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( Bugle.png
Name bugle
Appearance bugle
Base price 15 zm
Weight 10
Material copper
Monster use May be used defensively by monsters.

The bugle is a tonal musical instrument that appears in NetHack.


Sergeants, lieutenants, and captains have a 13 chance of being generated with a bugle. They can and will play the instrument, causing the same effects as when you improvise with it.


Applying a bugle will allow you to play it. Improvising can awaken or scare nearby monsters, as with a tooled horn; however, it will also awaken, anger, and unparalyze all soldiers and watchmen on the level, and vault guards are unaffected.[1][2] Improvising abuses your wisdom. Soldiers themselves are capable of using bugles to the same effect, and a soldier will only play it if there is another sleeping soldier in a 7×7 square around them.[3]

As a tonal instrument, it can be used to play the passtune to enter the castle.


A bugle can be a good substitute for a tooled horn; it has a good chance of scaring most monsters outside of the Yendorian Army, but it cannot be safely used in Minetown unless you've neutralised the watch. At least one of the higher-ranked soldiers in a barracks will carry a bugle, and will use it as soon as they get an opportunity; this will wake up the rest of their sleeping comrades, which may spoil any sleep or stealth-based approach you were employing. It's a good idea to find out if there are any barracks on a level before using your bugle.

Bugles are lighter than tooled horns, and are considered very useful tools for the late game and Endgame; it can work well for keeping the angry priests from surrounding you in the Sanctum, or driving away the air elementals on the Plane of Air.

Encyclopaedia entry

'I read you by your bugle horn
And by your palfrey good,
I read you for a Ranger sworn
To keep the King's green-wood.'
'A Ranger, Lady, winds his horn,
And 'tis at peep of light;
His blast is heard at merry morn,
And mine at dead of night.'

[ Brignall Banks, by Sir Walter Scott ]