Scroll of mail

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? Scroll of mail.png
Name scroll of mail
Appearance stamped scroll
Base price 0 zm
Weight 5
Ink to write 2
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

A scroll of mail is a type of scroll that appears in NetHack.


Mail scrolls are never generated randomly in the dungeon (although in some versions of NetHack, the mail daemon delivers them at random). You can turn the option "mail" off to prevent scrolls of mail being delivered.

The source of the scrolls varies according to which operating system you play on:

  • On UNIX and Linux, you can set up an alert for incoming email.
  • On DOS, scrolls with random messages are delivered now and then.
  • Public servers often allow people watching a game to send short messages to the person playing the game.
  • On any operating system, they can be wished for or written with a magic marker. In particular, an error in wishing for mail body armor may also leave the player with a scroll of mail instead (e.g., a wish for "blessed greased fixed +3 dragon mail" will produce a blessed greased scroll of mail).

If the MAIL compile-time option isn't defined, scrolls of mail don't exist in the game. Attempting to write one will reject the name, and wishing for one will give a random scroll instead. The official Windows binaries don't define MAIL.


On some systems, the mail daemon can deliver mail with messages from outside the game to you - reading the scroll will show the message. Reading this scroll breaks illiterate conduct as with other scrolls, and you will be warned if attempting to read sent mail would do so.


In theory, a player can acquire as many scrolls of mail as desired by sending many messages to themselves. To prevent abuse, scrolls of mail lack many of the gameplay applications of other scrolls:

  • They will not polymorph into other objects or merge into a paper golem, instead turning into junk mail.[1][2][3]
  • If you read scrolls of mail that were wished for, written, polypiled, or discovered in a bones file, it will be described as "junk mail addressed to the finder of the Eye of Larn". (The roguelike Larn would send the user mail when they won.)[4][5][6][7]
  • They cannot be blanked by cancellation, acid damage or getting them wet.[8][9]
  • A gelatinous cube gains no nutrition by eating one, including you while in the form of a gelatinous cube.[10]

However, they can still affect a game in the following ways:

  • They weigh as much as any other scroll (5 aum), so you can become encumbered by mail.
  • They can be thrown to propel yourself backward while levitating.[11]
  • Huge quantities of mail scrolls can be used for a shop-robbing exploit known as the "200 rock steal".
  • Large amounts of scrolls of mail can be used as "fodder" against effects that curse items.


In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, reading a scroll of mail immediately breaks illiterate conduct; a scroll of mail will also "activate" an Elbereth square in these versions. As of 3.6.0, the reminder for illiterate conduct is included, and Elbereth's mechanics mean that scrolls of mail no longer affect squares with Elbereth engraved.

See also