Potion of sickness

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! Pink potion.png
Name sickness
Appearance random
Base price 50 zm
Weight 20
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

The potion of sickness is biologically contaminated fruit juice.

Quaffing effects

If you are a neither a Healer nor have the sustain ability extrinsic from the ring, you are subject to the following effects:

Case You have no poison resistance You have poison resistance
blessed You lose 1 hit point. You lose 1 hit point.
uncursed You lose 1-10 hit points, one of your attributes is reduced by 3-6, abuse constitution. You lose 1 hit point, one of your attributes is reduced by 1, abuse constitution.
cursed You lose 1-15 hit points, one of your attributes is reduced by 3-6, abuse constitution. You lose 1 hit point, one of your attributes is reduced by 1, abuse constitution.

If you are a Healer, you are completely protected from these effects.

If you are not a Healer but you have the sustain ability intrinsic, you are subject to the effects above, but your attributes are not reduced.

If you are hallucinating, you are shocked to your senses. This is the only good effect of this potion, and the only effect it causes for a Healer.

Despite its name, this potion does not cause the terminal condition known as sickness (which is instead caused by food poisoning or demonic attacks).


The potion can be thrown at monsters to reduce their hitpoints. There is no effect if the monster possesses a sickness attack or has poison resistance, and throwing the potion at Pestilence will heal him with the same effect as throwing a potion of healing at another monster. If a potion of sickness hits a monster that is not immune, the monster's current HP and maximum HP are both cut in half, with separate chances of resisting. If the monster's maximum HP is brought below the current HP, the current HP is reduced to the new maximum HP. For this reason, it can be useful on some powerful enemies, including some Quest nemeses.


You can #dip darts, arrows, shurikens and crossbow bolts into potion of sickness to coat the projectile weapon in poison. Poisoned weapons do d6 extra damage and have a 10% chance of instant kill for non-resistant monsters. However, the poison has a 10% chance of wearing off on each successful attack. In vanilla NetHack this does not work on daggers, in SLASH'EM all bladed weapons can be poisoned, however heavier weapons will lose their poison faster (1 in [10 - (weight/10)] chance).[1]

If you #dip a unicorn horn into potion of sickness, it becomes fruit juice.

If you #dip a stack of fruit juice into a potion of sickness, it turns into a stack of potions of sickness.

Potions of sickness are created 22.5% of the time from random alchemy, so if you have spare potions, this is a decent way to make potions of sickness.


Apart from its dipping and throwing uses, this potion has few benefits. It is effective as a hallucination cure if you can mitigate the HP and attribute loss (with poison resistance, a potion of restore ability, or a ring of sustain ability), but unicorn horns, potions of extra healing, and full healing also cure hallucination with no harmful effects.

Another marginal use is to identify the potion of fruit juice by dipping a unicorn horn or canceling it. Fruit juice is the only potion type besides water that can be created this way.

Otherwise, this potion is a good candidate for dilution.


Yecch! This stuff tastes like poison.
You quaffed a potion of sickness.
(But in fact it was mildly stale <slime mold> juice.)
The potion was blessed.
(But in fact it was biologically contaminated <slime mold> juice.)
The potion was not blessed, but you have poison resistance, so you only lost one attribute point.
Fortunately, you have been immunized.
You are a Healer, so you suffer no ill effects (hallucination is still cured).
You are shocked back to your senses!
You were hallucinating, and were cured by the potion.
You feel weaker.
Your strength was lowered.
Your muscles won't obey you.
Your dexterity was lowered.
You feel very sick.
Your constitution was lowered.
Your brain is on fire.
Your intelligence was lowered.
Your judgement is impaired.
Your wisdom was lowered.
You break out in hives.
Your charisma was lowered.
<monster> looks rather ill.
A monster without immunity was hit by a potion of sickness, or Pestilence was hit by a potion of healing.
<monster> looks unharmed.
A monster with a sickness attack or poison resistance was hit by a potion of sickness.
<potion> forms a coating on <item>.
You dipped a poisonable item into a potion of sickness.


Potions of sickness can be identified by #dipping a unicorn horn into them, which turns them into fruit juice. Canceling also converts them to fruit juice (but note that the potion of see invisible also turns into fruit juice when canceled).

If neither of those are available, dipping a non-poisoned missile weapon into a potion of sickness will form a coating on it.


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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-360}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.