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Revision as of 17:42, 2 August 2013 by Spudwalt (talk | contribs) (Potion Identification: Fixed up which classes/species start with identified potions)
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Version 0.12: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This page is about the Item. For the card, see Potion card

An unlabeled flask containing a single dose of unknown liquid.

"Then gave I her, - so tutor'd by my art, -
A sleeping potion, which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death: meantime I writ to Romeo
That he should hither come as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrow'd grave,
Being the time the potion's force should cease."

-William Shakespeare, _Romeo and Juliet_

Potions are useful consumable items represented by the '!' character. Every potion has a specific effect (beneficial or harmful!) when quaffed. You can't drink potions if you're a mummy, if you're berserking, if you're in bat form, or if you're in lich form.

Drinking most potions will increase your satiation by 40 points, except for vampires (who only get satiation from potions of blood and coagulated blood). The primary effect of most potions is halved for Thirsty (or worse) Vampires.

Potion Identification

Apart from using a scroll of identify, there are several ways to determine the identity of potions you've picked up.

Some race/class combinations begin with potions identified. Spriggans recognize potions of porridge, vampires recognize potions of blood, healers recognize potions of curing and heal wounds, and wanderers may start with some identified potions in their inventory. They also have a chance to recognize potions of curing regardless of inventory.

Quaffing a random potion is the most obvious way to figure out its contents, but may be dangerous. You'll want to be somewhere safe with no monsters in sight, and if possible, with some already identified potions of curing on hand to cure the worst offenders (potions of poison, potions of strong poison, and potions of decay). Potions of degeneration and potions of mutation are also harmful, and those are less likely to be easily remedied.

Monsters sometimes drink potions within your line of sight. This will identify the potion in most cases, but there is sometimes ambiguity with healing, in which case the potion type will be inscribed with {tried by monster}. When this happens, the potion is either a potion of curing or heal wounds, or rarely blood/coagulated blood (if a vampire drank it).

You may also guess at a potion's identity by the size of the stacks in your inventory. Potions of curing are the most frequent (about 25% of all potions generated), followed by potions of heal wounds (about 13% of all potions generated). This is very unreliable if your highest potion stack is only 2 or 3 since potions are sometimes generated in batches. On the other hand, potions of porridge, gain strength, gain dexterity, gain intelligence, cure mutation, experience and decay are very rare (less than 1% of all generated potions), so you're unlikely to pick one of those if you only drink potions when you have two of the same type.

Some more notes on potion identification:

  • A potion found in a small pile (2 or 3 potions) will never be a potion of gain strength, gain dexterity, gain intelligence, experience, or restore abilities. However, some special vaults such as baileys can contain multiple potions of gain stats or cure mutation in separate piles.
  • Potions of strong poison are never randomly generated before level 11.
  • Potions of blood are always red potions (25% viscous red, 25% sedimented red, 50% red) and are dropped by vampires.
  • Potions of coagulated blood are always gluggy, lumpy, sedimented or viscous, and red or brown.
  • Carrying an unidentified potion of blood for at least 2000 turns will turn it into a potion of coagulated blood, identifying both potions in the process.
  • If you find an altar of Cheibriados surrounded by 2 potions and 2 fruits, these potions are either potions of slowing of potions of speed.
  • Potions of porridge are generally gluggy white or gluggy brown.

Potion Conservation

Freezing Cloud, and other ice magic that creates freezing vapour, has a chance of shattering the potions in your inventory. The conservation intrinsic reduces the chance of this happening.


Prior to 0.12, you could throw potions to generate cloud attacks against enemies with the Evaporate spell. You could also identify several unpleasant potions by creating samples of them through Fulsome Distillation.

See Also

List of potions