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what does blessing a spellbook do? i.e making it blessed not just uncursed does it improve the chances of learning the spell or the chances of casting the spell? -- PraetorFenix 04:56, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

It improves your chance of successfully reading it to 100%, regardless of intelligence, level, or anything else. Reading a difficult spellbook will still take time though. --Jayt 09:55, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Should all spells link to the spellbooks? --MadDawg2552 01:47, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

I think that spells should link to spellbooks as well as anything else that causes a similar effect. For example, create monster links to spellbook of create monster, but also the scroll and wand. In the source code, many spells are implemented as variations on scroll or wand effects. I would create two pages even if the spellbook was the only source of the spell (as with command undead in SLASH'EM?), but others might do it differently. --Kernigh 02:20, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

It would be nice if there were some quantification of "too difficult" - what checks are made between the spellbook and your INT/other stats to determine whether you can read the spellbook? 12:19, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Why is there the section regarding closed books vs. spellbooks? It seems entirely useless, since its pretty obvious which one is which, except in the highly unlikely event that a creature found a brown spellbook, AND dropped it directly on top of a door, and even in that event, you'll notice as soon as you either walk over it or try to open it.

Not to mention, there's only one kind of brown spellbook, so its already rare. 21:51, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I guess somebody played without color on a public server, got confused, and added the entry as precisely as possible. You are right this is not important, but a one-liner should definitely be preserved. OP, please make the change yourself, as I use tiles. I'd suggest something like: "Players using the ascii interface, such as on NAO, should take care not to confuse spellbooks with closed doors. In rare cases, this arises even with color ascii, as there exists a brown spellbook." Tjr 00:45, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Blessed Spellbooks - not 100% in all cases.

I've run into a situation where a Blessed Spellbook proved unreadable. (Vanilla Nethack) I had fresh knowledge of as many spells as I had points of Int. Upon Reading a blessed spellbook, the read was unsuccessful and produced the expected "penalties". 17:31, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Can you give steps how to reproduce this? Tjr 15:27, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

It's probably easiest on a low-Int character. Learn or refresh the knowledge of as many spells as you have points of Int. "Forgotten" spells that you've learned over 20,000 turns ago, don't count in this number. Then try to read a blessed spellbook to learn a new spell. In my experience, this will fail. I've tried it on characters of Int 9 and 11. (Yeh, it's silly, but I read spellbooks even as a barbarian.)

Oops! Didn't sign the above.... 16:59, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Wiz-Mode test: Int 8 Barbarian, wished up 24 blessed spellbooks. I got no negative effects. But I did notice wishing is very sensitive to spelling. Even a trailing newline character caused me to get a random spellbook instead. -Tjr 17:35, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm guessing that Wiz-Mode may have invalidated the test, but I've just though of a viable test... In Wizard Mode, generate a bunch of blessed spell books. Travel to a level where you do not yet have a bones file. Die and elect to generate a bones file. Next Generate a normal mode character, Possibly a Barbarian for low Int. and travel to the level of the bones file. Repeat until the bones file is opened. Read the Wiz-Mode generated Blessed Spellbooks... Profit! -- 18:58, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Simple question

I don't know why this isn't already here, but exactly how many times can a spellbook be read before fading? Ath'gaar 12:19, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

"A spellbook will fade[1] after refreshing the spell from it if it has been read four[2] times, making spellbook-management quite important." Is this unclear, or did you not find it? Under normal circumstances, you can read if four times. If you "use" a scroll of amnesia, it can be more. -Tjr 16:35, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

How about adding typical prices to this page?


I just looked into the Source to find how the probabilities are calculated and found that the spellbook of blank paper is not included in the calculations; if it were, the probabilities for most spellbooks would be much simpler, e.g. 2% instead of 2.02%. So should the table be

  • edited to have the probabilities represent the actual probabilities of one random + found in a dungeon (other than a closed door, naturally) or
  • left as is (that is, probabilities given in the table represent the probabilities that the spellbooks have when you know that the given spellbook is not blank and start reading)

My opinion is that the table should be changed, but since that is a relatively major change I rather ask what you all think about it before going ahead and doing it. Why are all the names taken? 14:09, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Are the given numbers correct for spellbook generation, i. e. if the game wants to generate a random + class object? If yes, we should definitely leave them as such; perhaps add a note you will see the conditional probabilites for non-blank spellbooks. -Tjr 16:56, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
The answer to the first question is 'no'. Take a look at the Source: The probabilities are all given in ‰ (per thousand), of which the spellbook of blank paper 'occupies' 18. The list is based on the remaining 982 parts, translated to percent. It would be much simpler to translate the thousandths to percent and list them. The resulting percentages would have maximum one decimal place and be exact. (I am mathematician enough to bother about that.)
Why are all the names taken? 10:10, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

difficult to comprehend?

Hi, on reading a book, I get a message "This spellbook is difficult to comprehend. Continue?"

I can't see any reference to this message here- I keep saying no, but what does it mean and what happens if I say yes?

This means that reading the spellbook has a non-zero chance of failure. You only get the prompt as a Wizard. --Darth l33t 21:42, October 8, 2009 (UTC)


I do not know what to make of a spellbook that crumbles to dust, and can find nothing of such in the articleSlarty 21:31, June 21, 2010 (UTC)

Added it into the article. Strange that it wasn't brought up before. All it means is that the book was destroyed. -- Qazmlpok 22:18, June 21, 2010 (UTC)


I got the message "you have a strange sensation". I did not find the word strange on the page, so I must ask y'all what this means. I did not telaport.Slarty 00:02, October 23, 2010 (UTC)

Can't find 'strange sensation' in the source code; only occurance is for removing gold from sitting on a throne when you have no gold. Can you reproduce the exact error message? -- Qazmlpok 00:35, October 23, 2010 (UTC)
You failed to comprehend the spellbook, it tried to take away your gold, but you had none. See cursed spellbook, which also applies to too-difficult books. Tjr 11:12, October 23, 2010 (UTC)

Moved here from Talk:Cursed_spellbook


Maybe this one could be merged into poison as this is really short? How do you recognize a contact-poisoned spellbook anyway? Can it be identified as poisoned? --ZeroOne 04:07, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I had to search the source code for the answer; it turns out that there is no way to identify a contact-poisoned spellbook. Poison is one of the possible random effects of reading a cursed spellbook. Thus I moved the article to cursed spellbook so i could expand it. --Kernigh 07:28, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

And "no gold" means...?

Does the #3 result imply "all your gold" as in everything in the main inventory AND in any containers ya have? I'm not sure myself; please disambiguate. -- 02:34, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

A quick look at the source (sit.c#take_gold) indicates that only gold in your main inventory is counted. Generally speaking, any time something in NetHack considers how much gold you have (priests, demons, thrones etc.), only your visible gold is counted. (Vault guards are an exception, IIRC.) -- Killian 03:02, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

writing cursed book for teleport effect

In newbie-type epic games, that possibility doesn't matter. In speed runs, however, scrolls are the limiting resource. Besides, before you get the Castle wand, you need to identify which scroll is teleportation - a task that would waste further scrolls. Teleporting with a book is a neat trick in this situation. It isn't limited to Maud's sub-3k speed runs - in fact, I've written cursed books, too. --Tjr 10:24, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

why do we have this page?

The spellbook section (, seems to cover everything on this page in a more elegant manner. Is there some reason we need to have this page at all? Scorchgeek 15:45, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

If you'd like to merge it, you're welcome to. --Tjr 16:39, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Done. --Tjr 01:56, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

To-hit probabilities

Which spells have an improved to-hit chance when cast at higher skill levels? Do spells cast at unskilled have a to-hit penalty? What is the bonus (or penalty) at each skill level? --Mackeyth (talk) 03:05, 18 May 2020 (UTC)