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) Bullwhip.png
Name bullwhip
Appearance bullwhip
Damage vs. small 1d2
Damage vs. large 1
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill whip
Size one-handed
Base price 4 zm
Weight 20
Material leather

A bullwhip is a kind of weapon. In addition to its obvious uses, it can be applied to grab weapons out of enemies' hands.

Bullwhips are ineffective against thick-skinned monsters.

Archeologists start with a +2 bullwhip.[1] This is a reference to the Indiana Jones movies of Lucas and Spielberg.

Balrogs are always generated with a bullwhip, but owing to the order of monster weapon preference, they will never wield it unless they somehow lose their broadsword. While most monsters could theoretically wield a bullwhip they find, they prefer most other weapons to it (notable exceptions include quarterstaves and daggers; monsters will wield whips in preference to these).

Horned devils also have a 25% chance of being spawned with a bullwhip. Since, unlike balrogs, they are not generated with another weapon, they will wield the bullwhip by default.


A bullwhip can be applied to snap it in a direction. This can allow you to perform a number of special tricks[2]:

The success of these tricks does not depend on your actual skill with the whip; instead, proficiency is based on your dexterity, whether you are an Archaeologist, and whether you are fumbling. Whip tricks will always fail unless you are proficient (an Archaeologist or Dex > 14).

NetHack makes the following assumptions to determine what to do when a whip is applied[2]:

  • If you're in a pit, it is assumed that you are attempting to get out of the pit, unless you are applying the whip towards a small monster, in which case it is assumed that you are trying to attack it.
  • If you are not in a pit, and the monster is wielding a weapon, then you are attempting to disarm a monster.
  • If you are not in a pit and you apply the whip towards a monster without a wielded weapon, then you are attempting to hit the monster.
  • You cannot perform any tricks (besides attacking monsters) if you are confused.
  • You cannot perform any tricks (besides attacking monsters) if you are swallowed.


If a bullwhip disarms an enemy, the disarmed weapon may end up on the floor at the enemy's feet, on the floor at your feet, or in your inventory, depending on a "proficiency check".

Disarming a pet does not reduce its tameness. This is one way to pry a desirable weapon out of the hands of a humanoid pet—for example, to get Demonbane from a figurine Archon—or to force the pet to pick up and wield a different weapon.

Disarming a peaceful monster will anger it, so using a bullwhip to grab the Minetown Watch captain's silver saber is probably a Bad Idea, unless you're sure you can escape him quickly, are willing to take the consequences of killing him, or have a medium strength pet on hand who would appreciate not having to deal with the weapon.

If the target is wielding a non-cursed weapon and you succeed, disarming does not break weaponless conduct. Trying to disarm non-pets can break the conduct because you always have a 10% chance of attacking instead, and you can decline only for pets.

Pickup Items while Riding

When applying a whip downwards while riding your steed, there is always some chance (20-33%) that you will hit your steed instead.[4] This has the effect of temporarily increasing the speed of your steed.

Use by monsters

The only trick a horned devil or other whip-bearing monster may use is disarm. It functions similarly to the same trick used by the player, with the following exceptions:[5]

  • An iron ball is too heavy to be disarmed.
  • A horned devil or other silver-hating monster will never use a whip to pull a silver item from the player's hands into its inventory; if one would, the item is dropped at the player's feet instead.

Whip skill

Max Role

Both bullwhips and rubber hoses use the whip skill. There are no artifact whips.


"Good," he said and, unbelievably, smiled at me, a smirk like
a round of rotted cheese. "What did your keeper use on you?
A bullwhip?"

[ Melusine, by Sarah Monette ]


An Archaeologist wielding a bullwhip will not fall through trap doors, regardless of dexterity. Objects on the trap might still be shoved through.[6]

But thanks to your trusty whip ... You don't fall in.

The Undead Slayer sometimes starts with a bullwhip. This is a reference to the Castlevania series.