|" Amulets||[ Armor|
|% Comestibles||$ Coins|
|* Gems||! Potions|
|= Rings||? Scrolls|
|+ Spellbooks||` Statues|
|( Tools||` Boulders|
|) Weapons||/ Wands|
Wands are limited-use magical devices that may be zapped or engraved with. Any character can zap a wand, but all wands have a specific number of charges. When all charges have been used, the wand will either do nothing or function one last time and then turn to dust (1/121 chance) – this is known as "wresting" a last charge out of the wand. A wand can also be recharged.
A wand's effect is not known before it is identified: they only appear by description, such as "an ivory wand" (see Appearance).
All wands have a weight of 7.
- 1 Types of wands
- 2 Using wands
- 3 Identifying wands
- 4 Strategy
- 5 AceHack
- 6 SLASH'EM
- 7 Slash'EM Extended
- 8 UnNetHack
- 9 Encyclopedia entry
- 10 References
Types of wands
|secret door detection||150||11-15||5%||non-directional|
Wands make up for 4% of all randomly-generated items in the main dungeon, 6% in containers, 5% on the Rogue level, and 8% in Gehennom. The Prob column above is the relative probability of each subtype. They appear 1/34 (~3%) cursed, 16/17 (~94%) uncursed, and 1/34 (~3%) blessed.
Wands are generated with a random number of charges depending on their type, according to the table below:
|Wand type||Starting charges|
|Wand of wishing||1 to 3|
|Other non-directional wand||11 to 15|
|Directional wand||4 to 8|
Wands are generated with their recharge counter set to 0.
Wands are also generated in the inventories of monsters, for their use, with a probability depending on the type, level, and difficulty of the monster:
- Random defensive items (difficulty-dependent): teleportation, create monster, digging
- Random offensive items (difficulty-dependent): death, striking, magic missile, sleep, fire, cold, lightning
- Random miscellaneous items (difficulty-dependent): polymorph, speed monster, make invisible
- Shopkeeper: striking (always), magic missile (1/4 chance)
- Minotaur: digging (1/3 chance, except 100% chance on plane of earth)
- Master lich: nothing (1/91 chance)
- Asmodeus: cold and fire
- Dispater: striking
- Orcus: death
The appearances of wands are randomized from the following descriptions:
glass balsa crystal maple pine oak ebony marble tin brass copper silver platinum iridium zinc aluminum uranium iron steel hexagonal short runed long curved forked spiked jeweled
Only marble wands turn to meat sticks when hit by the spell of stone to flesh, and only glass or crystal ones shatter from a force bolt. Wielded silver wands will do silver damage. The appearance of a wand also affects its susceptibility to erosion, which is largely cosmetic and has no implications on its functioning. (Erode-proof wands are very rare but can be wished for.) Iron, steel, hexagonal, short, runed, long, curved, spiked, and jeweled wands can rust or corrode; copper ones corrode; and wooden wands (oak, balsa, ebony, maple, pine, and forked) might also erode with fire and/or rot, but this has not yet been verified.
Direction, beams, and rays
The type of wand denotes the behavior when it is zapped. Non-directional wands do not ask for a direction. Beam wands ask for a direction, but do not show a visibly animated effect when zapped. Ray wands produce a ray that is animated on the screen; if you are unblind when you zap the wand, you will also identify that type of wand. Rays may bounce off walls, or be reflected.
If a ray hits a wall orthogonally or at an internal corner it will bounce straight back. If it hits a wall diagonally or an external corner, there is a 5% chance it will bounce straight back, otherwise it will change direction 90 degrees. For the corner, there is equal chance of left or right. Note that for diagonal wall bounces it will actually penetrate the wall one square, possibly hitting any phasing monsters in the wall.
Note that a directional wand (or spell) may affect not only the first object or creature it hits, but several others behind it. An example of this is healing your pet and a few hostile monsters as well -- or zapping not only your pet with a wand of speed monster, but also a shopkeeper, angering him.
The range of a ray wand is 7 to 13 squares. For each monster hit range decreases 2. If fire passes over water or a fountain, or cold passes over water or lava, range may decrease 1, 3, or the ray may stop entirely. If fire passes over scrolls or spellbooks, some may burn, but range isn't decreased. Each time it bounces off a wall range decreases by 1. Reflection off a monster or you reverses the direction of travel, but range doesn't decrease.
Hitting and missing
Wands of striking (like spells of force bolt) have a (10 + AC) in 20 chance of hitting. Effectiveness is linear from 100% at AC 10 to 0% at AC -10. A wand of striking will never hit a monster with AC -10 or better.
Both against you and against monsters, the odds of hitting with a ray wand is exclusively determined by armor class.
Below is a table showing the chance of a monster or player being hit by a ray from a wand (not accounting for possible rebounds).
|AC range||Hit chance||AC||Hit chance||Example monsters|
|11 and above||1||-|
|10 to 3||0.945 + (AC * 1/200)||10||199/200||0.995||Scorpius|
|5||97/100||0.97||couatl, python, mind flayer|
|2 to 1||0.795 + (AC * 11/200)||2||181/200||0.905||Lord Surtur, Medusa, elementals|
|0 to -1||0.8 + (AC * 10/200)||0||4/5||0.8||Other quest nemeses, master mind flayer, shopkeeper|
|-1||3/4||0.75||Ixoth, giant eel|
|-2 to -14||0.775 + (AC * 5/200)||-2||29/40||0.725||Nalzok, Minion of Huhetotl|
|-3||7/10||0.7||titan, electric eel, Vlad the Impaler|
|-8||23/40||0.575||Wizard of Yendor|
|-12||19/40||0.475||Master Kaen wearing a +0 robe|
|-15 and below||-6/AC||-|
Because the chance of spells hitting is affected by the player's Dexterity and skill level in the appropriate spell school, one may choose to attack a monster using a spell instead of the corresponding wand: for example, against Master Kaen wearing a +0 robe, a monk with 23 Dexterity who has reached Basic in Enchantment spells will hit with the sleep spell 86.25% of the time, whereas a wand of sleep only hits 47.5% of the time.
Attack wand damage
To calculate the damage done by an attack wand, first the base damage is calculated:
Fire, cold, and shock resistant monsters will take no damage from fire, cold, and lightning wands respectively. Monsters with player-style magic resistance will take no damage from striking and magic missile. All monsters have a chance based on their level and monster magic resistance to resist and take 1/2 damage.
Attack wands (other than striking and magic missile) can also destroy inventory items:
- Fire can damage burnable armor and destroy scrolls, potions and spellbooks.
- Cold can destroy potions.
- Lightning can destroy rings and wands.
Zapping a wand with zero charges left usually yields "Nothing happens". But with a 1 in 121 chance, it instead wrests one last zap and then turns the wand to dust. A cancelled wand is shown as "-1" charges and will always turn to dust ineffectively if you use it.
Engraving with a wand is a good way to work out its identity. Also, engraving with a wand of fire or lightning is the only way to make truly permanent writing. E.g. an Elbereth that cannot degrade. How many characters you engrave determines how many turns it takes, but it always costs one charge.
You can zap a wand without free hands e.g. when wielding a cursed two-handed weapon. But engraving or applying requires hands. This illustrates the extraordinary magic with which these devices were fashioned.
Wands may be recharged by scrolls of charging or by the Platinum Yendorian Express Card. Previously-recharged wands have a chance of exploding (up to a maximum of 100% for a 7:x wand or a 1:x wand of wishing).
A cursed scroll will not change the number of charges in a blessed wand or a wand with no charges; otherwise, "Your <wand> vibrates briefly" and its charges is set to zero. An uncursed scroll will bring the number of charges to a random number from 1 to a random number between 5 and the maximum charges shown above (or for a wand of wishing a random number from 1 to 3); a blessed scroll will bring the number of charges in the wand to a random number from 5 to the maximum charges shown above, or for a wand of wishing to three charges. If it already has that number of charges, it gains one more charge. A wand of wishing charged beyond three charges will explode. "Your <wand> <glows/vibrates> briefly." if the new enchantment is below the maximum; "Your <wand> <glows blue/vibrates> for a moment." otherwise.
Cancelled wands can be recharged the same way as empty wands. It effectively uncancels wands.
You can destroy a wand by applying it. You will be prompted for confirmation, and you must have hands and a strength of at least 10. Wands with no charges and some wands listed below have no effect ("But nothing else happens...").
Most wands will produce an explosion when broken. The explosion causes damage to yourself and any monsters that were in the adjacent squares when you broke the wand. This damage can be reduced or eliminated if you (or the monster) has an appropriate resistance. Damage is also reduced to 1/2 for Healers and Knights and to 1/5 for Monks, Priests and Wizards. Further effects can occur as if you had zapped yourself with the wand. The explosion can also affect objects in your inventory, on your square, and on adjacent squares, and affect locations as if they were zapped. Finally, some types of wands have explosions that make you identify the wand. Specific effects are detailed below. In any case, you destroy the wand and owe the cost if it was unpaid.
|Wand||Effect when broken|
|cancellation||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are cancelled.
In UnNetHack, an anti-magic trap is also created if allowed by the terrain.
|cold||There is an explosion of cold with (8 * charges) damage.|
Potions may freeze.
You identify the wand.
In UnNetHack, an ice trap is also created if allowed by the terrain.
|create monster||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage. You are surrounded by monsters.|
|death||There is an explosion of death with (16 * charges) damage.|
Non-living monsters and demons resist this damage.
This will not cause instadeath.
You identify the wand.
|digging||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
You are surrounded by pits and holes.
|fire||There is an explosion of fire with (8 * charges) damage.|
Armor, scrolls and spellbooks may burn.
Potions may boil.
Burns away slime.
You identify the wand.
In UnNetHack, a fire trap is also created if allowed by the terrain.
|light||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
You are blinded for (charges+1)d25 turns; surrounding monsters may also be blinded, and gremlins take damage.
The room is lit.
|lightning||There is an explosion of lightning with (16*charges) damage.|
Rings and other wands may explode.
You identify the wand.
|magic missile||There is an explosion of magic missiles with (4 * charges) damage.|
In UnNetHack, a magic trap is also created if allowed by the terrain.
You identify the wand.
|make invisible||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
You and surrounding monsters are made invisible (in your case, a 10% chance of its being permanent, a 90% chance of it lasting for (charges) to (250*charges) (more) turns).
In UnNetHack you see the message "Suddenly, and without warning, nothing happens"
|opening||In UnNetHack, a trap door is also created if allowed by the terrain.|
|polymorph||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are polymorphed.
In UnNetHack, a polymorph trap is also created if allowed by the terrain.
|secret door detection||If there is a secret door nearby, it will be detected and the wand will be identified. Otherwise, no effect.|
|sleep||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
You and surrounding monsters may be put to sleep.
In UnNetHack, a sleeping gas trap is also created if allowed by the terrain.
|slow monster||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
You and surrounding monsters are slowed.
|speed monster||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
You and surrounding monsters are sped up.
|striking||"A wall of force smashes down around you!"|
There is an explosion from 1 to (charges+1)d6 damage.
You and surrounding monsters are hit by a force bolt.
Fragile objects in your and adjacent squares may be destroyed.
|teleportation||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are teleported.
In UnNetHack, a teleport trap is also created if allowed by the terrain.
|undead turning||There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.|
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are turned.
|wishing||In UnNetHack you get the message, "You really wish you hadn't done that.".|
The easiest and safest way to identify with a wand is to engrave with it. To do so, first write something in the dust with your fingers ("Elbereth" is a good safe default choice that exercises Wisdom to boot; illiterate characters can use "x"), then engrave something else with the wand. You may get a message or effect giving a clue as to what the wand is.
This won't work if you are blind, levitating, or not on a writable floor.
Engraving with a wand uses up one charge (possibly wresting the last), but if the wand is nondirectional, it performs its usual effect.
|"The engraving on the <floor> vanishes!"||cancellation
teleportation (the engraving is moved elsewhere in the level)
|no message if no existing engraving|
|"A few ice cubes drop from the wand."||cold|
|"The bugs on the <floor> stop moving!"||sleep
"This <wand> is a wand of digging!"
"Gravel flies up from the floor!"
|"This <wand> is a wand of fire!"||fire||wand self-identifies|
|"Lightning arcs from the wand. You are blinded by the flash!"
"This <wand> is a wand of lightning!"
|"The <floor> is riddled by bullet holes!"||magic missile|
|"The engraving now reads: <random message>"||polymorph||no message if no existing engraving|
|"The bugs on the <floor> slow down!"||slow monster|
|"The bugs on the <floor> speed up!"||speed monster|
|"The wand unsuccessfully fights your attempt to write!"||striking|
|No message or effect||locking
secret door detection
wand is exhausted (x:0)
wand is cancelled (x:-1)
Create monster, enlightenment, light, and wishing perform their usual effect and self-identify when engraved with. Wands of secret door detection self-identify if they find anything; otherwise, no effect or message.
This technique can be dangerous with wands of create monster and lightning, summoning a monster or making you blind, thus adding "Elbereth" to your existing engraving can be helpful. Lightning will burn it into the floor making an erodeproof Elbereth square to wait out your blindness. Alternatively, you can abort at the prompt what text to engrave, and you won't get blinded.
Also, be careful concerning the identical message for wands of make invisible, teleportation, and cancellation; you don't want to end up teleporting yourself or cancelling a pet by accident. The safest way to find out the exact identity is using the wand on a non-blank scroll or non-clear potion you neither need nor care if a monster picks it up (for example, scroll of light). If nothing happens, it's make invisible; if the item disappears, it's teleport; if the item blanks/clears (or turns into fruit juice if you're using potion of sickness), it's cancellation.
To identify a wand that gives no message, zap it at a line containing the following easy-to-acquire objects:
- a doorway without a door (eg. one with the door kicked out)
- a locked container (chest or large box)
- a corpse
If a door is created in the doorway, it's locking. If the container unlocks, it's opening. If the contents of the container are revealed, it's probing,. If the corpse revives, it's undead turning. If it asks for a direction and none of the preceding happens, it's nothing. If it doesn't ask for a direction, it's secret door detection.
Identification by zapping
A good way to determine the identity of a wand that makes engravings vanish--at the cost of using a second charge--is to do this: line up an item and a monster and zap them. If they both vanish it was teleportation, if the monster vanishes it was make invisible, and if neither vanishes it was cancellation. You can also place a junk scroll on the ground and zap it. If it disappears, the wand is teleportation. If the scroll is blanked, the wand is cancellation. If nothing happens, it's make invisible. This technique doesn't result in an invisible monster.
Many wands will self-identify on zapping. A single zap under the right circumstances can identify nearly all of these: stand in a room where you know there is an undetected trap or door (messages such as Vlad was here or ad aerarium indicate such a door), and another door that is closed but unlocked. Drop an object that can be recognizably cancelled (such as a junk scroll) on a diagonal to the door (to prevent dangerous beams from hitting you), and lure a visible undead monster onto the same diagonal line. Zap toward the object, monster, and door. If both object and monster vanish, the wand is teleportation; if the monster vanishes and the object doesn't, it is make invisible; if the scroll is blank, it was cancellation; if the door opens, it was opening; if the door is now locked, it was locking; if the monster flees, it was turn undead; if the hidden door appears, it was secret door detection. If nothing happens, it was a wand of digging or of nothing, or it was empty of charges. If it was any other kind of wand, it will self-identify.
Almost any class of items can be price-identified, but there are two groups of wands for which this is exceptionally useful. Wands of wishing and wands of death are covered in the price identification article; both have base cost 500. In addition, the four wands with base cost 175 are all very useful in the early or middle game. Wands of cold, fire, and lightning provide a powerful ranged attack. Wands of fire and lightning offer an instant method of engraving Elbereth. Freezing water with a wand of cold is one way to cross it or to deal with sea monsters and their dreaded instakill. And wands of sleep are great all the time.
Non-directional wands come with lots of charges, which are preserved on polymorph. Polypile them if you lack powerful offense, teleportation, or cancellation wands.
Wands are quirky when polymorphed; unlike many other objects, where the greatest risk is sundering and golem generation, their quality will quickly degrade. The most useful wands are wishing (to wish for a wand of death), death (to clear a five-lane highway to the Castle's wand of wishing), polymorph, digging, secret door detection, cold, and teleportation. Most others, by the time the player has a means to polymorph objects, have long since become useless. The two most useful--wishing and polymorph--will never, ever appear in polymorphs--don't try.
By the time the player seriously considers polypiling, they'll have all the wands of teleportation they're likely to need. The same goes for digging--and additionally, a pick-axe can work in a pinch for a slower means of clearing a pre-amulet fast-track to the Plane of Earth. For many players, secret door detection has one use and one use only--getting through Gehennom and Moloch's Sanctum fire traps that much faster. And there, they may instead opt to carry the Bell of Opening just a few steps further to serve this purpose. Wands of cold are useful for freezing moats and lava, but even there a player is likely to greatly prefer a ring of levitation.
Cursed wands explode 20% of the time (not just 1%). Curse-test your wand of wishing! Also, exploding wands in SLASH'EM are much more dangerous to anyone caught in the explosion: many wands have their standard effects (cancellation, death etc.) on whoever is inside the explosion's radius. Most attack wands also cause a high amount of elemental damage upon exploding, capable of instakilling a low-level character.
In addition to the vanilla table:
|"The engraving on the <floor> vanishes!"||draining (if engraving was short)||Given when short engraving is erased; no message if no existing engraving|
|"The engraving looks different now.||draining||For longer existing engravings; message is shared with polymorph, but wand erodes engraving instead of changing it|
|"The bugs on the floor run away!"||fear||Wand does not self-identify, but message is unambiguous|
|"The bugs on the floor look healthier!"||healing/extra healing||Zapping yourself with the wand will then cause it to self-identify.|
A wand of create horde will have its usual effect when zapped. This can be dangerous to weaker characters, so having an escape item ready may be a good idea. Wands of create horde are quite rare, however.
There are additional wands in Slash'EM Extended. Some of them automatically identify when engraved with, others will give a message:
|"The bugs on the <floor> seem to be covered with goo!"||acid||Wand does not self-identify, but message is unambiguous|
|"The bugs on the floor are blown away!"||wind (also exists in SporkHack)||Wand does not self-identify, but message is unambiguous|
|"The engraving on the <floor> shines brightly for a moment!"||solar beam||Wand does not self-identify, but message is unambiguous|
|"The bugs on the <floor> speed up!"||haste monster||This message is shared by the wand of speed monster. Zap it at yourself to see which one it is: speed monster permanently gives you the "fast" intrinsic, haste monster makes you "very fast" for a period of time.|
|"The bugs on the <floor> look healthier!"||full healing||This message is shared by the wands of healing and extra healing. Zap it at yourself or a monster for a less ambiguous message.|
|"The engraving is blurred, and you think you can see it twice!"||clone monster||Only appears if there was an existing engraving. There is no other wand that gives this message; the text of the actual engraving doesn't get cloned though.|
|"The engraving on the <floor> vanishes!"||banishment||Only appears if there was an existing engraving and you're not standing on a headstone. This message is shared by the wands of cancellation, make invisible and teleportation; the wand of draining may give the same message if it was used on a very short engraving. Zapping it at an item or monster may help to figure out which one it is; zapping yourself can be very dangerous.|
|"You summon some undead creatures!"||summon undead||You identify the wand, and some hostile undead creatures are summoned around you to fight.|
|"You feel entrapped."||entrapping||You identify the wand, and detect traps on the current level.|
|"You grasp some bits from the current map!"||magic mapping||You identify the wand, and parts of the current level map are filled in.|
|"You are surrounded by darkness!"||darkness||You identify the wand, and the area surrounding you becomes unlit.|
|"You feel endangered!!"||trap creation||You identify the wand, and the squares surrounding you are filled with random traps.|
|No message||detect monsters||You identify the wand, and all monsters on the current level become visible to you for a period of time.|
|"You detect the presence of objects."||objection||You identify the wand, and detect objects on the current level.|
|"You feel insightful!"||identify||You identify the wand, and can identify some items in your inventory.|
|"You feel like someone is helping you!!"||remove curse||You identify the wand, and your inventory items have a chance to become uncursed.|
|"You feel someone is punishing you for your misbehavior!"||punishment||You identify the wand, and are chained to a heavy iron ball, or if you are already punished, the ball gets heavier.|
|No message||bugging||You identify the wand, and some bugs and heisenbugs are summoned around you to fight.|
|No message||wonder||This wand does not autoidentify upon engraving with it, and there is no clue as to what it does. However, zapping a wand of wonder will identify it. Beware, zapping this wand may have some negative effects like surrounding you with monsters or chaining you to a heavy iron ball!|
When some wands are broken, in addition to the vanilla effect, sometimes a trap is created, as is shown in this table
'Saruman!' he cried, and his voice grew in power and authority.
'Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am
Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no
colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council.'
He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice.
'Saruman, your staff is broken.' There was a crack, and the
staff split asunder in Saruman's hand, and the head of it
fell down at Gandalf's feet. 'Go!' said Gandalf. With a cry
Saruman fell back and crawled away.
This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:
Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
- The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
- Any modifications to the spoiler must be acknowledged and credited.
- destroy_item in zap.c
- mkobj.c, line 577
- zap.c, line 3476: ray bouncing
- zap.c, line 2470: beam wand range
- zap.c, line 2717: beam hit monster
- zap.c, line 2744: beam hit object(s)
- zap.c, line 3308: ray wand range
- zap.c, line 3434: ray hit monster
- zap_over_floor in zap.c
- zap.c, line 3483: ray bounce
- zap.c, line 3346: reflecting ray
- bhitm in zap.c
- resist in zap.c
- zap.c, line 128: striking chance to hit
- zap_hit in zap.c
- zap.c, line 129: striking damage
- zap.c, line 2915
- zap.c, line 2490: This is passed to the nd parameter of buzz which passes it on to zhitm, determining the number of dice.
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- zappable in zap.c
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