Wand of digging

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Name digging
Appearance random
Abundance 5.5%
Base price 150 zm
Weight 7
Type ray
Maximum charges 8
Spell dig
Monster use May be used defensively by monsters.

A wand of digging is very useful. You can zap it to dig open a corridor of several squares (unless you're in a maze level, in which case the beam will continue as normal but will end after digging one wall square). Closed doors are broken through; as-of-yet-undetected secret doors are cleared; the Astral Plane doors are popular targets. Note, however, that a wand of digging will not destroy boulders.

If you zap the wand upward, a rock will fall from the ceiling and bonk you on the head, unless you are underwater, in which case you get the message "You barely hear some noises".

Zapping the wand downward makes a hole in diggable floors, through which you may fall, or a pit in undiggable floors. If the latter happens on a level with an ordinary maze, it's time to look for the vibrating square.

Engraving with a wand of digging automatically identifies the wand. Any text engraved with a wand of digging is as durable as text engraved with a weapon or hard gem. Wands of digging can engrave Elbereth in one turn, making them as effective as an athame for that purpose and slightly less effective than a wand of fire or wand of lightning.

If you are being engulfed by an ochre jelly, lurker above, trapper, purple worm, or Juiblex, zapping a wand of digging sets the monster's HP to 1 and expels you. [1]

Breaking a wand of digging with non-zero charges (by applying it) creates pits or holes in your square and in the eight squares around you, if those squares are diggable and don't contain stairs, boulders or traps.[2][3] Unlike a drum of earthquake, this will not let you destroy existing traps from another square, although altars and thrones can still be destroyed.

Monsters may be generated carrying a wand of digging as a defensive item. When fleeing, they may zap this wand downward to escape, which identifies it for you. Monsters that try to dig downward through an undiggable floor will simply fail to dig. They do not learn, though.

UnNetHack

Wands of digging in UnNetHack are no longer restricted to digging a single square on maze levels.

Zapping a wand of digging to escape the engulfing of Juiblex will only halve his current HP, rather than reducing it to one.

[4]

Wands of digging are ineffective on the ice walls and crystal ice walls generated in Sheol, although other forms of digging are still effective against ice walls.

SLASH'EM

Wands of digging have a couple of additional uses in SLASH'EM. Firstly, zapping a boulder will simply vaporize it. Doing this in Sokoban will carry a -1 luck penalty. Secondly, they are very deadly against certain monsters which are made of stone. These include xorns, earth elementals, statue gargoyles and stone golems;[5] zapping such monsters will cut their current HP in half, although it will never directly kill them.


References

  1. dig.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1166
  2. apply.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2697
  3. dig_check in dig.c
  4. src/dig.c in UnNetHack revision 1406, line 1219
  5. mondata.h in SLASH'EM 0.0.7E7F2, line 206: It is actually any thick-skinned monster that can phase through walls, as well as statue gargoyles and stone golems. Strangely, it doesn't include regular gargoyles.

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.