Price identification is the tactic of using the price of an item to try to identify it. One can use the "buy price," the price of an item in shops, or the "sell price," the price that a shopkeeper offers when you try to sell an item. The sell price is easier to use because it is not affected by your charisma.
The sell price will normally be half the "base price" of the item (one third the "base price" if you're wearing a duncecap, a level 14 or lower tourist, or wearing a shirt with no armor or cloak over it), but there is a random chance that you will only be offered 3/4 of the normal sell price . You can get around this by repeatedly dropping an item and refusing to sell it, until you have been offered two different prices for it. If the shopkeeper has no money, you will be offered 90% of the normal sell price as store credit.
If your charisma is 11-15, the buy price of the item will be the "base price". Sometimes, two items with the same appearance will have different buying prices; generally, this means that the two items are actually different (for instance, a sack, bag of holding, and bag of tricks will all appear as a "bag" pre-identification, but the sack is far cheaper than the other two), or that they are the same item but vary in enchantment and/or beatitude.
General stores are very useful for price identification because they will offer to buy all types of items. However, you can still price-identify any object (unbreakable or in a bag of holding) in any store by throwing the item in to the shop from outside. Be aware that this will relinquish ownership of the item to the shopkeeper, who will then try to sell it to you. You will need to pay the asking price or steal the item to get it back, but in a pinch, this can provide a price point for an object that the shopkeeper would not normally be interested in.
Further strategies Edit
Common uses Edit
The item which is most commonly price-ID'd is the scroll of identify, which is far cheaper than the other scrolls.
Price-iding can also be useful to identify bad items. The scroll of amnesia has a base price of 200 zm, ten times as much as a scroll of identify. A potion of sickness has a base price of 50 zm, a potion of hallucination 100 zm, and a potion of blindness 150 zm.
Spellbooks are useful to price-identify as a non-Wizard, to determine whether they are low enough difficulty level to safely read. The base price for a spellbook in zorkmids is 100 times its difficulty level.
Powerful wands stealing Edit
An expensive wand (base price 500 zm) is either wishing or death. If you have no pet to steal it for you, and you're not concerned about the consequences of killing shopkeepers, try zapping it at the shopkeeper. If it's death, fine. If it's wishing, wish for a blessed scroll of charging (two charges will cause the wand to explode),a wand of death (and the rest of your wishes as usual), then zap the shopkeeper. Caution: if you do this, be sure either to use the wishes before killing the shopkeeper, or save the wishes for later. Don't use a wish immediately after killing a shopkeeper, because (unless you are chaotic) killing a shopkeeper reduces your luck. You can also wish for a Blessed figurine of an archon. The pet archon will then kill the shopkeeper without any penalties due to alignment. Be aware, if you employ this strategy, that even a blessed figurine has a one in ten chance of generating a hostile monster; this could put a premature end to an otherwise very promising game.
The most useful scrolls to price-identify are the cheapest scrolls. The scroll of identify is the cheapest, with a base price of only 20 zorkmids. The scroll of enchant weapon is the only 60 zorkmid scroll that has a randomized appearance (the scroll of blank paper is also 60 zm). The scroll of light is the only scroll with a 50 zorkmid base price. Both scrolls with base price 80 zorkmids, the scroll of enchant armor and the scroll of remove curse, are very useful.
Scrolls with base prices of 100 zm or higher might be unsafe to read, and should be identified by scroll or spell, or by read-identifying with proper precautions (100 zm scrolls are safe to read if you have identified the scroll of teleportation, are fire resistant, carry no burnable items, and are wearing no armor, for example).
The most useful rings to price-identify are the most expensive and most powerful rings: the 200 zm and 300 zm rings.
All 200 zm rings, provided they are non-cursed, are useful and safe to wear. These include the ring of free action, the ring of slow digestion, the ring of searching, the ring of levitation, the ring of regeneration, the ring of fire resistance, and the ring of teleportation. It is important to only wear rings from this group known to be non-cursed, since uncontrolled teleportitis or a cursed ring of levitation may be hazardous. The ring of levitation auto-identifies on wearing; the effects of the other 200 zm rings, with the probable exceptions of fire resistance or teleportation if you already have the intrinsics, will eventually become clear if you wear the rings. The ring of regeneration can also be quickly tested for: wear it, throw a non-breakable, non-weapon object (the shopkeeper owns) upwards to lose a few hit points, and watch if you re-gain them one per turn.
The 300 zm rings include the ring of conflict, the ring of teleport control, the ring of polymorph, and the ring of polymorph control. The first two are among the most coveted items in the game and are frequent wish targets, however the ring of polymorph means that 300 zm rings are not generally safe to wear. Conflict can still be easily identified by wearing it for a turn or two around a peaceful monster (remember that a shopkeeper, aligned priest, or your Quest leader are probably not wise choices.) Teleport control can also be identified by putting on the ring and triggering a teleport (via trap, scroll, wand, etc.) If your 300 zm ring is neither of these, do not wear it; use a scroll, spell, a handy sink or a source of enlightenment to reliably identify the other 300 zm rings. Alternately, a riskier method of determining whether a 300 zm ring is safe to wear is simply to wear it for a few hundred turns without wearing a shirt, cloak, or body armor (or wearing junk armor): that way, if you polymorph you will not break your useful armor.
It is usually better to engrave ID wands to determine their identity, however base 175 zm wands found in shops are all useful (wand of cold, wand of sleep, wand of fire or wand of lightning), price identification can distinguish a wand of sleep from a wand of death without using another charge, any wand that makes engravings vanish that has a base price of 150 zm is a wand of make invisible, and any wand that gives no message when engraved with a base price of 100 zm is a wand of nothing.
Potions may be price-identified; however, it is generally less useful with potions than with scrolls, rings, or wands. It is good to know that a 200 zm potion might be a potion of polymorph; therefore, it is not safe to #dip your only unicorn horn into or to indiscriminately quaff. Also, the 300 zm potions (the potion of paralysis, potion of gain level, and potion of gain ability) are all powerful and situationally useful.
Identifying magical armorEdit
Speed boots, jumping boots and water walking boots are all 50 zm. They are also easily identified once worn: speed boots auto-identify if you are not very fast (via potion of speed or spell of haste self), jumping boots allow you to jump, and water walking boots are neither of the two.
The cloaks of displacement and protection both cost 50zm, and are the only ones at that price with a randomized appearance. If the cloaks cost 60zm and come with a randomized appearance, then they are either invisibility, magic resistance, or perhaps an enchanted cloak of the first two types.
Positive enchantment on a piece of armor increases the base price by 10 zm per point of enchantment. In theory, a +2 or better pair of fumble boots might be confused for one of the much more useful 50 zm boots, but the probability for positive enchantements on "bad" items is too low to be worth bothering.