I really can't find a good way to figure out what my scroll/potion is going to do until I just read/drink it and hope for the best. Generally, what winds up happening is if I'm in a bad spot and about to die, I randomly read/drink stuff until I'm either miraculously saved or the monsters finish the job.

There has got to be a better way. What strategies can I use to identify consumables?

2 Answers 2


I would recommend read-IDing scrolls out of combat, and then using your Identification scrolls to ID your potions. Scrolls don't really have any very bad effects so long as you're not in combat, but a potion can easily kill you if you use it at the wrong time. I used to quaff-ID my potions, but recently discovered it works much better to do it this way.

As soon as I find a new scroll, I immediately read it, at least early in the game. Later in the game, any new scrolls are most likely quite powerful, so I use ID scrolls on them. Right at the very beginning, though, I usually wait to begin IDing scrolls until I have at least one unidentified potion, and have equipped a cursed item. This prevents me from wasting either an ID scroll or a Remove Curse scroll.

If the scroll requests a target item, it is one of three scrolls: Identify Item, Enchant Armour, or Recharge Wand. In my experience, the most common of these is Identify Item, so the first time I find a scroll which requests an item, I try it on an unidentified potion. If it doesn't work on that, I next try it on a piece of armour, as I find Enchant Armour next most common/useful. Once you have identified two item-targeting scrolls, you know what the third one is.

Wands are the third type of consumable. They are another one that it's good to try out as soon as you find them. As soon as you find a new wand, try it out on the next weak, living creature you see. The reason for this is if it happens to be something powerful, such as a Wand of Haste, you really don't want to use it on something strong. Some wands won't affect the undead, and this is why you want to use it on a living creature. If nothing happens when you try it on an enemy, wait until you are in a safe area and try it on yourself. If still nothing happens, try it on a wall that is near the edge of your line of sight, in case it is a Wand of Disintegration.

If it's a Wand of Haste, or Wand of Heal Wounds, these are the best wands for the whole game, and you definitely want to hang on to them. The wands which cause status effects (Paralysis, Slowing, Confusion) can be useful early in the game, but as enemy magic resistance ramps up, I find that their inventory slots can be better used for other things. I'll usually hang on to one each of the highest level elemental wands I've found (Fire/Fireball, Cold, Thunder), as they're very useful for enemies you're having trouble damaging, or that you don't want to get near.

Oh, and one last thing: You can press \ to see which items you've identified, and press - on that screen to switch to showing unidentified items.

  • So when you find a new scroll, do you just read it right away to try to identify it? If it asks for a target item, what is the most beneficial to use it on? I think just a little more detail on the process would go a long way. May 7, 2013 at 19:49
  • One thing that can help to ID some potions is the spell Fulsome Distillation. It creates ID'd harmful potions from corpses to use with the evaporate spell. You can read more at the wiki article. It appears to have been removed from the latest version of the game :(, but if you are playing an older version, it should be there. It was a starting spell for Stalkers.
    – Fambida
    May 8, 2013 at 3:31
  • 1
    I usually wait until having two of a scroll before reading as then the identification actually matters. It's more useful to keep the unidentified scroll than waste it early.
    – Pubby
    May 9, 2013 at 4:32
  • @Pubby The game remembers which scroll is which, even if you only have one of them at a time.
    – SaintWacko
    May 9, 2013 at 4:35
  • @SaintWacko I know, but I'm saying if you only have 1 unidentified teleport scroll and you read it to ID, so what? It did you no use. Waiting until you have 2 gives you more flexibility, such as reading it in an emergency or IDing it yourself based on the probabilities.
    – Pubby
    May 9, 2013 at 4:42

I suggest exploring a couple of levels collecting stuff before trying anything. The most common scrolls you'll have are Identify Item and Remove Curse, although the RNG can/will play tricks on you. Teleport is also reasonably common in early levels. As the answer indicates, use the ID scrolls on unidentified potions first and foremost. If the scroll seems to have no effect it could be Remove Curse or Amnesia(if no have no spells yet). Remove Curse is quite common, so once you have a few of them you can safely wield/wear-id weapons, armor, jewellry. Amulets and rings may not completely ID themselves so you then either take them off or watch for negative effects like hunger or inaccuracy.

It helps to make sure you have several unidentified things in your inventory because sometimes a scroll will identify 2 or 3 things at once.

Once you've found potions of mutation and cure mutation you might risk quaff-Iding while not in combat although I've found that usually there are enough Identify Item scrolls to keep using them on on potions until you found most of them.

As for other scrolls, I wait until I have several unidentified ones and read them on a cleared level for maximum safety until I find teleport, and I if a have only 1 Remove Curse I'll read all the rest of the them to try to catch as many curse * scrolls as possible at once. This implies I have some jewellery to get cursed and I like to have some floor trash picked up that might get cursed and can then be dropped with no further delay.

Emergencies are inevitable and then your chances are not good. Quaff the potions you have most of and if you have multiples of scrolls and you're looking for Teleport you may be better off picking your 2nd or 3rd most common to try first. Remember that running is usually a very good tactic.

  • Learned this the hard way. I should have read more carefully. Identify potion of mutation first, then start quaff-IDing. May 17, 2013 at 20:54

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