Spellbook of dig

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spellbook of
+   dig   Light green spellbook.png
Appearance random
Abundance 2.03%
Base price 500 zm
Weight 50
Turns to read 30
Ink to write 25–49
Spell type matter
Level 5
Power cost 25 Pw
Direction ray
Equivalent wand of digging
Special for caveman

The spellbook of dig allows you to learn the spell of dig. It is the special spell for Cavemen.


The Wizard of Yendor will have a spellbook of dig when he makes his guaranteed reappearance on the Plane of Earth.


When cast, it has the same effect as zapping a wand of digging, which is used to dig through walls and create holes in floors.


While an obviously useful matter spell, it is also quite high-level compared to its effect. A wand of digging provides the same benefits, including digging shortcuts through maze levels and functioning as an emergency escape (e.g. by digging downward to escape non-follower monsters), without the immense power cost. By the time you reach Gehennom, you should typically have a large supply of such wands and can obtain more from the various enemies - especially minotaurs - so it is typically not worth learning at that point, much less specifically for that area.

Despite being the special spell for Cavemen, it is almost guaranteed to be useless to them, especially considering the availability of wands mentioned above. Even with a robe and the ability to actually train levels in matter spells as of 3.6.2, Cavemen have the second-highest spellcasting penalty among all vanilla roles, and the spell is too-high level to be practical for even the most outside use by them.

The guaranteed spellbook of dig you obtain from killing the Wizard of Yendor on the Plane of Earth is all but intended to be a backup in the event you have no other sources of digging—this is also the case for the minotaur and Elvenking that will also be generated nearby, and provide a wand of digging and a chance for a pick-axe respectively. Even so, it is much more preferable to bring your own wands of digging, along with a means of charging for them if needed.

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 Information on this page may be out of date.

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