Potion/scroll generation and identification


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Post Monday, 1st June 2015, 23:15

Potion/scroll generation and identification

Potions and scrolls are probably the best defense of the ID minigame. However, their generation has some quirks that seriously damage the ID minigame as well.
- Vulnerability, acquirement, summoning, silence, brand weapon, torment, holy word, poison, and berserk rage don't generate if the item level is low enough, meaning they don't generate at all on certain early dungeon levels. If you found a scroll on D:1 and it's not in a certain vault, you can eliminate 1/3 of the possibilities and should inscribe it. Same for potions, but you only eliminate one or two.
According to a comment, berserk rage is "too dangerous on monsters early on". Then why are monsters allowed to use it in the first place????
Potions of poison are presumably excluded since they can kill you, but they already generate on D:2 and they can kill you just as well there. Seems unnecessary.
None of these scrolls are dangerous except for summoning when used by monsters. Again, if it's too dangerous, why do monsters use it at all?

- Brand weapon, acquirement, torment, holy word, silence, beneficial mutation, and experience are not allowed to generate in stacks. So if you find a scroll or potion in a stack you can eliminate several of the possiblities and should inscribe it. What makes preventing stacks better than reducing their weight by 9.434% (scrolls) or 8.722% (potions)? Is the slightly decreased variance really that important?
- Monsters will never have certain scrolls or potions in their inventory. So if a monster drops a scroll or potion, you can eliminate several of the possibilities and should inscribe it.
- Various portal vault vaults have special lists of scrolls or potions, so when you find a consumable in a sewer, ossuary, bailey, volcano, ice cave, etc., you should inscribe it and note which vault.

This is all spoilery knowledge that gives a noticeable advantage when taken together.

I do not think it would throw off balance in any significant way to:
- remove depth restrictions on scrolls and potions
- make unstackable scrolls and potions stackable, but decrease their weight by 9.434% (scrolls) and 8.722% (potions) so that the same average number of each is generated; you could replace the lost weight with no item at all to keep other item quantities the same as well
- make vaults use either "any" or pre-identify the item
- identify consumables dropped by monsters, or remove monster consumable usage
It would, however, unbreak a seriously broken part of identification.

I know monster consumable usage is popular for the flavour, but if you want to keep it then the only way leaving the items unidentified can work is if all the consumables are picked up and they generate in inventories with the same weights as they do on the ground.

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Post Monday, 1st June 2015, 23:37

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Side note: if a stack of !experience is too powerful, probably we should not generate stacks at all.

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Post Monday, 1st June 2015, 23:38

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

I have no idea why stacks of scrolls exist.
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Post Monday, 1st June 2015, 23:38

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

duvessa wrote:It would, however, unbreak a seriously broken part of identification.

Why bother trying to unbreak something that's already functionally irrelevant instead of just removing it altogether? The ID minigame for potions and scrolls is a silly solution for players having too many consumables in the early game, one that would be better solved by just generating fewer of them. ?ID is basically only good on wands, artefacts, and the occasional enchanted-but-mysterious weapon, and even those could stand to lose it.

Since I'm fairly sure I would have to be a much better debater to get anyone to agree with that position, however, I think all of duvessa's proposals would be improvements to the status quo.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 03:19

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Why bother trying to unbreak something that's already functionally irrelevant
Identifying potions and scrolls is not an easy process. If you identify scrolls and potions the same way in every game, you're playing suboptimally. Especially if you read scrolls as soon as you find them.
Item identification is not a "minigame" that exists in a vacuum. It depends on external circumstances. It in turn affects other aspects of the game. If you play as if those statements aren't true then yes, item identification might seem pointless.

mps wrote:I have no idea why roguelike games have identification "subgames" in 2015.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 04:00

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

While I somewhat appreciate the attention to detail evident in the OP, I doubt that the advantage to be had by taking this kind of care in actual play is decisive, even if it's nontrivial. The difference between optimal play and pretty slapdash heuristics wrt identification appears to be pretty small and easy to estimate given the stakes.

As archaeo says, in practice, the ID "subgame" just eats some of your consumables in the early game. You guys say you can get fewer of them eaten if you do it carefully. Maybe. It would be better just to generate slightly fewer identified consumables. Identification just doesn't provide enough value added to be worth the clutter that supports it.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 06:45

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

mps wrote:As archaeo says, in practice, the ID "subgame" just eats some of your consumables in the early game.

The most important effect of the ID minigame to me is that in the early game you don't know what items you have. This sometimes leads to interesting situations and decisions. For me, the game would be more boring with no ID mechanism.

Also, I never quaff-id potions (unless in a desperate situation), so the ID minigame does not usually eat any of my potions.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 07:32

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

It is true that ID minigame is mostly relevant in the earlygame, but the earlygame is widely considered to be the best part of Crawl and I see no reason to make it worse.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 09:42

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Sprucery wrote:The most important effect of the ID minigame to me is that in the early game you don't know what items you have. This sometimes leads to interesting situations and decisions. For me, the game would be more boring with no ID mechanism.

Also, I never quaff-id potions (unless in a desperate situation), so the ID minigame does not usually eat any of my potions.

But there's the problem, Sprucery: "don't know what items you have" is exactly the same as "don't have items," so why the extra step of needing to identify them? Why not just not hand those items out? The only advantage to the ID minigame for potions and scrolls is that, occasionally, "interesting situations" develop, which is the same thing as saying "sometimes I panic and drink all my potions in an effort to stave off death" or the like. Every other interesting thing the ID game could do in the early game could be done much more easily by simply handing out fewer items.

I apologize though, I shouldn't have even brought it up, since I knew it'd be an argument, and we should focus on duvessa's ideas instead, which are fine. In fact, as long as the ID minigame persists, they're kind of crucial, since all of the important items get identified before Lair, if not Temple, thanks to the fact that the early Dungeon only drops certain kinds of items. Duvessa's proposal would at least keep things moderately more interesting, I guess.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 10:54

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Unidentified potions are not like nonexistent potions, because you can quaff-id the former but not the latter. It means if you are lethally poisoned in early game, you can quaff-id and hope for curing, lignification or berserk rage.

I like duvessa's original suggestion, which is a bare-minimum-change to fix the issues that were highlighted. I would like id to vanish entirely, but it's clearly off topic for this thread.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 13:42

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Yes, unID'd potions are a bag of random effects without replacement. In particular, ID creates situations where you can live or die according to pure chance. People will of course claim this is interesting because you can do better than naive random selection by considering generation frequencies. The problem is that optimal play here is quite obvious once you have the spoilery information needed to do it, so if you find that kind of thing interesting, I would suggest you're just easily amused.

If the ID game is only relevant in the early game, why does it continue to exist into the mid or late game? Why do you still carry scrolls around and spend time dicking around with your items trying to avoid annoying effects when you're essentially guaranteed to be able to handle the via ID anyway? It's easy to come up with alternative arrangements that dispense with the clutter and tedium of ID once it no longer matters. For example, the temple or some other, later occurring vault, could contain an oracle that infuses the character with knowledge of items in exchange for ID scrolls, which are then no longer generated.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 14:10

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

mps wrote:The problem is that optimal play here is quite obvious once you have the spoilery information needed to do it, so if you find that kind of thing interesting, I would suggest you're just easily amused.

In all fairness, I think it's worth pointing out that the ID minigame mechanic has persisted in roguelike development for more than a quarter of a century at this point, and Sprucery, dpeg, et al. are undoubtedly sincere in their enjoyment of said mechanic. There almost certainly exists a configuration of identification that manages to thread the needle between NetHack's extreme tedium and Crawl's vestigialism, but I'm not sure where it is, and I don't think we're currently there.

I would welcome a mod moving this entire off-topic discussion I shouldn't have started to CYC so that we can get back to discussing duvessa's proposal, with my apologies.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 14:22

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Hey all! Mod here. Archaeo's suggestion to move some of this to CYC is good; howerver, the posts are all mixed together and I think it'd be hard to make a coherent CYC thread (*cough*) out of these.

So! If you want to have that discussion, go on and have it; for this thread, please just keep it on-topic.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 14:50

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

mps wrote:The problem is that optimal play here is quite obvious once you have the spoilery information needed to do it, so if you find that kind of thing interesting, I would suggest you're just easily amused.


I would like to hear that quite obvious optimal play, last thread about id couldn't find optimal answer. Also it is different in different games as Wahaha wrote.

If the ID game is only relevant in the early game, why does it continue to exist into the mid or late game? Why do you still carry scrolls around and spend time dicking around with your items trying to avoid annoying effects when you're essentially guaranteed to be able to handle the via ID anyway


Because you can spend ID scrolls in different ways: artefacts/wands/potions/scrolls/weapons. It is fun to find you had a potion of experience, a scroll of acquirement or 2 potions of beneficial mutation all this time while almost dying several times.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 15:29

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

I agree w/ duvessa's recommendations, though in terms of solutions to monsters dropping items, I'd prefer solutions in this order:

1: let monsters pick up any scroll/potion even if they can't use it;
2: let monsters generate w/ scrolls/potions but destroy them on monster death, allowing consumable usage w/o causing ID-game impact;
3: ID scrolls/potions dropped by monsters;
4: remove monster potion/scroll usage.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 15:47

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

I like 1. a lot, monsters being able to pick up things even if they can't or won't use them.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 15:49

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Lasty wrote:1: let monsters pick up any scroll/potion even if they can't use it;
This isn't a solution on its own if you keep existing monster inventory consumable generation; the probabilities would still be very skewed towards certain consumables on those monsters. In fact I mentioned this in the OP:
duvessa wrote:the only way leaving the items unidentified can work is if all the consumables are picked up and they generate in inventories with the same weights as they do on the ground.
though not generating them in inventories at all would also work.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 16:08

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

duvessa wrote:
Lasty wrote:1: let monsters pick up any scroll/potion even if they can't use it;
This isn't a solution on its own if you keep existing monster inventory consumable generation; the probabilities would still be very skewed towards certain consumables on those monsters. In fact I mentioned this in the OP:
duvessa wrote:the only way leaving the items unidentified can work is if all the consumables are picked up and they generate in inventories with the same weights as they do on the ground.
though not generating them in inventories at all would also work.

Well, yes, but then you're working off probablilities based on statistical generation, rather than absolute certainty (If I get an unidentified potion from an orc, is it one he picked up, or one he generated with? probably the former, but am I sure? Probably not) I suppose though if you find something on a sleeping critter, it'd be extremely likely (to the point of near-certitude) that he generated with it though.

(Actually I would like it if sleeping-ness of critters was less static, i.e. critters might generate awake or asleep, and would go to sleep after a non-ridiculous amount of time with no player interaction, and also wake up spontaneously after some amount of time maybe wander for a bit then go back to sleep, I think it would make this, and player stealth-stabbing a lot less deterministic, actually, I'm just going to put that in it's own thread, don't reply to this parenthetical thought experiment here.)
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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 16:09

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

In fact unattended monsters did go to sleep in old versions, but that behaviour was removed.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 18:29

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

duvessa wrote:I know monster consumable usage is popular for the flavour, but if you want to keep it then the only way leaving the items unidentified can work is if... they generate in inventories with the same weights as they do on the ground.

This part is already true.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 19:14

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Insane idea: Still have ID on usage, but change scroll of ID to scroll of understanding.

Read/quaff iding an item lets you know what the item does, but at a weaker level (indicated by some form of coloring or indicator). Using a scroll of understanding increases the power. So, teleport taking less time, curing starts out only healing status ailments but now heals HP, etc.

This way, you have a tension between IDing unfamiliar things, or improving things you already have, and it stretches the ID decision making deeper into midgame.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 19:51

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

PleasingFungus wrote:
duvessa wrote:I know monster consumable usage is popular for the flavour, but if you want to keep it then the only way leaving the items unidentified can work is if... they generate in inventories with the same weights as they do on the ground.

This part is already true.
No, no it isn't, they still don't generate with consumables they won't use.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 03:05

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

duvessa wrote:monster consumable usage... the only way leaving the items unidentified can work is if all the consumables are picked up and they generate in inventories with the same weights as they do on the ground.

OK, I did this.

duvessa wrote:- make unstackable scrolls and potions stackable, but decrease their weight by 9.434% (scrolls) and 8.722% (potions) so that the same average number of each is generated

Also this.

Trivia: there is now a roughly 0.001% chance of finding a 3-stack of !xp on D:1.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 06:45

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

PleasingFungus wrote:Trivia: there is now a roughly 0.001% chance of finding a 3-stack of !xp on D:1.

A future Wiki guide wrote:There's a chance of finding a stack of 3 potions experience on D:1. If you don't find one, it's best to quit and start over.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 19:17

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Someone write a bot to start and quit d:1 until a stack of 2 or 3 !xp is found.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 19:52

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

I'm sure that, even without the potion changes, it would have previously been possible to do some light automation to automatically finish D:1 and then immediately quit unless a given item was found. I assume nobody's done this because Crawl isn't an esport yet.

Yet.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 19:54

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Please let monsters drink potions of experience they are spawned carrying - morale damage is the most brutal after all.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 20:18

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

That's just cruel. That'd be like seeing an orc wearing PDA just walk into some lava when you're playing an ogre. Although that does kind of seem like a funny idea for a xom vault...
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 20:21

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

bel wrote:I have no idea why stacks of scrolls exist.


Probably to compensate for removing the chance of multiple id's from a Scroll of Id.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 20:25

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

XuaXua wrote:Probably to compensate for removing the chance of multiple id's from a Scroll of Id.

I'm... fairly certain they predates that change.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 20:29

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Wow I forgot all about that! It felt so good to get 3 ids out of one scroll.

I'm pretty sure that was removed at the same time as items were changed to fully auto id on equip. Remember the good old days of dropping all your potions and scrolls, and shooting yourself with wands to try to figure out what kind of rings you had on?

Oh man, thank you so much for removing all that nonsense devs.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 20:52

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

PleasingFungus wrote:
XuaXua wrote:Probably to compensate for removing the chance of multiple id's from a Scroll of Id.

I'm... fairly certain they predates that change.


I'm just throwing out ideas here... you could have just left it be and been all "sure, let's make that the reason."

Now we REALLY have to find out why scrolls stack.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 21:11

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Scrolls spawning in stacks dates back to at least Linley's Dungeon Crawl 1.1, released in late 1997. (It was probably also in 1.0.)

Restrictions to which scrolls could spawn in stacks (?torment, ?acq and ?vorp) were added sometime between 1.1 and 2.7, released in late 1998.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 22:44

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

PleasingFungus wrote:I hope you appreciate your part in destroying Linley's legacy.

Talking about destroying Linley's legacy, I'd say this is pretty minor compared to the Dungeon not having 27 levels anymore.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 23:39

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

dowan wrote:That's just cruel. That'd be like seeing an orc wearing PDA just walk into some lava when you're playing an ogre. Although that does kind of seem like a funny idea for a xom vault...


You'd have to be pretty perceptive to even notice but yeah, a vault with a confused orc wearing PDA surrounded by lava would be pretty funny.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 23:49

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

PleasingFungus wrote:Scrolls spawning in stacks dates back to at least Linley's Dungeon Crawl 1.1, released in late 1997. (It was probably also in 1.0.)

Restrictions to which scrolls could spawn in stacks (?torment, ?acq and ?vorp) were added sometime between 1.1 and 2.7, released in late 1998.

I hope you appreciate your part in destroying Linley's legacy.

So no reason for stacks I guess, except tradition.
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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 01:09

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

dowan wrote:That's just cruel. That'd be like seeing an orc wearing PDA just walk into some lava when you're playing an ogre. Although that does kind of seem like a funny idea for a xom vault...
I hope you never use fear

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 01:33

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

bel wrote:So no reason for stacks I guess, except tradition.
FR: remove stacks.

This is a very strange post.
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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 02:27

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Stacks increase variance between games.

A game where you find a 2-stack of teleport feels different than when you find a 2-stack of fear, while two games where you get 1 of each feel similar.

I've toyed with the idea of making stacks bigger but giving out less stacks to increase this variance.
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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 07:20

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

dowan wrote:That's just cruel. That'd be like seeing an orc wearing PDA just walk into some lava when you're playing an ogre. Although that does kind of seem like a funny idea for a xom vault...

It would be double aggravating if you were missing either flight, paralyze, or ranged damage capability.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Wednesday, 24th June 2015, 01:09

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

duvessa wrote:I know monster consumable usage is popular for the flavour, but if you want to keep it then the only way leaving the items unidentified can work is if all the consumables are picked up and they generate in inventories with the same weights as they do on the ground.
so uh it turns out that i was obviously wrong here and i dont know how nobody noticed because this is obvious: this doesn't work. since the monsters won't use all the potions, if you have a monster wounded for some time and it doesn't drink the potion, you should inscribe it since it's almost certainly not curing/hw/haste/agility/might/resistance/etc

since apparently everyone is totally in love with monster consumable usage, what needs to be done to keep it is: in every circumstance where a monster might use a consumable, they need to have the same chance of using every consumable. This is the only way I see to keep both of monster consumable usage and unidentified monster inventory.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Wednesday, 24th June 2015, 01:22

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Clearly the solution to that problem is to have monsters use implicit consumables that don't actually drop. If an orc has a real potion, it doesn't actually quaff that potion, but it does get a stack of implicit potions that it quaffs for buffs or healing, or perhaps some of both, and them when the player finally kills the orc is turns out that the orc was on its last potion. The orc is always on its last potion when it dies, regardless of whether it gets sniped in one turn from the edge of LOS or whether it buffed up with both haste and might and then shotgunned a half dozen healing during the fight.

Of course, the implicit consumables shouldn't trip auto-id like monster use currently does. It isn't like you can see the label when there's an orc hand covering it.

For this message the author KoboldLord has received thanks: 6
Arrhythmia, chequers, duvessa, njvack, Wahaha, Zwobot

Mines Malingerer

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Post Wednesday, 24th June 2015, 04:47

Re: Potion/scroll generation and identification

Sandman25 wrote:
mps wrote:The problem is that optimal play here is quite obvious once you have the spoilery information needed to do it, so if you find that kind of thing interesting, I would suggest you're just easily amused.


I would like to hear that quite obvious optimal play, last thread about id couldn't find optimal answer. Also it is different in different games as Wahaha wrote.

It is fun to find you had a potion of experience, a scroll of acquirement or 2 potions of beneficial mutation all this time while almost dying several times.


I also enjoy this, especially if it means heading back to the stash to realize another great scroll or potion is waiting there.

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