From NetHackWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Wishing is an opportunity in NetHack to be granted an item of the player's choice.

Methods of wishing

There are several ways to obtain a wish in NetHack, including:

  • Engraving with a wand of wishing or zapping it. A wand is the only guaranteed way, provided Luck ≥ 0. With negative Luck, the probability of wish is (5+Luck)/5, down to zero if Luck ≤ -5. Cursed wands can explode when zapped (1% chance), but not when engraved with. A newly generated wand of wishing has 1-3 charges before recharge, 3 more charges after recharge with a blessed scroll of charging, and then you can wrest one last wish. Therefore, it grants a total of 5-7 wishes (reduced in UnNetHack).
  • Rubbing a magic lamp, preferably blessed, until a djinni appears. For a blessed magic lamp, you have an 80% chance of obtaining a wish (20% for an uncursed lamp, 5% for a cursed lamp). The worst side effect is a djinni which attacks you instead of granting a wish (5% chance for a blessed magic lamp). After a djinni appears, the magic lamp becomes an oil lamp. Therefore, a blessed magic lamp grants 0.8 wishes on average. In theory you can have more than 120 djinn from lamps,[1] but not from smoky potions.
  • Quaffing a smoky potion, preferably blessed. There is a chance of 1/(13 + 2*djinn created in the game) that a djinni appears, and, for a blessed smoky potion, a 4/5 further chance that he grants you a wish. The worst side effect is a djinni which attacks you (chance 1/20 for each djinni from a blessed smoky potion). When a djinni appears from a smoky potion, you never get the effect of the potion itself. Therefore, a blessed smoky potion grants, on average, 4/(65 + 10*djinn created in the game) wishes. After 120 djinn appear in the game, they become extinct and never appear anymore.
  • Quaffing from (or dipping in) a fountain above the dungeon level 20, unless you have the Amulet. There is a chance of 1/30 that a water demon appears and further (20-Dungeon Level)/100 chance that he grants a wish; otherwise he attacks you. The fountain has a 1/3 chance of drying up. Therefore, each fountain grants on average about (20-Dungeon Level)/1000 wishes. Possible side effects are dangerous, including moccasins appearing around you (1/30 chance), creating a water nymph (1/30 chance), or hostile water demon ((80+dungeon level)/3000 chance).
  • Sitting on a throne, chance 1/39. The throne has 1/3 chance of "vanishing in a puff of logic", unless you are teleported away. Therefore, each throne grants about 1/13 wishes[2]. This may cause unpleasant side effects.
  • Pressing ^W in Wizard (debug) mode – This always works, but it's only supposed to be used for debugging
  • In SLASH'EM, when a gypsy draws Infinity while reading your fortune
  • In SLASH'EM, when eating a silver wishing pill

The castle always has a wand of wishing in a chest in one of the four corner rooms. Unless you are trying for wishless conduct, you should be able to do some wishing before you enter Gehennom.

A successful wish will increase your prayer timeout by 50 to 149 turns.[3]

Restrictions on wishing

You cannot usefully wish for a wand of wishing or a magic lamp.[4] This is to guard against infinite wishes. You also cannot wish for your own quest artifact, although you may wish for those of other roles. Note that wished-for quest artifacts will "evade your grasp" unless your alignment matches the artifact – check Hugo/O'Donnell NetHack Artifacts Spoiler for artifact alignments. You cannot wish for the Amulet of Yendor or for any of the unique items required to obtain it (the Bell of Opening, the Candelabrum of Invocation and the Book of the Dead).

You cannot wish for venom unless you are in wizard mode.[5]

When wishing, you may specify an amount of an item or a specific enchantment – for instance, 2 of an item instead of 1, or +1 rather than +0. However, the more or higher you wish for, the more chance you have of getting only one or +0. Most players wish for 2 items or +2 enchantment, or 3 items or +3 enchantment. (section #Wishing for enchantment includes a table of probabilities.)

Forbidden items

Forbidden item Replacement
Amulet of Yendor fake Amulet
Candelabrum of Invocation
Bell of Opening bell
Book of the Dead blank spellbook
own quest artifact nothing
magic lamp oil lamp
wand of wishing
  • wand of wishing (1:-1) (90% chance)
  • wand of wishing (1:0) (10% chance)

Artifact wishing

If you wish for an artifact, your chance of receiving it depends on the number of artifacts that have already been generated:[6]

Generated artifacts 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 n
Chance 1 wish (always) (always) 0.666 0.5 0.4 0.333 0.285 2/(n+1)
Chance 2 wishes (always) (always) 0.888 0.75 0.64 0.555 0.488 1-(1-2/(n+1))²
Chance m wishes (always) (always) 1-(1-2/(n+1))^m

Otherwise, you receive nothing and the wish is wasted ("For a moment, you feel something in your hands, but it disappears!"). Similarly, wishing for your own quest artifact will never succeed (same message). If you wish for an artifact which has already been generated in the game, you will receive its base item instead.[7]

If you wish for a quest artifact, you might receive it, but find yourself unable to use it. (See intelligent artifacts for more details.)

Note that wishing for an artifact will break the artifact-wishless conduct, regardless of whether you actually receive it.[8]

Destroying artifacts will NOT increase the chance of successfully wishing for another, since the number generated is never decremented.

Customizing your wish

Wishing for quantities

You may wish for only one unstackable item. If you wish for more, you still get only one.

If wishing for a stackable item, you may wish for more than one. If the amount you wish for is less than the roll of a d6, you get the desired amount, otherwise you get only one.[9]

Quantity: 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Success rate: 1 2/3 1/2 1/3 1/6 0
Average: 1.00 1.67 2.00 2.00 1.67 1.00

Exceptions to this rule are:[10][11]

Other common ranged weapons including javelins, daggers, spears, knives, gray stones (e.g. flint), and gems must be wished for just like any other stackable item.

Again, if you wish for more, your specified count will not be honored at all (except gold, for which any quantity over 5000 will be treated as if you had wished for 5000).

If you wish for a plural of a stackable item, but don't specify a quantity (e.g. "blessed scrolls of charging"), the game defaults to wishing for two, subject to the probability above. If you wish for a quantity of a singular item ("2 blessed scroll of charging"), the parser ignores the singular and uses the quantity specified. Quantities of zero or less are ignored, and the singular/plural status will be used.

Most players wish for 2 or 3 items. Wishing for 3 gives more items when averaged over many wishes/games, but wishing for 2 is more likely to increase the effectiveness of the current wish.

Wishing for enchantment

Similarly, if wishing for an item that can be enchanted, you may specify the enchantment. If the enchantment you wish for is less than or equal to the roll of a d5, you get the desired enchantment, otherwise you get +0.[12]

You can wish for negatively-enchanted equipment, with the same chance of success as the equivalent positive enchantment. It's not clear why anyone would want to do this, however.

Be warned that if your Luck is negative, any enchantment higher than +2 will automatically become negative.[13] (This check takes place after the game decides whether it will grant you your specified enchantment.) (This check only takes place for armor, weapons, and weapon tools. If you want to wish for a +6 wand of striking (a bad idea most likely), and your luck is negative – assuming you get the wand at all – you will get a wand of striking with between 4 and 6 charges, just as if your luck were positive.)

Enchantment: +0 ±1 ±2 ±3 ±4 ±5 ±(6+)
Success rate: 1 1 4/5 3/5 2/5 1/5 0
Average: 0.0 1.0 1.6 1.8 1.6 1.0 0.0

As with quantities, most players wish for +2 or +3 equipment. +3 gives the best average enchantment, but +2's slightly lower average is less chancy. (If you're intending to immediately enchant the item further, however, +2 is strictly better because a blessed scroll is more efficient on a +2 item than on a +3: after using a single blessed scroll on the newly created item, the average enchantment is 3.6 for the +2 case versus only 3.5 for +3.)[14] +4 and +5 have lower averages than +3 and are more risky as well, so those are usually not used. +1 is certain to work, but its average enchantment is much lower than that of +2 or +3, so it's usually not a good choice unless you are illiterate and unable to enchant items yourself. The other possible enchantments are obviously not ever very useful, unless you actually want nonpositive enchantment for some bizarre reason (e.g. pudding farming, but there are better ways to get a thoroughly rusted -7 orcish dagger)

When wishing for wands or chargeable tools, an enchantment written as "+x" will be interpreted as a wish for x charges. Conversely, a wish for a "dagger (y:x)" is a wish for a +x dagger (the first number has no effect). This occurs because charge and enchantment are the same variable in the structure for objects in NetHack, hence why there are no simultaneously enchantable and chargeable objects.

Wishing for Beatitude

You can specify whether the item should be blessed, uncursed, or cursed. If your Luck is zero or greater, your preference will be respected.

If your Luck is negative, explicitly wishing for a "blessed" or "uncursed" item will yield a cursed one instead.[15] (Wishing for a "cursed" item still works.)

If you do not specify a beatitude, the item will have a random beatitude as if the item had been randomly generated[16] (regardless of Luck). Specifying a negative enchantment as part of the wish (even "-0") will implicitly specify "cursed" unless you specify a beatitude explicitly.[17]

You should almost always wish for blessed items, unless you have negative Luck, or specifically want a cursed potion or scroll. Magic markers should be uncursed, so that cursed paper will produce cursed scrolls. If you desire both cursed and blessed copies of an item (such as scrolls of genocide or potions of gain level), consider wishing for cursed ones, since it is easier to bless items than it is to curse them.

Wishing for erosion-proofing

You can ask for an item to be "rustproof", "erodeproof", "corrodeproof", "fixed", "fireproof", or "rotproof". If your luck is non-negative, and the item is subject to erosion (or is a crysknife), your preference will be respected.

NetHack does not discriminate between the different types of erosion-proofing, so you may wish for "corrodeproof speed boots" or a "fireproof crysknife", and the game will substitute the appropriate type of protection.[18] Thus, some players recommend adding "fixed" to every wish, to reduce the chance of mistakenly not erosion-proofing something.

You can also explicitly request an eroded item; in this case, erosion-proofing will not be applied even if you wished for it.[19]

Wishing for a monster type

When wishing for a tin, corpse, figurine, egg, or statue, you can specify what type of monster it should be.

If you wish for a tin containing a monster that has been genocided, you get an empty tin.[20] Wishing for a tin containing a unique monster, a monster that cannot leave a corpse, or a monster giving zero nutrition (such as a wraith) will instead produce a random tin.[21] Note that you can also wish for tins of spinach.[22]

You may not wish for the corpse of a unique monster, or a monster that cannot leave a corpse; doing so will produce a random corpse. Wishing for the corpse of a quest guardian will instead produce a corpse of the corresponding role monster.[23] Note that a partly eaten corpse is lighter than a non-eaten one.

If you wish for a figurine of a unique monster, any kind of human, or a mail daemon, you will instead receive a random figurine.[24]

If you wish for an egg from a monster that cannot lay eggs, you will get a random kind of egg; wishing for a "Scorpius egg" will give you a scorpion egg. You can wish for an egg from a genocided species, but the egg will never hatch.[25]

You can wish for a statue of any monster, including unique and genocided ones. Bear in mind, however, that casting stone to flesh on a statue will not always produce that monster – for example, animating a statue of a unique monster or quest guardian will instead produce a doppelganger disguised as that monster.[26]

Wishing for charges

Although you can wish for a specific number of charges (e.g. "wand of death (0:7)"), in a normal game you will always receive the lesser of the number of charges you wish for or the number of charges you would otherwise receive, making this an undesirable option. The capability was designed for wizard mode, where you always receive the number of charges you wish for.

You can also wish for charges by specifying an enchantment (so a wish for a "+7 wand of death" is equivalent to the above). Wishing for a "+10 magic marker" will make you sad, because it will have at most 10 charges.

You cannot normally wish for negative charges.[27][28] However, it is possible to wish for a negative enchantment instead, which means the same internally. Outside wizard mode, wishing for negative charges on a wand will give you a cancelled wand (with -1 charges);[29] wishing for negative charges on a tool will give you 0 charges.[30]

Other options

You can also specify the following options:[31]

  • "holy", "unholy" (sets BUC, even if not potion of water)
  • "lit", "burning", "unlit", "extinguished" (for lamps, candles, and potions of oil)
  • "unlabeled", "unlabelled", "blank" (for scrolls and spellbooks)
  • "poisoned" (for poisonable weapons and comestibles, and for containers which can be trapped)
  • "greased" (any item)
  • "partly eaten" (for comestibles)
  • "historic" (for statues)
  • "diluted" (for potions other than water)
  • "empty" (for tins)
  • A general item category, e.g. "scroll" or "spellbook"; this will produce a random item in the chosen category. Pressing enter on a blank line, or escaping out of the wish, will produce a random item. This is still subject to the restrictions on wishing, so wishing for a "lamp" will always produce an oil lamp.

Most of these are useless or worse, but "greased" can be a life-saver for armor, weapons, spellbooks, scrolls, potions and containers, "poisoned" can increase the effectiveness of weapons, and "partly eaten" can make wielded chickatrice corpses lighter. Most players recommend apply fixed and greased to every wish automatically, as fixed is harmless unless you want to wish for something damaged to be cute (e.g. a "burnt magic marker"), or are wishing for a Puddingbane, and greased is only harmful for projectiles you intend to throw.

You should especially grease all armor, even pieces that can't be eroded, as greased helmets, shirts, cloaks, and body armor can protect you from grabbing, drowning, and mind flayers.

Wishing for nothing

Sometimes, a player gets a wish prompt (for example from a throne or a smoky potion), but wants to keep the wishless conduct. In this case, wishing for "nothing", "none" or "nil" will not break the conduct.[32]

What to wish for

The best use of a wish depends heavily on your situation in the game. Here we give some general advice for early and late game situations. This advice is only a guideline and does not apply to all situations. In some cases, if you already have everything you need, the best thing to do with a wand of wishing or magic lamp is to save it for later. Experienced players are able to weigh the value of an unused available wish and compare it to the benefit that would be provided by the most valuable item in the game in that situation. For inexperienced players, there is no substitute for experience – play and learn!

The following general principles apply in almost all situations:

  • If you encounter a wand of wishing, and you can't identify how many charges it has, then your first wish should be either 2 (or 3) "blessed scrolls of charging", or an "uncursed magic marker", so you can write your own blessed(!) scrolls to recharge the wand.
    • Writing your own scrolls will only work reliably if you have already identified scrolls of charging, you have found and named (or identified) all four kinds of 300zm scrolls, or you are a wizard; however, if you are willing to save some of your wishes for later, i.e. until after you have identified scrolls of charging, a magic marker is an overall more useful item (it can yield three scrolls of charging and still have enough ink to write several scrolls).
    • Wands of wishing from bones levels might already have been recharged once.

The rest of this discussion assumes that you have a way to recharge your wand, if the wish is from a wand of wishing.

Early single wishes

The most common source of early wishes is a magic lamp (if you disregard slightly suicidal early level fountain quaffers). As a rule, the best item to wish for early in the game is gray or silver dragon scale mail unless playing a monk. Which color to wish for depends on your situation:

Which one you should wish for is somewhat situational. If you already have one extrinsic, you should wish for the DSM which provides the other. For example, a wizard starts with a cloak of magic resistance, and would prefer SDSM. A character who gets the amulet of reflection from Sokoban, on the other hand, would be better served by GDSM. If you have neither magic resistance nor reflection, the choice is somewhat more difficult: see GDSM versus SDSM for a discussion of the merits of each.

For a monk, the choice is drastically different, due to the large penalty for wearing body armor, which is especially hurtful early in the game. Another class's quest artifact is a good choice for a lawful or neutral monk (see the later section on artifact wishing). However, due to the absence of chaotic quest artifacts that provide magic resistance, a chaotic monk needing magic resistance should wish for a "blessed greased fireproof +2 cloak of magic resistance" (or +3). Alternatively, for monks for whom magic resistance is not the highest priority, common and useful single wishes include speed boots or gauntlets of power. The Master Key of Thievery is another option for a chaotic monk due to the extremely useful half physical damage property, but since it is a Rogue artifact, it will blast you when you touch it.

Early wands of wishing

A somewhat rarer source of wishes early in the game is a wand of wishing. With a wand of wishing, you will usually want to wish for some or all of the following items, depending on what you already have: dragon scale mail (gray or silver), amulet of life saving, some artifact weapon (unless you're planning to sacrifice for one), a bag of holding (remember, Sokoban might have one!), and speed boots. All of the above should be blessed, and weapon and speed boots should be also fireproof. Some players wish for 2 blessed scrolls of charging, or a blessed magic marker, in order to access all the wishes immediately. You may also consider wishing for a quest artifact (see below), but its artifact blast might kill you.

If you encounter a wand of wishing in a shop, it is easy to identify because its base cost is 500, shared only with the wand of death. If you have a pet with you, stealing the wand is easy enough. Those who were already planning to use a powerful pet (e.g. pacifists) might wish for a blessed figurine of an Archon; this carries a 10% chance of backfiring, and a 10% chance of being wasted, though. Failing this, it is best to simply find 500zm worth of junk to sell to the shopkeeper and then buy the wand. If you're really not sure of your character's ability to survive long enough to do that, it's also possible to simply wish for 5000 zorkmids, use some of them to pay the shopkeeper for the wand, and leave with a healthy monetary profit (and more to the point, a wand of wishing with only one charge spent). This is probably the lowest-risk strategy, but the potential rewards are lower too as gold is typically a waste of a wish.

Late game wishes

In the later stages of the game, wishes typically serve the role of completing an ascension kit.

If you need lots of items to complete your ascension kit, consider wishing for a wand of polymorph. This wand is a very powerful item for players who are not averse to polypiling. In most cases, it is far more efficient to polypile for ascension kit items and then wish for the few remaining missing pieces, rather than wishing directly for all the items from the start.

An uncursed magic marker can be used to write cursed scrolls of genocide, which when read will summon a monster of your choice. This technique is often more efficient than wishing directly for monster-derived items, since a single uncursed magic marker (which takes one wish) can usually write at least four scrolls of genocide with recharging. For example, if your character is reasonably strong, you can obtain dragon scale mail by reverse genociding dragons instead of wishing directly for dragon scale mail. As another example, if you need a cockatrice corpse, it may be more efficient to reverse genocide cockatrices than to wish for a corpse directly. For maximum effect, use a burned Elbereth to protect yourself from the monsters while you kill them, and an Elbereth cage against their breath attacks.

Wishing for quest artifacts

See Artifact wishing above for general information about artifact wishing.

Generally speaking you should not wish for cross-aligned quest artifacts. They will “evade your grasp” and fall to the floor, and you will be unable to pick them up. Early-game characters should also avoid wishing even for coaligned quest artifacts, unless they have enough current HP to survive the inevitable artifact blast. It is technically possible to carry multiple artifacts of different alignments through careful use of alignment conversion or the helm of opposite alignment, but this is considered an advanced tactic and is rarely employed. Also note that a helm of opposite alignment cannot cause Chaotic or Lawful characters to become Neutral, so the only way for such characters to use wished-for neutral artifacts is to permanently convert oneself at an altar.

As detailed above, you cannot get your own quest artifact from wishes.


If you are a neutral character and want a quest artifact, there are at least four good choices:

The Eye of the Aethiopica is an especially valuable item for neutral monks: Due to armor to-hit penalty and weaponless martial arts, they will most likely spend a wish on magic resistance. Comparing the cloak and the MR-granting quest artifacts, energy regeneration sticks out as extremely useful, since Monks are decent spellcasters and their starting spell (whatever it is) becomes vastly more powerful with energy regeneration. Branchport and telepathy are also big bonuses that are difficult to impossible for vegetarian monks to get in any other way.

The Eyes of the Overworld might be considered a lower priority than some of the others listed, but the astral vision they provide is useful for making the exploration of Gehennom less tedious without having to stockpile scrolls of magic mapping. Note however that if one can cast the divination spells of magic mapping, detect treasure, and detect monsters at a skilled level, then these combined also provide the key benefits of the Eyes, even revealing information about the entire map at once – though this of course requires obtaining the appropriate spellbooks and being able to cast them somewhat reliably.


For Lawful characters, the main contenders are the Sceptre of Might, the Orb of Detection and the Magic Mirror of Merlin, which all offer magic resistance. The Sceptre offers ring-less conflict and deals double damage against cross-aligned (non-lawful) monsters. The Mirror and the Orb both offer extrinsic telepathy; the Orb also offers half spell damage and functions as a crystal ball, but is much heavier than the Sceptre or Mirror. If you already have magic resistance, the Mitre of Holiness is worth considering for a spellcaster due to the energy boost it provides when invoked.


For Chaotics, the Master Key of Thievery is usually considered better than the Longbow of Diana. Neither Chaotic artifact grants magic resistance, making them somewhat less desirable than artifacts of other alignments. However, the Key still grants the very useful half physical damage and teleport control properties, in addition to warning and its invoke effect.

Asking on IRC

If you want, you can just join #nethack on Freenode and ask them to suggest what to wish for. It helps if you know what items and perhaps spells, discoveries you already have.

What not to wish for

The NetHack Wishing Spoiler has a list of good items to obtain without wishing. Here are a few more:

  • unicorn horn – This is a very common item after you find unicorns. Early in the game, if you have no unicorn horn but find a wish, you probably want dragon scale mail.
  • food ration – You are fainting, cannot #pray, and there is no food around? Prefer wishing for a horn of plenty. If you're not fainting yet but out of food regardless, wishing for a ring of slow digestion may be better – NetHack is usually plentiful enough on food that you can find a monster or food item soon enough with the decreased hunger.
  • potion of holy water – If playing an atheist, wish for two blessed scrolls of remove curse. Obtain lots of uncursed water, name each one differently so they don't stack, and have nothing but the water and one of the scrolls in your inventory. Read the scroll while confused, un-name all the water, and #adjust them so they merge into three stacks. Figure out which is which by dipping a known-uncursed useless object (such as a rock) into them, checking for the cursed one with a pet, and/or price identification to find the uncursed one. If you only have two stacks, figure out those two and repeat with the other scroll.
  • dragon scale mail – In the mid to late game only: Once you have known-cursed paper and you know the scroll of genocide or are a Lucky wizard, a magic marker is likely a better wish. Prepare concentric circles of Elbereth (if not playing 3.6), reverse genocide dragons, and write enchant armor to make mail from scales. See the note on acquiring dragon scales for how to do this safely.

Misspelled wish, non-existent item, and canceling at the prompt

If what you enter at the "For what do you wish?" prompt cannot be parsed as a NetHack item, you will be notified ("Nothing fitting that description exists in the game.") and asked again.[33] "Cannot be parsed" is a quite loose definition, though; for example, "figuring" will successfully be (mis-)parsed as "ring". However, you have at most five tries; after failing five times you will be given a random object ("That's enough tries!").[34]

Pressing ESC at the prompt will result in a random object being given to you. This breaks the wishless conduct.[35] Pressing any of the arrow keys will have the same result as their representation contains an escape character.

NAO's patched NetHack version only clears the input if you press escape; if the input line is already empty, pressing escape will have the same effect as in vanilla NetHack, however.


In SLASH'EM, there are not only several new ways to obtain wishes, there are many new targets for wishes and many other chances and ways to get ascension kit items that would be good wish targets in vanilla. The following are some key points to bear in mind.

Sources of wishes

As mentioned above, SLASH'EM has two additional wish sources: pills and gypsies, of which the latter is the more important. A common mid- to late-game technique for a character who has a significant number of identified gemstones is to reverse-genocide gypsies, which guarantees several wishes if the player has enough gems. Because this can be done repeatedly, it makes wishes less of a rarity than vanilla. By the time a SLASH'EM player reaches the castle, they rarely need the wand.

What to wish for

SLASH'EM has many new artifacts and items which are well worth a wish. The following are some common wish targets:


  • Lawful
  • Neutral
    • Disrupter is a mace which deals +30 to damage vs. undead
    • Mjollnir is not new in SLASH'EM, but does vastly more damage (flat +24 vs. non-shock resistant monsters) and is the preferred neutral weapon for most fighting roles
  • Chaotic
    • Bat from Hell is the most coveted weapon in SLASH'EM, a baseball bat (club skill) doing a flat +20 damage to all foes
    • Deep Freeze is an athame that provides cold-resistance and does extra cold damage
    • Doomblade is a short sword which does +10 to damage with occasional bonus damage of 5d4; it is the most powerful chaotic weapon after the Bat from Hell, and may be a good choice for roles that can get skilled or expert in short swords but are restricted in clubs
    • The Great Dagger of Glaurgnaa is the Necromancer quest artifact; while less powerful as a weapon that many other chaotic artifacts, it provides magic resistance and can be #invoked to recharge energy (although non-Necromancers will be blasted for significant damage)
    • Serpent's Tongue is not as powerful as the Bat from Hell or Doomblade at +0, but many roles that can't use either effectively can advance dagger to expert, and when enchanted to +7, Serpent's Tongue holds its own with any other weapon
  • Unaligned


What not to wish for

In general, SLASH'EM has an abundance of items compared to vanilla, given all the extra dungeon branches, not to mention the black market. If you happen to find an early wand of wishing or a mid-game magic lamp, you may want to hold off on using the last wishes or two until you have cleared out some of these areas. Additionally, some items which are extremely rare in vanilla may be created by the process of upgrading common items in SLASH'EM, including:

Other upgradable objects whose base items are rare enough that they may still be worth wishing for include:

Some artifacts which are common wish targets in vanilla may be less useful in SLASH'EM:

Additionally, wishing for any of the six artifacts of the alignment quests is forbidden (hand of vecna, eye of the beholder, nighthorn and the three alignment keys). "For a moment, you feel something in your hands, but it disappears!".

Finally, polypiling is tougher in SLASH'EM because you need to dip an item in a potion of restore ability to make the change permanent; while this may not matter for items that can be used immediately such as potions, scrolls, and spellbooks, it has implications when polypiling for equipment, e.g. rings or amulets.


In UnNetHack, wands of wishing are generated recharged once and therefore cannot be recharged. Thus, you may not want to use your first wish on scrolls of charging like in NetHack.

Only wishes from a wand can grant wishes for magical items. All other sources can only wish for non-magical items (though shields of reflection are now non-magical), and thrones do not give wishes at all.

In the development version, wishing no longer increments prayer timeout.

Magic lamps can now be wished for, since wishes from them can only grant non-magical items.

Chromatic dragon scales and scale mail and Thiefbane cannot be wished for, unidentified DSM is replaced by a random one. Wishing for 'reflecting/magic dragon scales (not mail)' is allowed IF you have identified it; alternatively, wishing for 'guivre scales' or 'leviathan scales' is fine, but you will need to observe these dragons in combat to know which property is held by which race. If you find a wand of wishing before meeting a dragon, and would like dragon scale mail, wish for glowing dragon scale mail, as at the very least you end up with a permanent light source and could end up with (one in five chance of) reflection or magic cancellation. See Dragon#UnNetHack for changes to dragons in particular.

You can now wish for up to 100 projectiles. Note that daggers are not considered projectiles.

Wishing for 'blessed', 'fixed', and 'greased' with a magical enchantment '+x' are all ok with lamps.

Good non-magical items include:

Note: after development version r1580, wishing for chromatic dragon eggs is disabled. Wishing for statue(or figurine) of chromatic dragon, however, is allowed. See Chromatic dragon (UnNetHack) for details.


GruntHack allows monsters to wish for items. This can be performed either by a smoky potion or a wand of wishing (monsters never use magic lamps). Monsters wish for a scroll of charging if performed with a non-recharged wands of wishing. Otherwise, they wish for the following, randomly.

  • blessed greased fixed +3 silver dragon scale mail
  • blessed greased fixed +3 gray dragon scale mail
  • blessed greased fixed +3 cloak of magic resistance
  • blessed greased fixed amulet of reflection
  • blessed greased fixed shield of reflection
  • blessed greased fixed +3 speed boots
  • blessed greased fixed +3 gauntlets of power
  • blessed greased fixed amulet of life saving
  • blessed greased fixed wand of death
  • blessed greased fixed partly eaten chickatrice corpse

Monsters will not wish for items granting properties they already have (for example, a strong monster will never wish for gauntlets of power and an Angel will never wish for a cloak of magic resistance). Additionally, they will never wish for things they cannot use (for example an Archon will never wish for a cloak of magic resistance, and monsters who lack gloves and isn't stone resistant will never wish for a chickatrice corpse). If chickatrices are genocided, monsters will wish for a cockatrice corpse. This will also happen if cockatrices are genocided (the result will be a random corpse).


  1. apply.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1186
  2. exact number is 3/38. chance of wish in one #sit: p1 = 1/3*1/13; chance not destroyed in one #sit: p2 = 1 - chance destroyed = 1 - 1/3*(1-1/3*1/13) = 79/117; wishes granted by each throne: p = p1+p2*p, p = 3/38
  3. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4140
  4. Technically, you may wish for a wand of wishing, but there is only a 10% chance you can wrest the final charge out of what you get. Wishing for a magic lamp gives you an oil lamp.
  5. objects.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 960: Here, the nwsh bit is set to 1
  6. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2695
  7. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2694
  8. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2688
  9. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2472
  10. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2091
  11. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2477
  12. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2491
  13. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2495
  14. Strictly speaking, this is a somewhat self-defeating argument: we say that +2 is better despite a lower average enchantment, and then we "prove" it with another average enchantment figure. A more accurate metric would be the average amount of scrolls it takes to raise the item to +5 (for most armor) or +7 (for elven armor and weapons). It turns out that wishing for +2 as opposed to +3 does save ~0.030 and ~0.019 scrolls in the +5 and +7 cases, respectively, but this data may be a bit too in-depth for the article.
  15. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2605
  16. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2458
  17. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2625
  18. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1845
  19. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2641
  20. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2547
  21. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2548
  22. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2238
  23. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2554
  24. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2567
  25. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2576
  26. trap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 439
  27. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1912: This is supposed to skip the charge count and go to the ) for further processing. As - is not a digit, the charge count is not actually skipped.
  28. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1914: This does not find the expected ) and thus sets spe = 0.
  29. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2498
  30. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2500
  31. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1833
  32. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1808
  33. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4112
  34. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4115
  35. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4103

External links

  • The NetHack Wishing Spoiler by Peter Snelling, Stanislav Traykov, and others provides a detailed analysis of how to wish effectively, including a list of specific wishes ordered by priority.
  • In the Dudley's dungeon of 19 August 2005, Dudley wishes for a "blessed greased fixed erodeproof disenchanterproof demonpossessionproof vacuumofdeepspaceproof proofremovalproof fully insured 100% all-natural materials completely and utterly intact, undamaged and structurally sound freshly washed and free of the stench of congealed human blood totally bereft of ancient unbreakable curses and absolutely NOT stolen from any nearby easily-angered shopkeepers +3 armor enhancement GRAY DRAGON SCALE MAIL". The djinni granting the wish then gives Dudley the armor with all the specified requirements – but the armor is size XXXS (extra extra extra small).

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.1.

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.