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Identifying items without killing myself

How can I identify the BUC (blesses, uncursed, cursed) status of items in nethack? I have dropped something on an altar, which will apparently provide different outcomes (such as smoke) depending on its status, but I did this and nothing happened.

  • As long as you aren't blinded (in which you can't see what happens), the advice from Kaestur's answer in a general identification question covers how to determine the BUC status of an item.
    – Grace Note
    Aug 18, 2010 at 22:55
  • Sigh. I vote to reopen, but in trying to explain my reasoning, I convince myself the other question needs to contain all the knowledge on both points. I felt the other was more about item type (Scroll of Identify VS Scroll of Polymorph), but the "without killing myself" part means we MUST talk about blessed/cursed as well. Aug 18, 2010 at 23:21
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    @Grace, by pointing to part of another answer (which only holds in a certain scenario) you make it clear that this is not an exact duplicate of that question. Besides, "BUC" is a term that doesn't appear in Kaestur's answer.
    – badp
    Sep 2, 2010 at 16:26
  • @badp The only options available for pre-usage BUC detection are altar dropping (covered by Kaestur's answer), pet walking (covered by Durathor's answer), scroll of identify (covered by WillfulWizard), and being a priest. So the grounds of this question are mostly covered by the one we selected (and it serves us better to add the priest info to the other question anyway, since that advice addresses that question). I don't see the value in opening a second question to duplicate the content of existing answers.
    – Grace Note
    Sep 2, 2010 at 16:39
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    As for the BUC terminology, let's remember that we have a very good ability to keep around a duplicate in order to improve people's hits. So that way, anyone who catches this question via looking for "BUC" is very swiftly directed to look at the question which has the information they need.
    – Grace Note
    Sep 2, 2010 at 16:43


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