Spellcasting (SLASH'EM)

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Spellcasting in SLASH'EM is different from that in vanilla NetHack in a number of ways. SLASH'EM adds new spells, changes the difficulty of some existing spells, and has different limits on which roles can cast which spells.

SLASH'EM spellbooks

SLASH'EM spells, like vanilla ones, are organized into schools; but SLASH'EM has Protection instead of Clerical, and Body instead of Escape.

SLASH'EM spells are listed below, with the type and level the spell has in vanilla NetHack if that is different.

Reading a non-cursed spellbook is always successful in SLASH'EM, unless it has no charges (see below). Cursed spellbooks still have the usual negative effects, though.

SLASH'EM spellbooks can be read a whopping 30 times before they finally fade.

Attack spells

Name Level In vanilla
spellbook of force bolt 1 Same
spellbook of create monster 2 Level 2 Clerical
spellbook of magic missile 2 Same
spellbook of drain life 3 Level 2
spellbook of poison blast 4 New spell
spellbook of command undead 5 New spell
spellbook of summon undead 5 New spell
spellbook of finger of death 7 Same

Body spells

Name Level In vanilla
spellbook of jumping 1 Level 1 Escape
spellbook of haste self 3 Level 3 Escape
spellbook of enlighten 4 New spell
spellbook of invisibility 4 Level 4 Escape
spellbook of levitation 4 Level 4 Escape
spellbook of passwall 6 New spell
spellbook of polymorph 6 Level 6 Matter
spellbook of teleport away 6 Level 6 Escape

Divination spells

Name Level In vanilla
spellbook of detect monsters 1 Same
spellbook of light 1 Same
spellbook of detect food 2 Same
spellbook of clairvoyance 3 Same
spellbook of detect unseen 3 Same
spellbook of detect treasure 4 Same
spellbook of identify 5 Level 3
spellbook of magic mapping 5 Same

Enchantment spells

Name Level In vanilla
spellbook of sleep 1 Same
spellbook of confuse monster 2 Same
spellbook of slow monster 2 Same
spellbook of cause fear 3 Same
spellbook of charm monster 3 Same
spellbook of enchant armor 7 New spell
spellbook of enchant weapon 7 New spell

Healing spells

Name Level In vanilla
spellbook of healing 1 Same
spellbook of cure blindness 2 Same
spellbook of cure sickness 3 Same
spellbook of extra healing 3 Same
spellbook of stone to flesh 3 Same
spellbook of restore ability 4 Same
spellbook of create familiar 6 Level 6 Clerical

Matter spells

Name Level In vanilla
spellbook of knock 1 Same
spellbook of flame sphere 1 New spell
spellbook of freeze sphere 1 New spell
spellbook of wizard lock 2 Same
spellbook of fireball 4 Level 4 Attack
spellbook of lightning 4 New spell
spellbook of acid stream 4 New spell
spellbook of cone of cold 5 Level 4 Attack
spellbook of dig 5 Same
spellbook of cancellation 7 Same

Protection spells

Name Level In vanilla
spellbook of protection 1 Level 1 Clerical
spellbook of resist poison 1 New spell
spellbook of resist sleep 1 New spell
spellbook of endure cold 2 New spell
spellbook of endure heat 2 New spell
spellbook of insulate 2 New spell
spellbook of remove curse 5 Level 3 Clerical
spellbook of turn undead 6 Level 6 Clerical

Spellbook charges

Spellbooks are chargeable in SLASH'EM, much like wands or tools. Contrary to what one might expect, charges do not represent how many times the book can be read before fading (it's always 30 times). Instead, charged spellbooks can be read more easily: when reading a non-cursed charged spellbook, one charge is consumed, and "The words on the page seem to glow faintly." This allows you to read the spellbook normally should you fail the reading roll (for uncursed spellbooks), and triples the reading speed otherwise.

Spellbooks are normally generated with 2-4 charges. They follow the same recharging rules as wands (including the distinction between directional and non-directional spells, strangely enough), except that a recharge has only a 50% chance of incrementing the recharge counter. Blanked or faded spelbooks retain their charges and recharge count, although both will be set to zero after writing on them.

Spell timeout

Successfully reading a spellbook will grant knowledge of the spell for 10,000 turns. Re-reading the spellbook for a known spell will increase the timeout by 10,000 turns if the timeout is below 60,000 turns. A successful casting of a spell will also increase the timeout by 500 turns[1]. Finally, the Reinforce memory technique possessed by Wizards, Flame mages, Ice mages, and Necromancers will increase knowledge of a usable spell by 10,000 turns. Thus spellbook management is significantly more lenient in SLASH'EM than vanilla NetHack, as any spell that is successfully cast every 500 turns will never be forgotten. Spells that are likely to be used often, such as a Wizard's magic missile, can simply be read once and abandoned. Careful spell management can allow a spellcaster to completely avoid the task of both carrying heavy spellbooks and maintaining a stash of more spellbooks.

Casting from health

If you do not have enough energy to cast a spell and are at least skilled in that school, you will be prompted to cast the spell anyway[2]. Doing so will drain all of your remaining power. For each additional point of power needed to cast the spell you will lose 1 HP and 2 nutrition, however this will not drain your nutrition below 1. If you are killed by the HP loss, the cause of death will be given as "spellcasting exhaustion". Finally, if you are not an expert you will also abuse wisdom.

Roles and skills

SLASH'EM is generally more permissive than NetHack in terms of spell skill limits; several roles can reach at least Basic in all schools.

Roles and their skill limits are shown below.

Skill \ Role Arc Bar Cav Fla Hea Ice Kni Mon Nec Pri Ran Rog Sam Tou Und Val Wiz Yeo
Attack b S - S b b - b E b - - - - - - E -
Healing b - - b E S S E - E b - - - - - S -
Divination E - - E b b - b - E E S - b - - S -
Enchantment b - b b b E - S - b - - - b - - S S
Protection b - - b b S S E - S - - S - S - S S
Body b S - S b b b b - b b S b S S b S b
Matter S - S E b E - b E b - S - - b E S -
Stat I I I I W I W W I W I I I I W W I W

The special spells and spellcasting penalties for new roles:

Role Base Healing Shield Suit Special spell
Flame mage 1 0 2 10 fireball
Ice mage 1 0 2 10 cone of cold
Necromancer 1 0 2 10 summon undead
Undead slayer 8 -2 0 9 turn undead (same as for knight)
Valkyrie 10 -2 0 9 lightning (was cone of cold in vanilla NetHack)
Yeoman 8 -2 0 9 knock

Spell success rate calculation

Spell success rate calculation is somewhat different from vanilla NetHack.

  • Base chance is calculated as in NetHack.
  • Spellcasting penalty is calculated as follows:
    • Find the row corresponding to your role in the spellcasting penalties table (use table from NetHack spellcasting article for roles not mentioned here).
    • Start from the base penalty value.
    • If casting a spell from Healing school, add value from "Healing" column ("Emergency" column if using table from NetHack spellcasting article).
    • If wearing a shield, add value from "Shield" column.
    • If wearing any suit other than a robe, robe of power or robe of protection, add 5.
    • If wearing a metallic suit, add value from "Suit" column.
    • Add 6 if wearing metallic gloves, 4 if wearing a metallic helmet other than helm of brilliance, and 2 if wearing metallic boots.
    • If wearing a robe of power, subtract 3.
    • If the spell is a "special spell" for your role, add the special modifier, currently -4 for all roles.
    • If penalty < 5, set it to 5.
  • Calculate difficulty and actual chance as in NetHack.

Overall, the robe of power is less than half as effective than a robe in NetHack, and doesn't boost success rates for already good spellcasters (unless they're wearing metallic armor). Due to that, Barbarians can't ever achieve reliable casting, and Cavemen can only achieve reliable casting with their special spell while wearing a robe of power.

Miscellaneous differences from vanilla NetHack