War hammer

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) War hammer.png
Name war hammer
Appearance war hammer
Damage vs. small 1d4+1
Damage vs. large 1d4
To-hit bonus 0
Weapon skill hammer
Size one-handed
Base price 5 zm
Weight 50
Material iron

A war hammer is a type of one-handed weapon that appears in NetHack. It is the base item for the artifact weapons Mjollnir and Ogresmasher.


War hammers make up ~1.5% of randomly generated weapons (on the floor, as death drops, or in shops).

Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have a ~1.3% chance of generating with a war hammer as their initial weapon before role-based replacements[1] - as with other player monster weapons on the Astral Plane, the hammer has a 12 chance of being made into either Mjollnir or Ogresmasher if neither weapon has been generated.[2] Valkyries have a 12 chance of forcing a war hammer as their weapon.[3]

Hammer skill

Max Role

The war hammer is the only weapon to use the hammer skill in vanilla NetHack. The lucern hammer is a type of polearm and uses this skill instead.


The war hammer is generally an unremarkable weapon, with lower damage than the mace and the long sword. As a weapon skill, it is most relevant for those who find or receive Ogresmasher or Mjollnir.

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Small monsters Large monsters
+0 war hammer \frac{1+4}{2}+1=\bold{3.5} \frac{1+4}{2}=\bold{2.5}
+7 war hammer \frac{1+4}{2}+1+7=\bold{10.5} \frac{1+4}{2}+7=\bold{9.5}


The war hammer first appears in NetHack 3.0.3.

The lucern hammer, which first appeas in NetHack 1.3d, was erroneously classified as using the hammer skill rather than polearm skill - this mistake was carried over from early editions of Dungeons & Dragons. In NetHack 3.0.0, this led to Thunderfist (the predecessor of Mjollnir) and Ogresmasher having the base item of a lucern hammer instead; the war hammer was introduced in part to correct this mistake.


A horseman's pick, an example of a real-world type of war hammer

The war hammer is a weapon that was formerly used in warfare, dating back to as far as the 2nd century BCE. Real-world war hammers were quite versatile weapons and were important for facing heavily-armored opponents much like maces. The blunt hammerhead would deliver concussive force through thick armor - including most chain mail and even plate mail - and the pick end on the opposite face could be used to punch holes, whether through a piece of armor or the odd skull. They could also be used in grappling.

The war hammer's hit die are derived from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.



SLASH'EM adds a new type of hammer in the heavy hammer, which is stronger than the war hammer and acts as the new base item for Mjollnir.


In dNetHack, the war hammer deals 1d8+1 bludgeoning damage to small monsters and 1d8 bludgeoning damage to large ones, and can be thrown with no to-hit penalty.


In xNetHack, war hammers are made into a two-handed weapon that deals 2d6 damage to small creatures and 2d8 to large creatures.


EvilHack adds the heavy war hammer, a stronger type of hammer that acts as the new base item for Mjollnir and Ogresmasher. Hammers of any kind can also be wielded while standing on a square with a forge to create new weapons, armor and other objects, including even artifacts.

A war hammer can be created at a forge by combining a flail and a mace. War hammers can be used to create a few other items:

  • Two war hammers can be combined to create a heavy war hammer.
  • A war hammer can be combined with a spear to create a bec de corbin.
  • A war hammer can be combined with a knife to create a dented pot.

Encyclopedia entry

They had come together at the ford of the Trident while the battle crashed around them, Robert with his warhammer and his great antlered helm, the Targaryen prince armored all in black. On his breastplate was the three-headed dragon of his House, wrought all in rubies that flashed like fire in the sunlight. The waters of the Trident ran red around the hooves of their destriers as they circled and clashed, again and again, until at last a crushing blow from Robert's hammer stove in the dragon and the chest behind it. When Ned had finally come on the scene, Rhaegar lay dead in the stream, while men of both armies scrambled in the swirling waters for rubies knocked free of his armor.

[ A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin ]


  1. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 155: 12 to get a random weapon - the designated range of objects covers weapons from the spear to the bullwhip inclusively in objects.c, and uses normal generation odds
  2. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 270
  3. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 239