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Autopickup is an option, on by default, that specifies that your character automatically picks up any item on the square he/she moves onto.

While this may seem convenient, it often causes problems, particularly with heavy or dangerous items[1]. However, in most cases these problems can be mitigated by proper application of the pickup_types and pickup_burden options.

To toggle autopickup, you can select it from the Options menu or press @.

If pickup_types is left as all, then autopickup can be used whenever it is necessary to pick up items on a teleport trap or hole (for example, in Sokoban) where the player would otherwise not have a chance to pick up the items before being whisked away. Pickups caused by autopickup take place in the same turn as the movement (which is not possible without autopickup), so it can be used to pickup items saving a turn, which is useful if you are fleeing or doing a speed ascension.

It is possible to refine autopickup options even further with autopickup_exceptions, but this feature is still in experimental stages and may have some bugs.

.nethackrc file examples

Here is a typical entry from the .nethackrc file which one might have:

# Auto pickup only items considered "generally safe": 
# gold, scrolls, potions, wands, rings, amulets, and spellbooks.
OPTIONS=autopickup, pickup_types:$?!/="+
# But don't pickup a scroll of scare monster
AUTOPICKUP_EXCEPTION=">scroll of scare monster"

Here is how to turn off auto pickup:

# Disable auto pickup by default (can toggle by pressing '@')

Here is a more complex example which uses AUTOPICKUP_EXCEPTIONs. Later entries taking precedence over earlier ones. There are many and varied tricksy things you can do, like picking up food, but not corpses, except, yes, corpses that are light and yummy. See the entry for AUTOPICKUP_EXCEPTION for full details.


# Ask first if an item would exceed a burden level (default stressed):
# (Unencumbered, Burdened, streSsed, straiNed, Overtaxed, or overLoaded)

# Note: pickup_types is only consulted if no EXCEPTION matches.

# Always pick these:
AUTOPICKUP_EXCEPTION="<wand of wishing"
AUTOPICKUP_EXCEPTION="<wand of polymorph"
# Don't pick these:
AUTOPICKUP_EXCEPTION=">worthless piece of"

  1. death before receiving move is an extreme example

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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.