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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 the game with a +0 katana.[1]

1250 of all randomly generated weapons will be katana.

Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have a chance lower than 1% (specifically 1290) of being generated with a katana as their initial weapon before role-based replacements.[2] Samurai have a 12 chance of forcing a katana sword in place of their initial weapon.[3]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As part of commit 20cbadc - which strengthens quest leaders and makes it so that killing them no longer makes the game unwinnable - the Samurai quest leader Lord Sato generates with a +4 katana.


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. The katana is also the most damaging non-artifact weapon to use the long sword weapon skill, and 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 starts with a katana.[4]

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


The 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, the katana gains a 50% strength-based bonus to odamage when wielded without a shield or offhand weapon.

Maids have a 14 chance of generating with a katana if the player is a Samurai, and a 710 chance otherwise. dNetHack also introduces Kiku-ichimonji, an artifact katana that replaces Snickersnee (which is changed to a knife) as the Samurai's first sacrifice gift.

A blessed +3 katana named Sasuke's Blade can be found in the hidden westernmost room of the Fire Temple within the Chaos Temple Quest.

The November NetHack Tournament

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


In SpliceHack, extraplanar merchants have a chance of generating with a katana.


In EvilHack, the katana has a base object material of steel. Ronin that appear on the Samurai quest have a 34 chance of generating with a katana.

A katana can be created at a forge by combining two long swords, and a katana can be combined with a two-handed sword to create a tsurugi.


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.


  1. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 134
  2. 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
  3. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 232
  4. u_init.c in NetHack 2.3e, line 184