Scroll of scare monster

From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
? Scroll.png
Name scare monster
Appearance random
Base price 100 zm
Weight 5
Ink to write 10-19
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

A scroll of scare monster is a type of scroll that appears in NetHack. It is unique in that it can be used without being read.


A cursed scroll of scare monster is generated under the prize item on the top floor of Sokoban, as well as under the chest containing the wand of wishing in the Castle.


The scroll of scare monster can be used in a couple of ways:


When read, a uncursed or blessed scroll causes monsters in your character's line of sight to flee unless they each pass a roll against their MR score. If you are confused or the scroll is cursed, monsters in line of sight will instead be awakened, unparalyzed and unscared.[1]

On the ground

While you occupy a square where a scroll of scare monster is on the ground, most monsters will become scared and flee instead of attacking you in melee. Unlike Elbereth, this works on peaceful monsters, pets, blind monsters, humans, elves, and minotaurs; it also works in Gehennom and the End Game.[2] Monsters scared by this scroll will avoid walking on it unless they are blind, human or a minotaur.[3][4]

Standing on this scroll will not scare angelic beings, the Riders, shopkeepers in their own shop, aligned priests inside their own temple, or the Wizard of Yendor.[5]

If you are engulfed by a monster, dropping a scroll of scare monster will add it to that monster's inventory rather than forcing it to expel you.

Beatitude and disintegration

If you pick up a blessed scroll of scare monster, it will become uncursed; if you try to pick up a cursed one, it will disintegrate.[6] An uncursed one will set an internal flag the first time you pick it up, and disintegrate the next time unless you have blessed it - as this flag is not reset by blessing the scroll, any individual scroll can only be picked up while uncursed once. Scrolls that have been picked up once while uncursed will not stack with those that haven't. Removing a scroll from a container on the ground or in your inventory has no ill effect on it.


The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Per commit dc9fe0d8, the scroll on the ground no longer scares any @ monster or any unique monster—this makes gated demon lords and princes especially troublesome. Be sure to account for this when attempting any of the listed strategies.

Dropping this scroll on the ground is one of the most powerful ways to keep hordes of monsters at bay: it effectively acts as a more powerful and non-eroding Elbereth. Note, however, that a scroll on the floor under you can be destroyed by fire, such as from a red dragon or red naga, even if you have reflection. A single scroll can theoretically last for the entire game if you have a sufficient supply of holy water and avoid getting hit by fire attacks, though you will need to use a potion every time you use the scroll.

As it works against most humans (except for aligned priests), it can be a good tool when fighting off soldiers in the Castle and Fort Ludios. Even your quest nemesis will respect the scroll, provided they are not @—this allows you to trivialize some nemesis fights with minimal preparation.

This scroll is commonly used to defend stashes, since placing it under a stash will prevent hostile monsters and pets from moving onto the square and picking up or destroying the stash; particularly cautious or paranoid players can combine them with boulder forts and/or jellies. If you have spare sacks or other bags, the #tip command is one of the better methods to use a carried scroll: you can place it in its own container, then #tip that container to drop it on your square immediately when necessary. Be wary of doing so on a down stair, lest it fall down the staircase.


Scrolls of scare monster in shops can get you in trouble in the early game: If you pick up a scroll in a shop and it disintegrates, you owe the shopkeeper for it; if you can't afford it, you'll have to sell other items or risk angering the shopkeeper. Be careful picking up scrolls in shops until you have a decent amount of gold on-hand, and only do so if you can afford to potentially pay for it. If you find an unknown scroll in a shop with a base price of 100 that causes the shopkeeper or any other nearby monsters to flee, name its type on the floor; scaring shopkeepers this way will not anger them.

Moving dropped scrolls

If you need to move a scroll of scare monster without destroying it, try kicking it, or have your pets pick it up. If you only want a blank scroll, kick it into a pool of water or cancel it. A pet picking up the scroll will not cause the same detrimental effects that occur when you pick up the scroll, nor will stealing the scroll from a pet or other monster that is carrying the scroll while you are polymorphed into a nymph. This is the only way to pick up a cursed scroll of scare monster; unfortunately, this requires a monster that can pick up magical items and is blinded, unless the monster also ignores Elbereth (e.g., Archons and shopkeepers).

Reverse genocide

The scroll can be used in conjunction with reverse genocide and a small enclosed area (typically 3x3) to obtain multiple desired corpses:

Role-specific uses

While reading these scrolls is almost always a waste, as the ground effects are much better than temporary monster fleeing, Knights have some uses for cursed scrolls in order to unscare monsters and avoid alignment record penalties from attacking them; usually, it may be better to let your steed or pets take out fleeing foes, or else kill them yourself and soaking up the penalty if you know you can afford it.

Rogues in particular can employ these to score reliable backstabs against most foes, along with other means of scaring monsters.

Conducts and other strategies

For conduct players, these scrolls provide the benefits of Elbereth without breaking illiterate conduct, and are typically the only scroll that they can use - you will want to be very careful not to destroy or disintegrate them. Digging for victory also benefits from a scroll of scare monster, which will fall down the holes with you if you dig while standing on them.


The scroll of scare monster originated in Rogue, where it had the same effect (though without beatitude distinctions). It also appears in Hack 1.21, a variant of Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial item list for Hack 1.0.

In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, including some variants based on those versions, a dropped scroll of scare monster had roughly similar effects to engraving Elbereth on a square; Elbereth was much more powerful than in current versions, though Q and minotaurs did not respect Elbereth or the scroll of scare monster. As of NetHack 3.6.0, the power of an engraved Elbereth is lowered, and certain variants based on these later versions also adapt this change, as well as some based on earlier versions.

Variants based on NetHack 3.4.3 may not include the cursed scroll of scare monster placed under the Sokoban prize item.


You hear maniacal laughter close by.
You read an uncursed or blessed scroll of scare monster, and at least one creature was affected.
You hear maniacal laughter in the distance.
As above, but no non-pet monsters were affected.[7]
You hear sad wailing close by.
You read a cursed scroll or read any scroll while confused, and at least one creature was affected.
You hear sad wailing in the distance.
As above, but no non-pet monsters were affected.
The scroll(s) turns to dust as you pick <it/them> up.
You picked up one or more scrolls of scare monster that disintegrated.[6]



In UnNetHack, the scroll of scare monster does not work on any quest nemesis.


In dNetHack, the home level of the Binder quest has five cursed scrolls of scare monster embedded in the solid rock of the library.

Lamashtu the Demon Queen will only respect a scroll of scare monster on the ground 13 of the time.


In FIQHack, the scroll of scare monster that the Castle chest normally appears on is not present.


In SlashTHEM, the scroll of scare monster accompanying the Sokoban prize may not always be present, as whichever map appears as the final level may be imported from another variant of NetHack 3.4.3.


In Hack'EM, a scroll of scare monster that changes beatitude without crumbling to dust will vibrate and auto-identify; scrolls that crumble to dust will also auto-identify.