Double damage

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Double damage is a weapon property that occurs in NetHack and its variants. As can be guessed, it doubles the base damage of that weapon.


The Banes and other similar weapons deal double damage against specific types of monsters:

Other weapons that have the double damage property are:


When the double damage property activates, it affects the following components of a weapon's damage:

Double damage does not affect the following:

  • The extra d4 for using a blessed weapon against undead.
  • The extra d20 for using a silver weapon against silver haters.
  • The bonus d4 for using an axe against wooden monsters.
  • Bonus 2d10 or 2d2 (if twoweaponing) damage from a successful joust (though there are no artifact lances in vanilla NetHack.)
  • Damage bonus due to weapon skill.
  • Damage bonus due to strength.
  • Damage bonus from rings of increase damage or intrinsic damage bonuses obtained by eating those rings.
  • Extra damage from striking with a poisoned weapon (though no weapon that can deal double damage can also be poisoned in vanilla nethack.)

Enchanting double-damage artifact weapons generally yields higher returns compared to their standard counterparts, though negative enchantments also result in much weaker damage.


A user has suggested this page be merged with "damage"

The damage calculation in NetHack is quite complex, but when concerned only with melee weapons, it is simple enough to describe.

hmon_hitmon in uhitm.c is called once for each melee hit on a monster, whether the hit is barehanded, with a weapon, with a weapon tool, or with something else (silver wand, cream pie, or cockatrice corpse for instance). If twoweaponing, it is called once for each of the two weapons or weapon-tools in use.[1][2][3][4]

Reading hmon_hitmon and its sub-functions gives us the order in which bonuses are applied, and thus tells us which of these bonuses will be affected by double damage.

Inside hmon_hitmon, the weapon/item in question is stored in the variable obj. The damage is stored in tmp, and this variable is modified as the function progresses, adding layer upon layer of NetHack combat functionality. hmon_hitman calls dmgval in weapon.c to get the base damage, enchantment bonus, and situation bonuses for the weapon.[5]. dmgval adds bonuses for using blessed weapons against undead, axes against wooden monsters, and silver against silver hating monsters, but tests to see if the weapon will do double damage and divides these values by two in that case (so the bonuses are not doubled).[6]. dmgval also subtracts damage due to erosion.[7]

hmon_hitmon then considers backstab damage.[8].

Double damage and other special artifact effects (like Magicbane's specials and the Tsurugi's special, which could itself by double damage) are added in by artifact_hit in artifact.c.[9].

Finally, hmon_hitmon adds on intrinsic damage bonuses and damage bonuses from rings of increase damage[10]; followed by the bonus for skill in the weapon's class [11]; and lastly, poison damage is potentially added [12]. Bare-hands or martial arts skill only grant their damage bonus if the d2 or d4 base damage is at least two -- effectively you are at unskilled 50% or 25% of the time.[13][14][15]

(tmp, the damage, is subtracted from the monster's hp, mon->mhp on line 1064[16].)


A number of SLASH'EM techniques grant temporary double damage: Samurai's Kiii doubles all weapon damage, while Missile flurry, for droven Rangers only, doubles the damage done with their racial bow and arrows. Finally, Caveman's Primal roar grants double damage to pets. Note that these effects may be calculated differently from the vanilla mechanics described above.

See also

See, the weapons spoiler by Kevin Hugo at steelypips for a run down on NetHack's entire damage calculation process.


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.