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. You can turn the option "mail" off to prevent scrolls of mail being delivered.

The mail daemon will deliver scrolls of mail to you in-game, with the source of the scrolls varying according to which operating system you play on:

  • On UNIX and Linux, you can set up an alert for incoming email.
  • On DOS and Amiga, a scroll with a random message is delivered every 2000-5000 turns.
  • Public servers often allow people watching a game to send short messages to the person playing the game.
  • On any operating system, they can also be wished for or written with a magic marker like other scrolls. 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 will not 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 do not define MAIL.


Reading a scroll of mail delivered by mail daemon may launch an external mail program if appropriate, and will otherwise simply print the message directly. Reading a delivered scroll breaks illiterate conduct, but unlike with other scrolls, you will be warned and given the chance to abort if the conduct is intact.

If you read a scroll of mail that was 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.)[1][2][3][4]


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:

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".
  • Several stacks of scrolls of mail can be used as "fodder" against effects that curse items.


The scroll of mail first appears in Hack 1.0.2.

In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, including some variants based on these versions reading a scroll of mail immediately breaks illiterate conduct, and a scroll of mail will also "activate" an Elbereth square. As of NetHack 3.6.0, the reminder for illiterate conduct is included, and Elbereth's mechanics are significantly changed, meaning that scrolls of mail no longer affect squares with Elbereth engraved.



In UnNetHack, if you have hints enabled, the mail daemon will deliver a scroll of mail once per game that contains a hint 250-500 turns after you begin a game.