Black dragon scales

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[   black dragon scales   Black dragon scales.png
Appearance black dragon scales
Slot body armor
AC 3
Base price 700 zm
Weight 40
Material dragon hide

Black dragon scales are a type of body armor that appear in NetHack. They are made of dragon hide like all dragon scales.


Black dragon scales are not randomly generated, though they can be wished for or found in bones.

A black dragon that leaves a corpse behind on death (i.e., always) have a 13 chance of leaving behind dragon scales, while a dragon revived by the wand of undead turning or spell of turn undead only has a 120 chance to leave behind scales.[1] Black dragon scales dropped this way are always generated +0 and uncursed.[2]


While worn, black dragon scales confer 3 base AC and disintegration resistance. Reading a non-cursed scroll of enchant armor that targets worn black dragon scales will convert them into black dragon scale mail, with a blessed scroll adding a point of enchantment.

Uncontrolled polymorph while wearing black dragon scales will turn the wearer into a black dragon, and doing so while wearing the scale mail will additionally revert them to scales.[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.

Per commit ef1eeed7, both the scales and scale mail also provide drain resistance.


Black dragon scales are rarely sought out by most characters: as reflection is sufficient enough to protect a character against most forms of disintegration minus the wide-angle disintegration beam, which is only encountered through either deliberate action or severe missteps. In the former case, it can be used to survive a god's smiting for bragging rights as with black dragon scale mail.

A player going without reflection may consider grabbing black dragon scales, but will need to take significant measures to make sure they are not hit by the black dragon's breath from off-screen, as well as keeping a black dragon in melee range to avoid them using their breath further. Additionally, once killed their corpse can be eaten or made into a tin via tinning kit, and fully consuming either renders disintegration a non-issue for the rest of that game. The scales can still be given to a pet if a character is not willing to spare a source of reflection or else lacks any others.

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.

Black dragon scales are more likely to be considered for characters and pets since it confers a source of drain resistance, which is very difficult to obtain outside of polyself or artifacts.


Black dragon scales first appear with most other colors of dragon scales in NetHack 3.1.0.


Main article: Dragon-scaled armor

In some variants, dragon scale mail is phased out in favor of dragon-scaled armor, whose implementation is based on a proposal by dtsund - instead of being made into mail of its own, dragon scales are treated as a cloak, and reading a scroll of enchant armor melds them onto a worn set of body armor, generally augmenting that armor by adding its AC and conferred extrinsic properties to it. Dragon-scaled armor is implemented in NetHack Fourk, xNetHack, EvilHack, and Hack'EM.

Several variants also give black dragon scales additional properties while worn, and variants that implement partial intrinsics and/or object properties may also make black dragon scales and other colors more worthwhile.


In SporkHack, worn black dragon scales can passively blind attackers.


In UnNetHack, dragon scales and dragon scale mail have randomized powers and appearances in each game - to wish for dragon armor or scales by its corresponding power, either type of armor must be formally identified first, e.g. by using a scroll of identify on dropped dragon scales (which identifies the matching scale mail along with it) or by witnessing the dragon use its breath weapon.

Black dragon scales are effectively replaced by disintegration dragon scales, which confer only 1 base AC like all dragon scales in UnNetHack.


In dNetHack and notdNetHack, worn black dragon scales additionally confer drain resistance. Dragon scales also weigh 150 aum.

The Chromatic Dragon Scales are an artifact set of black dragon scales that can be obtained from the Chromatic Dragon, the Caveman quest nemesis who can also appear within Gehennom in 18 of games for other roles. These scales can be converted into a chromatic dragon scale mail or shield as with other scales. While worn in any form, Chromatic Dragon Scales grant fire resistance, cold resistance, shock resistance, disintegration resistance, poison resistance, drain resistance, sickness resistance, acid resistance, and stoning resistance, with all properties capable of affecting dragon breath like typical dragon armor.


In FIQHack, worn black dragon scales additionally confer drain resistance, and weigh 300 aum like all dragon scales in FIQHack (which is halved while worn).