! Clear potion
Name holy water
Appearance blessed clear potion
Cost 100 zm
Weight 20

A potion of holy water (unidentified, a "blessed clear potion" if BUC is known) is the blessed version of a potion of water. You can use it with the #dip command to remove curses or bless objects. Objects dipped into a potion of holy water do not become wet.

  • Dip a cursed object into holy water to make it uncursed.
  • Dip an uncursed object into holy water to make it blessed.
  • Dip a blessed object into holy water, and you get message "Interesting..."; the potion is not consumed. A useful way to verify that a certain potion is blessed before quaffing it (for example).

NetHack provides a few other ways to remove curse, but holy water is the main way to provide the "blessed" status to objects.

Quaffing a potion of holy water cures lycanthropy and, for non-chaotics, cures all illnesses. It does damage to chaotics. Holy water can be thrown at (or wielded against) demons, undead, and lycanthropes to cause damage. However, most of the time holy water is used for blessing objects.

Quaffing Edit

If you are chaotic or polymorphed to an undead creation or a demon, "It burns like acid!". You abuse constitution, cure lycanthropy, and lose 2d6 hit points. Otherwise, "You feel full of awe." Your cure all sicknesses, excersise wisdom and constitution, and cure lycanthropy.

Obtaining holy water Edit


A Priest(ess) starts with 4 potions of holy water, and a Wizard sometimes starts with holy water; otherwise it is a good idea to find a potion of holy water from somewhere. As holy water is blessed water, you normally need holy water to make holy water, however NetHack allows you to make a "water prayer":

  1. Obtain some potions of water (cursed or uncursed, it doesn't matter).
  2. Go to an altar which matches your own alignment.
  3. Drop the potions of water onto the altar.
  4. Now #pray.

Provided that you can #pray safely, all of the water dropped on the altar should become holy water; you can test this by taking the water and dropping it again to check for the flash.

Confused remove curseEdit

An uncursed scroll of remove curse read while confused has a 25% chance of cursing or blessing each uncursed worn, wielded, or quivered item plus applied leashes and loadstones. A confused blessed scroll of remove curse has a 25% chance of cursing or blessing all uncursed items in inventory.

If you have a magic marker, but none of your scrolls of remove curse are blessed, you can blank any other blessed scroll and write remove curse.


Sometimes a potion of holy water will be randomly generated. In particular, an expensive potion of water in a shop must be either holy or unholy, and if your pet steals it, it's holy.


Once you have holy water, you can easily convert uncursed potions of water into holy water. The potions of uncursed water should be stacked in your inventory. If they are not (for example, if you were diluting them), then use the extended command #adjust to adjust any one of the potions to its own inventory slot -- this will make them stack onto that slot (alternatively, drop all the scattered waters and pick them back up, which is faster but consumes two in-game turns). Now #dip the uncursed water into holy water. The entire stack of uncursed water will become holy water, and you will only lose the one potion of holy water.

Note that using that method with unholy water will only change it to uncursed water, so you will need to use two potions of holy water to turn a stack of unholy water into a stack of holy water. However, unholy water does have some uses, so it might be beneficial to keep them.

Conduct considerationsEdit

AtheistWater prayer
PacifistDeath drop, e. g. pudding farming
IlliterateConfused scroll of remove curse technique
PolypilePolymorph blessed potions (e. g. from throne farming)
WishlessWish for it directly
"Scumming"Restart until you find it, likely in shops, bones files, or containers. Takes expected 87 potions.

Holy Water ConservationEdit

Any number of stackable items can be dipped into one potion of holy water. So, if you have, say, 12 scrolls of identify that you want to bless, but they are scattered across various inventory slots because some are cursed, some are uncursed, some are of unknown status, and so forth, you will save holy water by first B/U/C testing them all at an altar, which will cut your number of stacks down to two. Then, dip all the cursed items in one potion, and you will have a single stack of uncursed items. Dip all of them in a second potion, and they will all be blessed.

When you are manipulating items in this fashion, you may need to use the #adjust command to force NetHack to merge identical items into a single inventory slot, or drop the items and pick them up again.

Strategy: other notesEdit

From the mid-game on, it is a good idea to leave a potion of holy water in the open on the floor of some level you can quickly level- or branch-port to. In case you do accidentally wield a cursed two-handed weapon, you'll have a hard time retrieving it from your bag.

See AlsoEdit

Encyclopedia entryEdit

"We want a word with you," said Ligur (in a tone of voice
intended to imply that "word" was synonymous with "horrifically
painful eternity"), and the squat demon pushed open the office
The bucket teetered, then fell neatly on Ligur's head.
Drop a lump of sodium in water. Watch it flame and burn and
spin around crazily, flaring and sputtering. This was like
that, just nastier.
The demon peeled and flared and flickered. Oily brown smoke
oozed from it, and it screamed and it screamed and it screamed.
Then it crumpled, folded in on itself, and what was left lay
glistening on the burnt and blackened circle of carpet, looking
like a handful of mashed slugs.
"Hi," said Crowley to Hastur, who had been walking behind Ligur,
and had unfortunately not been so much as splashed.
There are some things that are unthinkable; there are some
depths that not even demons would believe other demons would
stoop to.
". . . Holy water. You bastard," said Hastur. "You complete
_bastard_. He hadn't never done nothing to _you_."
"Yet," corrected Crowley.

[ Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett ]
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