NetHack 2.2a

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NetHack 2.2a is the third public release of NetHack. Mike Stephenson published it to the Usenet newsgroup and the moderator approved it in December 1987.


The original Usenet posts are available from the Internet Archive, and are linked from this list of URLs.

Ali Harlow has a NetHack 2.2a distribution at his site, which is also available on NetHackWiki for browsing and annotation.

Significant changes

The adventurer

The player may choose from these roles:

All classes permit male and female adventurers, except the Valkyrie which must be female.

The adventurer has experience, hit points, magical energy, armor class, and strength. He may advance to experience level 14.

The initial pet is a little dog.

Dungeon features

The dungeon in NetHack 2.2a has no branches; there is one way up and one way down. The first 25 levels or so consist of rooms, and beyond that, the adventurer encounters mazes. The deepest dungeon level is 60.

Medusa appears as '8' on the down-stairs of the last level with rooms. She does not have a special level, and is thus a snare for the unwary adventurer.

Dungeon level 30 and deeper are designated as "Hell". Entering hell without fire resistance, or losing it once there, is an instadeath. One can lose fire resistance by taking off the ring or by losing one's polymorph; this version does not have gremlins. These levels have only up-stairs, and the only way to enter is by level teleportation.

Special rooms are throne rooms, swamps, vaults, beehives, crypts, treasure zoos, and shops. Special features are pools, fountains, and thrones.

Traps are:

The Amulet of Yendor is found in the possession of the wizard of Yendor in a maze level. He is in a small room in the center of the maze, surrounded by water and accompanied by a hell hound.

Fake Wizard rooms contain a demon instead of the Wizard and a fake Amulet.

Other maze levels have wands of wishing tucked under a boulder in a dead-end square. There can be more than one, but it's much less likely than before; but one is guaranteed in the level immediately after Medusa. Since NetHack 3.1.0, one version of Medusa's lair has a random wand in a similar spot, commemorating the former location of the wand of wishing.


New monsters are indicated in boldface.

The following monsters may be encountered:

Name Symbol Notes
acid blob a  
bat B  
centaur C  
chameleon :  
cockatrice c  
demon &  
demon lord & if HARD defined at compile time
demon prince & if HARD defined at compile time
dog d  
dragon D As the modern red dragon
ettin e  
floating eye E  
fog cloud f  
freezing sphere F  
gelatinous cube g  
ghost (space)  
giant 9  
giant ant A  
giant beetle b  
giant eel ;  
gnome G  
guard @  
hell hound d Does not have a breath weapon
hobgoblin H  
homunculus h  
imp i  
jackal J  
jaguar j  
killer bee k  
large dog d  
leocrotta l  
leprechaun L  
little dog d  
lurker above '  
mail daemon 2 if MAIL defined at compile time
medusa 8 Spelled with small M
mimic M  
minotaur m  
nurse n  
nymph N  
orc O  
owlbear o  
piercer p  
purple worm P  
quivering blob q  
rust monster R Reduces enchantment rather than truly rusting
shopkeeper @  
snake S  
soldier 3 if SAC defined at compile time
stalker I  
tengu t  
trapper ,  
troll T  
umber hulk U  
unicorn u  
vampire V  
violet fungi v "violet fungus" if KAA defined at compile time
wizard of Yendor 1  
wraith W  
xan x  
xorn X  
yellow light y  
yeti Y  
zombie Z  
zruty z  
Keystone Kop K if KOPS defined at compile time (default)
kobold K if KOPS not defined at compile time, or if KJSMODS is (KJSMODS is the default)
rock mole r if ROCKMOLE defined at compile time (default)
giant rat r if ROCKMOLE not defined at compile time, or if KJSMODS is (KJSMODS is the default)
quantum mechanic Q if KAA defined at compile time (default)
quasit Q if KAA not defined at compile time
giant spider s if SPIDERS defined at compile time (default)
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


New objects are indicated in boldface.


NetHack 2.2a has three artifacts. Multiple copies of each may exist.

Any two handed sword may be named Orcrist and will do d10 extra points damage to orcs.[1]

Excalibur is obtained in a manner closer to the modern fashion (save that alignment is not yet implemented): the player must dip a long sword in a fountain, and cannot name any object Excalibur. It no longer becomes +5 when created, but instead gets +5 to hit and does d10 extra damage to all monsters.[2]. Wielding Excalibur makes demon lords and demon princes angry instead of them asking for a bribe, and can call the attention of certain monsters. Excalibur may now be granted by crowning.

Snickersnee is new to 2.2a. Any katana may be named Snickersnee and will do d5 extra points damage to all monsters.[3].


Only the Amulet of Yendor and the cheap plastic imitation exist in NetHack 2.2a.


Food items in NetHack 2.2a are:

The tin did not contain the remains of monsters, but rather a randomly-chosen food such as peaches or, if the adventurer is lucky, spinach.

The dead lizard is a found object rather than a corpse; live lizards do not exist in NetHack 2.2a. It otherwise has its modern properties in this version.


Weapons in NetHack 2.2a are:


Tools in NetHack 2.2a are:

The ice box is the only container. Then as now, it preserved corpses, and was generally too heavy (and too rare) to be useful for inventory management.


Armor items in NetHack 2.2a are:


Potions in NetHack 2.2a are:


Scrolls in NetHack 2.2a are:

The scroll of damage weapon acts as the modern scroll of enchant weapon does when cursed. The scroll of genocide acts, in all cases, as the modern blessed scroll; but most symbols refer to only one monster anyway.


Wands in NetHack 2.2a are:


Spellbooks in NetHack 2.2a are:


Rings in NetHack 2.2a are:

Because charisma does not exist in NetHack 2.2a, the ring of adornment is a useless item.


Gems in NetHack 2.2a are:

and worthless pieces of blue, red, yellow, and green glass.

Other items

Other items not appearing in the above categories are:

It is not possible to pick up an iron chain, nor can they be generated from iron golems, because these do not exist in NetHack 2.2a.