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) Katana.png
Name katana
Appearance samurai sword
Damage vs. small 1d10
Damage vs. large 1d12
To-hit bonus +1
Weapon skill long sword
Size one-handed
Base price 80 zm
Weight 40
Material iron

A katana is a type of one-handed weapon that appears in NetHack. It is made of iron and uses the long sword skill, and appears as a samurai sword when unidentified. A samurai wielding a katana has a chance of performing a shattering blow, destroying a monster's wielded weapon.

Snickersnee is an artifact katana.


All Samurai start with a +0 katana.[1]

Katanas are very rare - only 1250 of all randomly spawned weapons will be a katana.

Samurai player monsters on the Samurai quest and the Astral Plane have a 12 chance of generating with a katana in place of their initial primary weapon.[2]


The primary differences between a katana and a long sword are the +1 bonus to hit, the katana's d10 damage to small monsters (as opposed to d8 for a long sword), and the inability to convert a katana into Excalibur by dipping.

Because a katana is the most damaging non-artifact weapon to use the long sword weapon skill, it is often sought after as an off-hand weapon for twoweapon combat.

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Small monsters Large monsters
+0 katana \frac{1+10}{2}=\bold{5.5} \frac{1+12}{2}=\bold{6.5}
+7 katana \frac{1+10}{2}+7=\bold{12.5} \frac{1+12}{2}+7=\bold{13.5}


The katana first appears in NetHack 1.3d. From this version to NetHack 2.3e, the now-defunct Ninja role started with a katana.[3]

In NetHack 2.2a and 2.3e, Snickersnee could be created by naming any katana.


Katana is the name used for a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and a long grip to accommodate two hands. It originated in the late 12th century and was most notably used by feudal samurai, worn with the blade facing upward; the official term for these swords is uchigatana (打刀), with katana often referring to other single-edged swords. Though the quality of steel in Japan was relatively poor at the time, the katana produced were considered better than the mass-produced European broadswords of the same era.

The statline for the katana, including the +1 to-hit bonus, is derived from Dungeons & Dragons.



In dNetHack, maids have a chance of generating with a katana, depending on whether or not the player is a Samurai. dNetHack also introduces Kiku-ichimonji, an artifact katana that replaces Snickersnee (which is changed to a knife) as the Samurai's first sacrifice gift.

The November NetHack Tournament

In The November NetHack Tournament, all Devteam members have a 12 chance of being generated with a katana, and the deathmatch opponent will always generate with a +5 to +7 katana if they are a samurai that does not have a weapon.


In SlashTHEM, another artifact katana, Nightingale, is introduced as the first sacrifice gift for the revived Ninja role. Kiku-ichimonji retains its role from dNetHack, while Snickersnee is still present, but is instead obtained through a different method.

Encyclopedia entry

The katana is a long, single-edged samurai sword with a
slightly curved blade. Its long handle is designed to allow
it to be wielded with either one or two hands.