Wands are limited-use magical devices. Any character can zap a wand, but all wands have a specific number of charges. When all charges have been used, the wand will either do nothing or function one last time and then turn to dust (1/121 chance). This is known as "wresting" a last charge out of the wand. A wand can also be recharged.

A wand's effect is not known before it is identified: they only appear by description, such as "an ivory wand" (see Appearance).

All wands have a weight of 7.

Types of wands[]

Wand Cost Maximum charges Prob Type
light 100 15 9.5% non-directional
nothing 100 8 2.5% beam
digging 150 8 5.5% ray
enlightenment 150 15 1.5% non-directional
locking 150 8 2.5% beam
magic missile 150 8 5% ray
make invisible 150 8 4.5% beam
opening 150 8 2.5% beam
probing 150 8 3% beam
secret door detection 150 15 5% non-directional
slow monster 150 8 5% beam
speed monster 150 8 5% beam
striking 150 8 7.5% beam
undead turning 150 8 5% beam
cold 175 8 4% ray
fire 175 8 4% ray
lightning 175 8 4% ray
sleep 175 8 5% ray
cancellation 200 8 4.5% beam
create monster 200 15 4.5% non-directional
polymorph 200 8 4.5% beam
teleportation 200 8 4.5% beam
death 500 8 .5% ray
wishing 500 3 .5% non-directional


Wands comprise 4% of all randomly-generated items in the main dungeon, 6% in containers, 5% on the Rogue level, and 8% in Gehennom. The Prob column above is the relative probability of each subtype. They appear 1/34 (~3%) cursed, 16/17 (~94%) uncursed, and 1/34 (~3%) blessed.

Wands of wishing start with 1 to 3 charges; otherwise, the wand starts with at least 5 charges. [1]

Orcus always carries a wand of death, while Asmodeus always carries wands of fire and cold. Minotaurs usually carry wands of digging. The Castle always contains a wand of wishing in one of its tower rooms.

The above probabilities do not completely predict the relative frequency of wands, because wands can appear in monster inventories as well as on the dungeon floor. In particular, monsters are often given wands of digging, striking, magic missile, and create monster.


The appearances of wands are randomized from the following descriptions:

glass       balsa       crystal     maple       pine
oak         ebony       marble      tin         brass
copper      silver      platinum    iridium     zinc
aluminum    uranium     iron        steel       hexagonal
short       runed       long        curved      forked
spiked      jeweled

Only marble wands turn to meat sticks when hit by the spell of stone to flesh, and only glass or crystal ones shatter from a force bolt. Wielded silver wands will do silver damage. The appearance of a wand also affects its susceptibility to erosion, which is largely cosmetic and has no implications on its functioning. (Erode-proof wands are very rare but can be wished for.) Iron, steel, runed, and (most?) shaped wands can rust; copper ones corrode; and wooden wands (oak, balsa, ebony, maple, and pine) might also erode with fire and/or rot, but this has not yet been verified.

Direction, beams, and rays[]

The type of wand denotes the behavior when it is zapped. Non-directional wands do not ask for a direction. Beam wands ask for a direction, but do not show a visibly animated effect when zapped. Ray wands produce a ray which is animated on the screen; if you are unblind when you zap the wand, you will also identify that type of wand. Rays may bounce off walls, or be reflected.

Note that a directional wand (or spell) may affect not only the first object or creature it hits, but several others behind it. An example of this is healing your pet and a few hostile monsters as well -- or zapping not only your pet with a wand of speed monster, but also a shopkeeper, angering him.


The range of a wand is 6 + 1d7[2], giving a range of 7 to 13 tiles. For each tile the wand affects, its range will drop by another 2 tiles[3]. Thus, the maximum number of affected tiles is 5. If the wand is a ray, each time it bounces of a wall its range will drop by an extra tile[4].

Using wands[]

Each time you zap or Engrave with a wand, you use one charge. If engraving, it does not matter how many characters you write or how many turns it takes, the cost is still one charge. A wand with zero charges left has a 1 in 121 chance of wresting a last charge and then turning to dust each time it is zapped (this won't happen if the wand was cancelled but not recharged). Cancelling a wand will make it uncursed and (except for wands of cancellation) it will get zero charges. Cursed wands have a 1% chance of exploding if zapped or engraved with, but otherwise function as normal. In particular, there are no ill effects when putting cursed wands into containers (except charged wands of cancellation into bags of holding[5]).

Recharging wands[]

Wands may be recharged by scrolls of charging or by the Platinum Yendorian Express Card. Previously-recharged wands have a chance of exploding (up to a maximum of 100% for a 7:x wand or a 1:x wand of wishing); see charging.

A cursed scroll will have no effect on a blessed wand or a wand with no charges; otherwise, "Your <wand> vibrates briefly" and it gets zero charges. An uncursed scroll will bring the number of charges to a random number from 1 to a random number between 5 and the maximum charges shown above (or for a wand of wishing a random number from 1 to 3); a blessed scroll will bring the number of charges in the wand to a random number from 5 to the maximum charges shown above, or for a wand of wishing to three charges. If it already has that number of charges, it gains one more charge. A wand of wishing charged beyond three charges will explode. "Your <wand> <glows/vibrates> briefly." if the new enchantment is below the maximum; "Your <wand> <glows blue/vibrates> for a moment." otherwise.

Breaking wands[]

You can destroy a wand by applying it. You will be prompted for confirmation, and you must have hands and a strength of at least 10. Wands with no charges and some wands listed below have no effect ("But nothing else happens...").

Most wands will produce an explosion when broken. The explosion causes damage to yourself and any monsters that were in the adjacent squares when you broke the wand. This damage can be reduced or eliminated if you (or the monster) has an appropriate resistance. Damage is also reduced to 1/2 for Healers and Knights and to 1/5 for Monks, Priests and Wizards. Further effects can occur as if you had zapped yourself with the wand. The explosion can also affect objects in your inventory, on your square, and on adjacent squares, and affect locations as if they were zapped. Finally, some types of wands have explosions that make you identify the wand. Specific effects are detailed below. In any case, you destroy the wand and owe the cost if it was unpaid.

Wand Effect when broken
cancellation There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are cancelled.
cold There is an explosion of cold with (8 * charges) damage.
Potions may freeze.
You identify the wand.
create monster There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage. You are surrounded by monsters.
death There is an explosion of death with (16 * charges) damage.
Non-living monsters and demons resist this damage.
You identify the wand.
digging There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
You are surrounded by pits and holes.
enlightenment No effect
fire There is an explosion of fire with (8 * charges) damage.
Armor, scrolls and spellbooks may burn.
Potions may boil.
Burns away slime.
You identify the wand.
light There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
You are blinded for (charges+1)d25 turns; surrounding monsters may also be blinded, and gremlins take damage.
The room is lit.
lightning There is an explosion of lightning with (16*charges) damage.
Rings and other wands may explode.
You identify the wand.
locking No effect
magic missile There is an explosion of magic missiles with (4 * charges) damage.
You identify the wand.
make invisible There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
You and surrounding monsters are made invisible (in your case, a 10% chance of its being permanent, a 90% chance of it lasting for (charges) to (250*charges) (more) turns).
nothing No effect
opening No effect
polymorph There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are polymorphed.
probing No effect
secret door detection If there is a secret door nearby, it will be detected and the wand will be identified. Otherwise, no effect.
sleep There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
You and surrounding monsters may be put to sleep.
slow monster There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
You and surrounding monsters are slowed.
speed monster There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
You and surrounding monsters are sped up.
striking "A wall of force smashes down around you!"
There is an explosion from 1 to (charges+1)d6 damage.
You and surrounding monsters are hit by a force bolt.
Fragile objects in your and adjacent squares may be destroyed.
teleportation There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are teleported.
undead turning There is an explosion from 1 to (4*charges) damage.
Monsters and objects in the affected squares are turned.
wishing No effect

Identifying Wands[]


The easiest and safest way to identify with a wand is to engrave with it. To do so, first write something in the dust with your fingers ("Elbereth" is a good safe default choice that exercises Wisdom to boot; illiterate characters can use "x"), then engrave something else with the wand. You may get a message or effect giving a clue as to what the wand is.

This won't work if you are blind, levitating, or not on a writable floor.

Engraving with a wand uses up one charge (possibly wresting the last), but if the wand is nondirectional, it performs its usual effect.

Message/Effect Possible wand Notes
"The engraving on the <floor> vanishes!" cancellation
teleportation (the engraving is moved elsewhere in the level)
make invisible
no message if no existing engraving
"A few ice cubes drop from the wand." cold
"The bugs on the <floor> stop moving!" sleep

"This <wand> is a wand of digging!"

"Gravel flies up from the floor!"

digging wand self-identifies
"This <wand> is a wand of fire!" fire wand self-identifies
"This <wand> is a wand of lightning!" lightning wand self-identifies
"A lit field surrounds you!" light wand self-identifies
"The <floor> is riddled by bullet holes!" magic missile
"The engraving now reads: <random message>" polymorph no message if no existing engraving
"The bugs on the <floor> slow down!" slow monster
"The bugs on the <floor> speed up!" speed monster
"The wand unsuccessfully fights your attempt to write!" striking
No message or effect

undead turning
secret door detection
wand is exhausted (x:0)
wand is cancelled (x:-1)

Create monster, enlightenment, light, and wishing perform their usual effect and self-identify when engraved with. Wands of secret door detection self-identify if they find anything; otherwise, no effect or message.

This technique can be dangerous with wands of create monster and lightning, summoning a monster or making you blind, thus adding "Elbereth" to your existing engraving can be helpful. Lightning will burn it into the floor making an erodeproof Elbereth square to wait out your blindness.

Also, be careful concerning the identical message for wands of make invisible, teleportation, and cancellation; you don't want to end up teleporting yourself or cancelling a pet by accident. The safest way to find out the exact identity is using the wand on a non-blank scroll or non-clear potion you neither need nor care if a monster picks it up (for exmaple, scroll of light). If nothing happens, it's make invisible; if the item disappears, it's teleport; if the item blanks/clears (or turns into fruit juice if you're using potion of sickness), it's cancellation.

You can safely zap a wand that give no message at yourself. Undead turning identifies itself and secret door detection can be identified by lacking a prompt for direction. if it still does not identify, it is either nothing, opening, or locking, which can then be tested on doors and containers.

Identification by zapping[]

A good way to determine the identity of a wand that makes engravings vanish--at the cost of using a second charge--is to do this: line up an item and a monster and zap them. If they both vanish it was teleportation, if the monster vanishes it was make invisible, and if neither vanish it was cancellation. You can also place a junk scroll on the ground and zap it. If it disappears, the wand is teleportation. If the scroll is blanked, the wand is cancellation. If nothing happens, it's make invisible. This technique doesn't result in an invisible monster.

Many wands will self-identify with zapping. A single zap under the right circumstances can determine nearly all of these: stand in a room where you know there is an undetected trap or door (messages such as Vlad was here or ad aerarium indicate such a door), and another door that is closed but unlocked. Drop an object that can be recognizably cancelled (such as a junk scroll) at a diagonal to the door (to prevent dangerous beams from hitting you), and lure a visible undead monster onto the same diagonal line. Zap toward the object, monster, and door. If both object and monster vanish, the wand is teleportation; if the monster vanishes and the object doesn't, it is make invisible; if the scroll is blank, it was cancellation; if the door opens, it was opening; if the door is now locked, it was locking; if the monster flees, it was turn undead; if the hidden door appears, it was secret door detection. If nothing happens, it was either a wand of digging or nothing, or the wand was empty of charges. All other wands will self-identify.


Almost any class of items can be price-identified, but there are two groups of wands for which this is exceptionally useful. Wands of wishing and wands of death are covered in the price identification article; both have base cost 500. In addition, the four wands with base cost 175 are all very useful in the early or middle game. Wands of cold, fire, and lightning provide a powerful ranged attack. Wands of fire and lightning offer an instant method of engraving Elbereth. Freezing water with a wand of cold is one way to cross it or to deal with sea monsters and their dreaded instakill. And wands of sleep are great all the time.


Main article: Wand strategy


See also: Polypiling

Wands are quirky when polymorphed; unlike many other objects, where the greatest risk is sundering and golem generation, their quality will quickly degrade. The most useful wands are wishing (to wish for a wand of death), death (to clear a five-lane highway to the Castle's wand of wishing), polymorph, digging, secret door detection, cold, and teleportation. Most others, by the time the player has a means to polymorph objects, have long since become useless. The two most useful--wishing and polymorph--will never, ever appear in polymorphs--don't try.

By the time the player seriously considers polypiling, they'll have all the wands of teleportation they're likely to need. The same goes for digging--and additionally, a pick-axe can work in a pinch for a slower means of clearing a pre-amulet fast-track to the Plane of Earth. For many players, secret door detection has one use and one use only--getting through Gehennom and Moloch's Sanctum fire traps that much faster. And there, they may instead opt to carry the Bell of Opening just a few steps further to serve this purpose. Wands of cold are useful for freezing moats and lava, but even there a player is likely to greatly prefer a ring of levitation.

Encyclopedia entry[]

'Saruman!' he cried, and his voice grew in power and authority.
'Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am
Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no
colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council.'
He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice.
'Saruman, your staff is broken.' There was a crack, and the
staff split asunder in Saruman's hand, and the head of it
fell down at Gandalf's feet. 'Go!' said Gandalf. With a cry
Saruman fell back and crawled away.

[ The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]
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