Scroll of earth

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? Scroll.png
Name earth
Appearance random
Base price 200 zm
Weight 5
Ink to write 4–7
Monster use May be used offensively by monsters.

A scroll of earth creates boulders when read.


The first level of Sokoban has two guaranteed scrolls of earth in the lower-left corner.


Reading an uncursed scroll will create 9 boulders: 8 around the player and one on top of their head. A blessed scroll will create 8 boulders around the player without dropping one on them, and a cursed scroll will create a single boulder over the character's head. If there is a wall where a boulder would normally fall, that boulder will not be created. If read while confused, the scroll will create rocks instead of boulders, using the same pattern based on the beatitude of the scroll.

A boulder that falls on the player's head does 1d20 points of damage; if they are wearing a hard helmet, it bounces off and deals just 2 points of damage. A scroll of earth does no damage to amorphous, phasing, noncorporeal, and unsolid monsters.[1]

The scroll has no effect on the Rogue level and the Elemental Planes (except the Plane of Earth),[2] and reading one on a Sokoban level before solving its puzzle will decrease Luck by 1.[3]


The scroll of earth can be used to create a "boulder fort". This is a relatively safe way to deal with a dangerous monster or horde of monsters; monsters will not be able to attack a player they cannot see, and the boulders prevent most monsters from approaching them while the player uses telepathy to detect them and attack with missile weapons and spells. Be careful of force bolts and wands of striking, as they will destroy boulders.

It's also possible to create a fort and then carefully move a single boulder so as to allow only one monster to reach you at a time. This is best done on a staircase and/or a permanent Elbereth square, so as to allow some means of escape if things go poorly.

Scrolls of earth can be used as a convenient source of boulders to fill trapdoors, holes, and moats; if you lack a source of levitation, this can be another way to cross the water at Medusa's Island or the moat and trap doors at the Castle. It's best not to fill all the Castle's trap doors, as you would need to dig one out again to reach Gehennom.

The scrolls found in Sokoban are intended as backups in case boulders are destroyed or additional pits need to be filled; reading the scroll on an unsolved level will incur a Luck penalty. Be careful not to let nymphs or other intelligent monsters steal the Sokoban scrolls and use them—breaking boulders of any kind on an unsolved level also incurs a Luck penalty. However, monsters that don't have a hard helmet will only read them 10% of the time,[4] so it is rare for this to become a problem if you kill them fast enough.


In UnNetHack's black market, scrolls of earth have no effect 50% of the time.


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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.