item included in NetHack
by the DevTeam
specifically to make reading unidentified scroll
s a dangerous
way to pass the time and an even-riskier-than-it-already-was way to try to escape
from certain death
. This is another one of those item
s that is inherently cursed
-- that is, it's bad no matter how blessed
Reading a cursed scroll of punishment will create a very heavy iron ball near you and chain you to it. If the scroll was uncursed, the ball isn't quite as heavy. A blessed scroll of punishment, as befits its paradoxical nature, has no effect other than not being the scroll you actually wanted.
This item is basically a scroll-ified version of a popular punishment handed down by the gods upon misbehaving or blasphemous players. The iron ball can be used as a weapon if you're desperate, but don't throw it if it's still chained to you (*ouch*) and don't try to go downstairs (*crunch*).