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

The spellbook of identify takes longer to read than other level 3 spells, but is no more difficult.[1] For characters with high intelligence/wisdom, a high level, and enough energy, this spell can supplant scrolls of identify.

Casting this spell is equivalent to an uncursed scroll of identify at basic and unskilled skill level and a blessed scroll at skilled and expert[2]. This will identify 1 item 80% of the time at low skill levels and act as a skilled cast 20% of the time. A skilled cast will identify 1d4 items 80% of the time, but always at least 2 with positive luck, and will identify your entire inventory 20% of the time[3].


This spell is the most useful utility spell in the game, and a serious boon for any wizard that is lucky enough to happen upon one early enough in the game. It supersedes scrolls of identify and allows you to identify all items that you pick up. Being able to completely identify your inventory has a number of positive effects. It saves an extra charge or more in all wands but the wand of wishing by identifying them without engraving or zapping, as well as letting you see the number of charges they have left (so, for instance, you don't zap an emptied wand of death at a minotaur about to kill you). It also allows you to distinguish between normal and magical items easily, reducing the chances you will discard something useful or use something harmful, as well as distinguishing their BUC status.


Several variants modify the availability of the identify spell.

In SLASH'EM, identify is a level 5 spell.

In SLASH'EM Extended, in addition to being a level 5 spell, it can also sometimes cause backlash when cast, with the worst possible result being amnesia that actually erases some item identification knowledge!

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 were made much more effective to compensate.