The Wish Spoiler
Peter Snelling, P.Eng. (snelling@SEND NO
Nortel Networks, Ottawa, Canada
Standard Disclaimer: My views only, not my employer's

Conversion to HTML November 14 1999 by Oisin Curtin (ocurtin@SEND NO
  HTML update from Nov. 3 to Nov. 12 versions performed by hand using diff. Blame me for any errors introduced.  
For NetHack 3.3.0

  Visit Sascha's (and Ralph's) NetHack site, click on spoilers, then click spoilers for 3.3.0 and look about half way down the list for Wishing Spoiler.

  This version of the spoiler, for NetHack 3.2.2 will remain in The Minetown Digger for those who have not yet upgraded.


by Peter Snelling   snelling@SEND NO

with contributions from many people in
Updated November 12, 1999
Wishing in it's original text format

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General Wishing guidelines

There are 5 ways to get a wish:
1. Wands of wishing: They have up to 3 charges. When they get to 0 charges, they can be recharged once with a scroll of charging (or equivalent). A blessed scroll of charging will give it 3 more charges. Also, you have a 1/121 chance of getting a final zap from a wand with 0 charges. So once you've recharged it and used all three wishes again, you can get one final wish by zapping it repeatedly (hint: #adjust it to "z"). So a Wand of Wishing(3) should give you 7 wishes.

Tip #1: If you don't know how many charges it had, make sure you use your first wish on something to charge it with. Scrolls of charging are the most obvious way, but if you've already seen one, you might wish for a magic marker instead.

Tip #2: Note that if your luck is less than 0, you may not get a wish. If it's less than -5, you won't get a wish. Instead you get a slightly helpful message "Unfortunately, nothing happens". Don't try again until you fix your luck.

Tip #3: #Name-specific it "recharged" after you've charged it, so you don't try to charge it a second time. They can only be recharged once.
2. A magic lamp: #rubbing it repeatedly will eventually release a djinni. If the lamp is blessed, there is an 80% chance of getting a wish. Once you get the djinni from a magic lamp, it becomes a normal lamp, and can't be recharged to give you another wish. Some players save magic lamps if they don't desperately need a wish, since they are permanent light sources.
3. A fountain: Quaffing or dipping at a fountain has a 1/30 chance of releasing a water demon who has a (20 - dungeon level)% chance of giving you a wish.
4. Quaffing a smoky potion: if the potion is blessed, you have a 1/13 (lower each successive time) of it containing a djinni. If the potion was blessed it will grant you a wish 80% of the time.
5. Sitting on a throne: If your luck is over 0, you have a 1/13 chance of getting a wish.
Other that the wand, these methods have a possibility of a hazardous outcome, particularly if the lamp/potion isn't blessed.

If you do get a wish, remember that the you are not always given an artifact when you wish for it. The odds are inversely proportional to the number of artifacts which already exist (For a moment, you feel it in your hand, but it disappears!), so creating wimpy artifacts like Sting and Orcrist early on might prevent you from wishing for Grayswandir later.

There is no reliable way to wish for another wish. Don't waste a wish on another wand of wishing or a magic lamp. The only possible way is to wish for blessed smoky potions, which have a possibility of giving you a wish.

How many, what enchantment, blessed?

When wishing for a "stackable" item, you should always ask for more than one. The random generator may only give you one, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Similarly, you should specify the enchantment you want, since you'll get +0 if it fails. Also, in standard nethack, asking for it to be blessed or *proof doesn't hurt (in some variants, I understand that asking for blessed reduced your odds of getting the quantity or enchanment you wanted).

For items like magic markers and wands, it's to be better to let them be generated with a random number of charges than to wish for them with a specific number -- if you specify a number they will have the lower of the random number and what you specified.

I generally wish for quantities of 2 and enchantment of +2, but Dylan O'Donnell (dylanw@SEND NO did a analysis of the odds, which showed that you get slightly more on average if you wish for more (3 or 4 and +3). I'll summarize it as follows:

The exceptions to the above table are candles (up to 7, 100% of the time) and missile weapons (up to 20, 100% of the time).

As with everything else, this is situation dependant. For example, if you really need two charging scrolls, play it safe and only ask for two.

What to Wish For?

Answer: It depends. It depends on your character class, on your playing style, on your game situation, on your nethack ethics (eg: polypiling), the number of wishes, and your current inventory.

The general consensus for an early wish is gray dragon scale mail. Speed boots are also a popular choice, especially for characters without intrinsic speed. But even these are situation dependant:
  • If you have a cloak of magic resistance, you might opt for black dragon scale mail instead.
  • If you don't find a bag in the gnomish mine shops, a blessed bag of holding might make sense.
  • If you're burdened and wimpy, perhaps gauntlets of power
  • If you're a poor typist, perhaps an amulet of life saving
  • If it's a wand, wish for scrolls of charging.
  • etc.

In any case, here's my list. Just remember that you need to consider your situation before you can pick the best item:

High Priority

"blessed +2 gray dragon scale mail" 
"blessed rustproof +2 pair of speed boots" 
"blessed rustproof +2 gauntlets of power"=> particularly for a Valkyrie
"blessed rustproof +2 gauntlets of dexterity"=> if strength is already good
"blessed +2 shield of reflection" => 75% of Perseus statues have a cursed one
"blessed amulet of life saving"=> There's always one in Vlad's Tower
"blessed wand of polymorph" => polypiling: zap at a pile of "useless" objects
"blessed bag of holding"
"2 blessed scrolls of charging"=> if you don't know how to write it
"blessed magic marker"=> for writing blessed scrolls of charging, etc.
"uncursed magic marker"=> allows writing cursed/uncursed/blessed scrolls

Medium Priority

"blessed figurine of an Archon"=> still the best pet
"blessed tinning kit"=> makes blessed tins
"2 blessed potions of gain ability" 
"2 blessed scrolls of genocide" 
"blessed ring of levitation"=> you'll probably find one before endgame
"blessed ring of teleport control"=> if you got teleport without control
"blessed ring of polymorph control"=> polymorph into a Xorn or Vampire Lord
"blessed greased rustproof +2 helm of brilliance" 
"blessed +2 Grayswandir"=> silver damage makes it good against demons, L
"blessed rustproof +2 Mjollnir"=> very few monsters are shock resistant, N
"blessed rustproof +2 Frost Brand"=> few monsters are cold resistant, N
"blessed rustproof +2 Magicbane"=> Absorbs curses. Don't enchant past +2, N
"blessed rustproof +2 Vorpal Blade"=> good for a quick kill, N
"blessed rustproof +2 Stormbringer"=> tough to control, C
many more weapons, but it's easier to get them by sacrificing/praying/dipping

Low Priority

"blessed amulet of magical breathing"=> prevents choking, allows swimming
"blessed amulet of reflection"=> if you don't want to wear a shield
"blessed rustproof +2 helm of telepathy" 
"blessed rustproof +2 helm of opposite alignment"=> lose protection
"blessed fireproof +2 oilskin cloak" 
"blessed fireproof +2 cloak of displacement"=> only has cancellation of 2
"blessed fireproof +2 T shirt" 
"2 cursed scrolls of genocide"=> caution is advised
"blessed cockatrice corpse"=> Gloves and lots of caution are advised
"blessed spellbook of identify" 
many other spell books, but it's easier to get them by praying

Without Wishing

The following are useful items, but there are ways to get them without wishing (they may not be blessed and *proof though).
"blessed luckstone"=> there's one in the last level of the mines
"7 blessed wax candles"=> Can wish for up to 7 if not enough in minetown
"blessed fireproof +2 levitation boots" => contained in 25% of Perseus statue
"blessed fireproof +2 water walking boots" => in Vlad's Tower

I've left the Amulet of Life Saving and Shield of Reflection on the high priority list, even though you may eventually get one elsewhere. Additionally, praying can result in being crowned, which can give you Excalibur (L), Vorpal Blade (N), or Stormbringer (C). Since being crowned is a mixed blessing, I've left Vorpal Blade and Stormbringer on the "Medium Priority" wish list.

Quest Artifacts

Don't wish for your own quest artifact, you find it on the quest. However it is possible to wish for another class's quest artifact. As with any artifacts your odds are inversely proportional to the number of artifacts which exist.

I don't normally for wish them. They may not be as powerful for other classes, and they may not even work at all if you aren't the correct alignment. I won't describe all the effects here, but here is the list of all of them if you want to use a spare wish for one:

"blessed Orb of Detection"=> A, Lawful
"blessed Heart of Ahriman"=> B, Neutral
"blessed Sceptre of Might"=> C, Lawful
"blessed Palantir of Westernesse"=> E, Chaotic
"blessed Staff of Aesculapius"=> H, Neutral
"blessed Magic Mirror of Merlin"=> K, Lawful
"blessed Mitre of Holiness"=> P, Lawful
"blessed Master Key of Thievery"=> R, Chaotic
"blessed Tsurugi of Muramasa"=> S, Lawful
"blessed Platinum Yendorian Express Card"=> T, Neutral
"blessed Orb of Fate"=> V, Neutral
"blessed Eye of the Aethiopica"=> W, Neutral

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