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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

A loadstone is one of the four kinds of gray stones that appear in Nethack. It is very heavy, nearly useless, and difficult to get rid of, making it the least desirable of the gray stones.


Loadstones on the dungeon's floor are always generated cursed, and 1011 of loadstones inside containers are generated cursed; the other 111 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 option 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 inventory has already reached the 52-item limit, the loadstone will still be picked up and assigned inventory position '#'. A loadstone will autocurse once it is dropped or leaves your main inventory in any other way.

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


Loadstones will often render you stressed or worse, severely hindering your movement and preventing you going up stairs; you can get rid of it if you lift its curse somehow.

Removal methods

If you find yourself carrying a cursed loadstone, there are several ways to get rid of it:

  • Uncurse the stone, such as with a noncursed scroll of remove curse or a potion of holy water, then drop the stone.
  • Cast stone to flesh on yourself. (Drop all mineral objects that you don't want to be transformed into meat first.)
    • Similarly, zapping or casting cancellation at yourself will uncurse the stone. (In this case you should drop all objects that you don't want to cancel, which is generally almost all of your inventory including equipment.)
  • Dip the stone in a potion of polymorph to transform it into something else.
  • Allow a nymph or other item-stealing monster to take it; however, this is very unreliable unless you can safely ensure no other desirable inventory will be targeted.

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 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, or 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 a much shorter distance 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, canceling a suspicious gray stone will permit you to safely pick it up, and if it weighs you down you can simply drop it afterwards.

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 picking up a container is harmless even with a loadstone inside; you usually get a warning about encumbrance 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.

Once you have determined that a gray stone is a loadstone, you can #name or formally identify it 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 flint stones, in the hope you'll upgrade them in to healthstones.


When using Vulture, you can see the weight of items, so 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 generally a 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.


Loadstones are removed in xNetHack, but a cursed gray stone may still be a troublesome thiefstone.


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


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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.