Curse items

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Curse items is a monster spell that appears in NetHack.


Curse items is a melee-range spell that can be used by any monster of a sufficient level that can cast spells: monsters that cast mage spells must be at least level 10, and monsters that cast clerical spells must be at least level 9.[1][2][3][4] When cast, it will unbless or curse up to 6 items in your character's open inventory, with a separate 14 of affecting a steed's saddle if your character is currently riding, and half spell damage or magic resistance reduces this to a maximum of three items (or two with both properties).[5][6][7]

Items that are already cursed cannot be targeted by curse items.[8] Intelligent artifacts each have a 45 chance of individually resisting the effect, and Magicbane has a 1920 chance of absorbing the effect entirely.[9][10]


Curse items one of the most despised monster spells, due to the various annoying and detrimental effects of curse items: cursed rings and armor will become welded to your finger, cursed weapons will additionally disrupt two-weaponing when welded to you, and cursed food confers less nutrition and may render you unconscious. Cursed tools also become more of a hindrance, with unicorn horns made less effective or even harmful; a bag of holding in particular becomes much heavier if unblessed or cursed, which can slow a character down a cursed bag of holding also risks the loss of some of its contents each time you open it.

In addition to magic resistance and half spell damage, blessing your inventory can provide a cushion of sorts against the spell, since blessed items must be unblessed before they can be made cursed. The contents of bags and other containers are not targeted by this spell, so it is worth bagging certain items when facing spellcasters to avoid having them cursed - a sack is most ideal for quick stashing, since it has no adverse effects while cursed; an oilskin sack can also suffice, though it only prevents water damage 23 of the time while cursed. Spare sacks are also useful for keeping curse removal items in, such as holy water or a blessed scroll of remove curse, to pull out or tip at a moment's notice. You can also place your bag of holding in a sack if you fear it becoming unblessed or cursed, though this increases the amount of time required to grab any necessary items from it.

Characters that can learn and reliably cast the remove curse spell will want to keep some energy available to cast it when needed, and must take care to have at least one hand free. While two-handed weapons are considered unpopular due to severely restricting options while cursed, a character using one (or else using a weapon and a shield) can still access their emergency bag's contents via the #tip extended command and pick up their curse removal to use should both hands have cursed items welded to them.

An uncommon tactic to minimize the effects of this spell is to fill up inventory slots with individual items that are light and easily obtainable in large numbers (e.g., arrows, darts, gems), then name them each so that they do not stack in order to reduce the odds of a valuable item being affected. Similarly uncommon is using a hostile caster in order to deliberately curse certain items for their alternate effects, which is typically set up in a controlled environment both to avoid more dangerous spells and prevent stronger hostile monsters from appearing.


You feel as if you need some help.
A monster cast the spell at you.
You feel a malignant aura surround you.
The spell was weakened by magic resistance.
You feel a malignant aura surround the magic-absorbing blade.
Magicbane caught and nullified the cursing effect.
<The artifact> resists!
An intelligent artifact resisted being cursed by the spell.



In UnNetHack, an already-cursed container targeted by the spell will have one random item inside it cursed. This can theoretically happen recursively if you have nested cursed containers - if you are double-bagging to protect your bag of holding, it is important that the bag containing the bag of holding remains non-cursed.


In dNetHack, curse items can be cast at a range of roughly five squares, and there are several sources of curse resistance that can block the spell's effect outright.


In EvilHack, spellcasters will use curse items and many other monster spells against other monsters.

Additionally, the Infidel is a role that is weldproof and can freely wear and remove cursed items, and their god Moloch treats cursed items the way other deities treat blessed items and vice versa - in short, Infidels actually prefer certain items to be cursed, and on paper stand to benefit from the curse item spell and other similar effects.

All of the above information also applies to Hack'EM.