Score is calculated all throughout the game, and if you have the showscore setting in your rcfile, you can see it on the bottom line at all times. Score also decides if the game considers your character a beginner and gives a "strange feeling" message when use-testing things.
Low-score ascensions are generally more prestigious because you got the job done with less effort.
How score is calculated
The following things contribute to your score:
- Killing a monster — worth 4 times the monster's experience in points
- Identifying a wand by engraving or zapping — 10 points
- Non-directional wands always give score
- Ray-type wands give score if zapped in any direction except yourself, or if engraved with
- Beam/immediate-type wands give score if zapped up or down, but not in other directions or at a monster engulfing you
- Breaking wands never gives score
- Identifying a potion by quaffing — 10 points
- Lighting a potion of oil identifies it without giving points
- Identifying a scroll by reading — 10 points
- Oiling or greasing a squeaky board trap — 9 points
- Eating a tripe ration when not a carnivorous non-humanoid — 4 points
- Quaffing from a sink and getting the message "Yuk, this water tastes awful" — 4 points
The first oracle of each type:
- Minor (if not yet major): 21 points
- Minor (if already major): 9 points
- Major (if not yet minor): 210 + (21 * XL) points
- Major (if already minor): 90 + (9 * XL) points
At the end of the game (via death, ascension or escape):
- 1 point for each zorkmid more than starting gold (* 90% if game ended in death)
- 50 * (DL-1) points where DL is the deepest level reached
- 1000 points for each dungeon level reached beyond 20, to a maximum of 10000 points
The score so far is doubled if you ascended. Then, if you escaped the dungeon or ascended, you receive points for items in inventory:
And finally points for adjacent pets equivalent to their total current hit points.
How to minimize score
- Play as a pacifist. Good choices are gnomish healers and elven wizards because of their starting inventories.
- Levelling up: Quaff a potion of gain level to reach XL 2, at which point it is safe to dally with a foocubus. You will have to formally identify this potion, or see a monster using a non-cursed one, to avoid getting "bonus" score. If you can get one, a wraith corpse is also a viable method of getting to XL 2. Make sure you have an identified, blessed potion of full healing in case you get level drained by a foocubus.
- Formally identify wands, scrolls and potions before use.
- Dipping into (un)holy water does not formally identify it, so feel free to bless and curse items as you would usually. Quaffing an uncursed potion of water will give points, however, and must be avoided. Dipping into uncursed potions of water only identifies the potion if it is used up in the process; it is probably best to avoid doing this.
- Ideally, obtain a spellbook of identify from a wish, prayer, magic marker, polypiling, starting inventory, or random loot. (47% of all dungeons have one in the Mines or above Medusa. Break the Oracle statues with a pick-axe or a wand of striking.)
- Finding and identifying a wand of polymorph is the bottleneck if you don't get a spellbook of identify. Temple priests often have the books to polypile. See below.
- Get a robe from a priest to cast identify reliably. Magic resistance should come from other sources. Wizards can use their starting cloak.
- Your backup is the the scroll of identify. Price-ID it, then formally identify it on a throne. Your quest leader often sits on a throne. Find and bless as many ID scrolls as possible to mass-identify wands, scrolls and potions before use.
- Scrolls: Price-ID scrolls as you find them. Most will be no use to you until you have a source of identification. It is likely that monsters will identify the scroll of teleportation and scroll of create monster for you relatively early, after which they can be used as needed.
- 80zm scrolls are of most interest here: the scroll of remove curse will never self-identify on use, and is safe to use. The other 80zm scroll, enchant armor, will not self-identify if you are naked, or wearing only dragon scales.[note 1] If you have only one scroll, remember to remove any #name from the scroll before reading to be prompted to re-name it after it has been used up. This may use up a potentially valuable scroll for no benefit though (unless you possess scales you want to turn into DSM), and still does not give you access to armor enchantment, so is only worthwhile if you have a lot of loot, or a critical item, to uncurse. Alternatively, get a magic marker, #name both 80zm scrolls and write either scroll: this will let you tell the two scrolls apart.
- The only non-blank 60zm scroll, enchant weapon can also be determined, and safely be used on any weapon whose enchantment is not formally known (e.g. before giving the weapon to a pet).
- In a pinch, certain scrolls will not self-identify when read while confused. Thus, if you can be sure that a scroll is a scroll of gold detection it can be read while confused to, e.g., pinpoint a suspected polytrap.
- Wands: You have to rule out the non-directional wands (light, secret door, enlightenment, create monster, wishing) before there are ways to test them without bonus score. Don't engrave until you have additionally identified fire, lightning, and digging.
- Early intrinsic speed is a valuable trait, and the wand does not give points on formal identification if you zap yourself.
- 500zm wands need formal identification.
- 200zm wands: Polymorph is the prize. After monsters identify the wand of create monster for you,[note 2] you can engrave with these. You can formally identify a wand of polymorph by zapping at yourself (preferably with polymorph control), or at an engulfing monster while you are engulfed. Alternatively, give it to a wand-using monster of difficulty less than 5; it will eventually use-identify it for you. Unlike polymorph traps, you do not risk out-of-depth monsters.
- 175zm wands: If you spend a long time with no source of identification, but have reflection, you may want to let monsters zap 175zm wands at you; hopefully this will give access to a source of permanent engraving. Zapping yourself ignores reflection, and is less preferable until you have all the necessary resistances or can withstand the damage and other effects.
- 150zm wands are not usually worth sorting through because the wand of enlightenment will auto-identify on engraving, and monsters will neither use it nor be generated carrying it. Nevertheless, having monsters formally identify wands of striking and digging for you is a bonus. Shopkeepers will often have striking and magic missile on their person, which do not give points on self-zapping. But use price-ID in another shop to exclude death and attack wands you cannot yet survive.
- Potions: Do not #dip into potions without price identifying them first, because you may formally identify the potion of polymorph inadvertently.
- 50zm: If you (and all monsters around you) are not invisible, it is possible to safely quaff 50zm potions after you rule out the potion of sickness by #dipping a dart, arrow or unicorn horn into it. You can either bless and quaff one of each of the others, or use a delicatessen to determine which potion is see invisible. This is arguably a better way of obtaining this intrinsic than quaffing from fountains or waiting until you are deep enough for stalkers to be generated.
- 100zm: Once you have identified healing and extra healing by monster use, starting as a healer, etc., you may want to dilute any further 100zm potions. These tend to be junk. However, the 100zm restore ability does not formally identify and can be quaffed once you can tell which it is by process of elimination. This can be useful before you find a unicorn horn or if the potion of restore ability is a smoky potion.
- Before offering the Amulet of Yendor, drop all gold, valuable gems, amulets and artifacts. When you do offer it, make sure any pets are not next to you.
The minimum possible score for an ascension is dependent on the depth of Moloch's Sanctum in the game:
|Sanctum depth||Minimum score|
How to maximize score
Certain things are worth more than others when completing the game. When the player ascends, his base score is doubled. Because gold is part of this base score, each gold piece is essentially worth two points. Gold has a weight of one unit per 100 pieces. This means that 100 gold, or 200 points weighs one unit, which is the same weight as the least valuable gem.
It is possible to achieve extremely high score (MAXINT on 64-bit platform) by exploiting bug SC343-8 - "Re-animating a statue containing gold produces too much gold.", as it allows duplicating for an effectively infinite amount of gold. Berry ascended with 9223372036854775807 points during Junethack tournament.
Artifacts weigh more than one unit, so depending on their value, they may or may not be worth more than an equivalent weight in gold. The following chart lists the value of each artifact, its weight, and its value/weight. If the value/weight column is not at least 200, the artifact is worth less than its weight in gold, and, for score purposes, you would be better off carrying gold than that artifact into the End Game.
Each gem weighs one unit, so every gem is at least as valuable as its weight in gold. Some gems are worth much more than that.
|fluorite||400||green, blue, white, violet|
- Even if the scroll is blessed, reading an enchant armor scroll will never identify it when used on dragon scales even though the enchantment of the resulting DSM is raised.
- Alternatively, zap if you are blind and non-telepathic.
- The Invocation items cannot be held in a bag of holding, so if you have one, they're relatively heavier than items in the bag. They are still more worthwhile than gold for carrying into the endgame.