Dragon armor (dNetHack)

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In dNetHack and notdNetHack, dragon armor and dragon scales are significantly altered from NetHack and SLASH'EM, with both scales and armor being given additional properties while worn - dNetHack and notdNetHack also include dragon scale shields as well.


Dragon scale mail is created via the standard method of reading a scroll of enchant armor and having it target worn scales in the body armor slot. Dragon scales and dragon scale mail both weigh 150 aum compared to vanilla NetHack. Dragon scale mail grants 5 base AC and 4 DR while worn, and dragon scales grant 1 AC and 2 DR while worn.

All forms of dragon armor have a default object material of dragonhide.

Dragon scale shields

If the process to create dragon scale mail is done while confused, the scales will instead be made into a dragon scale shield. Dragon scale shields weigh 75 aum.

List of properties

Below is a list of the base resistances and additional properties conferred by each color of dragon scales or scale armor:

Color Extrinsic dNetHack additional extrinsics
Blue shock resistance speed
Black disintegration resistance drain resistance
Deep drain resistance unchanging
Gray magic resistance half spell damage
Green poison resistance sickness resistance
Orange sleep resistance free action, hallucination resistance
Red fire resistance flying (scales and mail only), protects from sliming
Shimmering displacement infinite range see invisible
Silver dragonbreath reflection (improved over normal reflection) none
White cold resistance magical breathing, swimming, wetproofed inventory
Yellow acid resistance stoning resistance

Armor breath weapons

If a character wears dragon armor (scales or scale mail) together with a matching dragon scale shield, then they gain the ability to use a matching breath weapon, usable via the #ability command. For example, if a character wear both red dragon scale mail and a red dragon scale shield, then they can breathe fire which deals the same damage as the breath of the corresponding at the same level - in dNetHack and notdNetHack, breath attacks gain 1 damage die per 3 levels, with a maximum of 10 bonus dice at level 30 or higher. Using breath weapons this way costs 15 energy and sets a cooldown of rnz(100) turns each for the armor and shield, with 45 of the duration for Cavepeople - both the armor and shield must complete their cooldown before the breath weapon can be used again. Artifact dragon scales and scale mail have no cooldown, but artifact dragon shields still do.

Some artifact dragon scales count as additional types of dragon or breath weapon for the purpose of matching. If shield and armor match despite being different base colors, then the breath weapon type used is based on the base type of the shield.

Worn dragon armor and shields that match the innate breath weapons of half-dragon characters and monsters enhance that breath weapon's damage: the size of their damage dice is increased by 12 for each worn dragon armor that matches, i.e. a 1.5x multiplier if wearing either a matching set of scales/scale mail or shield, and a 2x multiplier if wearing both the matching mail and shield. If their worn dragon armor matches their innate breath, they will not receive an additional breath weapon from their armor, but if their worn mail and shield match each other but not their innate breath, then they will receive an additional breath weapon.


There are also artifact sets of dragon scales and dragon scale mail, each of which can safely be converted to scale, mail and shield form as with other dragon armor:

  • The Steel Scales of Kurtulmak are a lawful artifact set of grey dragon scales that are made of iron rather than dragonhide. They act as the crowning gift for lawful gnome Rangers. They can be converted into dragon scale mail or a dragon scale shield as usual.
  • The Chromatic Dragon Scales are an unaligned artifact set of black dragon scales. They can be converted into dragon scale mail or a dragon scale shield as usual.
  • The Platinum Dragon Plate is an unaligned artifact set of silver dragon scale mail. It can be converted into dragon scales by cancelling it, and back into dragon scale mail or a dragon scale shield as usual.