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)   Cleaver   Battle-axe.png
Base item battle-axe
Damage vs. small 1d8+1d4 +1d6 (3-18)
Damage vs. large 1d6+2d4 +1d6 (4-20)
To-hit bonus +1d3
Bonus versus (any)
Weapon skill axe
Size two-handed
When carried


When wielded


When invoked


Base price 1500 zm
Weight 120
Material iron

Cleaver is an artifact battle-axe which does +d3 to hit and +d6 damage. It is the first sacrifice weapon for Barbarians.


As a first sacrifice gift, Cleaver is moderately useful. It is somewhat more effective than a barbarian's starting weapon, thanks to its bonuses to hit and damage. Perhaps more useful is the fact that if granted by your god, Cleaver will be rustproof, which is useful since the barbarian's two-handed starting weapon is twice as likely to be corroded by a rust trap.

In general, however, it loses its utility as the game progresses. Its damage in the late-game pales in comparison to a well-enchanted Grayswandir or Frost Brand, and even worse, it is two-handed and not intelligent. If it becomes cursed, it will leave you without use of your hands and likely require a prayer to uncurse. Remember that one cannot pray in Gehennom (the #tip extended command reduces this danger). And in 3.6.1 Cleaver can now hit up to three adjacent monsters with a single swing, making it potentially a far more powerful (and risky) melee choice.

Cleaver, like other axes, can be [a]pplied in a direction to attempt to chop. This will, over a few turns, fell trees and destroy doors. If you attempt to chop down ([>]) then you get the message "Your Cleaver merely scratches the floor."

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Small monsters Large monsters
+0 Cleaver \frac{1+8}{2}+\frac{1+4}{2}+\frac{1+6}{2}=\bold{10.5} \frac{1+6}{2}+\frac{2+8}{2}+\frac{1+6}{2}=\bold{12}
+7 Cleaver \frac{1+8}{2}+\frac{1+4}{2}+\frac{1+6}{2}+7=\bold{17.5} \frac{1+6}{2}+\frac{2+8}{2}+\frac{1+6}{2}+7=\bold{19}


Like all artifacts with damage bonuses (as opposed to double damage), Cleaver receives a boost in SLASH'EM, for it will always give +3 to hit and +6 damage. However, the above still applies, especially given the proliferation of item-cursing spellcasters in SLASH'EM. Note, however, that non-human barbarians have a second guaranteed sacrifice gift in SLASH'EM, Deathsword. This weapon is only particularly effective against humans; as such, it mostly gets in the way of getting a better weapon, meaning some barbarians may find themselves using Cleaver for longer than they might like.

That said, given that 1/3 of neutral sacrifice gifts are non-weapons (Deluder, Gauntlets of Defense, Mirrorbright, and Whisperfeet) and another 1/4 are of limited use (Disrupter vs. non-undead, Giantkiller vs. non-giants, and Sword of Balance vs. neutrals), a neutral player who receives Cleaver early should consider himself lucky; only Magicbane and Mjollnir are more powerful as general-use neutral weapons, particularly in the early and midgame where curses are not a significant threat.


Cleaver itself is unchanged in UnNetHack but it is a lot easier to get. It is generated on the Executioner.

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

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.