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"Information on what monsters can/will pick up would be nice."
You can pick up items from the dungeon floor using the , key. If there is only one item or stack in your square, you will usually pick it up without further prompting; otherwise you will be asked which items you want to pick up. Pressing , again will select every item.
The pickup burden option sets an encumbrance limit. If an item you attempt to pick up would take you to that limit, you will be prompted to confirm.
If you are polymorphed into a creature without hands, you can't pick up.
If you are levitating you can't pick up.
If you have already filled your knapsack slots, you can't pick up, unless the item is a loadstone.
If the item would take you past your maximum carrying capacity, you can't pick it up, unless the item is a loadstone.
A cross aligned quest artifact is likely to evade your grasp.