Spellbook of finger of death

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spellbook of
+   finger of death   Light green spellbook.png
Appearance random
Abundance 0.50%
Base price 700 zm
Weight 50
Turns to read 80
Ink to write 35–69
Spell type attack
Level 7
Power cost 35 Pw
Direction ray
Equivalent wand of death

The finger of death is an exceptionally powerful attack spell, equivalent to the wand of death. It has a difficulty of 7 and is the strongest spell in its class. The spellbook is most commonly received through wizard crowning, where it is given if the wizard does not already have one and is not wielding Vorpal Blade or Stormbringer (the spellbook received this way is always blessed). Zapping yourself directly with the spell is an instadeath, regardless of reflection or magic resistance, and is a very bad idea.

Your skill in attack spells has no significant effect on finger of death other than increasing the spellcasting success rate.


The finger of death is the most difficult and magic-intensive spell in the game, but this is to be expected given its extremely powerful effects. Since the spell is a ray, it can hit multiple enemies and bounce off walls, and can be reflected by reflection. Be extremely careful about casting it without reflection or magic resistance; if it bounces off a wall and hits you it will result in instadeath.

It is most useful for being able to instantly kill most of the monsters in the game, if they are not resistant. Unfortunately most of the nastier late-game enemies are: Death resists it, as do all demons and undead. Archons do not technically resist it, but since they are always generated with a shield of reflection they will never be affected unless it is swapped for another shield or somehow removed. Minotaurs are a good candidate for this spell, and it is also generally good for crowd control, owing to its ability to take out multiple monsters per casting. It can also take out the High priest of Moloch as well as Wizard of Yendor, assuming that they don't obtain some items that gives them magic resistance.

In other games

The finger of death is also the ultimate spell in the old game Spellcast

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.