Wand of magic missile
|Base price||150 zm|
|Monster use||May be used offensively by monsters.|
Wands comprise 4% of all randomly-generated items in the main dungeon, 6% in containers, 5% on the Rogue level, and 8% in Gehennom. There is a 5% chance that a randomly-generated wand will be a wand of magic missile.
Monsters capable of wielding weapons have a chance of being generated with an offensive item; one of the possible offensive items is a wand of magic missile. Shopkeepers have a 1/4 chance of being generated with a magic missile wand.
Zapping the wand in a given direction will do a fixed 2d6 damage to monsters in its path, unlike the spell of magic missile; the ray can rebound off wall and hit targets repeatedly. Magic resistance negates this damage, as does reflection.
Engraving with a wand of magic missile will give a unique message ("The floor is riddled by bullet holes!"), but will not auto-identify the wand.
In the early game, this wand is often used up fast; its pitiful 2d6 damage very quickly becomes obsolete when better ranged options are found, and players will want to prevent monsters from getting a hold of it. In some cases, the wand's lifespan can be prolonged by intentionally rebounding the ray off walls, increasing the potential damage to 4d6.
If you have reflection, monsters with wands of magic missile are no longer a problem; in some uncommon scenarios it can be useful to throw a wand to a monster. Some monsters will also elect to use the wand over the more deadly innate attacks that they may have, and end up doing themselves or other monsters a lot of damage trying to zap you.
If you're levitating and want to engrave Elbereth, you may want to use a wand of magic missile to save a charge from a more useful wand of digging, fire or lightning; engravings will not erode while you are levitating.
Wands of spells have existed in every form of D&D, including a wand of magic missile. 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, they can and do often miss the target.
In Rogue, a wand of magic missile did 1d4+1 damage unless a given monster saves vs. magic ("The missile vanishes in a puff of smoke");; this is a rough translation of the spell into the world of Rogue. In Hack, it would always have the appearance of an aluminum wand,, and dealt 2d6 damage, which carried over into NetHack.