Banded mail

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[   banded mail   Banded mail.png
Appearance banded mail
Slot body armor
AC 6
Base price 90 zm
Weight 350
Material iron

Banded mail is a type of body armor that appears in NetHack. It is made of iron.


In addition to random generation, general stores and armor shops can stock banded mail.

Mercenaries with a target AC of 2 or better (e.g., Yendorian Army sergeants) that do not receive plate mail or crystal plate mail have an effective 415 chance of generating with banded mail.[1]

Player monster barbarians, knights, priests, and valkyries have an effective 18155 chance (roughly ~11.61%) of forcing banded mail in place of their initial body armor.[2][3][4][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.

As part of commit 20cbadcf - which strengthens quest leaders and makes it so that killing them no longer makes the game unwinnable - the Valkyrie quest leader the Norn always generates with +5 banded mail.


While worn, banded mail confers 6 base AC and MC1.


Banded mail is a slight upgrade from splint mail, providing the same protection while being slightly more expensive and 50 aum lighter. In general, it can suffice as an early set of armor for characters with enough carrying capacity, though it is still quite heavy; the dwarvish mithril-coat or elven mithril-coat is typically preferable at minimum.


Banded mail first appears in Hack 1.21 and Hack for PDP-11, which is based on Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial list of armor for Hack 1.0. From this version to NetHack 3.4.3, including some variants based on those versions, banded mail does not grant any magic cancellation.


"Banded mail" is a 19th century neologism describing a type of composite armor formed by taking splint armor and applying the concepts of the personal banded armor (or lorica segmentata) worn by soldiers of the Roman army. Banded mail was believed to have existed during the 13th century in particular, but the historicity of banded mail is doubted: the term is a source of confusion due to similar armor being known by a wide variety of terms, and descriptions of banded mail have also been applied to plated mail, "laminar", brigandines, and splinted armor itself. Although considered a real type of armor during the 19th century, later history works claim that banded mail arose due to a misinterpretation of medieval manuscripts and tomb effigies.

Though there have been attempts at modern reconstructions of banded mail, no known historic examples are confirmed to exist. Existing manuscript and effigy representation has generally been interpreted as covering a variety of methods for depicting chainmail. British historian Charles John ffoulkes, author of the 1912 book The Armourer and His Craft, claimed that banded mail did exist as chain mail with leather thongs threaded through it, and suggested that no specimen survived because the leather would have disintegrated in the centuries between their use and their discovery. Regardless, banded mail is entrenched in the popular consciousness as a result of its inclusion in the armor list for Dungeons & Dragons, which NetHack draws from.



In dNetHack, banded mail confers 3 AC and 3 DR while worn, and its weight is reduced to 175 aum.

Warrior Amm Kamerel always generated with small-sized banded mail, which has an equal probability of its material being either copper, glass or silver. Uiscerre Eladrin generate with banded mail made of copper, and the ogre emperor always generates with banded mail. Tengu have a 120 chance of generating with banded mail, and those generated on the Samurai quest will always have banded mail.


In EvilHack, the weight of banded mail is reduced to 250 aum.

Croesus has a 12 chance of generating with gold banded mail. The Norn always generates with +4 banded mail.

Banded mail can be created at a forge by combining a ring mail and a scale mail.


  1. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 625
  2. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 174: 12 for barbarians and other mentioned roles to get random body armor within the range of objects from plate mail to chain mail in objects.c, using normal generation odds
  3. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 201: body armor for knights
  4. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 215: body armor for priests
  5. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 242: body armor for valkyries