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Saving a game of NetHack is very simple. You have to just press shift + s and the game is saved.

To load the game, you just have to type the same name as in the saved file. If you use different names, then you can play multiple characters simultaneously.


You start the game and put "John Doe" as your name. After selecting your race, class, gender and alignment, the game starts. You can now save the game at any time you want by pressing the shift + s keys simultaneously. The game will ask if you are sure you want to save ("Really save? [yn]"). If you press the "n" key, the game will continue. If you press "y", the game will save and quit.

When loading the game again, type in the name you used for the saved game to load the save. In the "Who are you?" screen, type "John Doe" without the quotation marks, and you will load the game you saved with that name.

Keeping a save file

Normally, NetHack deletes a save file once it is loaded, then creates a new one when you save the game at a later point. This is done to discourage save scumming, the act of restoring an older save file whenever something goes wrong in order to avoid the consequences.

For beginning players who want to learn the game's basics with less risk, NetHack also provides a sort of "practice mode" called explore mode. One of the mode's features is allowing you to keep your save file, preventing the usual deletion.


On Unix systems, your NetHack player's name is your username by default. To use a different name, use the -u switch to nethack like thus:

$ nethack -u Jack

This will either start Jack's game or load Jack's saved game.

Public servers

On and other dgamelaunch-style servers, your player's name is the name of your account. To play two characters simultaneously, you must create a second account.

The /dev/null/nethack tourney rules do not permit you to have more than one account, but you can have multiple simultaneous games by having each game running on a different server.

See also

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 Information on this page may be out of date.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.