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You can use the { command to manually inscribe items; alternatively, you can also inscribe when viewing items from the inventory (done by pressing the item's letter followed by i). This adds a note in curly braces to the item description. Besides simply allowing you to make comments about items, there are several further uses.

Automatic Inscriptions

These are generated for artefacts only, and list the artefact's properties and weapon brand if it is a weapon.

For example, a +6 falchion of freezing with the Blink property that grants +2 intelligence and one rank of fire resistance is inscribed like this:

the +6 falchion "Name" {freeze, +Blink Int+2 rF+}

Custom Inscriptions

When you inspect an item in your inventory, or press the { key, you can set an inscription on the item. There are certain special keywords that will perform various functions. Custom inscriptions are helpful for protecting special items, or when automatically set on very powerful items.

Example of protecting a stone for an Earth elemental caster:

!w =f !D My Stone

Then, if in 'a' and identified as +0, the stone will then appear as:

a) +0 stone {!w =f !D My Stone}

These options will prompt you if you attempt to unwield it, will not quiver it, and will prompt you before anything that can destroy it, as well as give it a 'name'. A list of these inscriptions and their effects are given below.

Special Inscriptions

Inscription Effect
 !* Will prompt before any action with this item.
 !a Will prompt before attacking with this item.
 !w Will prompt before wielding or unwielding this item.
 !e Will prompt before eating.
 !q Will prompt before quaffing.
 !r Will prompt before reading.
 !f Will prompt before throwing or firing.
 !W Will prompt before wearing armour.
 !T Will prompt before taking off armour.
 !P Will prompt before putting on jewellry.
 !R Will prompt before removing jewellry.
 !v Will prompt before evoking an item.
 !Q Will prompt before quivering an item.
 !p Will prompt before sacrificing a anything in a stack containing this item.
=p Will prompt before sacrificing this item, but allows stack to be sacrificed.
=g Will automatically pick this item up if autopickup is on.
=k Will be ignored in listings on the ground.
=s If stash tracking is explicit, dropping this marks a stash to be tracked.
=f This item will be excluded with cycling ammunition and in automatic quivering.
+f This item is included in cycling ammunition and automatic quivering.
 !D Will prompt before performing any action that might destroy this item.


The .rc file allows items to be automatically inscribed, using the format:

autoinscribe = [string to match]:[what to inscribe]

To always pickup royal jelly:

autoinscribe = royal jell:=g

To prompt before evoking a wand of healing:

autoinscribe = wand of healing:!v

See also

The randart article has a list of artefact properties in the form they appear in inscriptions.


In the past, there have been other automatic inscriptions—for example, before wands were pre-identified, if they were zapped without being first identified with a scroll of identify, they would be inscribed with e.g. {zapped: 3} where the number represented the number of charges lost.