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.

On some systems, the mail daemon can deliver a scroll of mail, containing a message from outside NetHack, to the hero. You can read the scroll to see the message; as of 3.6.0, you will be warned in current versions if reading a scroll of mail would break your illiterate conduct.


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. An error in wishing for mail body armor may leave the player with a scroll of mail instead (i.e. a wish for "blessed greased fixed +3 dragon mail" will produce a blessed greased scroll of mail).

Mail scrolls are never generated randomly in the dungeon (although in some versions of NetHack, the mail daemon delivers them at random). In theory, you could acquire as many of these scrolls as you want by sending many messages to yourself.

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.


They have little use in gameplay:

  • They will not polymorph into other objects or be consumed by polypiling, they just turn into junk mail.[1][2][3]
  • They cannot get wet.[4][5]
  • They are not affected by cancellation.
  • A gelatinous cube gains no nutrition by eating one. ("This junk mail is less than satisfying.")[6]
  • If you wish for or write a scroll of mail, or you discover a bones file with someone else's mail, it will be "junk mail addressed to the finder of the Eye of Larn". (The joke is that the roguelike Larn would send the user mail when they won.)[7][8][9][10]


  • They weigh as much as any other scroll (5), so you can become burdened 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 curse items.
  • A scroll of mail will "activate" an Elbereth square in versions prior to 3.6.0.


In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, you will break the conduct with no warning.

See also


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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.