Scroll of amnesia

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? Scroll.png
Name amnesia
Appearance random
Base price 200 zm
Weight 5
Ink to write 4–7
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

The scroll of amnesia is the only indisputably harmful scroll. (Even the scroll of punishment gives you a heavy ball to use as a weapon.) Reading a scroll of amnesia makes you forget things and abuses your wisdom.


The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

This scroll no longer makes you forget object identities and maps. It still makes you forget spells, and additionally makes you forget some of your skills. The Strategy section should note that using this scroll deliberately to forget skills is a valid strategy if you want to retrain in different skills.

When you read a scroll of amnesia, you have a 13 chance of forgetting up to 25% of all known level maps and a separate 13 chance of forgetting up to 25% of object identities. (Up to 25% means that you have equal chance of forgetting 0%, or 1%, ..., or 24% of level maps or object identities.)

You forget all traps on your current level (except any in which you are stuck), forget whether you are punished, and abuse your wisdom. If this causes you to forget the identity of scrolls of amnesia themselves, they are re-identified because learning scroll identity happens after resolving reading effects.[1]

Unless the scroll is blessed, you forget between one and all of your known spells. Being confused rolls this number twice and takes worse result. However, luck can decrease the number.[2] The chance for decrease goes from about 111 at minimum luck (−13) through 17 at zero luck to about 13 at maximum luck (+13). If the amount is decreased, instead of forgetting n spells, you forget between 1 and n spells. Each spell lost that way abuses your wisdom in addition to the one time guaranteed by reading the scroll.

If the scroll is cursed or you are not confused, you forget all of the current level; otherwise you only forget about 67 of the current level. (Sokoban maps are not forgotten.[3])


Who was that Maud person anyway?
Thinking of Maud you forget everything else.
You read a scroll of amnesia.
As your mind turns inward on itself, you forget everything else.
You, a character named Maud, read a scroll of amnesia. (This is a prime example of TDTTOE.)
Your mind releases itself from mundane concerns.
You read a scroll of amnesia while hallucinating.


Scrolls of amnesia auto-identify when read. Monsters will not read them.


Scrolls of amnesia are useless, making them a perfect candidate for blanking. Because the effects of reading it are so problematic, it is best to ensure that an unidentified scroll is not amnesia before reading it. If price identification reveals a scroll's base price as 200zm, you should avoid reading it unless scrolls of amnesia are already identified.


Forgetting only one spell is a bug in NetHack 3.4.3. The intended behavior is to forget between 1 and all of your spells starting at the bottom of your spellcasting menu. If you are confused, the number of forgotten spells is supposed to be +1 on top of that (limited to all of them of course).

Prior to NetHack 3.6.0, this scroll could be used to manage which spellbooks you get gifted. Before reading the scroll, use + to sort the spellcasting menu so that forgotten spells or spells you want a book for appear last. Altar farming will then be more likely select these spellbooks over ones still present.

Another use could be to avoid blanking spellbooks—you can read them arbitrarily often provided you do not already have the spell in your spellcasting menu. NetHack 3.6.1 only removes memory of the spell but does not take it away from the list.[4]


UnNetHack removes scrolls of amnesia from the game and adds scrolls of flood in their place.

Encyclopedia entry

Get thee hence, nor come again,
Mix not memory with doubt,
Pass, thou deathlike type of pain,
Pass and cease to move about!
'Tis the blot upon the brain
That will show itself without.
For, Maud, so tender and true,
As long as my life endures
I feel I shall owe you a debt,
That I never can hope to pay;
And if ever I should forget
That I owe this debt to you
And for your sweet sake to yours;
O then, what then shall I say? -
If ever I should forget,
May God make me more wretched
Than ever I have been yet!

[ Maud, And Other Poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson ]


  1. read.c in NetHack 3.6.1, line 393: Scoll identity is made known after call to scroll effects.
  2. spell.c in NetHack 3.6.1, line 1289: Luck effect on number of spells forgotten.
  3. read.c in NetHack 3.6.1, line 796: Sokoban maps are not forgotten.
  4. spell.c in NetHack 3.6.1, line 1321: Forgetting spell sets memory retention to zero.

This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
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This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.1. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-361}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.