Wand of death

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Name death
Appearance random
Abundance 0.5%
Base price 500 zm
Weight 7
Type ray
Maximum charges 8
Spell finger of death
Monster use May be used offensively by monsters.

The wand of death is among the most powerful wands in the game, but it can also be dangerous to the user. The spellbook with similar powers is finger of death.

Effects

Zapping it sends a ray of death in a chosen direction. The ray instantly kills any monster it hits except Death, major demons, nonliving monsters, and monsters with magic resistance or reflection. The same criteria apply to the player character. As with all ray-type wands, however, there is a chance that the ray will miss the target.

Zapping a wand of death at Death makes it stronger.

Zapping a wand of death at yourself results in an instadeath, even if you have magic resistance or reflection ("You irradiate yourself with pure energy!"), unless you are polymorphed into any of the unaffected monsters mentioned above ("The wand shoots an apparently harmless beam at you.").

Breaking the wand results in a standard magical explosion with (16 × charges) damage, and the wand is identified. Although the game refers to this explosion as a "death field" if it kills you, magic resistance is not necessary to survive it.

Generation

The wand of death is one of the rarest wands, making up only 0.5% of randomly generated wands.

Orcus always carries a wand of death. Other monsters with difficulty of 8 or more can receive it as an offensive item if eligible.

Wizards sometimes start with a wand of death.

Identification

The wand of death shares its base cost of 500 with the wand of wishing.

Engraving with the wand of death provides the same message as the wand of sleep: "The bugs on the <floor> stop moving!"

Strategy

One of the major sources of YASD is the fabled Gnome With the Wand of Death. If you are being targeted with death rays, you should consider using some escape item unless you have reflection or magic resistance.

See Orcus#Strategy for tips on how to get Orcus' wand before he uses up all the charges.

Whether you are fighting a Gnome With the Wand of Death, or using the wand yourself, you should be aware of bouncing rays.

Pacifists obviously shouldn't zap this wand themselves. However a pacifist with magic resistance may sometimes want to deliberately give a wand of death to a monster. The monster may try to zap you, but instead kill itself on its own rebound. This is one of the pacifistic strategies for dealing with Medusa.

SporkHack

In SporkHack, death rays will still cause damage and reduce your maximum hit points if you have magic resistance or reflection. If you have both, the damage and maximum HP loss are dramatically reduced.


This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.2.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-362}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.