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.


Wizards always start with a spellbook of force bolt.


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.


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.

Later in the game, and sometimes even early in the game, magic missile is a more effective spell to use for attacking; see the strategy section on that page for a discussion of the math involved.

Utility purposes

Force bolt can be used to open hidden doors that you know about but can't find by searching (especially helpful if you have poor luck). Care should be taken to avoid smashing doors to shops in this manner, however; as with other methods of forcibly opening doors, the square immediately in front of the door should first be checked to make sure it does not contain the engraving "closed for inventory" and not opened except with an unlocking tool or spell of knock.

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 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 pets or (particularly) shopkeepers or watchmen around!


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.