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* Gray stone.png
Name loadstone
Appearance gray stone
Damage vs. small 1d3
Damage vs. large 1d3
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill sling
Size one-handed
Base price 1 zm
Weight 500
Material mineral

The loadstone is an infamous item that appears in Nethack, and is one of the four gray stones.


Loadstones on the dungeon's floor are always generated cursed, and 10/11 of loadstones inside containers are generated cursed; the other 1/11 of those are generated non-cursed.


Picking up a loadstone will weigh you down, but unlike most items, you cannot drop one or place it into a container while it is cursed. Any setting of the pickup_burden variable will be ignored if the character attempts to pick up a loadstone, and other inventory restrictions may be ignored as well -- if a character's knapsack has already reached the 52-item limit, the loadstone will still be picked up and assigned inventory position "#". The loadstone will autocurse once it is dropped or leaves your main inventory in any other way.

For all its weight, a loadstone does not do any more damage than flint when thrown.


Loadstones will render you stressed at the very least, severely hindering your movement and preventing you going up stairs. You can get rid of it if you lift its curse somehow.

Remvoal methods

Testing for loadstones

Naturally, one of the most effective methods for dealing with loadstones is learning how to avoid them in the first place.


The easiest way to test if a gray stone is a loadstone is to kick it before you pick it up. Take off any items that add to your strength or kicking capabilities: remove gauntlets of power and kicking boots first, and make sure you are not a class that uses martial arts (samurai or monk) or polymorphed into a creature that has a bonus to kicking, such as a sasquatch.[1][2] Loadstones are heavy enough that they cannot be kicked under normal circumstances (i.e. unenhanced strength, not on ice, no kicking bonus from class/equipment/polyself).

If for any reason you cannot (or do not want to) prevent yourself from having kicking bonuses, you can compare kicking ranges. A loadstone should travel much less far than a harmless gray stone or any non-fragile object of similar weight, like a rock. Be careful though: some bonuses add a small random amount to the distance.


Loadstones autocurse only when they are dropped or leave the inventory, not when picked up; as such, cancelling a suspicious gray stone will permit you to safely pick it up and drop it afterward.

Pet testing

Loadstones are normally generated cursed, so an unknown gray stone on the floor is likely a loadstone if a pet will only "reluctantly" move over it. This method still works on stones stuck next to undiggable walls, which occurs most often in Mines' End, but beware of level teleporter traps.


A loadstone generated inside a container will have a significant weight, and you usually get a pickup_burden warning when indirectly lifting a loadstone. If you are still uncertain, you can also #tip the container after removing all other items from it, then test the gray stone using the other above methods.


You can #name or formally identify a loadstone so that you can recognize any future ones. If you need to read a noncursed scroll of remove curse for other reasons anyway, you might want to deliberately pick up a known loadstone. Beware sources of amnesia, as you may forget the identification for the loadstone and pick one up; check your discoveries to see whether you still know the loadstone.



In SLASH'EM, healthstones are also always generated cursed. So pet testing will not be enough to recognize a loadstone in a undiggable corner.

Be careful not to throw a loadstone - If you have autopickup on, you automatically pick up any items you have thrown.

Dipping a loadstone in a potion of amnesia will transform it into a flint stone. You can keep the flintstones, in the hope you'll upgrade them in to healthstones.


As you can see the weight of items, it is much easier to avoid picking up a loadstone. Drop a junk item on any suspect gray stone: this forces the pickup menu to appear since there are now several items. Gray stones weighing only 10 are harmless to pick up.

Slash'EM Extended

In Slash'EM Extended, a loadstone fired with a sling does a whopping d40 damage if it hits. Autopickup is smart enough to avoid picking up known cursed items, so if you were diligent enough to try to drop the loadstone while it was still cursed (which makes the BUC status known), this will not cause you to pick it back up when you walk over its location.

Additional ways to get rid of a loadstone:

  • Polymorph into a lithivore and eat the loadstone.
  • Wield the loadstone and read a noncursed scroll of enchant weapon to remove the curse. Beware that here, cursed loadstones will weld themselves to your hand.
  • Because gems can be enchanted in Slash'EM Extended, if you read enough cursed scrolls of enchant weapon, a wielded loadstone will blow up (this is a huge waste of resources though).
  • Trigger an item teleporter or be attacked by a monster with the item teleportation attack. Certain items can also teleport the player's items out of the inventory.


The name loadstone is a pun on the word lodestone, a naturally magnetic mineral.