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"#loot has different effects when confused."

Confusion, or the state of being confused, is a property that affects you in the following ways:

  • You cannot cast spells.
  • You will not be asked for confirmation before attacking peaceful monsters.
  • You may walk in an unintended direction (though this happens at a lower rate than being stunned).
  • When reading scrolls, you will mispronounce the magic words, which will cause effects different from what would occur normally.
  • Reading any spellbook will instead make you tear the book into pieces (1/3 chance).
  • Being confused abuses wisdom.
  • You cannot fire more than one projectile at a time.
  • Mjollnir will not return to your hand.
  • Your ability to engrave is impaired.
  • You cannot play instruments.
  • You are less able to saddle a steed and cannot mount it.

In short, being confused is generally a bad thing, but the effects of reading some scrolls while confused can be useful.


If you are trying to confuse yourself, please be aware that many of these actions have other possible bad consequences. You may also want to lock yourself in a closet so that monsters don't gang up on you.

  • Attempting to cast a forgotten spell (can also stun you).
  • Reading a cursed or difficult spellbook (puts you at risk of other variety of bad effects).
  • Being hit by a thrown potion of confusion.
  • Quaffing a potion of confusion or a non-blessed potion of booze.
  • Reading a cursed scroll of confuse monster.
  • Letting an umber hulk confuse you with its gaze attack, or looking into a mirror while polymorphed into an umber hulk.
  • Applying a cursed Unicorn horn. Be sure to have a non-cursed one ready, however, because one possible consequence is deadly sickness.
  • Applying a charged crystal ball unsuccessfully (puts you at risk of a variety of other bad effects).
  • Trying to magic-map a non-mappable level.
  • Sitting on a throne.
  • Eating a rotten egg or a tripe ration as a non-orc/caveman/canine in an attempt to become nauseated (any food item has a chance of making you vomit, but eggs and tripe rations have the highest chance. Note that you need to wait some time to be confused, and cure the nauseating side-effect as well).
  • Being hit by Magicbane.
  • Throwing Magicbane upwards to let it hit you while not magic-resistant. This is more of a last-resort method for the early-game wizard, as it will most often just deal damage or stun you and can reduce your maximum power. Do it in a safe place (Sokoban) on Elbereth wearing a ring of regeneration with a unicorn horn while not wearing a metal helmet.
  • Monsters which are clerical spellcasters can confuse players without magic resistance.
  • Yeenoghu has a confusion attack.
  • Casting confuse monster while polymorphed.


Confused scroll effects[]

Useful effects[]

While reading most scrolls when confused exhibits harmful or useless effects, there are a few confused effects from certain scrolls that have been proven quite useful:

  • Scroll of charging: If your energy is at maximum, you gain 5d4 maximum energy. Otherwise, your energy is increased to maximum.
  • Scroll of destroy armor: Makes one random worn armor rustproof/fireproof. Does not repair damage, however. The scroll must be cursed.
  • Scroll of enchant armor: Makes one random worn armor rustproof/fireproof. If that armor had damage, it is repaired. The scroll must be non-cursed.
  • Scroll of enchant weapon: Makes your wielded weapon rustproof/fireproof. If it had damage, it is repaired. The scroll must be non-cursed.
  • Scroll of gold detection: You detect traps and portals (spaces with the ^ symbol) on the current level. If the scroll is cursed, they are shown as gold ($ symbol). Useful on the Elemental Planes or on the Gnomish Mines (due to the large amount of traps there).
  • Scroll of remove curse: All uncursed items have a 25% chance of being blessed and a 25% chance of being cursed if the scroll is blessed. If the scroll is uncursed, then only worn and wielded items are considered. Useful for obtaining unholy water.
  • Scroll of teleportation: Level-teleports you. If you have teleport control and are not also stunned, then you will usually be able to choose which level to teleport to.
  • Scroll of taming: Tames monsters within an 11x11 square area. Also calms shopkeepers. Some monsters can resist. The scroll must be non-cursed.


Reading unknown scrolls while confused helps identify them. However, there are, as expected, certain risks involved:

  • Scroll of genocide: Uncursed: Instadeath. Cursed: You are surrounded by 4-6 monsters of your role.
  • Scroll of earth: Blessed: Creates 2-6 rocks on each square around you. Uncursed: Creates 2-6 rocks on the same square as you and each open square around you. Cursed: Creates 2-6 rocks on the same square as you. Each rock does d3 damage, with the damage capped at two points, if you're wearing a metal helmet.
  • Scroll of fire: Lose one hit point, if not fire resistant.
  • Scroll of light: Acts as a cursed scroll of light.

Monster Confusion[]

There are various ways monsters can become confused:

When a monster is confused, they exhibit different behavior:

  • Spell casting monsters have a higher spell failure chance, specifically, if a random number chosen between 1 and the monster's level * 10 is less than 100, then the spell is lost. This gives the message The air crackles around <caster>.[2]
  • Reduces the chance of successfully avoiding an exploding drawbridge
  • Monsters cannot block incoming kicks
  • Monsters may attack a random adjacent target instead of the player. This includes enemies without weapons who will attack cockatrices and may stone themselves.[3]
  • Monsters cannot shoot multiple projectiles
  • Monsters will read scrolls incorrectly and will be affected by the confused behavior.
  • Monsters may wander in a random direction instead of attacking.

Monsters have a 1/50 chance of losing the confusion status on their turn. [4] If monsters have access to a non-cursed unicorn horn or a lizard corpse, they will use it to clear the confusion status.


In Hack, bats could cause confusion. NetHack has now differentiated this so that stun and confusion are not the same. Bats and trapped doors can stun you; this causes you to move in random directions, like confusion would. However, only confusion will let you obtain different effects from reading scrolls.


This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
  2. Any modifications to the spoiler must be acknowledged and credited.