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Scare monster

There are several ways to indirectly identify the scroll of scare monster:

  • You stand on the scroll and adjacent monsters turn to flee (including pets & shopkeepers)
  • You pick up the scroll and it turns to dust
  • You are a Priest(ess), and a scroll changes its BUC when you pick it up


Main article: Price identification

Scrolls of identify, light, enchant weapon, enchant armor and remove curse are pretty easy to identify by price. The more expensive scrolls, with base costs of 100 zm or more, are much more difficult to distinguish.

Here are the inconvenient and dangerous scrolls of each price class. A more detailed guide to price-identifying scrolls is here.

Base cost Scroll Problem
100 fire Fire damage to you, your inventory, and adjacent monsters
destroy armor Destroying your armor
scare monster If picked up in a shop, it may turn to dust and you must pay for it
teleportation Teleporting into a dangerous situation, or out of a shop
200 amnesia Forgetting object identities, map layouts, spells
create monster Dangerous if you're not ready to fight
earth Boulders hitting you and adjacent monsters
taming If cursed, will anger nearby peaceful monsters, such as shopkeepers
300 genocide Genociding your own race if confused
punishment Being chained to an iron ball

Monster use

Monsters can be generated with scrolls of teleportation, earth, and create monster. If you observe them reading said scrolls, that identifies to scroll to you.


Scrolls of earth can be identified by the guaranteed ones in Sokoban. Scrolls of teleportation are the only ones generated inside closets.


Many veteran players will not read an unidentified scroll unless they have a pretty good guess what it could be. Nonetheless, if you are desperate and you have a large variety of price-identified, pet-tested scrolls in your inventory, you may try to identify them by reading them.


You should not try to read-identify scrolls if the game considers your character a beginner. If your character is a beginner, then several scrolls have a possibility of giving the message "You have a strange feeling for a moment, then it passes." If your character is not a beginner, then it will be possible to distinguish all scrolls by the messages and effects obtained by reading them.

BUC-testing scrolls before reading them is important: some scrolls are much more deadly when cursed.

Some scrolls are less dangerous if read while confused. However, the scroll of genocide can kill you instantly if read while confused, so read-identification while confused is not universally helpful. Don't be blind or hallucinating.

Beware of the scroll of amnesia. There is no defense against the possibility of losing up to 25% of your discoveries.

The table below summarizes precautions for reading unidentified scrolls. Some precautions may contradict: you need other means of identification to assist in these cases.

Scroll Less harmful if confused Other precautions
destroy armor Yes Remove important helmets, gloves, cloaks and shoes; remove all other armor or wear a junk cloak over your body armor.
fire Yes
  • Keep flammable items (including scrolls, spellbooks and potions) at least one square away or in a container
  • Don't read if a pet is next to you
enchant armor Yes Remove any elven armor of +6 or higher enchantment; remove any non-elven armor of +4 or higher enchantment
enchant weapon Yes Unwield any weapon of +6 or higher enchantment
earth Yes
  • Wear a hard helmet
  • Don't read in Sokoban
  • Don't read in positions where boulders might trap you
  • Don't read if a pet is next to you
teleportation No
  • Do not read when confused or scroll is cursed, to avoid levelporting
  • Read in a no-teleport level, or at least a fully mapped level.
punishment Yes Have a way to escape punishment
create monster Yes Be ready to fight or escape
genocide No
  • Do NOT read while confused, that's an instadeath
  • Pick kraken if BUC is unknown: krakens are threatening in water and easy to kill on land
amnesia No
  • No precaution can defend you from this scroll, never read it
  • Don't be confused: confusion worsens the already bad effects
taming No
  • Don't read if cursed
  • If BUC is unknown, don't read near peaceful monsters

Maximizing benefits

In addition to take precautions against harmful scrolls, you might also want to maximize the benefits of helpful scrolls. Some of these may contradict the above precautions: you need other means of identification to assist in these cases.

Scroll Benefit maximizers
magic mapping Read on an unmapped level
identify Keep some unidentified items in inventory
charging Keep some chargeable items in inventory
enchant weapon Wield a weapon you want to enchant
enchant armor Remove all armor except ones you want to enchant


Some scrolls will always identify themselves to you when you read them. Others might only identify themselves if read under certain situations.

Auto-identification Scroll
Always amnesia
blank paper
magic mapping
stinking cloud
If new monsters are seen create monster
If not cursed, and gold on level gold detection
If not blind light
If blessed, or you are teleported sufficiently far teleportation
If wearing armor destroy armor
enchant armor
If not cursed, and wielding a weapon enchant weapon
If food on level food detection
If monsters were tamed or angered taming
Never confuse monster
remove curse
scare monster


Scrolls that don't auto-identify can be identified by their messages or effects

Scroll Messages Effects
create monster New monsters are generated around you
gold detection Scroll of gold detection § Messages
  • If confused, or the scroll is cursed, you detect traps instead of gold
  • If you try to detect gold but there isn't any, the message will still be about money
  • If you try to detect traps but there isn't any, the message will be about your toes itching
teleportation Pay attention to your position before and after
destroy armor
Your bones itch.
Confused, not wearing armor
Your skin itches.
Not confused, not wearing armor
enchant armor
Your skin glows then fades.
Not wearing armor
Your skin feels warm for a moment
Blind, not wearing armor
enchant weapon
Your <hands> twitch
Non-cursed, no weapon
Your <hands> itch
Non-cursed, weapon
detect food Won't auto-identify if there's no food to detect
Nothing interesting happens.
No monsters in range
Nothing interesting seems to happen.
Monsters in range were not tamed or angered
confuse monster Scroll of confuse monster § Messages
  • When hitting a monster in melee, you will confuse it.
  • You may confuse yourself
  • You may unconfuse yourself, if the scroll was blessed
remove curse
You feel like someone is helping you.
Normal use
You feel like you need some help.
  • You will be unpunished
  • Some cursed items may become uncursed
  • If confused, BUC identification may be removed on some items
  • If confused, BUC of uncursed items will change
scare monster Scroll of scare monster § Messages
  • If not cursed, some monsters may become scared and flee
  • If cursed, some monsters may become awake, unscared, and unparalyzed.