Monster spell

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A monster spell is a category of spells that only spell-casting monsters can make use of. Some are unique to this category, while others share properties with other magical items.

Monsters can only cast spells if they are not cancelled and at least level one, and can only cast once every (10 - (monster's level)) turns to a minimum of two turns[1]; they will attempt to cast spells if these conditions are not met, producing a "curse" message.[2] Even with these conditions satisfied, there is a 2 in (monster's level) chance of the spell failing (with five times that chance if the monster is confused)[3].

Monsters that are scared (e.g., by Elbereth) will not use directed spells. If a monster uses a directed spell at you, but you are on a different square than the monster expected, the spell will fail and produce a "curse" message.

Messages

Message Meaning
Foo points at you, then curses. The monster attempted to cast a spell before they were able to do so.
Foo points all around, then curses.
Foo points and curses in your general direction. As above, but the monster cannot see you.
Foo points and curses at your displaced image. As above, but you are displaced.
You hear a mumbled curse. As above, but you cannot see the monster.
The air crackles around foo. The monster cast a spell when able to do so, but the spell failed.
Foo casts a spell! The monster successfully cast a spell.
Foo casts a spell at you!
Foo casts a spell at a spot near you! As above, but the monster cannot see you.
Foo casts a spell at your displaced image! As above, but you are displaced.

Spells

There are three categories of spells that monsters can cast. These are Ray-type spells, Mage spells, and Clerical spells. In vanilla, no creature casts spells in more than one category. In the tables below, Min. level refers to the minimum level required for the monster to be able to cast that spell. The monsters that use the type of spells in each table are listed in the two Monsters column. In the Monsters (at lowest level) column, we assume that the monster is generated at its base level minus one, which is the lowest possible level at which a monster will be randomly generated. In the Monsters (at highest level) column, we assume that the monster is generated at its base level times 3/2, which is the highest possible level at which a monster will be randomly generated. In both cases, each monster can cast the spell on the line it appears, as well as every spell above it. It is still theoretically possible for monsters to cast spells that appear below their names in the table, if they drink enough potions of gain level. The spell Double Trouble can only be used by the Wizard of Yendor. As an example, a golden naga is guaranteed to be able to cast Psi bolt, Cure self, Haste self, Stun, Disappear, Drain strength and Destroy armor. It may be able to cast Curse items and Aggravate, if it is generated at a high enough level.

Monster spellcasting abilities are dependent on their current level, not their original level, so draining a monster will remove its ability to cast higher-level spells. However, most important spellcasters are immune to life drainage, and those that aren't generally have very high MR, making the spell nearly useless. Stormbringer and the Staff of Aesculapius bypass monster MR, though both will kill most non-resistant monsters quickly enough that the effect on their spellcasting is not generally that noticeable.

Mage Spells

Spell Min. level Directed Monsters (at lowest level) Monsters (at highest level)
Psi bolt 1 Y kobold shaman
Cure self 2 barrow wight, orc shaman, gnomish wizard
Haste self 3 kobold shaman
Stun 4 Y guide, apprentice barrow wight, orc shaman, gnomish wizard
Disappear 5
Drain strength 7 Y guide, apprentice
Destroy armor 9 Y golden naga, lich, nalfeshnee
Curse items 11 Y demilich
Aggravate 14 ki-rin, titan, Ixoth, Dark One, Minion of Huhetotl, Thoth Amon, Chromatic Dragon, Nalzok golden naga
Summon nasties 16 master lich, Archon, Neferet the Green lich, nalfeshnee
Touch of death 21 Y arch-lich, Orcus, Dispater, Demogorgon demilich, master lich, arch-lich, ki-rin, titan, Archon, Ixoth, Dark One, Minion of Huhetotl, Thoth Amon, Chromatic Dragon, Nalzok, Neferet the Green, Orcus, Dispater, Demogorgon
Double Trouble 19/unique Wizard of Yendor Wizard of Yendor

Clerical Spells

Spell Min. level Directed Monsters (at lowest level) Monsters (at highest level)
Open wounds 1 Y
Cure self 2
Confuse 3 Y abbot, acolyte
Paralyze 5 Y
Blind 6 Y abbot, acolyte
Summon insects 9
Curse items 10 Y aligned priest
Lightning 12 Y
Fire pillar 13 Y
Geyser 14 Y high priest, Grand Master, Master Kaen, Arch Priest aligned priest, high priest, Grand Master, Master Kaen, Arch Priest

Ray-type spells

Ray-type spells come in three varieties[4] (though only two are in use). They can be cast from afar, and when used this way, act the same as wands or breath weapons. When cast from an adjoining square, they act as melee attacks and cannot be reflected, but the appropriate resistance will still nullify them.

  • Three creatures use magic missile: Angels, Yeenoghu and the Oracle (the Oracle's version is passive and will only occur in response to a melee attack). Magic resistance is proof against this attack. The message is, "You are hit by a shower of missiles!" "The missiles bounce off!" if you have magic resistance.
  • Asmodeus, and no one else, has a cold attack. "You are covered in frost" when hit by this attack. Cold resistance nullifies it.
  • The source code also supports a fire attack. "You are enveloped in flames" when hit by this attack, and fire resistance nullifies it. No monster in vanilla has this attack, but in SLASH'EM it is used by fire vampires.

SLASH'EM

SLASH'EM has many new spellcasting monsters. It also introduces two new mage spells:

Slash'EM Extended

Slash'EM Extended reduces the chances of spellcasting monsters to actually cast spells, especially if the spell summons hostile monsters. However, it also introduces an array of new clerical spells. All of these can be used by monsters of level 9 or higher unless otherwise noted.

Also, the Geyser spell will cause the player's inventory to become wet, and on a lethe level possibly disenchant items or transform them into potions/scrolls of amnesia. There are also the following new arcane spells, which can be cast by monsters of level 9 or higher unless otherwise noted:

  • Damage armor, which works like destroy armor but only damages a worn armor item by one stage (can destroy the item if it was thoroughly eroded already), and fooproof armor items resist;
  • Wither, which works like damage armor but also damages and eventually destroys fooproof items as well as those outright immune to damage (dragon scale mail for example);
  • Megaload, requires the monster to be at least level 13; this spell adds a cursed loadstone to the player's inventory;
  • Levitate, requires the monster to be at least level 13; this spell causes the player to float in the air for a period of time, preventing them from picking up items;
  • Summon Ghost, requires the monster to be at least level 19; the player is surrounded by stronger versions of regular player monsters. If there are entries in the high-score file, the names and classes of these monsters are directly taken from there; the first 1000 entries in the list are eligible for selection. If no entries exist, random player monsters with random names (taken from a preset list) are created instead.
  • Enrage, requires the monster to be at least level 22; this spell heals all hostile monsters in a certain radius around the player, causes peaceful monsters to become hostile, and has a chance of making tame monsters hostile as well. The chance of the latter happening is much higher if a tame monster has been abused or its tameness is low;
  • Divine wrath, requires the monster to be at least level 23; the player's god becomes angry (randomly increases anger by 1-3 points) and smites the character.

The Call Undead arcane monster spell isn't restricted to liches in Slash'EM Extended. Instead, all arcane spellcasters that are at least level 10 can cast it. Also, the Wizard of Yendor has a small chance of casting Triple Trouble if there are two active wizards in the game.

See also

References


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