After reading a "dog eared spellbook" in Nethack 3.6.0, all my money is lost. I've made some search on the Wiki, but nothing relevant can be found.

So what's that evil spellbook? Is this a new feature added since Nethack 3.6.0?

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  • That doesn't sound like a very effective hack...
    – Ben
    Jun 9, 2016 at 3:19

2 Answers 2


No, this feature exists in 3.4.3 as well. Upon failing to read a spellbook, one of the possible effects is

  1. All your (visible) gold vanishes: "You notice you have no gold!" ("money" in 3.6.0) (or "You feel a strange sensation.", if you had no gold).

Other possible effects include paralysis (always occurs, even with free action), random teleportation, blindness or confusion, strength and/or HP loss, and so on. The spellbook itself is also sometimes destroyed.

This is why you should never read an unidentified spellbook (unless you are a wizard, in which case you will be warned before reading too-difficult spellbooks). Always price-ID spellbooks before reading them.

As a general rule of thumb, your experience level should be around 4-5 times the level of the spellbook you're trying to read, assuming an Intelligence of ~15. When in doubt, check the formula for success rate on the wiki.

  • Sometimes I would read an expensive spellbook in a store on purpose, so that I may escape from(in case of teleportation) that store with all unpaid items.
    – nalzok
    Jun 9, 2016 at 7:14
  • Also note that a blessed spellbook is always safe to read (as mentioned in the wiki), no matter the level of the book, intelligence or experience level. Jul 13, 2016 at 17:57

The spellbook could be anything. Your experience level is too low to read it.

  • Any evidence to support this?
    – Dragonrage
    Jul 13, 2016 at 16:23

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