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"Abuse" redirects here. For pet abuse, see Tameness § Abuse.

Exercise refers to slowly increasing your attributes over time by doing certain helpful things and avoiding doing certain other things.

Of the six attributes (strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma), you can only exercise four; there is no way to exercise intelligence or charisma. (Charisma can be increased by stepping into a magic trap, and intelligence by eating a mind flayer corpse or quaffing a blessed potion of enlightenment. All attributes can be raised by quaffing a potion of gain ability (best if blessed) or drinking from a magic fountain (best if your Luck is greater than 3)).

Here are examples of how to exercise strength, dexterity, constitution, and wisdom:

For a more complete list of exercise methods, see the attribute page.

Exercise does not cause immediate gains in your attributes. Instead, exercising an attribute has a chance of (18 − current attribute value) in 19 of incrementing the attribute's exercise counter, whose maximum value is 50.[1] The "current attribute value" also includes modifiers from items; thus, in particular, wearing gauntlets of power has a side-effect of completely preventing strength from being exercised.

NetHack does exercise checks at certain times. Upon a check, each counter is examined. If the corresponding attribute is already 18 or greater, nothing is done. Otherwise a random number between 0 and 49 inclusive is chosen. If it is greater than |(2/3)*counter| for a non-wisdom attribute or |counter| for wisdom, nothing is done. Otherwise, the attribute is changed by adding 1 if the counter was positive and subtracting 1 if it was negative, and the counter is set to zero. Afterwards, no matter what happened, the counter is halved, rounding toward 0.[2] [3]

The first check happens on turn 600. Subsequent checks occur at random intervals from 200 (inclusive) to 800 (exclusive) turns[4] from the last one.


Abuse is the opposite of exercise. Acts of abuse can undo exercise, or even cause your strength, dexterity, constitution, or wisdom to drop. For a comprehensive list of abuse methods, see the attributes page. If your stats get lowered, use a unicorn horn to heal any such loss. In UnNetHack and SporkHack, this won't work – use a potion or spell of restore ability, instead.

Each act of abuse has an exactly 50% chance of reducing the attribute's exercise counter by 1.[5]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Unicorn horns can no longer restore reduced attributes. Alternatives include potions of restore ability, the restore ability spell, prayer, or finding a way to exercise or increase that attribute again.


Before NetHack 3.6.0, upon loading a saved game, if the first check has happened, the next check was set to happen from 800 (inclusive) to 850 (exclusive) turns afterwards. Thus, surprisingly, saving and reloading the game could have an in-game effect on the player's attributes. This may persist in some variants, but was changed in Slash'EM Extended and NetHack 3.6.0 to have the timer be saved to disk.

External links


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.1. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-361}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.