From NetHackWiki
(Redirected from Wishing)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In NetHack, a wish is an opportunity to be granted an item of the player's choice.

Wishes are highly sought after and extremely powerful, especially in the early game where high-grade equipment is otherwise unavailable. A significant amount of strategy exists around getting as many wishes as possible and choosing the best items to wish for. Two conducts involve restrictions on wishing: the wishless conduct for making no wishes, and the artifact-wishless conduct for playing without wishing for artifacts.


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 your Luck is 0 or greater. With negative Luck, the probability of a wish is 5 + Luck5, 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.
  • 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 outcome 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 113 + 2d that a djinni appears (where d is the number of djinn created this game) and, for a blessed smoky potion, a 45 further chance that he grants you a wish. The worst outcome is a djinni which attacks you (chance 120 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, 465 + 10d wishes. After 120 djinn appear in the game, they become extinct and never appear anymore.
  • Quaffing from (or dipping in) a fountain above dungeon level 20, unless you have the Amulet. There is a chance of 130 that a water demon appears and a further 20 − DL100 chance that he grants a wish (where DL is the dungeon level); otherwise, he attacks you. The fountain has a 13 chance of drying up. Therefore, each fountain grants on average about 20 − DL1000 wishes. Possible side effects are dangerous, including moccasins appearing around you (130 chance), creating a water nymph (130 chance), or a hostile water demon appearing (80 + DL3000 chance).
  • Sitting on a throne, chance 139. The throne has 13 chance of vanishing "in a puff of logic", unless you are teleported away. Therefore, each throne grants about 113 wishes.[2] This may cause unpleasant alternate outcomes.
  • Pressing ^W in wizard mode. This is intended to be used for debugging.

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]


Forbidden items

These items can never be granted by a wish outside wizard mode.

Forbidden item Replacement
Amulet of Yendor cheap plastic imitation of the Amulet of Yendor
Candelabrum of Invocation
Bell of Opening bell
Book of the Dead blank spellbook
your role's quest artifact nothing
magic lamp oil lamp
venom the item isn't recognized by the parser[4]
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 (but not unique items) that have already been generated:[5]

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 2n + 1
Chance 2 wishes (always) (always) 0.888 0.75 0.64 0.555 0.488 1 − (1 − 2n + 1)2
Chance m wishes (always) (always) 1 − (1 − 2n + 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.[6]

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

Wishing for an artifact will break the artifact-wishless conduct, regardless of whether you actually receive it.[7]

Destroying artifacts will not increase the chance of successfully wishing for another, since the number generated is never decremented. Failed artifact wishes don't further decrease the chance of success, however.



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

When 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.[8]

Quantity 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Success rate 1 23 12 13 16 0
Average 1.00 1.67 2.00 2.00 1.67 1.00

Exceptions to this rule are:[9][10]

For gold pieces, any quantity above 5000 is treated as 5000. For the other exceptions, any quantity above the one listed will not be honored at all, and you will receive only 1.

Ranged weapons aside from the ones listed, including javelins, daggers, spears, knives, gray stones, and gems, follow the same rules as any ordinary stackable item.

If you wish for a plural of a stackable item, but don't specify a quantity (e.g. "blessed scrolls of charging"), the game treats it as if you wished for two, subject to the probability above. If you specify 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 or plural status will be used.

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


When 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.[11]

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.

If your Luck is negative, any enchantment higher than +2 will automatically become negative.[12] This check takes place after the game decides whether it will grant you your specified enchantment, and it only applies for armor, weapons, and weapon tools. If you want to wish for a +6 wand of striking (a bad idea most likely) while 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 45 35 25 15 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.)[13] +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.

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 there are no simultaneously enchantable and chargeable objects.


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.[14] (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 (regardless of Luck).[15] Specifying a negative enchantment as part of the wish (even "-0") will implicitly specify "cursed" unless you specify a beatitude explicitly.[16]

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.


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.[17] Thus, some players recommend making it a habit to add "fixed" to every wish, to reduce the chance of forgetting to erosion-proof something.

You can also explicitly request an eroded item. If you wish for an item to be both eroded and erosion-proof, the item will not be erosion-proof.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] You can also wish for tins of spinach.[21]

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 player monster.[22] A partly eaten corpse is lighter than a non-eaten one, so many players prefer those when wishing.

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.[23]

If you wish for an egg from a non-oviparous monster, 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.[24]

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.[25]


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" is a bad idea, because it will have at most 10 charges.

You cannot normally wish for negative charges.[26][27] 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 canceled wand (with -1 charges);[28] wishing for negative charges on a tool will give you 0 charges.[29]

Other item properties

You can also specify the following properties:[30]

  • "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. Some players recommend applying "greased fixed" to every wish, as "fixed" is harmless, 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 helms, shirts, cloaks, and body armor can protect you from grabbing, drowning, and mind flayers.


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, the player can wish for "nothing", "none", or "nil" to avoid breaking the conduct.[31]


Common wishes

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 either gray or silver dragon scale mail, unless you are playing a Monk:

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 more detailed 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 problematic early in the game. Another class's quest artifact is a good choice for a lawful or neutral Monk (see § Quest artifacts below). 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, when 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 be wary of its artifact blast.

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 (if Sokoban doesn't provide 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 § Quest artifacts), but its artifact blast might kill you.

If you encounter a wand of wishing in a shop, it is easy to price 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. Do not wish for a pet unless you are prepared to take care of it. 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. A more ostensibly "profitable" method is to wish for a wand of death and use it to kill the shopkeeper, though that entails the penalty for murder.

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.

Quest artifacts

See § Artifact wishing 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 a helm of opposite alignment, but this tactic is rarely employed. A helm of opposite alignment also 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 themselves at an altar.

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


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.


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 stands 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 or 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. However, if you 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 chaotic characters, the Master Key of Thievery is usually considered better than the Longbow of Diana. No 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 Libera 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 start finding unicorns, and you won't need one very often before then. 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, 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 Wizard with high Luck), an uncursed magic marker is likely a better wish. If you cannot confidently write cursed scrolls of genocide, you may wish for them instead. Reverse genocide dragons, kill them, and write enchant armor to make mail from their 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.[32] "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!").[33]

Pressing Esc at the prompt will result in a random object being given to you. This breaks the wishless conduct.[34] 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.


You may wish for an object.
You have been granted a wish.
Unfortunately, nothing happens.
You zapped or engraved with a wand of wishing which had no effect due to negative luck, wasting a charge.
Nothing happens.
Among other causes, this message appears when you zap a wand that has no charges, and may appear when rubbing any type of lamp.
Nothing fitting that description exists in the game.
You made a wish that couldn't be parsed or for an invalid object.
For a moment, you feel something in your hands, but it disappears!
You wished for an artifact that was not granted, wasting the wish.
Oops! The [object] drops to the floor!
You could not carry the object you wished for, probably because you have no free inventory slots or it is too heavy.



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.

SLASH'EM wish sources

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.

Common SLASH'EM wishes

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 to undead.
    • Mjollnir is not new in SLASH'EM, but does vastly more damage (flat +24 to 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 second most powerful chaotic weapon after the Bat from Hell, and may be a good choice for roles that can get Skilled 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.
  • Unaligned


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 wish or two until you have cleared out some of these areas. Additionally, some items which would be wish targets in vanilla can 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, you cannot obtain any of the six alignment quest artifacts via wishing: The Hand of Vecna, The Eye of the Beholder, Nighthorn, and the three alignment keys.

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 like 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 or artifacts. All other sources can only wish for non-magical items (with the message "I'm sorry but I'm not able to provide you with magical items" occurring if you try); shields of reflection are now non-magical), and thrones do not give wishes at all. Any wish is allowed to specify modifiers like "blessed" and "+2".

Magic lamps can now be wished for, since wishes from them can only grant non-magical items. Projectiles can be wished for in quantities up to 100. (Daggers are not considered projectiles.)

Since UnNetHack 5.1, wishing no longer increments prayer timeout. Since UnNetHack 6, the chance of receiving an artifact is not depending on the number of artifacts that have already been generated.

Chromatic dragon scales and scale mail and Thiefbane cannot be wished for; unidentified dragon scale mail is replaced by a random one. Since UnNetHack 5.1, wishing for chromatic dragon eggs is no longer possible. Wishing for statues or figurines of chromatic dragons no longer work since UnNetHack 5.2.0. See Chromatic dragon (UnNetHack) for details.

Wishing for "reflecting/magic dragon scales (not mail)" is allowed only 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 resistance. See Dragon § UnNetHack for changes to dragons in particular.

Good non-magical items include:


GruntHack allows wishes for objects with compatible materials and properties, including magical items, making wishes in general much more powerful. A few recommended wishes are listed below:

  • blessed greased fixed +3 dragonhide cloak of magic resistance and reflection
  • blessed greased fixed +3 dragonhide water walking boots of speed
  • blessed greased fixed +3 yellow dragon scale mail of drain resistance
  • blessed greased fixed +3 dragonhide gauntlets of dexterity and power

Monster wishes

GruntHack also allows monsters to wish for items via a smoky potion or a wand of wishing - monsters will never use magic lamps. Monsters will wish for a scroll of charging if they have a non-recharged wand of wishing, and will otherwise randomly wish for one of the following items:

  • 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 that grant properties they already have, e.g., 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 - monsters that are too big for torso armor will not wish for cloaks or armor, and monsters who lack gloves and stoning resistance will never wish for a chickatrice corpse. If chickatrices are genocided, monsters will wish for a cockatrice corpse; if cockatrices are also genocided, they will try to wish for the corpse anyway and receive a random corpse.


In xNetHack, wands of wishing always explode when recharged and will turn to dust when they reach 0 charges. xNetHack also allows you to wish for magic lamps, but unlike UnNetHack, wishes from djinn are not restricted to non-magical items. Since you cannot get more than one wish from a magic lamp, the main use of this is for a permanent light source.

The probability of successfully wishing for an artifact is changed to 1n + 1, where n is the number of artifacts you have received by wishing. Artifacts generated in any other way are not taken into account. This means the first artifact wish is guaranteed, and subsequent ones have probabilities of 12, 13, 14, etc.

Although xNetHack implements object materials, the material of a wished-for item cannot be specified outside of wizard mode. An item received by wishing always has its base material.


In dNetHack, wands of wishing have been removed and replaced with rings of wishing and candles of invocation. A candle of invocation can be used once to summon either a djinn, pet, or demon and then is consumed; summoning a djinn grants one wish.

Rings of wishing can be used several times and must be worn and invoked to make a wish. A ring of wishing replaces the wand of wishing in the chest in the Castle.

Wishing for artifacts have been significantly reworked as well. Rather than counting the number of artifacts that already exist, the player starts with one artifact wish available and gains the ability to wish for another artifact based on two events:

Each event allows the player to wish for one more artifact. Gifts or named artifacts have no direct effects on your artifact wish abilities.

While there are many additional artifacts in dNetHack, many of them are unwishable, including quest artifacts. However, there are several good candidates for wishing that should be considered:

  • Aegis, which grants reflection and half physical damage and can be invoked downward for an instant triple Gorgoneia ward
  • The Lance of Longinus, which when wielded, conveys half physical and spell damage, magic resistance, and reflection (though you could be in extreme peril if you lose the weapon or get disarmed)
  • The Premium Heart, gauntlets of power that also improve dexterity, provide double damage, and have increased damage multipliers for various status ailments


In FIQHack you can wish for a magic lamp (and receive it).


EvilHack also allows wishes for objects with specific materials and properties similar to GruntHack, with several changes and refinements to wishing in general.

Object materials and properties

Wishes for objects that are inherently magical will not apply additional object properties, though magical items can very rarely generate with them; wishing for a "magical <magical armor>" (e.g. "magical dragonhide speed boots") has a 110 chance of giving the resulting armor a random (possibly negative) object property. Wished items also cannot have more than one object property - however, there is a 1100,000 chance of an eligible item randomly generating with two properties. Artifacts have fixed object materials, and cannot be wished for with other materials or object properties.

Wish sources

Wishes from thrones are much more rare: there is close to a 3200 chance (1.5%) of getting a wish from sitting on a throne, and the throne is guaranteed to disappear if the player is granted a wish.

Wands of wishing are much rarer to find via random generation, and will always generated as charged once (1:x). The Castle's guaranteed wand is always created as having never been charged (0:x).

Artifact wishes

Special rules are applied when wishing for artifacts: the odds of an artifact wish succeeding are 1X + 1, where X is the number of previous artifact wishes made. However, if you would successfully receive the artifact, there is a chance that the artifact will instead be generated in the possession of its hostile 'owner', who is placed next to you. The odds that a wished artifact will not come with its owner is also 1X + 1, where X is the number of previous artifact wishes made.

The owner of an artifact depends on the specific artifact that was wished for:

  • Quest artifacts will almost always generate the quest leader associated with it - the sole exception is a Tourist wishing for the Master Key of Thievery: as the Master of Thieves is their nemesis, this wish will generate a rogue player monster instead.
  • For other artifacts, those that have a specific role associated with them will generate a player monster of that role with the artifact. Artifacts that do not have a specific role associated with them will still generate a player monster of a specific role, with that role depending on your own alignment in certain cases.

In addition, the following artifacts cannot be generated by wishing, with the reason given for each:

Wish strategy

Hardfought has a wish tracker for EvilHack that keeps a list of wishes made by players on the server. The recommendations listed below are based on some of the recorded wishes.

Worthwhile wishes for EvilHack characters include:

  • blessed greased fixed +3 dragonhide Hawaiian shirt/T-shirt of decay - The shirt slot's armor is great for providing additional AC and properties to non-giant characters, and drain resistance is among the most valuable properties.
  • blessed greased fixed +3 dragonhide speed boots
  • blessed greased fixed +3 bone gauntlets of power - This wish is common for illithid characters, who have incredibly low caps to strength and constitution, and bone is among the lightest possible materials for the gauntlets. Depending on personal preferences, stone may be a preferable material: it is much heavier compared to the base material of iron, but provides more base AC.
  • uncursed magic marker - Magic markers are as valuable as ever, and are made more so due to the fact that they do not generate randomly, with a scant few levels where a marker may generate.
  • Magic lamps - magic lamps are a common choice of light source, and cursed magic lamps instead emit an aura of darkness in the same radius that overrides any light source. Magic lamps will keep working while the character is underwater or engulfed.

Monster wishes

EvilHack allows monsters to wish for items via a smoky potion or a wand of wishing. Additionally, if a player generates a hostile djinni from a lamp or potion, the djinni may choose to keep the wish for themselves. Monsters will not wish for items that grant properties they already have, and will never wish for things they cannot use. Monsters that have an empty wand of wishing and come across a scroll of charging will use that scroll on the wand.

Monsters will randomly wish for one of the following items, with alternate wishes depending on whether or not the monster can use the original item rolled:

  • 1-3 blessed potions of gain level
  • A figurine of an Archon, balrog, vorpal jabberwock, or woodchuck, with an equal probability of each
  • blessed erodeproofed amulet of life saving
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 cloak of displacement, or a wand of digging otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 gauntlets of dexterity, or a blessed potion of full healing otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 cloak of magic resistance, or a blessed erodeproofed wand of create monster otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 crystal plate mail, or a blessed erodeproofed bag of holding otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed amulet of flying, or a blessed potion of full healing otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 water walking boots, or a blessed erodeproofed ring of slow digestion otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 shield of reflection if humanoid, blessed erodeproofed amulet of reflection if non-humanoid, or a blessed potion of extra healing otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 gauntlets of power, or a cursed potion of gain level otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 speed boots, or a blessed potion of full healing otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 helm of telepathy, or a blessed potion of extra healing otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 helm of brilliance, or a blessed blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 unicorn horn otherwise
  • blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 cloak of protection, or a blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 ring of protection otherwise
  • a blessed erodeproofed +1 to +4 random artifact that matches the monster's alignment - this wish can fail if it selects an artifact that is already generated
  • one of a wand of cancellation, a wand of polymorph or a wand of death, blessed and erodeproofed with an equal probability of each
  • 1-3 cockatrice eggs
  • cursed potion of gain level

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).


  1. apply.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1186
  2. The exact number is 338. Chance of wish in one #sit: p1 = 13 × 113; chance not destroyed in one #sit: p2 = 1 − chance destroyed = 1 − 13 × (1 − 13 × 113) = 79117; wishes granted by each throne: p = p1 + p2 × p, p = 338
  3. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4140
  4. objects.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 960: Here, the nwsh bit is set to 1
  5. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2695
  6. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2694
  7. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2688
  8. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2472
  9. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2091
  10. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2477
  11. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2491
  12. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2495
  13. 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 number of scrolls it takes to raise the item to +5 (for most armor) or +7 (for elven armor and weapons). 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.
  14. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2605
  15. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2458
  16. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2625
  17. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1845
  18. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2641
  19. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2547
  20. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2548
  21. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2238
  22. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2554
  23. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2567
  24. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2576
  25. trap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 439
  26. 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.
  27. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1914: This does not find the expected ) and thus sets spe = 0.
  28. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2498
  29. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2500
  30. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1833
  31. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1808
  32. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4112
  33. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4115
  34. zap.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 4103