the scroll will help. Depending on what you've identified, you may want to drink unknown potions instead.

(*It depends on how you found the scrolls. If you find 1 copy of a scroll somewhere, and then find the another copy of the same scroll elsewhere, it's more likely to be a common scroll. But if you find 2-3 copies of a scroll in the same tile, it is no more likely to be a common scroll than usual. This also applies to potions.)


Some potions also have dangerous effects. The conditions to safe blind-quaff aren't as dangerous, though. To safely blind-quaff:

  • You should quaff unknown potions when there are no monsters in sight (and no monsters are nearby).

Like scrolls, when blind quaffing, you should test the most numerous potions. The two most common potions, potions of curing and potion of heal wounds are quite useful to know.

It's worth noting that potions are somewhat more risky to blind-use than scrolls, since potions of mutation exist. Potions of mutation can give you terrible mutations, such as teleportitis or No Unsafe Scrolls. Therefore, some players may avoid blind-quaffing potions entirely. Note that, in an emergency situation, getting a bad mutation doesn't matter at all; don't be afraid to blind quaff if you have no other options.

Emergency Use-ID

If you are in danger and have nothing better, it's generally better to drink unknown potions than scrolls. Consider the following list:

  • Scrolls that can often help win/escape fights: Teleportation, blinking, fear, summoning/butterflies.
    • If you aren't adjacent to any foe and have a ranged attack: immolation, poison.
  • Potions that can often help win/escape fights: Curing, heal wounds, might, haste, lignification, invisibility, berserk rage.

For most characters, there are more potions that help you resolve danger than scrolls. However, this can change depending on what you've identified. If you've already identified many types of emergency potions, then scrolls become better.

Other ways to ID

The following are less common ways to identify potions and scrolls:

  • Any items your background starts with are automatically identified.
  • If you buy an item from a non-antique shop, then it will be identified.
  • Ashenzari will identify all items on sight once you reach 1* piety.
  • Certain pre-generated vaults may come with items already identified. For example, there is a faded altar vault with a scroll of immolation on top of it. If you come across this specific vault, then upon seeing the vault, you'll automatically identify scrolls of immolation for the rest of the game.
  • If there is only 1 unidentified item of a type (i.e. you find the last unidentified potion or scroll), it will be identified for you on sight.

All Other Items

Each individual piece of equipment (armour, weapons, jewellery) is identified immediately and completely when you occupy its tile (or when you buy the item). Each instance of a gear item needs to be identified: if you identify an artefact whip, you won't automatically identify other artefact whips.

Wands are also identified when stepping on their tile. After identifying a wand, all other wands of that type are identified immediately on sight.

All monster equipment, including wands, are fully identified on sight.


  • Prior to 0.31, monsters could use potions they picked up, which identified the potion.
  • 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.
Strategy Guides
General WalkthroughDealing with troubleTips and tricksIdentificationFAQ
Character Building Early GameMid GameLate Game

Beginner CharactersGod ChoiceWeapon ChoiceSpecialization

Community Guides Character guides