Shopkeeper services

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Shopkeepers in SLASH'EM may offer the following services: identifying, uncursing, appraisal (saying how much damage a weapon does), weapon-works, armor-works and charging. All shops offer a form of identification but not necessarily any other services. The black market always possesses full identification services, appraisal, and uncursing services.[1]

Sometimes shopkeepers may try to cheat you. The probability of this mainly depends on your Charisma. It will never happen if your Charisma is 10 or more and will always happen if it is 7 or less. If your Charisma is 8 or 9, shopkeepers will sometimes try to cheat you, with a probability dependent on your Luck.[2] On a related note, many services will not work properly if you are hallucinating or confused.

The price of services will be mentioned under the individual service headings, but in general, it is strongly dependent on the object on which the service is being performed. Your charisma also affects the price of services, but to a lesser degree than it affects the price of objects.

You can open the Shopkeeper Services window by attempting to pay a shopkeeper.

Availability of services

Not all shops offer all services.[3] All shops offer either basic or premier identification services. There is a 5/15 chance of both being available, 2/15 chance of only premier, and 8/15 chance of only basic identification.

All shops are capable of uncursing. Shops have a 1 in 3 chance of offering this service.

Weapon shops have a 1 in 3 chance of offering appraisal service.

Tool, jewelry, and spell shops have a 1 in 2 chance of offering basic charging. Wand shops have a 1 in 4 chance of offering basic charging and a separate 1 in 4 chance of offering premier charging.

Armor and weapon shops have independent 1 in 4 chances of offering repair and enchantment services. Weapon shops have an additional 1 in 4 chance of offering poisoning services.

Pricing

All services have a base cost. This base cost is then modified by the player's charisma. If the service is being done in the black market, the price is then multiplied by 3. The price is then restricted by the upper and lower bound associated with the service. The upper bound is also modified by charisma; every point of charisma above 10 will lower the upper bound by 2%, but never lower than the lower bound.[4]

The base price is modified as shown in this table.

Charisma Price modifier
22+ 1.1
18 - 21 1.2
15 - 17 1.3
13 - 14 1.4
11 - 12 1.5
9 - 10 1.6
8 1.7
7 1.8
6 1.9
5 2.0
4 or below 2.1

The services

Identifying

Shopkeepers offer both basic identification (just identifies the type of an object) and premier identification (completely identify an object, as a scroll of identify would). Basic identification does not reveal BUC and will never reveal information about the contents of a tin. The price varies with the type of object being identified, gems being the most expensive type.[5] Artifacts cost 1.5 times as much to identify as an ordinary item, and premier identify costs twice as much as basic, but an identify will never cost more than 750 zm. This means that jewellers and general stores are very handy for identifying all your gems, selling a few whenever you run low on gold.

Item type Base cost
Amulets 375
Weapons 75
Armor 100
Food 25
Scrolls 150
Spellbooks 250
Potions 150
Rings 300
Wands 200
Tools and misc. items 50
Gems 500

If you ask for the identification of an item which is already identified, the shopkeeper may try to cheat you, but you will be warned by the message "Shopkeeper chuckles greedily..." before you pay any money.

After you've paid for the identification, a few things can still go wrong. If you're hallucinating, "You hear shopkeeper tell you it's a pot of flowers", and if you're confused "shopkeeper tells you but you forget". If you asked the shopkeeper to identify an item which he/she doesn't sell, a basic identify has only a 1 in 2 chance of success and a premier identify a 1 in 4 chance.[6]

Uncursing

All shopkeepers can offer uncursing, and can uncurse all types of object including ones they don't sell. The cost of uncursing an item is the same as the cost of that item, with a lower bound of 50 zm and an upper bound of 250 zm.[7]

If you do not know that an item is cursed (i.e. it is not marked as cursed in your inventory), then the shopkeeper may cheat you by taking your money and not uncursing the item. You will know that this has happened because you will get the message "Shopkeeper snickers and says "See, nice and uncursed!"". The shopkeeper will never warn you if the item was already uncursed, presumably because if they did, you could determine for free which of your items were cursed.[8]

If you're confused, "You accidentally ask for the item to be cursed!" and the shopkeeper curses it. If you're hallucinating, there is a 1 in 4 chance that "Distracted by your blood-shot eyes, the shopkeeper accidentally blesses the item!" but a 3 in 4 chance that "You can't see straight and point to the wrong item!" and nothing happens.[9]

Appraisal

The cost of appraisal is 1/3 of the cost of the weapon to be appraised, with a lower bound of 5 zm and an upper bound of 50 zm.

This is another service which does not work when you are hallucinating ("You hear shopkeeper say it'll "knock 'em dead"") or confused ("The numbers get all mixed up in your head."). Otherwise, you are told the basic damage your weapon does against small and large foes. General shopkeepers have a 1/10 chance of not being able to tell you anything about the weapon, a 1/10 chance of not being sure about small foes, and a 1/10 chance of not being sure about large foes.

Weapon works

Only weapons shops can offer weapon-works. All types of weapon improvement work properly when you are hallucinating or confused, although you may get YAFM.

Erodeproofing costs more the more eroded your weapon is, with a minimum of 200 zm and a maximum of 1500 zm. The base cost is 500 zm plus an additional 500 zm per level of erosion,[10] doubled if the item is an artifact. Note that multiple types of erosion will count towards this cost. A rusty corroded dagger has an effective -1 enchantment when used as a weapon, but is considered 2 levels of erosion for this service. If the object is erodeproof already, the shopkeeper will "give you a suspiciously happy smile" but will still attempt to charge you, regardless of your Charisma and Luck.

Note that tools may be made erodeproof and enchanted. This is a boon to people using pick-axes, unicorn horns and other skill-using tools as weapons.

Enchanting a weapon will increase the enchantment by +1. Enchanting a worm tooth will turn it into an uncursed crysknife without modifying the enchantment. The BUC of the object is otherwise unaffected, unlike the otherwise equivalent uncursed scroll of enchant weapon. Shopkeepers cannot enchant weapons beyond +5.[11] The cost of enchanting a weapon increases dramatically with its current enchantment. The base cost is 100 if the weapon is negatively enchanted, and otherwise (enchantment+1)^2 * 625 zm.[12] Artifacts cost twice as much. The base cost of enchanting a non-worm tooth, non-artifact weapon from +0 to +5 is 34,375 zm. The base price for enchanting is affected by charisma, but there is no upper limit.

Poisoning weapons costs 10 zm times the number of items (e.g. poisoning 50 darts would cost 500 zm). Unlike other services, this is a flat fee and is unaffected by charisma. The shopkeeper will not warn you if the item is already poisoned.

Armor works

Armor works are similar to weapon works. Only armor shops can offer armor works, the types of armor works offered are erodeproofing and enchanting, and both these improvements work even when you are hallucinating or confused.

Erodeproofing costs more the more eroded your armor is, with a minimum of 100 zm and a maximum of 1000 zm. The base cost is 300 zm plus an additional 300 zm per level of erosion,[13] doubled if the item is an artifact. There is no warning about armor which is already erodeproof.

Just as in the case of weapons, enchanting a piece of armor will increase the enchantment by +1 and will not normally modify the BUC. Enchanting dragon scales will turn the armor into the appropriate uncursed dragon scale mail without modifying the enchantment. Shopkeepers cannot enchant armor beyond +3[14], but will take your zorkmids anyway. The cost of enchanting a piece of armor increases dramatically with its current enchantment. The base cost is 100 zm if the armor is negatively enchanted and otherwise (enchantment+1)^2 * 500 zm.[15] Artifacts cost twice as much. The base price for enchanting is affected by charisma, but there is no upper limit. The base price of enchanting a non-dragon scale, non-artifact piece of armor from +0 to +3 is 7,000 zm.

Charging

Wand, ring, tool and spellbook shops can offer charging, but shopkeepers will only charge the type of objects they sell. Note that lighting stores and general tool shops can both charge all types of tools. There are two types of charging: basic charging, which acts like an uncursed scroll of charging, and premier charging, which acts like a blessed scroll. Only wand shops offer premier charging.

The base cost of basic charging is 300 zm and the base cost of premier charging is 1000 zm, which is also the upper limit on the cost of charging. Wands of wishing are an exception to this rule; the charge is outright tripled instead of being affected by charisma.

If you're confused or hallucinating, the shopkeeper may cheat you by taking your money and not charging the item. The message associated with this is "Shopkeeper says it's charged and pushes you towards the door".

Otherwise, your item will be recharged. It has the same chance of blowing up as it would if it had been recharged with a scroll of charging.[16] If it's a wand, and it didn't blow up, it then gets some extra charges. A wand of wishing will get one extra charge if premier charging was used, bringing it to an otherwise unattainable (1:4). Recharging a wand of wishing with either method will result in the shopkeeper asking you to "loan him/her some money", and he/she will take all your unstashed gold.[17] Any other wand will get 5-9 more charges if it had fewer than 16, or one more charge if it had 16-19.[18]

Strategy

It's likely that only uncursing will be affordable enough for an early adventurer to use for any great effect. However, as long as you are testing the BUC status of your items with an altar, this shouldn't be necessary.

Later, when you've acquired enough gold or credit, the other services will become more useful. Note however that gold is much more useful for gypsies and the protection racket, so you'll likely want to save it.

Most of the services will be used simply to save scrolls for blanking, and preserve your precious supply of holy water. However, tool shops' charging can be used to get unlimited food, from a horn of plenty, and weapon- and armor-works can be used to build up all of your items to +3, leaving your scrolls for higher enchantments. Wand shops' premier charging service is especially useful, since it effectively gives you one extra charge on your wand of wishing.

Shopkeeper services additionally provide a way to identify, curse, uncurse, enchant, and charge items without breaking any conducts, if the appropriate shops are found.

Potion farming

Even more useful than a free wish on your wand is dozens of wishes. This is easiest if:

  • Smoky potions are either potions of acid, booze, juice, oil, or sickness.
  • You have a blessed horn of plenty.
  • You've built up a sufficient credit at a tool shop which offers charging service; a non-eating pet can be used to continually credit clone, as can a hostile baby dragon and a spellbook of turn undead: baby dragons love gold and always leave corpses, and continually casting in SLASH'EM means you will never forget the spell.

To do this, simply keep charging and using your horn, quaffing all smoky potions you obtain. Eventually, you should release a dozen or so djinn grateful enough to offer you wishes.

Even if smoky potions are not produced by the horn, you can still use it to make even larger quantities of water for polypiling, or produce them by alchemy (not all potions have specific recipes, but combinations without any defined result can produce any potion). The worst case is when smoky potions are not food, and you lack a means of polypiling. However, since pink pills are food, you will eventually get some from the horn, and thus a few wishes; it just takes a far longer time.

Source

Most of the information on this page is adapted from Eva Myers' spoiler on Shopkeeper services

References