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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.

Causes[edit | edit source]

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.

Cures[edit | edit source]

Confused scroll effects[edit | edit source]

Useful effects[edit | edit source]

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.

Risks[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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.

History[edit | edit source]

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.

References[edit | edit source]

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

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