Monster starting inventory

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Revision as of 00:24, 5 December 2023 by Umbire the Phantom (talk | contribs) (Description: mummy stuff can be covered on the monster class page; starting inv rules can cover more than just weapons)
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In NetHack, certain types of monsters may be created with objects in their starting inventory appropriate to their species - a monster's starting inventory may also contain a random offensive item, miscellaneous item, and/or defensive item.

The items that spiders and snakes are generated with during initial level creation are not part of their starting inventory, as they are created for the monsters to hide under.


Monster starting inventory is distributed to each applicable monster at level creation, as well as each time a new monster is created.[1] Monsters generated in bones files will have whatever inventory they were carrying at the time of its creation; monsters created by reverse genocide always have empty starting inventories.

A pretty comprehensive spoiler can be found here.


A humanoid monster that has a weapon attack, is not being placed on the Rogue level, and does not have any specific rules governing its starting inventory can be generated with one of the following five weapon sets, with an equal probability of each depending on whether it is strong:[2]

strong not strong
battle-axe 3-14 darts
two-handed sword crossbow, 3-14 bolts
bow, 3-14 arrows
long sword 3-5 daggers
lucern hammer aklys

The probability of receiving any weapon is 514 - N, where N is the sum of: 2 if the monster is a lord, 4 if it is a prince, and 2 if it is nasty. The final probabilities of the possible attribute combinations are:

not nasty nasty
normal 35.71% 41.67%
lord 41.67% 50%
overlord 50% 62.5%

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

"List the species-specific rules for monster weapons. If this would be too long, maybe pare it down to the "important" ones."


In addition to any other items, monsters can also get armor, including mercenaries in particular: members of the Yendorian army, guards, watchmen, watch captains.

For mercenaries, armor items spawned are based on a complex mechanism to approximate the target AC of the given creature:


Ponies, horses, and warhorses have a 1% chance of being generated saddled.

Death drops

Main article: Death drop

Monsters killed by the player will drop their inventory, along with random objects that are generated upon their death. Some monsters also leave behind certain non-random body parts, such as unicorn horns or dragon scales.


Monster starting inventory can provide valuable hints at the true identities of objects with randomized appearances.