Spellbook of magic missile

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spellbook of
+   magic missile   Light green spellbook.png
Appearance random
Abundance 4.58%
Base price 200 zm
Weight 50
Turns to read 2
Ink to write 10–19
Spell type attack
Level 2
Power cost 10 Pw
Direction ray
Equivalent wand of magic missile
Special for wizard

In NetHack, a spellbook of magic missile allows you to learn the spell of magic missile. It is the special spell for Wizards.


The magic missile ray does ((xplev/2)+1)d6 damage, so higher-level spellcasters can deal significant damage with this spell. A level 30 character deals 16d6 damage with magic missile, averaging 56 damage per hit. This spell's damage is doubled for Knights by carrying the Magic Mirror of Merlin.


As a low-level attack spell, roles such as priest, monk, and wizard can make good use of this spell as an all-purpose ranged attack.

For low-level Wizards, the force bolt spell they start with is usually a better attacking method than magic missile, as force bolt costs 5 Pw and does 2d12 damage. Magic missile does slightly more damage at experience level 6 (doubled if hitting twice), but costs 10 Pw points. Advanced Wizards armed with the Eye of the Aethiopica can rely on magic missile as their primary attack; as their special spell, wizards also get a bonus toward their success rate with magic missile. Often a wizard can wear metal armor and still get an acceptably low failure rate with magic missile.

As with most ray-based spells and wands, this spell can be used to kill enemies behind boulders without breaking the boulder, making it invaluable in Sokoban. The ray can also be rebounded using walls to hit targets repeatedly.


In FIQHack magic missile does less damage at skill levels less than Expert (compared to vanilla). At Skilled level magic missile can partially bypass reflection. At Expert level magic missile can partially bypass magic resistance (MR only halves damage).


The canonical D&D spell of Magic Missile was a stereotypically puny level one wizard spell that quickly became a staple of the wizard class, as it was effectively a homing attack with each bullet doing its own damage roll, which can easily rack up significant damage short of the target having magic resistance. In NetHack, the spell of magic missile retains this scaling ability, though they can miss the target.