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Doors are represented by + when closed, and - or | when open: - when the door is in a vertical wall and | in a horizontal wall. Doors are distinct from drawbridges and trap doors.


Doors can be generated locked or unlocked. Unlocked doors are opened using the open command (o), or by simply moving into them if the autoopen option is set to TRUE. Locked doors can be passed in a variety of ways:

Door traps

Doors may be booby-trapped. Opening them causes 1d(5+level) damage if your dungeon level is less than 5, and 1d(7+level2) otherwise, in addition to stunning you, abusing strength and abusing constitution.[5] It is possible to untrap a door using the #untrap command. [6]


Open doors can be closed using the close command (c). Zapping a wand of locking at it will close (and lock) it.


Doors can be locked by applying a skeleton key or a lock pick to a closed door, casting the wizard lock spell, or by using a wand of locking. Shopkeepers can unlock and open doors with a key, and the Riders can unlock doors on the Astral Plane.

Monsters getting through

Monsters can unlock locked doors if they have hands and a key (but not other tools) and are not tiny. For this reason, you might want to dispose of keys if you lock up the Minetown watch. The Riders and the Wizard of Yendor can unlock doors even without a tool.[7]

Titans, giant zombies, and all giants can bust down locked doors. Amoeboids and fog clouds can flow beneath locked doors, and phasing monsters pass right through them.


A destroyed door, or any square leading to a corridor, can be turned into a fully functional door by zapping a wand of locking or casting the wizard lock spell at it. A destroyed door is not shown on the map, but can be detected with the near look command (:). This effectively means that any destroyed bit of wall can be replaced with a door (although they cannot be created elsewhere). This is one way to make a room impenetrable even to umber hulks, although it's not likely to have much use.

Secret doors

Some walls are in fact secret doors, which can be discovered by searching, brute force, or magic.

Searching is done with the s key, and is aided by wearing a ring of searching or lenses, or by wielding Excalibur. Luck affects the chance of a searching successfully, so players who mistreat their luck can find themselves stuck on a dungeon level with no obvious exit. Applying a stethoscope to a wall will always reveal whether it is a secret door.

The brute force method involves kicking at walls, applying a pick-axe, or zapping force bolt at a likely position where a secret door might be. This is very time-consuming and often dangerous.

The magical method involves using a wand of secret door detection or the spell of detect unseen; these will immediately reveal any secret doors within a 13-square radius. A blessed scroll of magic mapping reveals secret doors on the entire level.


Use in combat

Doors do not allow either monsters or you to pass through diagonally. This can be a great advantage when fighting multiple foes. A door like the entrance to the treasure zoo at the top of Sokoban can become a killing ground for monsters who will stream through one by one, allowing you to avoid some of their ranged attacks - beware directional rays from wands and breath weapons, though!

Exercising strength

Opening and closing doors exercises your strength every time the door resists. However, doors are less likely to resist if your strength or luck is high.

This technique is only useful for luckless Healers with strength as weak as 7 or 8. With decent physical attributes and luck, the odds of the door resisting become very low. For example, if the character's physical attributes average say 16 with a luck of 4, the chance of the door resisting becomes 1184 (0.54%). This means that the player has to open and close the door 100 to 200 times to exercise the strength attribute once.


You kicked a closed door, but failed to kick it down. This does not injure your legs.
As you kick the door, it <crashes open/shatters to pieces>!
You kicked down a closed door.
Ouch! You bump into a door.
You are blind, stunned, or fumbling, or you have a dexterity rating lower than 10, and you tried to walk onto a square with a closed door. This abuses your dexterity.
It won't come off the hinges.
You used the pick up command while standing on an open door's square with no items on it.
KABOOM!! The door was booby-trapped!
You activated a door trap.
You feel an unexpected draft.
Whenever a monster breaks a door, there is a one-third chance of this message;[8] it is also affected by the verbose option.
The door freezes and shatters!
A ray of cold hit a closed door.
You feel cold.
As above, but you cannot see the door in question.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

The message for an unseen door being destroyed by a cold ray is changed:

You hear a deep cracking sound.

No message is printed at all if you cannot see the door and are deaf.



In SLASH'EM, doors can be forced open the same way chests can.


In xNetHack, secret doors are less likely to appear on earlier dungeon levels; they will not appear at all before level 4.

xNetHack introduces iron doors, which cannot be destroyed by most brute-force methods (such as kicking and force bolts). These occasionally replace ordinary doors as the player reaches deeper dungeon levels.

The stunning door trap is replaced by a variety of traps with effects such as wetting your inventory, burning your hands or gloves, or creating noise with screechy hinges. The full list is found at xNetHack § Trap changes.

Encyclopedia entry

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.

[ The Inferno, from The Divine Comedy of Dante
                 Alighieri, translated by H.F. Cary ]


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-360}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.