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Old October 14, 2014, 22:28   #1
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Infinitum is on a distinguished road
Guide to the ID game

Got inspired by the identifying q&a thread and decided to write up something more comprehensive. Just a little something for anyone ready to let go of the loremaster crutches and wander into the brave new world of standardized procedures, junk peddling and xp bargaining that is the ID game yet intimidated by the scope of the venture.

General tips and tricks:

  • Pressing { lets you inscribe custom tags upon objects in your inventory. This is invaluable for keeping track of what unknown consumables can potentially be and not be. { wishes to be your friend. { wants you to use it. Let { within your heart and you shall be greatly rewarded.
  • Pressing 0 lets you access the smithing interface. You can use this to keep tab both on what egos can potentially apply to what items and what each respective ego does.
  • Pressing Esc to bring up the menu and then f brings you to the known objects screen. Like the monster memory, this only stores egos and consumables known to that particular savefile, but it is still useful for keeping tabs on what's left unidentified.
  • Some items and consumables will have an obvious effect on the game the moment you equip or use them, such as boots of speed giving you sprinting or a potion giving you +3 strength. These will be identified automatically. Others will only be identified under specific circumstances, like a potion of slow poison won't do anything unless you are actually poisoned or a weapon of final rest not slaying non-undead.
  • Each ego and consumable you identify will net you 100 xp, and will allow you to tell that particular ego or consumable apart for the rest of the game. The egos are interchangable between item types, so for an example identifying a sword of gondolin will make that ego visible on any future bow, hammer or spear of gondolin you encounter that game.
  • Like monsters, items have a set native depth and will be more commonly found in proximity to this. This can be used to induce the identity of an unknown item. For an instance, one of the first potions you find are very likely to be slow poison, and the first rings to be either of hunger or sustenance. Everything has a small chance of appearing at any depth however, so this method is by no means foolproof.
  • Try to use-identify items aggressively. Besides netting you large quantities of xp and allowing you to discard subpar items, Sil is a hard game and you will need every edge you can muster. If you die with unidentified consumables left in your inventory you are doing it wrong.
  • Test unknown items outside of combat, alternatively on an enemy you are 100% certain you can beat if things go wrong. It's better to go into combat with 1 known healing potion than a pile of unknown ones. Dying becasue you had to take a chance and quaffed poison is even more embarassing than dying with unidentified consumables.
  • Staffs of Understanding are usually found around the midgame and forward, and will instantly identify any item you use it on. This is useful for hard-to use-identify items and to preserve consumables in the lategame.
  • Try to keep staves of self knowledge around as well. Even if you won't get xp for it just yet, knowing what a particular item does makes use-ID'ing it safer and easier by far. Not to mention that it functions as a staff of understanding for weapons. Remember that with some metagame knowledge you can swap in several unknown items of different spots at once and still induce what each does, which saves charges.
  • Smiths automatically identify any ego item they make. This is marginally useful when finding a surplusnof forges, especially since useless equipment is cheap to make. This is a safe and hassle-free way to identify jewelry in particular when the situation arises.
  • Don't rely blindly on the ingame id system. If you manage to figure out what an item does before the game acknowledges it, use the { command to mark it as such. This can be achieved by a process of elimination, by observing ingame tells or by using a staff of self knowledge to see what effects your equipment has on you.
  • Don't throw stuff away if you have inventory room and isn't encumbered. Unidentified known junk is still worth xp if you manage to identify it, and "bad" potions can be used as emergency rations and to identify armour to name a few.
  • Potions (Dex/Gra) and herbs (Str/Con) that drain stats do so only if you fail a somewhat easy will check against them. Whilst this shouldn't keep you from imbuing unknown consumables or change your build order, try wearing Grace/Will-buffing items if you have them, or even protection from draining items should one drop. Wearing unidentified jewelry prior to testing consumables can sometimes identify +0 stat items in this way.

Specific tricks for identifying equipment & consumables by type

I won't bother to list items that are automatically identified on use. The text within quote tags lists items that use-ID conditionally (and what this condition entails).

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
Not spoiling you today (Nope)
There are no random artifacts in Sil, and artifact equipment is always generated with the same weight and bonuses making them easy to recognize at a glance for experienced players. In addition, some artifacts are generated in a color unique to that particular artifact. Most artifacts will grant abilities, and as such are automatically identified upon equipping them. Most of the non-automatic ones are various weapons of sharpness and will identify upon succesfully striking an enemy with them.

Melee Weapons
Originally Posted by Conditional ID
Of Slaying (Hit corresponding creature type, Final Rest also ID by resisting a slow/entrancement effect)
(Vampiric) (Hit non-resistant enemy, changing to a "hungrier" state whilst being a fast digester)

Of Slaying (Hit corresponding creature type)
(Vampiric) (Hit non-resistant enemy, changing to a "hungrier" state whilst being a fast digester)
(Poisoned) (Hit non-resistant enemy)

of Slaying (Hit corresponding creature type)

of Belegost (strike a wall with at least 3 strength)
Generally speaking melee weapons either ID on equip or by hitting one of the creature types it slays (o/T for Gondolin, C/S for Doriath, R/D/d for Nargothrond and W for Final Rest). In addition, slaying weapons will "soft-ID" by glowing in close proximity to its corresponding creature type. As such, pay close attention to unidentified weapons on the ground or in your inventory in order to be ready to swap them in at short notice. The sole exceptions are daggers of poison, and vampiric weapons who both identify upon striking/killing a suspectible creature.

"Of fury" and "vampiric" weapons are cursed and cannot be unequipped without being uncursed bu a staff of sanctity or the cursebreaker ability. Only non-broken swords, polearms and warhammers can be generated with the "of fury" prefix, and these will always be generated with an extra side of damage. All non-blunt weapons can have the vampiric prefix however, which is potentially lethal both due to its lackluster combat utility and greatly increased food consumption. As such, never equip an unidentified junk weapon unless you have seen it glow or you have access to at least 2 unidentified (and used) staffs (ie potential sanctuary staffs).

Equip everything else on sight - if it isn't cursed this means its a slayer weapon of some description and should be carried around as a swap. Keep an eye on your inventory when fighting enemies with un-ID'd weapons and swap into glowing ones when they occur. In addition, Staffs of Self knowledge will always ID wielded unidentified weapons.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Slaying (shoot corresponding creature type)
of Radiance (Shoot into a naturally dark square within your light radius)
Shoot unidentified Bows once into a dark square -within- your light radius (eg stand in a corridor and shoot) to see if it's radiance, otherwise just keep it around and it will shoot its corresponding slay eventually (unlike melee weapons, bows will never glow).

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Sustenance (changing to a "hungrier" state whilst being a slow digester)
of Hunger (changing to a "hungrier" state whilst being a fast digester)
of Strenght +0 (resist a strength-draining attack)
of Dexterity +0 (resist a dexterity-draining attack)
of Frost (resist a Fire attack doing at least 1 damage)
of Warmth (resist a cold attack doing at least 1 damage)
of Venom's End (resist a poison attack doing at least 1 damage)
of Free Action (resist a slowing/entrancing attack)
Rings are tricky. Draining attacks are very rare early, as are non-poison elemental attacks - neither of which you want to expose yourself to needlessly due to how dangerous they are unresisted. Free Action/Venom's End are easily tested for by drinking corresponding bad potions, stepping over caltrops or taking hits from poisonous enemies wearing un-ID'd rings. Note that if the attack in question doesn't do any damage whatsoever protection from element items won't identify. Sustenance and Hunger are identified when you go into a hungrier state, eg from full to normal or from normal to hungry. In a new game, you will grow hungry naturally on turn 3000. Each potion drunk will add 100 to this number, and each non-sustenance/emptiness herb 250. As an added quirk, if your food consumption "balances out" (eg wearing BOTH a ring of sustenance and hunger) nothing will identify.

As such, try out all rings you see but never wear early unidentified jewelry for more than one turn. As turn 3000 (ish) approaches, only wear one unidentified ring until the hunger state changes. When this happens, drink a (junk) potion to reset the state, wear another unidentified ring and repeat until hunger/sustenance are identified.

There are also cursed negative stat/skill rings to contend with. As such, avoid known rings with unknown modifiers unless a positive one is better than what you are currently wearing. Other than that unknown rings can always be worn safely.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Adornment (N/A)
of Constitution +0 (resist a constitution-draining attack)
of Grace +0 (resist a grace-draining attack)
of Regeneration (small chance as you regain hp, changing to a "hungrier" state whilst being a fast digester)
of Preservation (resist a grace- or constitution-draining attack, changing to a "hungrier" state whilst being a slow digester)
of Haunted Dreams (spot an invisible creature)
The only amulets that auto-ID are (cursed) +1/-1 amulets of stats and those of the Blessed Realm. Amulets of adornment will never identify unless you use understanding charges, and haunted dreams is like to kill you if used early. Don't bother trying to use-identify these blindly; stave charges of understanding and self knowledge are the name of the day here.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of True Sight (spot an invisible creature)
There are cursed brass lanterns of flickering shadows which will definitly kill you if worn, so don't use-id mundane lanterns unless it's already known or you have access to sanctity.

Body Armour
Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Venom's End (resist a poison attack doing at least 1 damage)
of Blight (be susceptible to a poison attack doing at least 1 damage)
Robes of Permanence (resist a stat-draining attack)
Find a poisonous/stat-draining monster or potion and let it rip. Try not to die doing it. Having a potion of poison at hand as inventory allows is a good idea due to this. There are no cursed armours ingame.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Warmth (resist a cold attack doing at least 1 damage)
of Winter's Chill (be susceptible to a cold attack doing at least 1 damage)
See body armour, except there are no non-monster sources of cold damage, and the monsters in question hit like trucks. Don't ID these blindly.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Frost (resist a fire attack doing at least one damage)
of Wrath (small chance of identifying each turn worn)
You can easily soft-identify unknown shields by the effect they have on nearby monsters - wrath causes aggravation, frost doesn't.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of True Sight (spot something invisible, resist a blinding effect or equip whilst blinded)
of Clarity (resist a confusion, stunning or hallucination effect)
of Terror (randomly causes fear adjacent to enemies, Id's when this happen)
Carrying potions of confusion or blindness? If not, try smashing into doors to stun yourself or walk into a flash trap. Terror is annoying but not deadly unless you're surrounded so feel free to equip unidentified ones as you please

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
Everything auto-ID's. There are cursed gauntlets of treachery, but opportunist is a good enough ability to offset the -1 strength malus until you find sanctity. Wear everything.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Free Action (resist slowing or entrancement)
of Treacherous Paths (small chance of Id'ing for each turn worn)
Potions of slowing or caltrop traps are the quickest way to identify Free Action. Always wear unidentifed boots; 50' danger isn't good by any definition, but will probably not kill you before it auto-IDs. Alternatively, throw away all footwear that you're certain arent artifacts/free action until you have a spare understanding charge.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
(Poisoned) (shoot something non-poison resistant)
of Piercing (shoot something)
Shoot one arrow at anything non-poison resistant. Hit it. Done.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Blasting (target a wall)
of everything else (target a susceptible enemy)
Use on scare-able enemy. If it doesn't work, use on wall. Sometimes use on wall first and then on enemy. Usually i just forget I have these and have them take inventory space all game long. yeah.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Slow Poison (be poisoned)
of Clarity (be stunned/confused/hallucinating)
of Healing (regain lost hitpoints)
of Voice (regain lost voice)
Most potions of importance identify automatically, but there's a few tricks to it. First of all, potions of orcish liquor will always be muddy brown and potions of miruvor will always be clear. Healing supplies are scarce, so keep an eye out for these and only drink them when needed. Second, of the potions that don't auto-identify healing is the most important one by far.

Never drink unknown potions unless hurt until you've identified healing. What I usually do once I've tallied up a few potions is standing next to a white worm mass until poisoned, the drink all potions in my inventory until rpoison (and hopefully healing) triggers. Clarity is easily tested for by smashing into doors until stunned before drinking unknown potions. Voice you can just sing or blow a horn beforehand, but voice is rarely found early on.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Sustenance (gain a satiety level)
of Emptiness (lose a satiety level)
of Healing (regain lost hitpoints)
of Restoration (regain drained stats)
Finicky. First of all, never eat unknown herbs unless hurt or healing has been identified. Secondly, restoration is important for all characters yet hard to hard-identify (since stat drain is uncommon, and something one wants to avoid), and fiddly to differentiate form sustenance/emptiness.

For this reason I tend to wait with eating herbs until I turn hungry, at which point get myself hurt and test away. Since sustenance will always bring the pc back to full, emptiness will bring it to weak and healing will restore hitpoints restoration is the only herb left that won't auto-identify at that point. Usually I do this after attempting to suss out whether any of the jewelry I'm wearing is hunger/sustenance to save on time (since the wait of turning hungry again after drinking a potion is far shorter than eating herbs).

Once rage, healing, sustenance and restoration have been identified all other herbs are bad mojo, so try having some will before testing the rest of them or use knowledge charges if you don't want to risk statdrain.

Originally Posted by Conditional ID
of Freedom (remove rubble, force open adjacent door)
of Imprisonment (lock open door within sight)
of Slumber (use in line of sight of enemy susceptible to sleep)
of Majesty (use in line of sight of enemy susceptible to morale)
of Sanctity (wear cursed item)
of Entrapment (N/A)
of Summoning (stand in line of sight of staircase being summoned to)
Tedious. The only worthwile staves that doesn't auto-identify on use are freedom and sanctity, yet you are unlikely to find a cursed item to hard-id it early on, which means you usually have to soft-id them by a process of elimination. Also, whilst the potentially dangerous staves aren't that bad, use-id'ing them is unlikely to impossible. In addition, unidentified staves tend to take lots of inventory space and weigh tons.

In order not to waste potentially scarce sanctity charges (remember you may only get one or two early on to last the game) you want to fulfill as many of the above conditions as possible for each tested unknown stave. So, next to a closed door/rubble, in sight of an enemy that can be scared or slept and in sight of an open door. Preferably whilst wearing a cursed item and seeing a staircase. You want to do this for every unknown staff you want to test. Oh, and be sure to wear un-ID'd equipment as you do it in case it's a staff of self knowledge. Have fun.

If you for some reason absolutely need to differentiate sanctity from the bad staffs and is about to leave the level in question, sanctity generally have fewer charges than either. If a staff can be consecutively activated more than 5 time, odds are you just trapped the entire level or summoned a horde of monsters. The "Channeling" ability will automatically display the amount of charges remaining within the staff, making this process easier.


Anyhow, feel free to add your own observations and tricks and I'll edit it in. Suggestions welcome.

Last edited by Infinitum; November 17, 2014 at 17:04.
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Old October 15, 2014, 01:35   #2
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Great job, a few more ideas (no guarantee).

Negative potions / herbs check against your will - if you have means to increase your will before test-quaffing / -eating this helps a lot. So put on that helm (of defiance) when driving, I mean drinking!

Channeling shows the charges on a staff, which apart from its main benefit helps a lot in ID.

Artefacts: Sharp artefacts do not auto-ID.

Link to the less comprehensive thread:
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Old October 15, 2014, 06:21   #3
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I'll just mention 2 for potions, if it doesn't auto-id:
damaged, stunned, not full voice - slow poison
damaged, poisioned, not full voice - clarity

Test iding herbs is safest after you've ided a con amulet and a str ring. Always swap them on if in your inventory. Wearing un-id amulets & rings while testing herbs can also id str & con resist.
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Old October 15, 2014, 15:04   #4
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Those are good points and I'll update the op accordingly. ta!
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Old October 15, 2014, 15:18   #5
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Thanks for writing this! I don't like the ID game, but the perception abilities are really cool and I'd rather suffer through IDing by hand than not being able to take Listen, for example. Once I figured out the first three points you mention, I was able to figure out how to identify most stuff, but having a nice, consolidated list of tips is very helpful.

I'm still quite new at the game, but one thing I've noticed is that herbs of terror and rage are quite common on the early floors. So if I have a stack of more than three herbs, it's quite likely to be on of those two.

One thing that annoys me is that if, for example, I soft-ID boots as treacherous paths, I can't distinguish future special boots and still have to perform the same annoying caltrop test on each new pair. I know that if boot, helmet or weapon enchantments were as easily visible and distinguishable as jewellery types (e.g. "black boots" and "fine leather boots", or a "rune-scored shield" and a "silver-inlayed shield" that can bear separate inscriptions) it would simplify the ID game, but I do feel it would reduce tedium.
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Old October 15, 2014, 18:46   #6
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As such, ever equip an unidentified junk weapon unless...
I believe that should be
As such, never equip an unidentified junk weapon unless...
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Old November 9, 2016, 02:18   #7
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bump for easier access
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