Long worm

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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-360}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.

A long worm, w~~~~ , is a monster that occupies several squares. Only its head can attack, but if it is hit in the middle (even with bare hands), it may divide into two. Attacking the tip of its tail cannot cause it to split, and is thus a good way to kill long worms. Unlike purple worms, long worms cannot engulf their enemies.

When killed, long worms leave behind a worm tooth along with their corpse. The tooth can be enchanted to create a crysknife.

Pet long worms and their baby forms cannot be displaced, which is annoying if you want to improve it with a polytrap.[1] The DevTeam intended the whole length of a long worm to be dangerous, but currently software limitations prevent this.[2]

Long worms that spawn during level creation are usually generated asleep, unless you are carrying the Amulet of Yendor.[3]


A long worm technically respects Elbereth and other means of scaring. However, if a worm is frightened but is currently stuck, it will proceed to attack you with its head and all of its tail segments next to you. This is the only way to see this in action, presumably due to a bug.[4]


The long worm is one of the oldest monsters in NetHack history, having been around since Jay Fenlason's Hack. It is unknown whether its behavior was different than in modern NetHack.

Before 3.6.0, splitting a long worm could cause the game to crash under certain circumstances (see bug C343-324). This bug was marked "fixed" after NetHack 3.4.3.


The long worm represents a sandworm from Frank Herbert's Dune series of novels, specifically a small and very young sandworm. This is suggested by the encyclopedia entry, as well as their size and the guaranteed death drop of a worm tooth (which can be made into a crysknife, as in the novels).

In the Dune series, sandworms can grow to over 400 meters in length and may even be ridden occasionally. The worms of Dune also contribute to the creation of the highly useful and desirable Spice, which is homaged in UnNetHack and xNetHack: if you eat a long worm corpse, the taste is described as "spicy".

Encyclopedia entry

[The crysknife] is manufactured in two forms from teeth taken from dead sandworms. The two forms are "fixed" and "unfixed". An unfixed knife requires proximity to a human body's electrical field to prevent disintegration. Fixed knives are treated for storage. All are about 20 centimeters long.

[ Dune, by Frank Herbert ]


This page is based on a spoiler by J. Ali Harlow.