For the cancellation effects caused by armor, see Magic cancellation.

Cancellation is the term for removing magic from an object or disabling the special attack of a monster. The most common source of cancellation is the wand of cancellation. A few are able to use the spellbook of cancellation. Those wielding Magicbane can sometimes cancel monsters that way. Foocubi can spontaneously become cancelled. Some potions can be cancelled by dipping things in them.

Cancellation of objects[]

Cancellation has the following effects on objects:

"In short, cancellation is quite thorough."

Except for certain scrolls, spellbooks, and potions, cancelled objects do not change type. Cancelling a bag of holding or magic lamp will merely uncurse it, not turn it into a sack or oil lamp. Cancelling an artifact will not turn it into a non-artifact. Cancellation has no effect on the objects inside a container.

Cancelled wands end up with (x:-1) charges, where x is its value prior to being cancelled. Cancelled wands can be recharged subject to normal restrictions on wand charging, but cannot be wrested; if they are zapped or engraved with, they will turn to dust.

Item Effect of Cancellation
) All weapons become uncursed and +0.

This goes for artifact weapons as well; the blessed +7 Mjollnir doesn't become an uncursed +0 war hammer, but the uncursed +0 Mjollnir.

It doesn't make a difference whether you've named the artifact yourself (Sting, Orcrist).

) A crysknife that you have in your inventory cancels to an uncursed +0 crysknife; it doesn't go back to worm tooth unless you drop it (no cancellation needed for that). Fixed crysknives stay fixed.

Rust, corrosion and fooproofing are not affected by cancellation.

[ All armor becomes uncursed and +0. Dragon scale mail doesn't go back to dragon scales. T-shirts don't blank (would be a nice touch, but there are no blank T-shirts).

Rust, corrosion and fooproofing are not affected by cancellation.

Self-cursing armour (helm of opposite alignment, dunce cap) will become uncursed when cancelled but curse themselves again when you put them on.

( Ah, this is a tricky one. Someone thought that bags of tricks/holding cancelled to ordinary sacks; this is not true.

A bag of holding is not an ordinary bag that's been enchanted; it's a magically made bag. This also means that you can't make a bag of holding out of a sack by enchanting or charging it.

Putting a wand of cancellation with more than zero charges into a bag of holding makes it explode, and you lose the bag and the wand and everything that's in the bag. Cancelling a bag of holding makes it uncursed. This means that zapping a blessed bag of holding with a wand of cancellation actually makes it heavier, and zapping a cursed bag of holding

with a wand of cancellation makes it lighter. Also, cancelling a cursed bag of holding stops objects disappearing when you #loot or (a)pply it.

To dismiss another common fallacy: nothing disappears from a bag of holding when you cancel it, except the bless/curse status of the bag itself. All objects inside are unchanged, don't disappear, aren't blanked or converted to water, and keep their bless/curse status.

The same goes for a bag of tricks: an empty bag of tricks is not a sack, but "a bag of tricks (n:0)". Cancelling a bag of tricks makes it uncursed/unblessed and empty, but doesn't change the fact that it's a bag of tricks.

An empty (or non-empty, for that matter) bag of tricks can be charged, making it "full" again. A bag of tricks is the only bag that can be charged, because it has charges. All other bags can only be cursed or blessed (and greased, if you like), not charged. No bag can ever be enchanted.

( A magic lamp becomes an uncursed magic lamp (not an oil lamp).
( A magic whistle becomes an uncursed magic whistle (not a tin whistle).
( Magic markers are put at n:0 charges and uncursed. If n=0 you can recharge it as if you used it all up.
( Horns of plenty, frost/fire horns, magic harps, drums of earthquake and any chargeable magical tools that I may have forgotten are put at n:0 and can be recharged normally.
( Cans of grease and tinning kits are just made uncursed, even though they have charges. The same goes for non-magical lamps and lanterns.
* All gems, luckstones and flint stones become uncursed.
* Loadstones become uncursed but curse themselves the moment you pick them up.
" All amulets become uncursed.
? All scrolls become uncursed scrolls of blank paper, except scrolls of mail (to prevent abuse).
+ All spellbooks become uncursed spellbooks of blank paper, except the Book of the Dead (to prevent being accidentally screwed up)
! Water (including holy and unholy water), booze (sake), fruit juice and oil become uncursed.

Sickness and see invisible cancel to uncursed fruit juice.

All other potions (including acid, strangely) become uncursed potions of water.

= All rings become uncursed and, if chargeable, +0. This makes it impossible to identify a cancelled ring of adornment or gain <foo> by simply putting it on.
/ A wand of cancellation can't be cancelled. It retains its charges, but becomes uncursed if it was blessed or cursed.

All other wands become (n:-1) where "n" is the number of times already charged (in other words, this is not affected). A wand at -1 can be normally recharged if rechargeable, but it's impossible to wrest out the last charge.

% All food items become uncursed. Corpses are not refreshed; an old corpse that you cancel will still give you food poisoning.
0 Cancellation doesn't remove an iron ball.

Cancelling yourself[]

If you zap a wand of cancellation at yourself, every item in your inventory (except the wand itself) will become cancelled. All equipment will revert to uncursed and +0, all spellbooks and scrolls will turn blank, etc. This affects only items, i. e. the naked player monster is not cancelled. Do not do this with a wand that you think is a wand of make invisible. Self-cancellation is one means of removing cursed gear; just be sure to drop everything else before zapping.

You are immune to cancellation if you have magic resistance, unless you are zapping yourself.

Cancellation of monsters[]

Monsters have an opportunity to resist cancellation effects. If the monster fails, it is cancelled and loses most of its special abilities.

Abilities stopped by cancellation[]

The following attacks and special abilities are entirely stopped by cancellation:

Cancelling clay golems causes them to be destroyed immediately (this is because they, according to legend, are animated by an inscription on their forehead, which the wand erases).

Abilities not stopped by cancellation[]

Some attacks which are not magical in nature cannot be cancelled, these include:


Cancelling a cockatrice or chickatrice prevents it from stiffening you with its hissing, but direct physical contact with it or its corpse can still cause stoning.

Cancelling Medusa removes her stoning gaze, which also means that she cannot be stoned with a reflecting item. Similarly, cancelling a floating eye means it cannot be paralyzed with the same.


It is possible to un-cancel most monsters by stoning them and then casting stone to flesh on their statue. This does not work on a foocubus or a nymph, though (zap.c, line 511). Also, some monsters resist stoning, and tiny-sized monsters can turn into rocks or meatballs in the process.

Cancelling the floor[]

Engraving on the floor or zapping downwards with a wand of cancellation will cause any previously created engraving on the floor space to disappear.

"The engraving on the <floor> vanishes!"

Considering when to cancel[]

Suppose you need some blank scrolls and spellbooks and some potions of water, because you plan to use your magic marker and make holy water. If you have a wand of cancellation, one strategy is to put all your junk scrolls, spellbooks, and potions into one pile, then zap it with only one charge. However, it is usually easier to wet those kinds of items rather than cancelling them. The advantage of cancelling in the early game is that you do not need to use fountains, which are sometimes rare, and can cause nasty side effects. Once you find a pool or moat, or break a fountain to make a pool, you can save cancellation for use against monsters.

A few items can be rendered useful by cancelling them: a perfectly useless cursed -5 pair of levitation boots, for example, will cancel to a perfectly good uncursed +0 pair.