Boulder fort

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A boulder fort is the strategic placement of boulders to control the generation or movement of monsters around you.


A basic use of a boulder fort is as a protective or 'escape mechanism. You can read a blessed scroll of earth if an arch-lich is summoning too many monsters, or you can take out hard monsters from behind a strategic boulder fort on the stairs up.

Monster generation

Generally used in extinctionism or farming, it is an array of boulders placed around oneself to block all other spaces nearby. That way, monsters will only be created on (and able to attack you from) a certain spot, such as an altar. The keystroke sequence necessary for mass monster slaying becomes rather simple and less error-prone in a fort.

You can create one with a blessed scroll of earth to summon boulders around your altar. You should engrave Elbereth under yourself and under each boulder to prevent giants from walking on them. Occasionally, summoned giants will appear on the boulders and pick them up if you did not engrave Elbereth, ruining your fort. Intelligent monsters can also zap a wand of striking at you if they see you, destroying boulders. To avoid this, surround yourself completely. A cursed bag of holding on the @ spot is a good way to destroy the junk long farming sessions generate. You might need to drop all inventory and squeeze between boulders at first, to set the fort up.


Boulder forts are not impervious to ghosts or giants, but monsters cannot occupy the same square as one another. A variation is to create the boulders on top of blue jellies (or other sessile monsters), which never move.

If you are invisible or displaced, monsters will eventually destroy the boulders with ranged attacks if they misjudge your location. If you rely on a boulder and jelly fort for shelter while pasting large amounts of unsupervised commands, you may want to wear a mummy wrapping.

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.1.

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 Information on this page may be out of date.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 {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.

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