Magic trap

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^ magic trap Magic trap.png
Generates Anywhere
Effect Various

The magic trap is a trap with many possible magical effects.

Though magic traps can be randomly generated on any level in the dungeon, certain special levels have some guaranteed ones. The Knight quest has 45 guaranteed magic traps; the lair of Asmodeus has three; the Valley of the Dead, the Wizard of Yendor's Tower, and the lairs of Juiblex, Orcus, and Baalzebub have two each; one variant of Medusa's lair, the Sanctum, the Archeologist quest, and the Wizard quest have one each.

Effects of magic traps

The effects of magic traps are as follows[1]:

Probability Effect
20/600 (3.3%) Magical explosion
261/600 (43.5%) Creates 1-4 monsters around the trap, blinds you, and deafens you.
58/600 (9.7%) No message or effect, but the trap is still marked.
29/600 (4.8%) Same effect as fire trap, a tower of flame that deals damage and burns inventory.
29/600 (4.8%) each Six different "odd feeling" messages with no effect.
29/600 (4.8%) Charisma increase, tame adjacent monsters.
29/600 (4.8%) Uncurse worn and wielded items and loadstones.

Monsters are much less likely to trigger magic traps than players. There is a 1 in 21 chance that they will experience the fire trap effect, and otherwise experience no effect at all.[2]


You are caught in a magical explosion! Your body absorbs some of the magical energy!
Magical explosion effect: trap is destroyed, you take 1d10 damage, maximum Pw increased by 2, current Pw brought to maximum[3].
You are momentarily blinded by a flash of light!
Create monster effect when you are not blind; you are now blinded for 1d5 + 10 turns.
You see a flash of light!
Create monster effect when you are not blind but resist blindness (e.g. by wielding Sunsword).
You hear a deafening roar!
Create monster effect when you are not deaf; you are now deafened for 1d20 + 30 turns.
You feel rankled.
Create monster effect when you are already deaf; deafness is extended for 1d5 + 15 turns.
A tower of flame erupts from the floor!
Fire trap effect.
You hear distant howling.
You suddenly yearn for your distant homeland.
A shiver runs up and down your spine!
Your pack shakes violently!
You smell charred flesh.
You feel tired.
These are all called "odd feelings" and none of them have any effect.
You suddenly yearn for your nearby homeland.
You happen to be on the level containing the quest portal, or in the quest branch but not on the home level.
You feel [oddly] like the prodigal son.
You would have yearned for your homeland, but you are on the quest home level already. Female characters feel "oddly".
You hear the moon howling at you.
You suddenly yearn for Cleveland.
You smell hamburgers.
You would have had the corresponding odd feeling, but you are hallucinating.
You feel charismatic!
Charisma increases by 1 if not maximum; all adjacent monsters are tamed if they can be, or otherwise made peaceful if they can be. Monster magic resistance is not checked.
You feel like someone is helping you.
Same effect as an uncursed scroll of remove curse - curses on worn and wielded items and loadstones will be removed.


Repeatedly #sitting or stepping on magic traps is an easy way to raise charisma; a patient player can usually reach the maximum for his race. This may be useful for dealing with foocubi. This effect can also be used to acquire pets, especially because the trap tends to create many monsters. On average, a single magic trap grants 1.4 points of charisma.

The remove curse effect of the trap is not as reliable since it requires you to equip cursed gear with no guarantee that you will actually get the curses removed. Still, a player desperate to get rid of cursed gear might try to use a magic trap for this purpose.

If you wish to sit on a trap repeatedly, you should prepare by engraving Elbereth, having fire resistance, and having nothing burnable in your inventory. You should also be ready to deal with the many monsters created by the trap: making yourself immune to blindness with the Eyes of the Overworld or Sunsword, having telepathy or warning and being blind beforehand, having a unicorn horn to cure blindness, or just being confident that you are equipped enough to deal with all the unseen monsters. A unicorn horn is also nice for curing deafness.

The choice of which magic trap to sit on is also important; monsters generated from deeper traps will have a higher average difficulty. In general, it is a good idea to start with the shallowest dungeon levels and work your way down until you have reached the charisma score you want. If your Quest branch generates non-threatening monsters, though, you might want to use the magic traps there first.

A magic trap sufficiently close to an altar may be useful for generating sacrifices.



In UnNetHack some traps can be created by breaking a wand with a similar name. Breaking a wand of magic missile can create a magic trap if the terrain can accommodate such a trap.


Magic traps are slightly changed in SLASH'EM. The "Your pack shakes violently!" message now has an associated effect; every object in your inventory has a 1 in 10 chance of being assigned a new random letter. If the newly assigned letter is already taken by another object in the inventory the two items are swapped. Players that use fixinv will instead take 2 damage for each item that would have been moved; if this damage is fatal the death message will be "killed by violence". Additionally, monsters also have a 1 in 30 chance of destroying the magic trap in the same manner as the player; the trap is removed, they take 1d10 damage, their maximum power is increased by 2, and their power is set to this new maximum.