Scroll of earth

From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
? Scroll.png
Name earth
Appearance random
Base price 200 zm
Weight 5
Ink to write 4–7
Monster use May be used offensively by monsters.

A scroll of earth is a type of scroll the appears in NetHack. It creates boulders when read.


The first level of Sokoban always has two separate scrolls of earth in a corner past the first set of pits.

Monsters may receive a scroll of earth as a random offensive item, but only if they are generated wearing a metal helm; if not, they will receive a wand of striking instead.[1]


Reading a scroll of earth will auto-identify it and drop boulders around and/or on the reader, depending on its beatitude:[2] An uncursed scroll of earth will create 9 boulders - 8 around the reader and one on top of their head - while a blessed scroll will create 8 boulders around the reader without dropping one on them, and a cursed scroll will create a single boulder over the reader's head. If there is a wall or door where a boulder would normally fall, that boulder will not be created. If read while confused, the scroll will drop a few rocks per square instead of boulders, using the same pattern based on the beatitude of the scroll.[3]

Reading a scroll of earth on a Sokoban level before solving that floor will decrease your Luck by 1;[4][5] reading the scroll on the Rogue level and the Elemental Planes has no effect, except for the Plane of Earth.[6]

A boulder that falls on a monster does 1d20 points of damage and can wake up nearby monsters with the noise[7] - if they are wearing a hard helmet, it bounces off and deals just 2 points of damage. A scroll of earth does no damage to amorphous, phasing, noncorporeal, or unsolid monsters.[8] Intelligent monsters can read this scroll for offensive purposes, but will only read them 10% of the time unless they would be unaffected by the boulders, or else are wearing a hard helmet. Monsters will not read the scroll in areas where the scroll has no effect.[9]


The scroll of earth is most commonly used to create "boulder forts" as a relatively safe way to deal with a dangerous monster or horde of monsters - many monsters will not be able to attack a player they cannot see, and the boulders prevent most monsters from approaching even if they are aware of your position. While within this "fort", the player can use telepathy to detect them and attack with missile weapons and spells. Be careful of force bolts and striking wands, as they will destroy boulders.

Alternately, you can use the boulders to create your own choke point, e.g. by carefully moving a single boulder to allow only one monster through. This is best done on a staircase, a scroll of scare monster and/or a burnt Elbereth square to allow a means of escape if things go poorly. You can also use the boulders to block off up stairs or ladders to prevent demon lords and other covetous monsters from warping and fleeing to another floor. Boulders from the scroll can also be used to trap aligned priests in order to convert a temple altar - see their page for details.

Scrolls of earth can be used to fill trapdoors, holes, and moats - if you lack a source of levitation, this can be another way to cross large bodies of water, such as Medusa's Island or the moat at the Castle. While you can use them to fill the Castle trap doors, keep in mind that filling all of them means you must dig one out again to reach Gehennom.


The scrolls of earth found in Sokoban are intended as backups in case boulders are destroyed or additional pits/holes need to be filled, and can be used to informally identify any other scrolls you may have picked up previously. Remember that reading any scroll of earth on an unsolved level will incur a Luck penalty, and try to identify their beatitude beforehand if possible - for example, a blessed scroll will leave more boulders free to move, and there are situations where a single boulder from a cursed scroll is preferable. You may also want to position yourself before reading depending on how many boulders are actually needed.

Breaking boulders on unsolved levels also incurs a Luck penalty - as such, try not to let any intelligent monsters (e.g., nymphs) steal and use scrolls of earth in Sokoban, or you may be forced to repair your Luck and their mess. Thankfully, most monsters will hesitate to read the scroll unless they have a hard helm, hopefully providing time to kill them fast enough.


The scroll of earth first appears in NetHack 3.3.0.


The ceiling rumbles <around/above> you!
You read a scroll of earth in the main dungeon and produced boulders, with "around" used if the scroll is blessed and "above" used otherwise.


Many variants add new Sokoban levels, including possible first level maps that include one or two scrolls of earth.


In UnNetHack, scrolls of earth have no effect 50% of the time in the black market.


In AceHack, scrolls of earth are identified for you as soon as you reach the guaranteed scrolls in Sokoban.


In SpliceHack and SpliceHack-Rewrite, you can combine a scroll of earth with a leather drum at a furnace to make a drum of earthquake.

Dal Zethire, the Cartomancer quest nemesis, generates with a scroll of earth.