{Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions


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Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 07:23

{Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

I was curious, early in the game, how does everyone identify their scrolls and potions?

I've been identifying most of my scrolls on the early levels by reading them and use 'Scroll of Identify' on my potions. I figured some of the potions (curing & healing) are more valuable/critical to my survival early on.

I'm wondering if I have this backwards though, since it sucks wasting Scroll of Blinking/Teleportation, both of which have saved my life countless times, definitely moreso than the Healing Potion. I also hate wasting a Scroll of Magic Mapping in case Sewers/Ossuary/etc pops up, but it's not that important... but I just hate missing out on the chance for extra loot. :)

NOTE - I usually try to wait until I equip something cursed before I start reading my scrolls as an early way to identify low level weapons/armor/jewelry and not waste a Scroll of Remove Curse.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 07:50

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

The most important thing that probably everyone agrees is that you should not use-id scrolls/potions which you have just a single instance of, wait until you have at least 2 of them. So if you wasted a scroll of mapping, you still have another one.
My approach is somewhat similar to yours:
1) I almost never identify scrolls (Mummy or late game Ashenzari are obvious exceptions)
2) I don't quaff unknown potions unless I have no choice because I hate getting Deterioration Body mutation.
3) I equip unknown rings as soon as I find them but I don't recommend doing it unless you don't mind having teleportitis or negative slaying
4) I don't equip melee weapon unless I am fine with it being distortion or -3.
5) I don't equip ranged weapon, usually you can guarantee getting a non-cursed one if you melee a monster like Centaur or Goblin (it will swap to melee weapon unless ranged weapon is cursed).
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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 17:35

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

I don't usually spend identify on scrolls. I usually read-ID. If you can hold off most opponents, then you can save this process until you have a range of things that various scrolls will apply to. It's nice to be able to read-ID lots of scrolls when you just tried on a bunch of items at once (good chance of remove curse in a big collection of scrolls), when you have a wand you like (recharging may show up), when you have a weapon you like for a while (enchant or brand weapon), or when you're on a floor with a branch whose entrance clock is ticking away and you'd like to go there (mapping). Generally, though, I'll read off a big list of unknown scrolls around entering D:3. Sometimes D:4 or D:5.

Stronger characters can afford to read-ID only until they get the more important scrolls for them (Teleportation and Mapping come to mind), and read-ID some more in combat if they're careful about timing. You might pop a random Fear, Blinking, or Summoning at a useful time this way. Just don't try to read-ID a long list of scrolls in a combat after you're actually already getting slammed, unless you really have no other options. Ideally, you want to do that before you don't have an exit. Standing on a stairwell, still apart from the mobs is nice.

A noteable exception about scrolls is in Lair. If you have tried out most of the scroll types found in the Dungeon, then by Lair there's a good chance that an unknown scroll will be Silence, Summoning, Torment, Acquirement, Brand Weapon, Holy Word, or Vulnerability. None of these show up very often, and some of them are extremely useful to save. Or at least, to choose your time for them. This is also a good reason not to test unknown scrolls that showed up in Lair while in combat... Unless you have already seen the ones you are vulnerable to, or you're totally desperate for any change you might get.

I've rarely waited for a second instance of potions if all I get is a string of singles. It isn't absolutely fatal to identify a stand-alone potion type as soon as you can. Sometimes that single potion will be a lifesaver against an early unique. You'll also sometimes know whether it's worth wading through risky stuff to pick up a few potions, which you might otherwise have not identified yet. But it might be better to wait in the long run, I just don't know.

There is a fair chance that big unknown stacks of early potions will be Curing, but it isn't foolproof. Sometimes they're Mutation or even Degeneration. But if you just got fatally poisoned by an adder, it's a good place to look!

I'm a bit bullish about potions in early game. If a combat is going badly or the opposition simply looks frightening and I can't retreat to outrun/LOS the opponent (you want to avoid this situation but it happens), then I will quaff potions like crazy hoping to get a big boost. There are quite a lot of boost potions that can help living and mutable species in melee. Berserk, Lignification, Might, Haste, Agility -- all can make a huge difference. Sometimes you get a bad result, but fairly often you get a buff and now you'll recognize that potion type. Desperate measures for desperate times.

Probably obvious, but: If you see an early shop with cheap potions and scrolls you don't have ID'd yet in inventory, buy up as many different types as you can. Certainly the types you want to use. This will save ID scrolls for others.
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VeryAngryFelid

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 18:05

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

My id-routine is:
0) Read un-ID'd scrolls on empty(-ish) floors. An empty floor is less necessary if ?torment, ?noise, ?vulnerability, and ?teleport have all been ID'd.
0*) If silence is among the final few unseen scrolls, use an ?identify on any un-ID'd scrolls I have left.
1) Read ?identify on un-ID'd potions as soon as I find them.
2) Use ?identify on amulets until faith and harm are ID'd -- then just wear the amulet to ID it
3) Use ?identify on randarts that I might wield, ID'ing first the weapons, then amulets, then rings, and then armor.

In general, knowledge is power. Scrolls are definitely nice, but they are rarely of huge tactical importance: more accurately, a single wasted scroll will probably not make-or-break a game for me before Lair. Conversely, the right potion used at the right time can make all the difference, since there are many MANY different ways you can die between Temple and Lair. !Might, !lignification, !haste, !invisibility, !agility, and !berserkrage are all extremely useful for survival in the early game and beyond -- along with !curing and !healwounds, although that goes without saying.

I don't really cry about wasted magic-mapping scrolls. I actually kind of like the "mini game" of finding where a portal is based on the sounds they make. Like I hinted in my routine, silence scrolls are among the few that piss me off (along with maybe torment scrolls if I'm undead) when I waste them, since they're amazing against the right foes.

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 18:22

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

I dont follow the "dont read id scrolls that you have only one of" i dont understand the rationale.

In both cases you don't get tactical access to the consumable until you find a second instance, and for strategic uses (enchants) you get access to a small power bump earlier, i dont see the downside of read iding single scrolls, and i always scroll id all my potions anyway...
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 18:53

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

Siegurt wrote:I dont follow the "dont read id scrolls that you have only one of" i dont understand the rationale.

In both cases you don't get tactical access to the consumable until you find a second instance, and for strategic uses (enchants) you get access to a small power bump earlier, i dont see the downside of read iding single scrolls, and i always scroll id all my potions anyway...


My rationale is simple: if you read-id your only scroll of blinking or teleportation, then you have higher chance to die in next fights. Note that I don't include "reading unknown scrolls to survive" into identification mini-game.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 19:08

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

I don't use-id consumables outside of combat much. Generally I will read from a stack big enough that I know it's almost certainly identify, remove curse, or teleportation, since reading identify is good and remove curse and teleportation aren't rare enough or good enough to really be valuable. (To be really optimal about this you should inscribe any scrolls/potions that you found in stacks on the ground.) Keep track of which scrolls you found before D:4 outside of vaults, since those can't be vulnerability/summoning/acquirement/silence/brand weapon/torment/holy word.
Recharging, fear, summoning, and blinking are as valuable as any potion. The cool thing about fear, blinking, and fog is that each one makes up on average 4.056% of scrolls before item level 4 (D:4 and * or | vault items) and 3.524% of scrolls after that. So your chances of knowing which stack to identify get pretty good as the game goes on.
I consider amnesia, immolation, noise, random uselessness, vulnerability (on most characters), silence, torment, and holy word (sucks ever since losing the stun) to be pretty much irrelevant. So if I only have acquirement and some subset of those left unidentified, I'll go ahead and use-id remaining scrolls.
If I'm in combat and things are going to go badly then I'll go ahead and start use-iding scrolls, specifically looking for one of: blinking or fear, teleportation, summoning. Since I didn't wait until the last possible turn to do it, losing a few turns to reading the wrong scrolls is not a problem and I would have lost those scrolls anyway if I use-ided them in advance.

All of the above applies to potions too, except the specific items are different obviously. I don't think potions are more valuable than scrolls as a whole. I will identify a sufficiently good wand if I find it.

Identify scrolls will never get spent on equipment unless all my consumables are already identified. The chance of use-iding equipment doing something meaningfully bad is really, really, really low; it has to be a distortion weapon that I don't want (and why would I bother wielding a weapon I don't want at all?) or a randart with Contam that gives me a bad mutation.

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bel

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 19:12

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

Now that potions of mutation are semi-useful and less dangerous (especially if you have a stack of them), I think quaff-id-ing potions is often fine. I still usually id potions using scrolls.

The only unambiguously bad potion is degeneration (and lignification in some circumstances - just don't quaff id in those circumstances). I don't really know why degeneration or noise exist.
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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 19:19

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

bel wrote:Now that potions of mutation are semi-useful and less dangerous (especially if you have a stack of them), I think quaff-id-ing potions is often fine. I still usually id potions using scrolls.

The only unambiguously bad potion is degeneration (and lignification in some circumstances - just don't quaff id in those circumstances). I don't really know why degeneration or noise exist.

True... "Now" assuming the user is playing Trunk. ;)
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 20:46

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

Quaff-iding potions out of combat has never been dangerous, really - the chance of getting relevant bad mutations has always been very small, and it was always pretty hard to get an inventory containing (strong) poison but not curing. The problem with it is that quaffing a potion means you lose the potion.

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Post Monday, 6th March 2017, 14:30

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

everything duvessa said is exactly what I would do if I gave more of a fuck

In practice I read stacked scrolls, ID potions with identify, call it a day
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Post Monday, 6th March 2017, 17:39

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

1) I wait until my stack of scrolls builds up so it becomes obvious which one's are PROBABLY Identify or Remove Curse scrolls. At that point I also start equipping unindentified equipment, so if some of them are cursed, my Remove Curse doesn't go to waste.
2) After i find my Identify scroll, I start using it on other big stacks of scrolls because that will uncover a Teleport scroll sooner or later.
3) I use Identify scrolls on bigger stacks of potions to find Healing and Curing potions.
4) If I find a shop selling potions or scrolls, I buy cheap ones that are left unintentified. That automatically identifies it.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 05:51

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

I just collect potions & scrolls for the first 3 levels. There's typically a high chance that stacks with large counts will be the usual good stuff: cure/heal/remove curse/id/degenerate.

Id the high count stuff. Then id the potions. Save a couple id scrolls for a useful wand to id. Don't really need to id scrolls as much early game. The rare/good ones you typically only have 1-2 early game.

If you want to find blink/teleport with id scrolls I would focus on the 2-4 stacks after dungeon 4. works more often then not.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 08:32

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

I always identify single potions first. If I get in a pinch I trust that the largest stack is curing... But I want to id the exp potion asap (no, I don't make notes on where I found the potions etc.) :)
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Post Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 19:54

Re: {Beginner Question] Identifying Scrolls and Potions

I usually wait till D2 and read any scrolls where I have 2 or more till I find the identify scrolls. Then I id scrolls till I find the remove curse scroll so I know what my curse margin is for equipping unknowns. Then I id pots for the curing/heal wound pots, or use it on an early wand.

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