- See also: Use-ID
Most items in Brogue require identification to learn their properties before you can put them to good use. You can see which items you have already identified in your current game by pressing shift-D.
In the case of staves, wands and rings, there are two levels of identification; knowing what type of staff, wand or ring it is, and knowing its enchantment level (which corresponds to the number of charges for staves and wands). The first level of identification only needs to be done once, but the second one needs to be repeated for each item - once you've identified a ring of regeneration, you will recognise any other rings of regeneration you find later in the current game, but you will not know their exact enchantment level until you identify each one individually.
In the case of weapons and armor, you can always recognise what type of weapon or armor an item is. However, each item you find may have a magical bonus or penalty, and those which are enchanted may also have a runic. Until you identify each item individually, you will not know whether it is magical.
There are several different methods for fully or partially identifying items.
- Scroll of Identify: This scroll is a safe, quick and foolproof method of identifying a single item, but there are never enough to go around so you have to prioritise what to use them on. Wands are a good target for scrolls of identify because they can be dangerous to use-ID and doing so can waste precious, limited charges. Staves are another good target as this will allow you to know the current number of charges a staff has.
- Potion of Detect Magic (soft identification): When applied, a potion of detect magic marks each item in your inventory as either benevolently enchanted (blue sigil), malevolently enchanted (red sigil), or non-magical (a dash). All items on the current level will also be marked with sigils, even if you have not seen them yet. Note that the usefulness of benevolent/malevolent depends on item type - the discovered items screen (shift-D) shows the sigil associated with each. If you know whether a potion is good or bad, you know whether to (a)pply it or (t)hrow it. You'll also know whether to use staffs and wands on your allies or on your enemies and you won't accidentally equip cursed items.
- Vaults: Armors, weapons, and rings found in vaults are never cursed and other items found in vaults are often identified (at least partially) as soon as you enter the vault. Rings always have an enchantment level of +1, +2, or +3. Weapons and armor may be anywhere from +0 to +3.
- Identification of consumables through use: If you (a)pply a potion or scroll it will be identified. The disadvantage of this method is that some potions or scrolls are harmful. To (t)hrow a potion is less risky, but only cursed potions will be identified when thrown. A potion of hallucination will not be identified when thrown unless the potion was previously soft identified. Most, if not all, potions and scrolls will be identified through use.
- Identification of Weapons, Armor and Rings through use: Equipping a piece of armor for 1000 turns, or a ring for 1500 turns, will identify it. Killing 20 non-inanimate monsters with a weapon will identify it. Any item can be removed and re-equipped without resetting the counter. IDing a ring will reveal its type and enchantment level. IDing an armor or weapon will reveal the enchantment level and presence of a runic, but not its type. The type of runic will be learned only if and when it triggers.
- Identification of Wands and Staves through use: Any wand or staff will be identified upon application (use) if it has a unique visible effect. The wands of invisibility and teleportation are exceptions, as they both make a creature appear to vanish. Staves are quite safe to identify through use, and they recharge so no resources are wasted. Applying a staff until it runs out of charges will reveal the maximum number of charges. Unidentified wands can be very dangerous - see safety tips below. A scroll of identify is the only way to know the current number of charges a wand or staff has.
Safety Tips (potions):
- Never apply an unknown potion when low on health.
- Prior to identifying potions of incineration, It's advisable to stand near water and away from flammable terrain when (a)pplying an unknown potion.
- A Potion of Creeping Death will create a slowly growing area of poisonous fungus. The fungus cannot spread past doors or bridges. Standing in an open doorway will prevent any fungus from appearing at all. Don't risk releasing the fungus anywhere you may need to travel through.
- Use ID-ing potions next to a door or stairs allows you to quickly escape from any harmful gases..
- When use-IDing scrolls, for various reasons it's best not to have your allies within line of sight.
Safety Tips (equipment):
- Cursed items that are equipped cannot be removed until you remove the curse. This is accomplished by applying a scroll of remove curse, scroll of enchantment or scroll of protect weapon / armor to the item. Cursed rings can be particularly dangerous.
Safety Tips (wands and staffs):
- Use-ID of wands is risky and wasteful. Risky because of Polymorphism (to say the least). Wasteful because wands have limited charges that can only be restored through the use of precious scrolls of enchantment.
- If you must use-ID a wand, target a weak creature that won't become a threat if it is cloned, moved next to you or made invisible.
- Use-ID of staves is safer. Just one rule: don't apply them in a direction you wouldn't want to blink (i.e. lava, deep water or chasms). Pick a weak target, as it might be healed, hasted or protected.
Safety Tips (detect magic):
- Any scroll showing a red sigil should be (c)alled something like "cursed" and dropped. This will automatically label any scrolls of that type that you find in future. There is no productive use for either of the cursed scrolls found in Brogue.
- Any potion with a blue sigil can be safely applied, and any with a red sigil will identify itself if thrown (except for the Potion of Hallucination).
- Any staff with a red sigil will benefit the creature targeted. You can safely identify them by applying them on an ally.