Spellbook of force bolt

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spellbook of
+   force bolt   Light green spellbook.png
Appearance random
Abundance 3.56%
Base price 100 zm
Weight 50
Turns to read 2
Ink to write 5–9
Spell type attack
Level 1
Power cost 5 Pw
Direction beam
Equivalent wand of striking

In NetHack, reading the spellbook of force bolt allows you to learn the spell of force bolt.

Generation

In addition to generating randomly in the dungeon, Wizards always start with a spellbook of force bolt.

Effects

Casting the spell allows you to shoot a force bolt in any direction, the same as a wand of striking. If the bolt hits a monster, it does 2d12 damage; monsters may resist for half damage. Monsters with player-style magic resistance take no damage.

The force bolt will break any boulder, statue, door or drawbridge that it hits. It will also break fragile items such as potions. Note that if a monster is killed by a force bolt beam, the monster's inventory will be subjected to the beam.

Strategy

Force bolt is a great spell for the beginning wizard, both for attacking monsters and for various utility purposes.

Attacking monsters

As noted above, force bolt deals 2d12 damage. It has a fixed chance of hitting, not affected by the player's dexterity or spell skills; if the roll of a d20 is lower than (10 + monster's AC), the spell hits.[1] This makes it unsuitable for use in the late game, when many monsters have low AC. In the early game, however, this is a quite respectable amount of damage compared to the other weapons usually available, and most early-game monsters have high AC.

Magic missile may be more useful for lower AC targets such as killer bees early on, and increases in power with the player's level, making it more desirable later on.

Utility purposes

Force bolt can be used to break down locked doors or hidden doors that you know about, but can't find by searching; this is especially helpful if you have poor luck. As with other methods of forcibly opening doors, care should be taken to avoid smashing doors in Minetown and doors to shops in this manner.

Force bolt can also destroy boulders, which is useful if you need to traverse a blocked corridor; it can also be used to break statues before you obtain a pick-axe. In combination with the stone-to-flesh spell, it can be used to create a ready supply of meatballs from broken statues and boulders, which are useful for raising pets' apport.

When to avoid force bolt

Do not attack nymphs with force bolt unless you are desperate. Nymphs like to carry mirrors; if you manage to kill a nymph with this spell, the mirror will break, causing a -2 Luck penalty. However, if a nymph has stolen your wand of lightning or other dangerous objects and you have no other recourse, it's probably better to take the luck penalty and use the spell.

It is a Bad Idea to use this spell in shops, as it can and will break fragile merchandise (e.g., crystal plate mail), possibly leaving you with a debt you are unable to pay.

Force bolt can pass the first monster it hits, also hitting monsters behind it. Be careful if there are shopkeepers, watchmen or pets around!

References