From NetHackWiki
(Redirected from Confuse)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Confusion, or the state of being confused, is a property that affects you in the following ways:

  • You cannot cast spells.[1]
  • Attempting to loot an open square while confused with gold in inventory results in the message "Ok, now there is loot here," dropping a random amount of gold, after which normal looting takes place. Looting a throne while confused has other effects; see throne.
  • You will not be asked for confirmation before attacking peaceful monsters.
  • When you walk or aim in a direction, there is a 20% chance of a random direction being chosen instead (similar to being stunned, which has a 100% chance).[2][3][4][5][6]
  • When reading scrolls, you will mispronounce the magic words,[7] which will cause different effects from what would occur normally.
  • Reading any spellbook will instead make you tear the book into pieces (1/3 chance),[8] or else you will simply fail to learn it ("You find yourself reading the <first/next> line over and over again.")[9]
  • Wisdom is abused.[10]
  • You cannot throw or fire more than one projectile at a time.[11]
  • Mjollnir will not return to your hand.[12]
  • Your ability to engrave is impaired.[13]
  • You cannot play instruments.[14]
  • You are less able to saddle a steed[15] and cannot mount it.[16]
  • You may be unable to control a level teleport ("Oops...") even if you have teleport control (4/5 chance of uncontrolled level teleport at zero luck).[17]

In short, being confused is generally a bad thing, but the effects of reading some scrolls while confused can be useful, and looting thrones while confused can generate monsters.


If you are trying to confuse yourself, be aware that many of these actions have other possible bad consequences. You may want to lock yourself in a closet so that monsters can't gang up on you.


Confused scroll effects

Useful effects

While reading most scrolls when confused exhibits harmful or useless effects, there are a few confused effects from certain scrolls that have been proven quite useful:

  • Scroll of charging: If your energy is at maximum, you gain 5d4 maximum energy. Otherwise, your energy is increased to maximum.
  • Scroll of destroy armor: Makes one random worn armor rustproof/fireproof. Does not repair damage however. The scroll must be cursed.
  • Scroll of enchant armor: Makes one random worn armor rustproof/fireproof. If that armor had damage, it is repaired. The scroll must be non-cursed.
  • Scroll of enchant weapon: Makes your wielded weapon rustproof/fireproof. If it had damage, it is repaired. The scroll must be non-cursed.
  • Scroll of gold detection: You detect traps and portals (spaces with the ^ symbol) on the current level in Vanilla. In UnNethack, you detect random item class. If the scroll is cursed, they are shown as gold ($ symbol). Useful on the Elemental Planes or in the Gnomish Mines (due to the large amount of traps there).
  • Scroll of remove curse: All uncursed items in your inventory have a 25% chance of being blessed and a 25% chance of being cursed if the scroll is blessed. If the scroll is uncursed, then only worn and wielded items are considered. Useful for obtaining unholy water.
  • Scroll of teleportation: Level-teleports you. If you have teleport control and are not also stunned then you will usually be able to choose which level to teleport to.
  • Scroll of taming: Tames monsters within an 11x11 square area. Also calms shopkeepers and watchmen. Some monsters can resist. The scroll must be non-cursed.
  • Scroll of create monster: Creates 13+ acid blobs.


Reading unknown scrolls while confused can help identify them. However, there are, as expected, certain risks involved:

  • Scroll of genocide: Uncursed: Instadeath. Cursed: You are surrounded by 4-6 monsters of your role.
  • Scroll of earth: Blessed: Creates 2-6 rocks on each square around you. Uncursed: Creates 2-6 rocks on the same square as you and each open square around you. Cursed: Creates 2-6 rocks on the same square as you. Each rock does d3 damage, with the damage capped at two points, if you're wearing a metal helmet.
  • Scroll of fire: Lose one hit point, if not fire resistant. Potions, scrolls, and other flammable items in your inventory or at your feet may also be destroyed or damaged.
  • Scroll of light: Acts as a cursed scroll of light, darkening the area around you.

Monster confusion

Monsters can be confused as well, but the effects on monsters are not identical to those that players experience. To distinguish the two, confused monsters are said to be afflicted by "monster confusion". Using a stethoscope or a wand of probing will reveal if the monster is confused. Monsters have a 1/50 chance of losing the monster confusion status on their turn.[30] If monsters have access to a non-cursed unicorn horn or a lizard corpse they will use it to clear the monster confusion status. Zapping healing spells at monsters (pets) does not un-confuse them, but bashing them with healing potions does (and counts as abuse).

When a monster is confused they exhibit different behavior:

  • Monsters may attack a random adjacent target instead of the player. This includes enemies without weapons who will attack cockatrices, chickatrices and Medusa and may stone themselves.[31]
  • Monsters that cast spells have a higher spell failure chance. For each spell cast, a random number chosen between ([1 to Monster's Level] * 10) is chosen - if this is less than 100, then the monster's spell will fail to cast. This gives the message The air crackles around <caster>.[32]
  • Monsters may wander in a random direction instead of attacking
  • Monsters that can read scrolls will do so incorrectly and will be affected by the confused behavior as per the scroll
  • Monsters have less chance of avoiding an exploding drawbridge
  • Monsters cannot block incoming kicks
  • Monsters cannot shoot multiple projectiles

To inflict monster confusion on a target, the player can do one of the following:

  • Hit a monster with a melee attack while under the effects of a scroll of confuse monster
  • Hit a monster with Magicbane, which may randomly trigger the monster confusion effect[33]
  • Hit a monster with a thrown potion of confusion
  • Have a tame umber hulk use its gaze attack against a monster
  • Have a tame black light attack a monster by exploding
  • Be polymorphed into an umber hulk and use the #Monster command against a monster
  • Be polymorphed into a black light and attack a monster by exploding
  • Apply a looking glass to a non-blind umber hulk
  • Revive a bones file corpse that has the awake bones file ghost on or adjacent to the square the corpse is on. The resulting monster will be confused.



In SLASH'EM, confusion can be used with shopkeeper services to make unholy water. When confused, use the uncursing service on a potion of water. "You accidentally ask for the item to be cursed!" The potion of water will be cursed.


In UnNetHack monks get a bonus of a single point of AC while confused, as a reference to the idea of drunken boxing. This bonus applies to confusion from any source however, not just the confusion from a potion of booze.


In Hack, bats could cause confusion. NetHack has now differentiated this so that stun and confusion are not the same. Bats and trapped doors can stun you; this causes you to move in random directions, like confusion would. However, only confusion will let you obtain different effects from reading scrolls.

See also


  1. src/spell.c in NetHack 3.6.1, line 1014
  2. src/apply.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 349
  3. src/apply.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 2460
  4. src/cmd.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 3602
  5. src/dig.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1043
  6. src/hack.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1280
  7. src/read.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 357
  8. src/spell.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 183
  9. src/spell.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 195
  10. src/attrib.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 447
  11. src/dothrow.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 114
  12. src/dothrow.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1036: Here, "impaired" includes confusion
  13. src/engrave.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1029
  14. src/music.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 436: do_spec being unset prevents the special effects of magical instruments from working
  15. src/steed.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 115
  16. src/steed.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 303
  17. src/teleport.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 623: this can happen even if you try to cancel the teleport, see src/teleport.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 616.
  18. src/spell.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 845
  19. src/potion.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 857
  20. src/potion.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 645
  21. src/read.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1146
  22. src/read.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1494
  23. src/spell.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 142
  24. src/potion.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1572
  25. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 2066
  26. src/apply.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 816
  27. src/apply.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1751
  28. src/detect.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 913
  29. src/sit.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 265
  30. src/monmove.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 380
  31. src/mhitm.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 387
  32. src/mcastu.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 251
  33. src/artifact.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1100

This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
  2. Any modifications to the spoiler must be acknowledged and credited.

This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-360}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.