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If you use an item with limited uses in a shop before paying for it and in the presence of a shopkeeper, you will be charged a usage fee[1]. This includes items with charges, spellbooks and non-permanent light sources.

Messages associated with usage feesEdit

  • "This is no free library, cad!" - spellbooks
  • "That will cost you (n) zorkmids (Yendorian Fuel Tax)." - potions of oil
  • "Usage fee, (n) zorkmids."; - anything else

Each of these messages has a one-in-three chance of being prefaced with "Hey!" or "Ahem."


Usages fees are a percentage (rounded down) of the item's normal cost:

Item classUsage FeeNotes
Magic lamp See below See below
Magic marker 50% No matter how many charges are used, or even if the use was successful
Bag of tricks
Horn of plenty
Can of grease
Tinning kit
Expensive camera
All other chargeable tools
25% Only if the item had any charges
Spellbook 80%
Potion of oil 20%

The usage fee of a magic lamp depends on how it is used:

  • 'a'pplying it will be charged as if it had the price of an oil lamp
  • #rubbing it will, if a djinni is released, have a usage fee of 133%


In general, it is preferable to buy the item first (credit_cloning), or even buy&use&sell it. One exception are low-level spellbooks: By the time the spell expires, your character is most likely either dead or stinking rich.


  1. shk.c, line 3922 usage fee
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