Scroll of scare monster

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? Scroll.png
Name scare monster
Appearance random
Base price 100 zm
Weight 5
Ink to write 10-19
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

When a scroll of scare monster is on a square, monsters treat that square as if Elbereth were written on it. Non-blinded monsters which respect Elbereth will not attack you in melee while you are on that square, and most will not walk on the square when you are not on it.

Since NetHack 3.6.0, scrolls of scare monster also scare peaceful monsters, pets, blind monsters, @ and minotaurs, and also work in Gehennom and the End Game.[1] They do not scare lawful minions, angelic beings, the Riders or the Wizard of Yendor. If you are not standing on the scroll, monsters who are normally scared of it will not walk over it unless they are blind, human, or a minotaur.[2][3]

When read, a blessed or uncursed scroll causes monsters in your visual range to flee, though some may resist. If you are confused or the scroll is cursed, monsters in visual range will wake up, become unparalyzed, and unscared.[4]

BUC degradation and disintegration

If you pick up a blessed scroll of scare monster, it will become uncursed. If you try to pick up a cursed one, it will disintegrate. An uncursed one will set an internal flag the first time you pick it up, and disintegrate the next time unless you have blessed it. This flag is not reset by blessing the scroll: any individual scroll can only be picked up while uncursed once. Scrolls that have been picked up once while uncursed will not stack with those that haven't. Removing a scroll from a container, whether on the ground or in your inventory, has no ill effect on it. If you pick up a cursed or "non-fresh" uncursed scroll, the game will report "The scroll turns to dust as you pick it up."[5]


Scrolls of scare monster in shops can get you in trouble in the early game. If you pick up a scroll in a shop and it disintegrates, you owe the shopkeeper for it; if you can't afford it, you'll have to sell your other items or risk angering the shopkeeper. Be careful picking up scrolls in shops until you have a decent amount of gold. If you find an unknown scroll in a shop with a base price of 100, name its type on the floor. Only pick it up if you can afford to pay for it. As of Nethack 3.6, these scrolls are easier to identify in shops, because they scare adjacent shopkeepers (who will not become angry) when you stand on them.

Moving scrolls that will disintegrate

If you need to move a scroll of scare monster without destroying it, try kicking it, or have your pets pick it up. If you only want a blank scroll, kick it into a pool of water or cancel it. A pet picking up the scroll will not cause the same detrimental effects that occur when you pick up the scroll, nor will stealing the scroll from a pet or other monster that is carrying the scroll while you are polymorphed into a nymph. This is the only way to pick up a cursed scroll of scare monster. Unfortunately, to do so requires a monster that picks up magical items, and unless the monster also ignores Elbereth (this basically means Archons and shopkeepers), it must be blinded.


In NetHack 3.6, dropping this scroll on the ground is one of the most powerful ways to keep hordes of monsters at bay. It effectively acts as a more powerful Elbereth square, and it will never erode, unlike all the other types of Elbereth squares. Additionally, since it works against humans, it can be a good choice to use when fighting off soldiers in the Castle and Fort Ludios. A single scroll can theoretically last for the entire game if you have a sufficient supply of holy water, though you will need to use a potion every time you use the scroll. Of course, the scroll itself can be destroyed by fire if you don't keep it in a container, but keeping it in a container generally means you will need two turns to activate its protection. This can be gotten around by placing the scroll in its own container, and using the #tip command to transfer it directly to the floor as needed (don't do this on a downstair).

This scroll is commonly used to defend stashes, since placing it under a stash will prevent hostile monsters and pets from moving onto the square and picking up or destroying the stash.

Reading these scrolls is almost always a waste, since the permanent effects of the scroll on the ground are much better than temporary monster fleeing.

For conduct players, these scrolls are important in that they give the benefits of Elbereth without breaking illiterate conduct. Hence they are usually the only scroll useful to illiterate players, who will want to be very careful not to destroy or disintegrate them.

Special generation

Cursed scrolls of scare monster will be generated under the prize in the top floor of Sokoban and under the chest containing the wand of wishing in the Castle. These may be useful as stash locations.


Reading it will result in one of the following messages:

You hear maniacal laughter close by.
at least one creature was affected
You hear maniacal laughter in the distance.
no creature was affected (excluding pets)[6]
You hear sad wailing close by.
cursed or confused, at least one creature was affected
You hear sad wailing in the distance.
cursed or confused, no creature was affected (excluding pets)


The scroll of scare monster originated in Rogue, where it had the same effect (although b/u/c distinctions did not exist).