Spellbook of identify

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spellbook of
+   identify   Light green spellbook.png
Appearance random
Abundance 2.03%
Base price 300 zm
Weight 50
Turns to read 12
Ink to write 15–29
Spell type divination
Level 3
Power cost 15 Pw
Direction non-directional
Equivalent scroll of identify

A spellbook of identify allows you to learn the spell of identify.


Casting this spell is equivalent to an uncursed scroll of identify at Basic and Unskilled skill level, identifying 1 item 80% of the time and identifying 1d4 items 20% of the time; at Skilled and Expert level, it acts as a blessed scroll and identifies 1d4 items 80% of the time, and will identify your entire inventory 20% of the time. With positive Luck, a Skilled or higher casting will always identify at least 2 items.[1][2]

While no more difficult than any other level 3 spell, the spellbook takes the longest of the group to read.[3]


This spell is considered the most useful divination spell in the game, and can easily supplant scrolls of identify; this makes it a serious boon for early-game Wizards and any other high intelligence/wisdom character with good power reserves.

Being able to completely identify your inventory reduces the amount of inventory management required throughout the game: it saves an extra charge or more for most wands that would be spent engraving or zapping, as well as letting you see the number of charges they have left. It also allows you to discern the beatitude of any item without an altar, and easily distinguishes between normal and magical items. However, it also requires you to manage your energy efficiently if you intend to make use of other spells regularly, so that you do not find yourself short on power at a critical moment - though you will generally end up using it less as you identify more items.


Several variants modify the availability of the identify spell.

In SLASH'EM, identify is a level 5 spell. In SLASH'EM Extended, it can also sometimes cause backlash when cast, with the worst possible result being amnesia.

In FIQHack, identify is a level 2 spell, but is more limited in scope, only identifying object types. As the player's divination skill increases, they will be able to discern more qualities of an item aside from its function.

In xNetHack, the spell is removed entirely due to balance issues conflicting with the new spellcasting system introduced. Scrolls of identify are made much more effective to compensate.


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.