Bullwhip

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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
(+10/positive
enchant)
Weight 20
Material leather

A bullwhip is a kind of weapon that appears in NetHack.

Generation

All Archeologists start with a +2 bullwhip.[1].

Balrogs are always generated with a bullwhip, and horned devils also have a 25% chance of being spawned with a bullwhip. In the balrog's case, the order of monster weapon preference means they will never wield it unless they somehow lose their broadsword.

Whip skill

Whip
Max Role
Basic
Expert

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

Effects

Bullwhips are low-damage weapons that are ineffective against thick-skinned monsters. In addition to its use as a weapon, it can be applied to snap it in a direction and 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. A character who is not an archaeologist must have a dexterity higher than 14 to be considered proficient.

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

  • If you are 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 or engulfed.

Disarming

If applying bullwhip at an enemy disarms them, 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, but disarming a peaceful monster will anger it.

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.

Disarming is the only trick that whip-wielding monsters can use. It functions similarly to the same trick used by the player, with the following exceptions:[3]

  • 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.

Picking up items

Applying a bullwhip down towards an item while you are riding a steed or levitating will pick it up off the floor or out of a pool if applicable. A cockatrice corpse will not petrify you when picked up in this manner.[4] When applying a whip downwards while riding your steed, there is always some chance (20-33%) that you will hit your steed instead.[5]

Riding

Applying the whip to snap it at your steed will cause it to gallop, temporarily increasing its speed but reducing its tameness; this includes hitting your steed while trying to pick up an item off the floor.

Strategy

Bullwhips are viable utility items, primarily sought after for their ability to pry desirable weapons out of the hands of a humanoid pet and/or forcing it to pick up and wield a different (usually better) weapon; in NetHack 3.4.3 and variants based on it, for example, this is often used to get Demonbane from a figurine Archon. While disarming thankfully does not abuse pets, you will anger any peacefuls you disarm; using a bullwhip to grab the Minetown Watch captain's silver saber is probably a Bad Idea if you expect to make off with it scot-free.

However, disarming peacefuls is not as dangerous if you are adequately prepared for a given scenario, e.g. you may actually want the silver saber from that watch captain; in such cases you should have a means of escape and/or pacifying handy, or else be well-prepared to absorb any penalties (e.g. alignment or loss of telepathy). Disarming can also aid a pet in killing the monster for their inventory or avoiding death at their hands, though it may be more viable (albeit more resource-intensive) to keep the pet healed instead.

Note that while most monsters can wield bullwhips, they will prefer most other weapons to it, as indicated in the case of the balrog; they will wield a whip over some weapons such as quarterstaves and daggers, though.

Origin

The Archaeologist's starting bullwhip, along with the leather jacket and fedora, is one of the many trademark accessories of Indiana Jones, a franchise of movies made by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg starring the titular character, who in turn is based on the heroes of 1930s pulp serials and inspired the Archaeologist role.

SLASH'EM

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.

Encyclopedia entry

"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 ]

References