Elven short sword

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) Elven short sword.png
Name elven short sword
Appearance runed short sword
Damage vs. small 1d8
Damage vs. large 1d8
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill short sword
Size one-handed
Base price 10 zm
Weight 30
Material wood

An elven short sword is a type of weapon that appears in NetHack. It is made of wood and uses the short sword skill, and appears as a runed short sword when unidentified.


Player elves start the game with knowledge of the elven short sword.[1] Any elven character that would start the game with a short sword will start with an elven short sword instead - currently, there are no applicable roles where this substitution would occur.[2]

Elven short swords make up about 0.2% of randomly generated weapons.

Live elves that are generated with an elven bow and set of elven arrows have a 23 chance of generating with an elven short sword, giving them an effective 29 chance.[3] Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have a chance lower than 1% of generating with an elven short sword as their initial weapon before role-based replacements.[4]


The elven short sword is the best among short swords, dealing damage on-par with a silver saber against a non-silver-hating target or a scimitar. They are also less likely to be eroded as long as you avoid using them against fiery monsters such as red dragons and fire elementals.


The elven short sword first appears in NetHack 3.0.0. From this version to NetHack 3.2.3, the Elf role starts with an elven short sword in place of their normal short sword if the TOLKIEN compile-time option is enabled.



In SLASH'EM, upgrading an elven short sword will produce a dwarvish short sword, and upgrading a dwarvish short sword has a 12 chance of producing an elven short sword.

Quick Blade is a lawful artifact weapon whose base item is an elven short sword - it has +9 to-hit and deals +2 damage versus all monsters.


In dNetHack, an elven short sword deals 1d7 to all monsters, with a +2 to-hit bonus, and its weight is reduced to 10 aum.


In EvilHack, elven Rogues begin the game with an elven short sword as their primary weapon, making use of the existing code for racial substitutions. Elven soldiers and watchmen have an effective 13 chance to generate with elven short swords.

An elven short sword can be created at a forge by combining an elven dagger and 2 crossbow bolts. Orcish short swords can be used to create a few items:


In Hack'EM, in addition to details and forging recipes from EvilHack, upgrading an elven short sword will produce a dwarvish short sword as in SLASH'EM, and upgrading a short sword will produce an elven short sword.

Hack'EM also retains Quick Blade from SLASH'EM.


  1. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 822
  2. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 206: Race-based substitutions for initial inventory
  3. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 233: 13 chance of bow weapon set
  4. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 155: 12 to get a random weapon - the designated range of objects covers weapons from the spear to the bullwhip inclusively in objects.c, and uses normal generation odds