Item Classification Color System

Name dcss:brainstorm:item: classification
Summary Discuss the different categories of items, what to put in them and how to use them
Further start at line 2564
Added by galehar
Added on 2010-11-09 09:50


If you want to comment about any category being added, removed or renamed or if you think the whole classification system is useless, please comment here.

The current categories are:

  • emergency (yellow)
  • good (cyan)
  • bad (red)
  • dangerous (magenta)
  • useless (dary grey)

We also have a conflict between emergency items being coloured yellow and the flavour colouring of honeycomb and royal jellies. Should we change the colour of emergency items or remove the honey colouring?

Get rid of the coloring for honeycombs and royal jelly, please. Because of that coloring it never even struck my mind until reading this page that yellow was supposed to mean “emergency” while cyan means “good”; I just assumed both yellow and cyan meant “generally valuable item”. — brickman 2010-11-09 20:07
That reminds me: we have to document the items and spells colouring! — galehar 2010-11-09 22:52
Done, partially. See below. — XuaXua 2011-05-27 00:25

I'm glad I'm not the only one confused. At first I thought that yellow meant “slightly less dangerous than red”, as in “Yellow Alert”. Maybe swap yellow for something more intuitive? — t0d 2011-05-27 11:16

I've checked, and it turns out that honeycombs and royal jellies are coloured yellow because they are preferred food for anyone and it's the default colour of preferred food items. See settings/standard_colours.txt. This is why blood potions for vampires and rotten chunks for ghouls are yellow too. I'm not sure about changing this. Available colours would be blue, cyan and white. We can use blue or keep it that way and document it. Porridge is preferred by any non-carnivorous. I'd change that to only herbivore 3 (Sp). — galehar 2011-06-01 16:32
Do preferred foods need to be a different colour from normal foods? Dangerous and useless food are already coloured as such. I could see royal jelly and ambrosia being coloured as “good” food since they do more than just satiate hunger, but why not just do away with preferred colouring? — sxoz 2011-06-02 05:43

Descriptive Item Colors

Can be used for documentation 4043

The color of an item in inventory enhances the item's description as follows:

  • Grey : is default color
  • Dark Grey : is useless or unusable
  • White : is an artefact
  • Blue : has a(n) (un)confirmed ego
  • Green : has an unidentified enchantment, but no ego
  • Red : is cursed or harmful or discouraged by religion
  • Bright Green : is uncursed and equipped
  • Bright Red : is cursed and equipped
  • Yellow : has use as a utility
  • Cyan / Light Blue : is beneficial to use
  • Magenta / Purple : is dangerous to use
  • Light Magenta / Purple : is Rune or Orb of Zot

Note: Runes are Purple, but are not dangerous to use. Recommend changing to white, akin to artefacts. — XuaXua 2011-06-01 00:56

Technically, the orb and runes are lightmagenta, while the danger colour is normal magenta. — sxoz 2011-06-02 05:42
Thanks. Like Cyan (and taupe), not everyone knows magenta, so I'm leaving in the alternative — XuaXua 2011-06-02 18:45
Sorry, I wasn't trying to correct you on purple vs. magenta, I was just pointing out that there is a difference between runes/orb and dangerous items (though it is difficult to tell the difference). However, this made me think that maybe it would be a good idea to list colours on this page with the actual colour names from the config files (which is why I used magenta instead of purple). — sxoz 2011-06-02 19:38
It is a little difficult to tell the difference; I'm of the mind that it should be changed. Whichever color name is used is fine; I do wonder how much more work needs to go into this or if it should go to documentation. — XuaXua 2011-06-02 23:22

Descriptive Spell Colors

  • Light (color) : can memorize or cast at this time
  • Dark (color) : cannot memorize or cast at this time
  • Grey : is default color
  • Magenta / Purple : may harm on failed memorization
  • Green : encouraged by religion or combines with current status (eg: flight/swiftness)
  • Red : discouraged by religion

Not sure if there is a Dark Purple or what the color is for a god which promotes a spell. — XuaXua 2011-05-31 21:29

I removed default classification because unlike items, spells conceptually only have two states: memorizable or non-memorizable; genericized dark.
Was there a yellow color for spells? For some reason I feel like there is one. — XuaXua 2011-06-02 18:54


Here we discuss individual items presence in each category. There's often some logic involved (especially for useless items) but I haven't put it here to keep the page clear. For example, potions of speed are not emergency items for Chei's worshippers and curse armour isn't useless to Ash's ones.


  • wand of hasting
  • wand of healing
  • wand of teleportation
  • scroll of teleportation
  • scroll of blinking
  • scroll of fear

> It has been suggested that the scroll of fear lose its emergency status past a certain XL. Past mid-game, tt can still be useful, but can't be relied on.

  • scroll of fog

> I recently added this one per dpeg suggestion's. kilobyte is strongly opposed. I think it can be extremely useful against packs of 'taur and smite/tormetting enemies. Is it enough to warrant it an emergency status? Maybe we can move it down in the good items category.

  • potion of speed
  • potion of healing
  • potion of heal wounds
  • potion of resistance


  • scroll of acquirement
  • potion of berserker rage
  • potion of cure mutation
  • potion of gain strength
  • potion of gain intelligence
  • potion of gain dexterity
  • potion of experience
  • potion of magic
  • potion of might
  • potion of agility
  • potion of brilliance
  • potion of restore ability
I think the good status of attribute potions should depend on your skills. The obvious example is brilliance. If you don't have spellcasting, it is almost useless. For agility and might (and berserk) it is not so simple. In the early game, they are certainly useful to all chars. But if you have high armour and low evasion and stealth, you won't be interested in agility. And if you have high magic skills and low weapon skills, you won't care much about berserk and might.
Keep in mind that I'm not saying those potions are completely useless in these cases. Just that they should lose their “good” status.
Potion of agility might possibly be classified as an emergency potion, at least in the early game. Unlike the other two stat boost potions, agility directly reduces the amount of damage the player takes, on average. — dtsund 2010-11-09 22:03
I would suggest putting the 3 GAIN potions, the XP potion and the scroll of acquirement into their own category; maybe make them white like artefacts? — XuaXua 2011-05-27 00:33
Looking at the list of potions, I noticed that they are almost all coloured. The only ones with the default colour are levitation, invisibility, blood and water. Porridge is yellow, but probably for the same reason as honeycomb and royal jellies. How about we remove the tactical potions from the good list and only keep the strategical ones? Berserk, might, agility and brilliance are normal. Magic is emergency. Acquirement, cure mutation, gain foo and experience are good. — galehar 2011-05-27 09:54
That sounds fairly sensible to me. — marvinpa 2011-05-27 19:50
Cure mutation is tactical; you might not want to cure that +3 AC to get rid of your -1 Dex. The mutation-related potions (the 3 gains, mutation and cure mutation) should all go in their own related category. Acquirement and Experience are super rare awesome standalone bonuses that should be their own thing (white like artefacts). Food should get its own color. — XuaXua 2011-05-27 16:37
I'm not sure I really see the distinction between “good” and “emergency”; I see them both as “beneficial” and am not sure they need to be distinguished from each other by an arbitrary level of urgency. I CAN, however, see a need for a color to distinguish RARE. — XuaXua 2011-05-27 16:37
It's not arbitrary. Emergency items: you want to carry some with you in case you need them. Good items: you want to use them or stash them, there's no reason to carry them around. For now, the name of the categories are only in the source, but since we're documenting them, this one could use a better name, but I can't think of any. — galehar 2011-06-01 10:31
You could call them Arbitrary Items. :-) Thesaurus for Emergency (adj.) includes Security and Defensive, both of which have other meanings in a game that includes armor. I say use Beneficial. — XuaXua 2011-06-02 18:39
Utility Items. — XuaXua 2011-06-02 18:51


  • curse armour
  • curse jewellery
  • curse weapon
  • potion of confusion
  • potion of slowing
  • potion of degeneration
  • potion of decay
  • potion of paralysis
  • potion of poison
  • potion of strong poison
  • amulet of inaccuracy
  • ring of hunger
  • rings with maluses
  • crystal ball of fixation


  • unidentified crystal ball
  • scroll of immolation
  • scroll of torment
  • potion of mutation
  • book of destruction
  • high level spellbooks (necronomicon, demonology and annihilation)


  • scroll of paper
  • scroll of random uselessness
  • scroll of noise

> Scroll of noise can be useful. How about we move it to the dangerous items?

No, I don't think so. The only situation I know about where it's useful is for mermaids, which is an extreme edge case. All other times you can just shout, right? — brickman 2010-11-09 20:05
Shouting has loudness 12 (with shoutitis 12/14/16, in dragon form 18), scroll of noise 25. This can be useful eg. in the undead swamp end when you want to get denizens of the vault to get to you. But yeah, it's a rare edge case. And you can just cast Firestorm for a stronger effect :p — kilobyte 2010-11-09 20:20

Crawl really shouldn't tell the player that an item is useless when it's clearly not, though. I don't think noise's usefulness is that much of an edge case (no more so than immolation, at least). Edit: done. — marvinpa 2011-05-27 09:25

Then list noise as dangerous, since it draws potentially unwanted attention to the player when used. — XuaXua 2011-05-27 16:35

Gameplay effect

Currently the categories are mostly used only for colouring items. Autopickup also ignore bad and useless items. Anything else I have overlooked?
If you want to comment on whether the categories should impact gameplay and how, this is the place. The obvious example is Ashenzari's detect items ability. One way of making it more useful would be to use one colour for emergency and good items, and another colour for all other items. Useless items shouldn't even be detected.
Anyway, I think we should start by making the categories more relevant before using them elsewhere in the game.

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dcss/brainstorm/interface/classification.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 21:39 by XuaXua
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