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 bad scroll (even the scroll of punishment gives you a heavy ball to use as a weapon). Reading one makes you forget things and abuses your wisdom.

Reading effects

You have a 1/3 chance of forgetting up to 25% of all known level maps and a separate 1/3 chance of forgetting up to 25% of object identities. (Up to 25% means that you have equal chance to forget 0%, 1%, ..., 24% of level maps or object identities, rounded to the closest integer.)

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].

Additionally, the BUC status of the scroll and whether or not you are confused imposes extra effects. 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 1/11 at worst negative luck (-13) through 1/7 at zero luck to about 1/3 at maximal possible luck (+13). In case of decrease, instead of X spells you forget between 1 and X 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 6/7 of the current level.

N.B.: Sokoban maps are not forgotten[3].

Note that forgetting only 1 spell is a bug in version 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).


Message Reason
"Who was that Maud person anyway?" You read a scroll of amnesia
"Thinking of Maud you forget everything else."
"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


Reading the scroll identifies it with devastating consequences, so you are well-advised to ID this and all other 200zm scrolls by elimination or by a scroll or spell of identification.

Monsters will not read this scroll.


Scrolls of amnesia are a perfect candidate for blanking (rather appropriately, as the scroll forgets its former identity).

NetHack 3.4.3

Playing devil's advocate, this scroll could be used to manage which spellbooks you get gifted. Before you read this scroll, you should sort the spellcasting menu so that forgotten spells or spells you want a book for appear last. Altar farming then will more likely select these spellbooks over ones still present.

Another use could be to avoid blanking spellbooks - you can read them indefinitely 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].


This scroll was removed and replaced with scroll of flood.

See Also


  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.

Encyclopedia entry for amnesia

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 ]

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