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The Wizard strategy entry states that daggers are preferable to staves. Why??

Because you will get Magicbane, which uses the Dagger skill, as your first sacrifice gift, throwing expert daggers does more average damage than quarterstaff, you can keep distance from your enemies, and has +2 to-hit bonus. 09:13, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Another point is that, once you've offed the Wizard, you'll be subject to random curses, and cursed two-handed weapons are a pain in the neck. You can't open your bag to retrieve your holy water or scroll of remove curse, you can't cast remove curse (it seems spellcasting requires the hands to be free to move), and if you're in Gehennom, you can't pray. About all you can do is try stepping on a magic trap and hope for its remove curse function.--Ray Chason 15:30, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Everytime I start a wizard I die around the mines area (i suck). But more often than not its because I run out of energy first killing all those damn gnomes (as I am an elf, also last game my pet died). Normaly my pet would take care of everything but I feel like I relying on mittens too much. Is their something I should be doing? I'm engraving elbereth alot too.Ha! Showed you! 10:27, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Wear-test all non-cursed armor. Learn to run away early enough. Kill several foes in line to save energy. -Tjr 22:39, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Also, don't go into the Gnomish mines until you've beaten Sokoban. Even if you're a gnome or dwarve and all the gnomes and dwarves are peaceful, there are still some really bad monsters in there. Wait until you're pretty powerful.✑DemonSlayerThe3rd♠ 22:32, September 17, 2010 (UTC)

Max all Spell Skills?

I'm not sure I understand why a Wizard might max out all their Spell Skills.

Finger of Death? OK, let's max Attack.

Cancelation? There's Matter.

Escape? Presuming you're shooting for L30, you don't need expert to cast Teleport Away, and 2 Skill points to extend your Jump radius from 3.9 to 4.2 seems excessive to me.

Divination? With no spell over L5 and no effect upgrades at Expert, purchasing Expert in Divination is a sucker punch available to 4 classes.

Clerical? Definitly worth purchasing "Skilled" for the improved Remove Curse.

Healing? Purchase "Skilled" if you've got an aversion to using one of your unicorn horns to restore your stats.

Enchantment? "Skilled" gives an OK upgrade to your Confuse Monster spell. Worth a point? 15:14, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Heck, I'll take it a step further: gaining levels is a sucker's game. I used to ascend Wizards at XL 30, but I've really gotten turned on to lower-level ascensions. I did my last one at XL 17, and only because I wanted intrinsic teleport control. Is it worth having to deal with Archons just so you can maximize your magic missile? I didn't advance anything but attack, matter, and clerical...and dagger, of course!

It is still good you can become expert if you really need it: For example if there is a useful high-level spell you want to cast but your experience level is not high enough or you are stuck with metal/mithril armor. I'm thinking of polymorph, charm monster, or (unfortunate armor) magic missile.
Expert attack skill does not improve your to-hit chances, as opposed to weapons skills. Don't waste your skill slots on that.
Other than that, I generally get skilled in divination for monster and item detection, clerical for remove curse, in escape for endgame levitation or perhaps medusa's, and not much else. -Tjr 22:35, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Teleport at Will

At Experience Level 8, wizards can teleport at will if they have teleportitis. Is that an "only if" condition for level 8 achievement or does it work if you get to Exp Lvl 9 and then eat leprechauns and nymphs? --FJH 00:38, May 16, 2010 (UTC)

Teleport at will is not an intrinsic, it's a command. If you have teleportitis and are at least level 8 (as a wizard...) then you have the ability to use ^T to teleport. -- Qazmlpok 01:04, May 16, 2010 (UTC)

Race discussion

I pruned the race discussion a bit to avoid repetition.

  • No race can eat their kin. The only difference is how common such corpses are.
  • pre-IDd elven boots are no advantage because they are trivial to ID: they come on elves (duh) and give a message when worn.
  • The gnomes and touchstones argument doesn't carry much weight because credit cloning is so easy.
  • Tooled horns and drums are awesome. They have a wide-area scare effect, also work on Elbereth-ignorers, and unfreeze pets after a floating eye encounter.

--Tjr 17:57, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Uh, can't orcs eat other orcs? -- Qazmlpok 18:29, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Right, sorry. --Tjr 20:59, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
But that's already in the table. -Tjr 21:03, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
There was very little in the race discussion that applied specifically to the Wizard role, and nothing that can't be covered by the Strategy section. I moved this race pro/con list to the Race page, and edited the few items that were Wizard-focused to apply to spellcasters in general. --Phol ende wodan (talk) 16:49, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Encumbrance "cap"

In the discussions of races, the page mentions "reach the encumbrance cap" and "hit the encumbrance cap". But I don't understand what an "encumbrance cap" is. It is not explained. According to encumbrance, there is a 1000 "cap". So it seems this article currently written as if "reaching the encumbrance cap [of 1000]" is a necessary part of the game. Why not just make this article state that certain races have higher starting carrying capacity, rather than describing how certain races are somehow closer to the maximum allowed capacity? Presently, it seems kind of round-about in terms of talking directly about carrying capacity.

(Note: "cap" does NOT equal "capacity".)

-- 18:24, 2 October 2014 (UTC)


I just made my first Wizard ascension and wanted to share a few thoughts. I was able to pull off a Protection racket as a Healer pretty reliably, but the few times I pulled it off as a wizard, I had like 7 HP and soon had a rock fall on my head, or triggered a rolling boulder, or did some other stupid thing that ignored my new armor class and killed me. Your pet often won't attack if it doesn't have enough HP and without a stethescope, you can't always know that in advance. I think you need a minimum of 12 HP, or to have healing, or a stethescope, or be very, very fortunate to pull off a protection racket as a wizard. I'd like to try draining my own level later after leveling up, but haven't tried yet.

The time I ascended, I got a co-aligned altar where I prayed for water, blessed a magic lamp (from mine town) and got an early wish for Silver dragon scale mail which completely changed the game for me. Suddenly, I can take a few hits *and* cast spells! Then I similarly blessed a Smoky Potion and wished for The Orb of Fate which worked out amazingly well. Half spell and physical damage is huge for a wizard with low HP. Plus #invoke for level teleport was fantastic! The weight was a bummer, especially when also carrying the Bell of Opening, but with a Helm of Brilliance, Gauntlets of Power only gave me only a 3% spell failure rate. It was late in the game and had been identifying gems and throwing them to co-aligned unicorns, but I don't think I ever had a spell fail!

Of course, co-aligned also allows sacrifice-for-magicbane.

In summary:

Over-all goals for early game:

1. Try protection racket, but even as a neutral gnome (recommended for more peaceful mines) don't expect it to work out. If I see my pet getting bogged down, I'd rather force-bolt the monster and risk gaining a level than let my pet die. Trying for protection, even if you fail, will grow your cat into a large cat that can kill watchmen in mine town which generally yields a studded leather armor, leather gloves, and leather boots, all of which are fantastic early-game armor for a wizard, plus a couple of pole arms to choose from!

2. An early wish for Silver Dragon Scale Mail changes the whole game. Most likely you'll get that wish from a blessed magic lamp (from mine town), blessed smoky potion, or #sit-ting on a throne. You probably need a co-aligned altar to make the holy water to bless either of the first two so as to have a good chance of a wish.

3. Do the first level or 2 of sokoban and chop all the Oracle's statues up for spell books and consider going a little lower in the main dungeon *before* venturing below mine town (except for an instant to map the up-stair back to mine town in case you fall through). I have died every single time I went below mine town too early.

4. Find a wand of teleport and keep it out and ready at all times (grease it if you can). Few things are such a lifesaver and it works while confused/stunned when you can't cast spells.

6. Once you have holy water, a blessed scroll of scare monster is another life saver to drop on the ground when in trouble. Remember to re-bless it each time you pick it up.

Early game tactics:

  • If you start with blessed potions of (full/extra/regular) healing or gain energy, consider quaffing them immediately to raise your total strength/power. This makes it much more likely that you'll survive a falling rock or a couple of hits, or be able to cast 2 spells in a pinch instead of one or a higher level spell. Same thing with scrolls of enchant armor/weapon, wand of speed, etc. Even if you throw your quarterstaff away, you need to live long enough to do that.
  • Daggers are wonderful. An uncursed runed dagger is light, wooden, and deals better damage than a regular dagger or a heavy crude dagger. I like to pet test all daggers, but you can even throw a cursed dagger and if it hits, you are that much closer to training dagger skill for Magicbane later. Any uncursed dagger can be used to #force open a chest without shattering potions or crystal/glass wands inside.
  • That first iron skull cap is another lifesaver. Keeps you from getting killed by a falling rock and really doesn't retard spell casting significantly. A dented pot is even lighter weight if you can find one.
  • Force-bolt tends to shatter potions. If you can't find any daggers, throw darts instead of shooting force bolt at distant monsters. Obviously, force-bolt is better than dying, even in Melee it's better than your +1 staff, but try not to kill with it when you don't need to.
  • Tame things you don't want to kill. Keep tripe and something vegetarian on you at all times. If you're Weak, drop these items (or put them in a chest you aren't carrying), walk away, pray, then go pick them up again. I can't count the number of times I was killed by a pony/horse before figuring this out. You can abandon any short-term pets on the level - that's actually the best thing (besides food) for a hungry horse. If you abandon 2 pets on the same level, they may fight each other until one dies when you return.
  • Save game, then push a boulder at least 50 squares (back and forth) every time your stats go up (if practical). You need strength!
  • With your starting strength of 9-11 pole-arm weight is a huge factor. The septum is the best doing 5.75HP average damage, ranseur is second best doing 5HP; both weigh only 50. Bardiche and halberd both do a little more damage but weigh at least 120 which just isn't practical to carry at this point. Until you have a supply of daggers and skill at throwing them, a polearm is a great tool. Even later, it's great for swimming monsters where you'll lose your daggers if you throw them.
  • Shocking sphere is a terrifying monster for a low-level mage without shock resistance. Run away! Or use ranged attacks only (even from inside). Spells work great too if you can kill it before it drains your energy to zero. I read that the "slow monster" spell will cause it to expel you which may be useful.
  • Try to curse-test all spellbooks before reading them! I've had several crumble that may have been good spells!
  • IN PROGRESS: In the early game identifying amulets, magical armor, and rings may be the most important, both for your AC and for polypiling. You can altar test, then try on non-magical armor that you care about. Next priority is identifying scrolls (once you know one, you can write it), then potions.


  • Once you have wished for whatever non-Wizard quest artifact you want (Orb of Fate worked out great for me), sacrifice at an altar until you get Magicbane. Remember that if you get Magicbane before your second wish, you probably won't be able to wish for any artifacts at all. If you can't find a spellbook of Finger of Death, get high luck and alignment, then pray periodically to be crowned (I didn't actually do this, but after a certain point, you probably won't need to pray for another reason anyway).
  • When surrounded consider teleporting yourself.
  • When surrounded and you can't teleport (covetous monsters, etc.), drop your blessed scroll of Scare Monster (or engrave Elbereth with Magicbane) and don your ring of conflict. A scroll of fire with fire resistance and all paper items in a bag is a poor substitute. Doing this on an up-stair is pretty much required for covetous, teleporting monsters. If they have a wand of digging and you don't have a wand of cancellation, zap them repeated with lightning (not sure lightning works, but it can fry rings and things).
  • Use your blessed tinning kit to rack up 5 or more blessed tins of tengu meat for teleport control and teleportitis (this is safer if you have a ring of teleport control first in case you only get teleportitis).

5. Use a blessed tinning kit to tin giants to max out your strength and monsters to gain all intrinsics.

Best long-term items:

  • SDSM - to go with your cloak of magic resistance. The Wizard can steal The Eye and Magicbane, so you probably want a third form of resistance if it's not your cloak.
  • Speed boots - you live longer when you can run faster.
  • Helm of Brilliance - enchant to +5 for 22-23 Int and Wis, hard hat without spell penalties.
  • Can of grease - Especially on your helm vs. mind flayers, but on everything you care about vs. nymphs, grabbing attacks, and water traps.
  • Blessed tinning kit - for resistances and strength
  • Gauntlets of Power - if you have a Helm of Brilliance with Int maxed out, these only cut your spellcasting by about 3%. If your luck is high (from identifying gems and throwing them to co-aligned unicorns) you won't have spell failure. Gauntlets of Dexterity are great until you get a Helm of Brilliance and high luck. Once you have the helm, GoP are superior.
  • Ring of slow digestion is fantastic for teleporting and jumping.
  • Ring of conflict is great for huge rooms of nasties.

If people want to comment on this, I can add things we agree on to the main article. --Cidwardo (talk) 16:04, 28 August 2017 (UTC)

A couple of remarks: First, Luck (the in-game stat) has nothing to do with spell failure. GoP won't give you much advantage if your strength is already 18 (which is trivial to get at the point you're worrying about what to wish for), and that 3% failure rate might get you at the worst possible time. Don't leave up to the RNG things that you can avoid entirely, but in the end this might be just a matter of personal preference. Second: about the low initial HP problem, after turn 100 you can throw harmless stuff upwards until you have only 1 HP and pray (kill something first so you have positive alignment record). If you are level 1 and have 15 or less max HP, your max HP will rise by 1-5 points. Now make sure you won't have to pray for food (or anything else) for another 800 turns, which can be done by eating a single lichen and being careful. This can be repeated until your max HP is above 15. With some luck (not the in-game kind) you can have 20 HP at XL 1. Also, just like this pray trick, most of what you wrote is also valid for many other roles. --Jundavr (talk) 03:59, 12 July 2019 (UTC)