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

"Include information about how messages are displayed in the graphical user interfaces"

NetHack uses a wide variety of messages to display additional information about the current state of the game. Most information contained in the messages is not displayed anywhere else, so reading and understanding these messages can be vital to understanding your current situation.

In the standard ASCII interface, messages are displayed one line at a time at the top of the screen. If more than one line of messages needs to be displayed, then it will display a --More-- prompt and wait for you to press Enter, which will display the next line of messages. Pressing ctrl + p will redisplay previous messages in a format depending on the msg_window option.

In the NetHackWiki, there are pages created for some messages, which allows you to go directly to the appropriate page using the exact message you got from NetHack. Other more common messages that are all prefixed by the same words, such as You feel or You hear are put into large disambiguation pages rather than having individual pages for each message. When looking up a message in the NetHackWiki, using the exact message in NetHack, including punctuation will increase your chance of going directly to the page for that message.

Some messages in NetHack have variables that are dynamically replaced with the appropriate content when the game displays them. These variables are usually displayed in the NetHackWiki as <variable> or (variable). Some common examples include <monster>, <item>, <pet> or <count>. So far, there is no exact definition of the meaning of variables like these, so you may have to look at the source code for the exact meaning of the variables if the explanation of the message isn't clear on what the variable means.

When your character is hallucinating, NetHack sometimes displays unexpected messages.

Messages are often a good example of The DevTeam Thinks Of Everything, which is one of the reasons why there are so many messages.


How messages look like in NetHack:

The newt bites! You die...

Hello Dudley, welcome to NetHack!

The gnome shoots three arrows. 
The arrow misses the gnome. The arrow misses the dwarf. 
The arrow hits the gnome! The gnome is killed!

How messages are sometimes displayed in the NetHackWiki:

  • The <monster> bites!
You got bit by a monster.
  • The <monster> shoots <count> arrows.
    The arrow misses the <monster>.
    The arrow hits the <monster>! The <monster> is killed!
Example of messages displayed when a monster fires arrows.

See Also

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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.