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The Musician is a role in the variant SlashTHEM.

The Musician first appeared in an early version of SLASH'EM (NetHack-- 3.0.10) but was dropped from the code at the time the quest branch was ported into that variant.

The Musician's main advantage is its starting inventory, consisting of every type of magical musical instrument.

Neutral doppelgänger, incantifiers, humans, elves, gnomes, hobbits, and nymphs can be Musicians.


NetHack-- 3.0.10 was based on NetHack 3.0.10, which predated the skill system, so Musicians could use any weapons.

SLASHTHEM gives the Musician a skill set modeled on the Bard's (including the ability to use music):

Musician skills
Max Skills

The Musician's special spell is cause fear. Spell success is determined by intelligence.

  • SLASHTHEM u_init.c line 2144 in v. 0.8


Starting equipment

In SlashTHEM, Musicians start with a tame little dog or kitten.

Rank titles

SLASHTHEM has a slightly different set of rank titles:

  • XL 1-2: Whistler
  • XL 3-5: Drummer
  • XL 6-9: Fiddler
  • XL 10-13: Singer
  • XL 14-17: Entertainer
  • XL 18-21: Concertist
  • XL 22-25: Meistersinger/Primadonna
  • XL 26-29: Conductor
  • XL 30: Virtuoso

SlashTHEM role.c line 946


The quest is a copy of the Jedi quest, but with lots of elves; it sees the Musician fighting Draco the Sharpshooter for the Harp of Harmony, a lawful magic harp which grants warning, stealth, and drain resistance while carried, and speaks a random rumor when played. It can be invoked to tame monsters.

  • SlashTHEM artilist.h line 674


The Musician's gods are Melnibonean, drawn from Michael Moorcock's fantasy series starring Elric of Melniboné (the source also of Stormbringer):

  • Lawful: Donblas
  • Neutral: Grome
  • Chaotic: Arioch


The Musician's first appearance was in SLASH'EM precursor NetHack-- 3.0.10, as one of nine new roles in addition to the twelve in the contemporary version of NetHack. The discussion thread in which the authors first announced the variant suggests that some of the new roles were taken from a list proposing a role for every letter of the alphabet. See here for the relevant post.

After the release of NetHack 3.1.3 in 1993, NetHack-- was updated to NetHack-- 3.1.3 by porting some of the changes from NetHack-- 3.0.10 into a patch for the newest version. Due to some changes in the vanilla code, however, some content was removed to improve compatibility with NetHack. Most significantly, NetHack 3.1 had seen the addition of the Quest branch. To avoid the challenge of fitting full-length quests for the roles that had been added in NetHack-- 3.0.10 into the patch code, those roles were simply left out of the patch.

The Musician role, along with the other eight new roles in NetHack-- 3.0.10, made its reappearance in the variant SlashTHEM.


  • NetHack-- 3.0.10 attrib.c line 77
  • NetHack-- 3.0.10 u_init.c line 195

See also

  • Bard - another music-themed role, from a patch to NetHack 3.4.3