User:Umbire the Phantom/The Guide to NetHack 1.3d for Junethack Players and Other Determined Daredevils

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I know this is userspace, but feel free to edit as you like, just don't be a jerk.

So, you wanna play 1.3d.

If you're here, you're clearly seeking advice on making any amount of progress in NetHack 1.3d, which is a version of the NetHack we all know and love - it's both old enough to run for President (and would legitimately be a better candidate than the current-at-time-of-writing crop but I digress), and its age definitely shows accordingly, for better and worse.

Given that most of the information documentated on this wiki prioritizes current vanilla and in general requires a lot of leg work to get and keep up-to-date, the usefulness of the information that follows is subject to constant shifts - as I and others actually play this game more and see what's up, we'll fill out this guide (and ideally the wiki) appropriately.

How much use you in particular will get out of this guide is also contingent on your answer to the following question...

Is it currently June?

For context, see Junethack.


Then what are you doing here?, but really. Hardfought folks tend to glom to vanilla a fair bit, though a few variants are still decently represented - even among the "lesser-known" versions and variants, this one isn't exactly played too often. so if you've found this page, and you're not playing 1.3d specifically for June reasons, you have to be:

  1. Someone like me who'll try damn near anything once;
  2. Someone on a random wiki binge which, whom among us and all;
  3. Someone who's actually working on this guide as well;[1]
  4. The vanishingly rare Actual 1.3d Player™, or;
  5. Some secret fifth thing I haven't accounted for above.

In any event, proceed to "Yes" below if you're genuinely interested in knowing more.


Okay so here's the June trophies and some of the prerequisites needed for them:

This space below, we'll get into the meat and potatoes of accomplishing said goals and doing so with some level of consistency, insofar as 1.3d permits.

Just tell me how to beat the game!

Alright, alright, you're no fun...

A super-consistent means of beating the game is to do the following:

So the tl;dr, as helpfully recited to me by amateurhour, is to level teleport to the bottom, get the Amulet from under the Wziard's hellhound, level teleport back to dungeon level 1, and... leave. That's it. You win.

...That's it!?

That's yer lot.

NetHack 1.3d!

Now, are you not interested in a quick and easy win, but truly want to know the ins and outs of this wonderfully weird early installment?[2]

Then keep on readin'.

A 1.3d Primer

Assuming you haven't read the article on NetHack 1.3d, or (much more likely) can't be bothered to tab repeatedly between pages, we'll cover the relative basics in this section. We're working with Hardfought's version of the game, so everything below this line assumes you are playing 1.3d specifically on Hardfought - i.e. none of the hard mode stuff is active, contributions from Ken Arromdee[3] are enabled, and there's some necessary fixes and other stuff backported.

Controls and options

Probably the most important section, given the help commands in-game are... a bit obtuse about what you can and can't do. Work-in-progress.

Some of the most important things to remember:

  • There are much fewer free actions, if any at all, and even things as simple as checking your square or your wallet consumes a turn.
  • No autotravel or autofill.
  • You can't displace pets or other peaceful monsters, so movement is even more tedious.
Command Key/Extended Short Description
Engrave E Write on the floor. You can ID-test wands this way, but you can't write afterward if the wand you test makes the engraving vanish or polymorphs it.
Check inventory i Peek at your inventory. No navigation between pages outside of "space to next page", unfortunately.
Inventory by type I Checks inventory by an object type that you select by pressing its symbol.[4]
Move without pickup m Exactly what it says on the tin - move without acknowledging items. No difference between this and normal movement when moving into an adjacent monster.
Redraw Ctrl + R Redraws the screen. You'll need to do this fairly often, since it won't always auto-update for you.
Search s Searches around you. Same as modern NetHack.
Transcribe x Attempt to transcribe a book. Succeed and you learn a spell, fail and you get the usual bad effects - regardless, this will always use up the book. Yes, even if you're blind or confused at the time.
List spells X Display all known spells.
Count gold $ Counts your gold and uses up a turn doing what you could've done by looking at the lower left corner of your interface.[4]
#cast Extended Yes, you need to type this out to actually cast your known spells.
#dip Extended Lets you dip items into a potion or into a fountain on your square.
#pray Extended Pray to the gods, and pray they actually answer what you were asking for in the first place.
#remove Extended Attempts to remove a heavy iron ball attached to your leg.
#sit Extended Sits down on your current square, roughly the same as modern NetHack.


You get to pick a role and a gender.

...and that's it. 1.3d was long before things like alignment or race were introduced by the <sarcasm>Woke Liberal NetHack DevTeam.</sarcasm> As such, character creation is pretty barebones and straightforward, with your choice of roles as follows - all weapons and armor are at +0 unless specified:

Your attributes

These here 're your stats:

Your pet always a little dog. They'll eat damn near any corpse if it isn't poisonous, but aren't nearly as reliable for detecting cursed items or traps - there's no messages for reluctant movement, and traps they step on aren't highlighted, because you can't have nice things.

If a pet refuses to pick up an item even after moving over it, it's probably cursed. Similarly, if you get a message about them stepping on a trap, search that area to manually reveal it.

Prayer a crapshoot. Crowning is even more so.

The Dungeons of Doom

NetHack 1.3d's dungeon is a single-branch affair that's a maximum of 40 levels long, with the standard goal of "retrieve the Amulet of Yendor or die trying": go in, get as deep as you can, get the Amulet, get out with the Amulet, win. There's a basic suite of special rooms:

  • Vaults: Same as in vanilla, you can dig your way to them or use the "ad aerarium" vault teleporter, then dig or warp your way out.
  • Shops: With attendant shopkeeper as expected, though the mechanics are very unrefined compared to vanilla. More on them below.
  • Throne rooms: No special "ruler" yet, but has the expected court of monsters.
  • Treasure zoos: Pretty much the same as in vanilla.
  • Beehives
  • Crypts
  • Swamp

After roughly 25 or so levels of room-and-corridor maps, you start getting the old-fashioned mazes - on each maze level, an enormous rock in a dead-end square has a wand of wishing and yes, you can obtain multiple such wands.

Dungeon levels 30+ also count as Hell, the conceptual ancestor to Gehennom - these levels are upstairs-only, meaning you can only access them via level teleportation. You also need to have fire resistance for those levels or you die. Lost that ring of fire resistance while in there? You die. Relying on a polyself that timed out? You die. Lose your intrinsic to a gremlin? Then you're clearly on a different version because 1.3d doesn't have those, so that's one less thing for you to fear. But one way or another, you need fire resistance. Of course, if you can get this far you also can grab at least one wand of wishing, and if you do you basically win the game.

The Wizard of Yendor awaits in a small room in the center of the bottom-most maze level, surrounded by water and accompanied by a hell hound - the Amulet of Yendor is in his possession. Once you beat him and/or take it, make your way back up and out of the dungeon and escape with the Amulet to secure victory.


1.3d shops are... interesting, to say the least:

  • Prices are determined basically at random each time you enter and exit, sure, why not, fuck you. It's not all bad - you can actually exploit this for profit using the old pet theft approach.
  • Normal random loot can generate in the room where a shop is made.
  • Multiple pieces of inventory can generate on a square.
  • Killed monster drops belong to the shop as usual except for their gold - this means no fear of killing leprechauns in a shop and losing the gold they stole.
  • The stuff randomly generated in the "open" row by the entrance wall may or may not also be counted as part of its inventory.
  • The game doesn't disclose actual prices (which as mentioned are random anyway because "fuck you"), but at least it tells you what is and isn't paid for.
  • Features and other stuff can generate in shops too, including traps also because "fuck you".

Shop types are the general store, liquor, used armor, weapons, wands, rings, bookstores, and food stores.

Dungeon features

  • Pools. Step in one and you drown unless you're in a monster form that can swim.
  • Fountains, which work pretty close to how they do in vanilla NetHack.
  • Thrones. Sit on them to work their magic.



Objects that debut in this version are indicated in boldface.


There's only two artifact weapons and nothing else, though this is before 3.0.0 - that means you can make multiple artifact weapons.

  • Orcrist can be created by naming any two-handed sword, and deals +d10 to orcs. Given the sheer amount of orcs that occur early on, this may be genuinely worth considering.
  • Excalibur is created vaguely similar to modern versions, but there are critical differences: you must first name a long sword Excalibur and then #dip it into a fountain, with a 215 chance of the Lady of the Lake blessing the sword.[5] Excalibur has no special properties of its own, but this enchants it to +5, uncurses it and rustproofs it - "really good long sword" is generally more than sufficient for pretty much anyone.

Amulets not exist as a formal object class. There's only the two thus far:


Eat or die.

  • Food ration: Probably the most reliable food in light of dead monsters being not-that-great for nutrition which, see below.
  • Tripe ration: Dog food.
  • Dead monster: There are two things that are very important to note about monster corpses in 1.3d.
  1. They confer their intrinsics silently. This is beyond annoying in the case of dead leprechauns, which fits with the annoying qualities of live ones.
  2. They are not nearly as reliable as they are in modern NetHack. In particular, you can end up feeling sick and losing HP from not eating a corpse immediately - this is ostensibly logical for the raw meat of a freshly-killed (and possibly sentient) being, but unfortunately also sets you back quite a bit when you're just trying to survive and gather permafood. You can still subsist on them, but keep this in mind.

Tin chart

Message Nutrition
It contains spinach - this makes you feel like Popeye! 600, increases strength
It contains salmon - not bad! 60, causes slippery fingers
It contains first quality peaches - what a surprise! 40
It contains apple juice - perhaps not what you hoped for. 20
It contains some nondescript substance, tasting awfully. 500
It contains rotten meat. You vomit. -50
It turns out to be empty. 0








Spellbooks as an item class make their debut here.



Other items


Monsters that debut in this version are in boldface, while monsters backported to this version are in italics. Of note is that percentage chances for corpse intrinsics are not yet a thing - you eat something, you get its intrinsic, good or bad.

Notes not yet complete, so proceed with caution.

Name Symbol Notes
acid blob a Roughly the same as vanilla, including the acid passive - weapon corrosion is just disenchantment, so that can actually suck quite a bit. Poisonous to eat rather than acidic - avoid doing so if possible.
bat B  
centaur C  
chameleon :  
cockatrice c  
demon & Late-game enemies and on-call kill squad for angry gods.
dog d What little dogs grow up into.
dragon D Basically the ancestor of the modern red dragon, and probably your ideal fire resistance corpse.
ettin e  
floating eye E Roughly the same as vanilla, except pets are somehow immune - let them do the killing and snap up the corpse for yourself. Conveys telepathy.
fog cloud f Unremarkable outside of the fact they can leave corpses.
freezing sphere F Blows up and tries to frost you.
flaming sphere F Blows up and tries to flambé you.
gelatinous cube g Also not acidic, though not poisonous either.
ghost   Usually the result of finding where some other player died, so expect many or most of them to be from June. Basically the same as vanilla - not too lethal themselves, but hard to hit, so mind your surroundings while swinging away.
giant 9  
giant ant A The ancestor of Team a, roughly equivalent to the modern soldier ant - they move rather skittishly, their stings can lower your strength, and dead ones are poisonous to eat.
giant beetle b  
giant eel ;  
gnome G  
guard @  
hell hound d Doesn't have a breath weapon.
hobgoblin H  
homunculus h  
imp i  
jackal J  
jaguar j  
killer bee k  
large dog d What normal dogs grow up into.
leocrotta l  
leprechaun L Very annoying: they move to avoid you and attack you for your gold as usual, but with the caveat that they'll still attack even in the former cases. They're also more common, you can't force fight them either, and there's no bags - they do beeline towards any gold on the floor, so you can drop your gold strategically to trap one or restrict its movements. Dead leprechauns convey teleportitis as usual.
little dog d Your only choice of starting pet. Has three growth stages as in modern NetHack, and typically only appears in bones.
lurker above '  
mail daemon 2 if MAIL defined at compile time
mimic M Disguises itself as items like usual, including "strange objects" (]). Eating dead mimics causes you to mimic a treasure chest for a while much like vanilla.
minotaur m Got the small 'm' for some reason, but is still (presumably) a big deal.
nurse n  
nymph N Same as the modern nymphs, though they just hit your pets rather than try to charm them, and probably do the same to you if you also have nothing to steal.
orc O The quintessential horde monster. Try not to get overwhelmed, and aim to funnel them into hallways. Good source of spare projectiles and other such junk.
owlbear o Growly McGrabsyou. Dead owlbear can be pretty filling.
piercer p  
purple worm P  
quivering blob q A poison resistance source you'll want ASAP.
rust monster R More like a disenchanter since erosion isn't a formal mechanic. Unless your weapon is rustproofed, you might want some wands or spare projectiles for them.
rock mole r Very annoying - digs through walls and stuff as ever, but you still can't walk diagonally through the doorways this creates in rooms because "fuck you". Doesn't seem to eat gold at least.
shopkeeper @  
snake S  
stalker I  
tengu t  
trapper ,  
troll T  
umber hulk U  
unicorn u Complete with horn and gem attraction. Your primary source of Luck.
vampire V  
violet fungus v
wizard of Yendor 1  
wraith W The ghost who giveth levels and also taketh away. Eating a dead wraith raises your level as expected.
xan x  
xorn X  
yellow light y  
yeti Y  
zombie Z Generic undead monster. Eating a dead zombie doesn't sicken you, amazingly, but it's not all that nutritious.
zruty z  
Keystone Kop K if KOPS defined at compile time (default)
kobold K if KOPS not defined at compile time
quantum mechanic Q Teleport you with their attacks as usual. Their corpses are NOT poisonous, surprisingly, but give you teleportitis so you may wanna avoid them anyway unless you have tele control.
giant spider s They move pretty fast and can actually hide under stuff.
scorpion s if SPIDERS not defined at compile time
long worm w if NOWORM not defined at compile time (default)
wumpus w if NOWORM defined at compile time

With Special Thanks

I would like to close this as-of-yet unfinished guide by giving a non-exhaustive shoutout to the following folks:

  • Mike Stephenson, who released this first version of the game to Usenet and changed thousands of lives forever.
  • Patric Mueller, who introduced this version to the Junethack tournament and by extension Hardfought.
  • Keith Simpson, Hardfought owner and EvilHack dev whose work I thoroughly enjoy (and who I hope doesn't mind the full name here, haha)
  • amateurhour, one of the few IRC users I know who took to playing 1.3d and is responsible for much of the strategy above.
  • And you, for spending your time reading this, whoever the hell you are. <3


  1. In which case, hit me up @ Umbire on Discord or so we can collab if you like!
  2. Though, you might also want a quick win for speedplay purposes, personal achievement or bragging rights. No judgment, really.
  3. Or "KAA", if you've gone source diving here or in NetHack repos elsewhere.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fun fact - if you do either of these commands (assuming you selected gold for "inventory by type") and have a significant amount of gold on you, you will physically sit to count your gold and use up multiple turns! Because "fuck you"! there likely wasn't room to do anything that'd require another status line, and unfortunately for 1987 computers were... limited. So yeah - be careful doing this or you could die.
  5. fountain.c in NetHack 1.3d, line 242