Big Stick

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)   Big Stick   Club.png
Base item club
Damage vs. small 1d6 +1d12 (2–18)
Damage vs. large 1d3 +1d12 (2–15)
To-hit bonus +1d5
Bonus versus (any)
Weapon skill club
Size one-handed
When carried
When wielded
When invoked
Base price 2500 zm
Weight 30
Material wood

Big Stick is an artifact club introduced in NetHack Fourk that later appeared in xNetHack. It replaces the Sceptre of Might as the quest artifact for Cavemen and the prize for completing the Caveman quest. It is chaotic for wishing purposes.[1]


Big Stick confers stealth when carried, and it provides +d5 to-hit and +d12 damage against all monsters. Like the vanilla Sceptre of Might, Big Stick provides magic resistance when wielded and toggles conflict when invoked. Conflict caused by Big Stick does not cause rapid nutrition drain. If Big Stick leaves the player's inventory, it will stop causing conflict without needing to be invoked.


Big Stick is the only chaotic artifact that provides magic resistance in xNetHack, which may mark it as a potential wish target for chaotic players that can gain skill in clubs. Most other artifact weapons deal more damage than Big Stick when their bonuses apply, but significantly less when they do not - Big Stick has the advantage of applying its bonus against all monsters.

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Small monster Large monster
+0 Big Stick \frac{1+6}{2}+\frac{1+12}{2}=\bold{10} \frac{1+3}{2}+\frac{1+12}{2}=\bold{8.5}
+7 Big Stick \frac{1+6}{2}+\frac{1+12}{2}+7=\bold{17} \frac{1+3}{2}+\frac{1+12}{2}+7=\bold{15.5}


Big Stick's name and its property of providing stealth when carried are a reference to the phrase "Speak softly and carry a big stick." The saying is commonly attributed to US President Theodore Roosevelt, who used it to summarize his view of foreign policy.

See also