Being a beginner is a condition of a single NetHack character. Characters that have never achieved 2000 score points (1000 if a wizard) are classified as beginners. It causes otherwise unique messages given by scrolls, spells, and potions to default to "You have a strange feeling for a moment, then it passes" ("normal feeling" if hallucinating), which hampers their identification.
The following events are affected by this:
- Performing gold detection when there is no gold on the level
- Performing non-blessed food detection when there is no food on the level (or blessed when already detecting dangerous food)
- Performing object detection when there are no objects on the level
- Performing non-blessed monster detection when there are no monsters on the level
- Attempting to detect traps (with a crystal ball or cursed/confused scroll of gold detection) when there are no traps on the level
- Reading a scroll of enchant armor while not wearing any armor
- Reading a scroll of destroy armor while not wearing any armor, confused or not
- Reading a scroll of enchant weapon while not wielding any weapon
This is a condition experienced by all players; each character (regardless of a player's history) is initially a beginner.