Gray stone

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In NetHack, a gray stone is the appearance given for these four items:

Touchstones and luckstones are usually beneficial, and loadstones are usually harmful; flint stones are mundane. Distinguishing the four types is not hard, but to do so requires some tricks.

All gray stones except cursed loadstones can be thrown or slung. Flint stones may break when you do this (like arrows and some other projectiles), but luckstones, touchstones, and loadstones can be thrown as many times as you want.



If an unidentified gray stone is in a container, use #tip rather than #loot to remove the stone. With some rare exceptions described below, the loadstone can then be distinguished by attempting to kick it; the loadstone will not move and produce a "Thump!" instead. Don't worry about losing the stone—only flint projectiles can disappear.

If the stone is greased, on ice, or in air (on the Plane of Air), and you are strong enough, it may move slightly. In that case, kick any non-fragile, light object (e.g. scroll, dart, arrow), and check if it moves further than the gray stone.

If your strength is 3, and you are neither Samurai nor Monk nor wearing kicking boots, all objects will produce "Thump!", so this method doesn't work. Wait till your strength becomes at least 4.

If your strength is 22 or more, the loadstone may move in some circumstances, but not more than 2 squares, while any other gray stone will move at least 10 squares. Alternatively, remove items providing excessive strength (gauntlets of power, rings of strength) before kicking.

All loadstones out of containers, and 10/11 of loadstones in containers, are generated cursed. If, however, you are a Priest and can see a gray stone is not cursed, it is safe to pick it up, as loadstones autocurse when dropped. Similarly, it is safe to pick up a loadstone if it was cancelled.

Other stones

Rubbing an iron item on a touchstone produces its signature "scritch, scritch", which indirectly identifies it. If you rub a gem on a blessed touchstone, both the gem and the touchstone will automatically be identified. Gray stones count as gems in this context.

If you can kick the gray stone and it does not produce the message "scritch, scritch" when an iron item is rubbed on it, you have either a flintstone or a luckstone. The two can be separated by price identification; flint's base price is 1zm, and a luckstone's is 60zm. You can also use enlightenment to determine whether you are carrying a luckstone ("You have <extra/reduced> luck").

If a monster picks it up and isn't carrying a sling, it very likely is not flint, since most monsters only like magic objects.

Once you have distinguished one of the gray stones, you can type-name it to distinguish subsequent gray stones.

Price identification

Gray stones can be distinguished by price identification: the base price of a luckstone is 60 zorkmids, a touchstone is 45 zorkmids, and a flint stone or loadstone is 1 zorkmid.


In NetHack 3.4.3, a somewhat dubious way of distinguishing the difference between flint stones from luckstones is to use the artifact naming trick by attempting to name (not call) them "The Heart of Ahriman". If the stone is a luckstone, your hand will slip as it is not possible to name the base item of an artifact after its artifact.

This behavior is sometimes viewed as cheating and can be frowned upon in some circles as it relies on exploiting a bug. The bug is fixed in 3.6.0 and in many variants and in the NAO version of NetHack.



SLASH'EM introduces two additional gray stone types: whetstones and healthstones. Any cursed gray stone that isn't a loadstone must be a healthstone, unless it came from a bones pile. Price identification is also useful: the whetstone's base price is 45zm, and the healthstone's is 60zm.


SporkHack introduces the salt chunk. Additionally, rubbing a flint stone with a metal object will strike sparks, scaring some monsters and identifying the stone.


xNetHack removes loadstones and introduces thiefstones.

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"Do whetstones, healthstones or lumps of salt break when thrown?"

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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.1. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-361}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.