Armor

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Armor is an important concern for the hero entering the dungeon and is one of the primary things between you and death. Wearing armor will improve your armor class, reducing it by the amount shown in the "AC" column in the table below. Some types of armor may also provide "magic cancellation", as shown in the "MC" column below. There are 7 slots for armor: helm, cloak, body armor, shirt, shield, gloves/gauntlets, and boots. Some armor items reduce your ability to cast spells successfully, particularly shields and metal suits.

BUC

If you put on cursed armor, or if it is cursed while you are wearing it, you will be unable to take it off. (The item will be identified as cursed when you try to remove it.) Cursed gloves will also prevent you from putting on or removing rings. A cursed suit of body armor prevents you from unequipping shirts, and a cursed cloak prevents you from unequipping suits and shirts.

The inconvenience of cursed armor is amplified by the fact that armor generated cursed often also has negative enchantment. This is why it is a good idea to check the BUC of a piece of armor before wearing it.

The effects of blessed armor are minor. Blessed armor is more resistant to curses, because it must be made unblessed before it can become cursed. Blessed armor also has a chance of resisting some sources of erosion. Further, armor generated blessed has a higher chance of an enchantment.

Blessings and curses do not affect the magical abilities of most pieces of armor. A notable exception is a cursed oilskin cloak, which will only protect you from grabbing attacks 2/3 of the time. Similarly, any grease present on cursed armor will only prevent grabbing or mind-flaying attacks 2/3 of the time.

Most randomly generated armor is generated 12.31% cursed, 78.96% uncursed, 8.72% blessed. Four items (helm of opposite alignment, gauntlets of fumbling, fumble boots, and levitation boots) are generated 90.45% cursed, 8.6% uncursed, 0.95% blessed.[1]

The following table shows with what probability a piece of armor (not one of the above mentioned) with a given BUC status has a certain enchantment level. Levels 6 through 10 are unlocked as one's experience level rises, but anything exceeding 4 is rare.

+0 +1 +2 +3 +4 >4
Blessed 47.37% 35.09% 7.81% 0.58% 0.01% 0.0001761%
Uncursed 94.19% 3.88% 0.86% 0.06% 0.0015654% 0.0000194%
+0 -1 -2 -3 -4 <-4
Cursed 33.55% 44.3% 14.77% 1.09% 0.016406218% 0.0002501%

Monsters (pets) and armor

Some types of monsters can wear armor and profit from a subset of its magical capabilities.[2] Pets are of main interest here.

  • If a monster is polymorphed while wearing dragon scale (mail), it will always turn into the appropriately colored dragon. Since polymorphing is permanent in NetHack, the armor is lost.

Monsters know armor enchantment and will switch to maximize total armor value, taking into account the base AC an item confers, the enchantment, and erosion, but not the BUC status.[3][4] Non-fast monsters will prefer speed boots to any other boots.[5]. However, tame monsters do not pick up any cursed objects.

Table of Armor and Properties

Name Cost Weight AC Weight per AC Material Effect MC Magical Appearance
Shirts
Hawaiian shirt 3 5 0 Infinite cloth Shop --
T-shirt 2 5 0 Infinite cloth Shop --
Suits
leather jacket 10 30 1 30 leather --
leather armor 5 150 2 75 leather 1 --
orcish ring mail 80 250 2 125 iron 1 crude ring mail
studded leather armor 15 200 3 67 leather 1 --
ring mail 100 250 3 83 iron 1 --
scale mail 45 250 4 63 iron 1 --
orcish chain mail 75 300 4 75 iron 1 crude chain mail
chain mail 75 300 5 60 iron 1 --
elven mithril-coat 240 150 5 30 mithril 2 --
splint mail 80 400 6 67 iron 1 --
banded mail 90 350 6 58 iron 1 --
dwarvish mithril-coat 240 150 6 25 mithril 2 --
bronze plate mail 400 450 6 75 copper 1 --
plate mail (tanko) 600 450 7 64 iron 2 --
crystal plate mail 820 450 7 64 glass 2 --
Dragon Suits
dragon scales 500 40 3 13 dragon Resist% --
dragon scale mail 900 40 9 4 dragon Resist% Yes --
Cloaks
mummy wrapping 2 3 0 Infinite cloth Vis 1 --
orcish cloak 40 10 0 Infinite cloth 1 coarse mantelet
dwarvish cloak 50 10 0 Infinite cloth 1 hooded cloak
leather cloak 40 15 1 15 leather 1 --
cloak of displacement 50 10 1 10 cloth Displ 1 Yes *piece of cloth
oilskin cloak 50 10 1 10 cloth Water 2 slippery cloak
alchemy smock 50 10 1 10 cloth Poi+Acd 1 Yes apron
cloak of invisibility 60 10 1 10 cloth Invis 1 Yes *opera cloak
cloak of magic resistance 60 10 1 10 cloth Magic 1 Yes *ornamental cope
elven cloak 60 10 1 10 cloth Stealth 1 Yes faded pall
robe 50 15 2 8 cloth Spell 2 Yes --
cloak of protection 50 10 3 3 cloth Prot 3 Yes *tattered cape
Helms
fedora 1 3 0 Infinite cloth --
dunce cap 1 4 0 Infinite cloth Stupid Yes conical hat
cornuthaum 80 4 0 Infinite cloth Clair 1 Yes conical hat
dented pot 8 10 1 10 iron --
elven leather helm 8 3 1 3 leather leather hat
helmet (kabuto) 10 30 1 30 iron *plumed helmet
orcish helm 10 30 1 30 iron iron skull cap
helm of brilliance 50 50 1 50 iron Int+Wis Yes *etched helmet
helm of opposite alignment 50 50 1 50 iron Align Yes *crested helmet
helm of telepathy 50 50 1 50 iron ESP Yes *visored helmet
dwarvish iron helm 20 40 2 20 iron hard hat
Gloves
leather gloves (yugake) 8 10 1 10 leather *old gloves
gauntlets of dexterity 50 10 1 10 leather Dex Yes *padded gloves
gauntlets of fumbling 50 10 1 10 leather Fumble Yes *riding gloves
gauntlets of power 50 30 1 30 iron Str Yes *fencing gloves
Shields
small shield 3 30 1 30 wood --
orcish shield 7 50 1 50 iron red-eyed
Uruk-hai shield 7 50 1 50 iron white-handed
elven shield 7 40 2 20 wood blue and green
dwarvish roundshield 10 100 2 50 iron large round
large shield 10 100 2 50 iron --
shield of reflection 50 50 2 25 silver Reflect Yes polished silver
Boots
low boots 8 10 1 10 leather walking shoes
elven boots 8 15 1 15 leather Stlth Yes *mud boots
kicking boots 8 50 1 50 iron Kick Yes *buckled boots
fumble boots 30 20 1 20 leather Fumble Yes *riding boots
levitation boots 30 15 1 15 leather Lev Yes *snow boots
jumping boots 50 20 1 20 leather Jump Yes *hiking boots
speed boots 50 20 1 20 leather Speed Yes *combat boots
water walking boots 50 20 1 20 leather WWalk Yes *jungle boots
high boots 12 20 2 10 leather jackboots
iron shoes 16 50 2 25 iron hard shoes

Prior to NetHack 3.6.0, the kicking boots had a weight of 15.

Appearance

Those listed with an asterisk (*) are randomized within their armor category.
Boots with the appearance "snow boots" make ice act like normal terrain (but the Fumble armor property still happens at its normal rate).
Gloves and boots with the appearance "riding gloves" and "riding boots" give a (non-cumulative) bonus to the chance of successfully saddling a steed.
Helmets with the appearance "visored helmet" provide defence against the blinding attack of ravens and the spitting attack of cobras.

Materials

Material Erosion Hinders spellcasting?
bronze corroded yes
cloth burnt, rotten no
dragon hide - no
glass - no
iron rusty, corroded yes
leather burnt, rotten no
mithril - yes
silver - yes
wood burnt, rotten no

Effects

Acd Gives acid resistance.
Align Changes your alignment, removes protection, and auto-curses.
Clair A wizard gets clairvoyance and +1 charisma, but other characters have existing clairvoyance blocked and get -1 charisma.
Dex Adds armor's enchantment to your dexterity.
Displ Gives displacement.
ESP Gives telepathy.
Fumble You will occasionally fumble.
Int+Wis Adds armor's enchantment to your intelligence and wisdom.
Invis Gives invisibility.
Jump Gives jumping at will. The special restrictions for Knights do not apply while this item is worn.
Kick Kicking does additional damage, and grants martial arts bonuses.
Lev Causes levitation. Does NOT prevent you being drowned by monsters.
Magic Gives magic resistance. Does NOT affect magic cancellation.
Poison Gives poison resistance.
Reflect Gives reflection.
Resist% Dragon scales provide resistance according to the color of the dragon:
Shop If not covered by body armor or cloak, shopkeepers buy and sell at the same rate as inexperienced (level < 15) tourists (buy at 1/3 of and sell at 4/3 of the normal price).
Sleep Gives sleep resistance.
Speed Gives you the speed extrinsic, the same as a potion of speed or spell of haste self.
Spell Player spellcasting is more likely to succeed, and reduces the penalty for metallic armor.
Stealth Gives stealth.
Str Increases your strength to 25.
Stupid Your intelligence and wisdom are fixed at 6; auto-curses; shopkeepers buy and sell at the inexperienced Tourist rate.
Vis Overrides invisibility so you are again visible.
Water Protects metal body armor from rusting/corroding (1/3 chance of protection if cursed) and prevents grabbing attacks.
WWalk Allows you to walk on water. Does NOT prevent you being drowned by monsters.

The "magical" property some armor has is only important to polypiling: non-magical armor will tend to stay non-magical, and vice-versa.

Modifying armor class

See also: Scroll of enchant armor; Erosion

Enchantment increases (or decreases) the effective armor class (AC) bonus from wearing armor. Most armor will not be destroyed when enchanted beginning from +3. If a blessed scroll of enchant armor is used, then the new enchantment may reach +5. If only +4 is reached, the armor can be degraded to +3 with drain life magic or a disenchanter attack, and then an attempt made to enchant it again. Elven armor may be safely enchanted from +5, reaching up to +7. A wizard may also safely enchant a cornuthaum from +5. Attempting to enchant from higher enchantments has a high chance of destroying the item.

Eroded only affects the base AC and armor will still keep the full AC bonus from enchantment. Thus if enchantment scrolls are scarce, it is often better to use them to add enchantment than to erodeproof items, especially for items with low base AC.

Strategy

See also: Ascension kit

A careful selection of armor is part of the typical ascension kit. NetHack players may choose a combination of armor that conveys magic resistance, high magic cancellation, reflection, various intrinsics and bonuses, and, of course, high AC.

UnNetHack

UnNetHack adds new pieces of armor:

The names, colors, and breath types of dragons other than chromatic dragons are randomized. Scales from "glowing dragons" act as a light source, in addition to whatever resistance they confer.

Racial armor tracking is implemented. The number of pieces of equipment worn that are associated with your starting race is tracked as a conduct. Also, every worn piece of racial armor gives an extra point of AC.

SporkHack

SporkHack adds, including:

References

  1. mkobj.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 550
  2. update_mon_intrinsics in worn.c
  3. worn.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 571
  4. hack.h in NetHack 3.6.0, line 396
  5. worn.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 939


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