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$ Gold piece.png
Name gold piece
Appearance gold piece
Base price 1 zm
Weight 0.01
For the material, see gold (material).

In NetHack, a zorkmid is a single unit of currency, and a gold piece, $, is the coinage used and has a value of 1 zorkmid.

Gold pieces are a special type of object: they have weight and take up an inventory slot when dropping items, but have no BUC status. The inventory slot they occupy is represented by their symbol is $; the abbreviations zm and zk are sometimes appended to a number as a currency symbol. When referred to while hallucinating, they are given various other names.

A gold piece weighs 0.01 aum (arbitrary units of measure); since these units have no formal name, it is common to consider 100 gold pieces the base unit of weight. All weight figures given in spoilers and on this wiki are in units of 100 gold pieces.


Gold is an incredibly common sight in the Dungeons of Doom, and can be found on the floor, in containers and the inventory of other monsters; see the section below for more information regarding monster interactions with gold. Vaults containing gold are generated on some floors; Fort Ludios has a massive well-guarded repository of gold and can only be accessed through a vault portal. In addition, treasure zoos and leprechaun halls are generated with gold on most of their tiles, along with sleeping monsters on top of them.

Both the Healer and Tourist start with a significant amount of gold. Gold golems will leave behind a pile of gold upon death.

Gold and monsters

Monsters that love gold have a 15 chance of being generated with some in their inventory, and hostile gold lovers will try to pick up any gold they come across; this includes anything mimicking the appearance of gold, such as a mimic or a player who has eaten a mimic corpse. The amount of gold given is determined by die roll: the number of dice rolled is the current dungeon level, with the usual adjustments for players who are carrying the Amulet of Yendor or else in the endgame. If the monster already has some items in its inventory, a d5 is used; otherwise, the roll uses d10. A monster on dungeon level 10 with no items might get 10d10 zorkmids, whereas a monster on floor 20 with some items might get 20d5 zorkmids.

There are some exceptions to the above formula. Leprechauns always receive gold, and always roll a number of d30 equal to the dungeon level; aligned priests always get gold and receive 20–29 zorkmids. Another less exceptional case is an ordinary soldier - they will only be generated with gold 1/13 of the time.


Gold is used to buy items from shops, and is also used for other similar transactions, such as buying intrinsic protection and other benefits from the Minetown priest or consultations from the Oracle; dropping gold on any of the tiles of a shop will establish credit in that shop only.


Gold can be used to purchase items from shops or else establish credit by dropping the gold on the floor inside the shop. You can also pacify angry shopkeepers by paying for stolen items - see their article for more information.

Temple priests

If you chat with a peaceful temple priest while carrying gold in your open inventory, the priest will prompt you for a contribution to the temple. Donating a specific amount of gold to them can net several beneficial effects, such as the aforementioned protection or alignment points; see that article for more information specific to donations.


Main article: Bribe

Hostile shopkeepers and specific monsters such as unique demons and Yendorian Army soldiers may accept bribes of gold to leave the player alone, turning them peaceful.


Acquiring a decent amount of gold is usually an early-game objective for most players in order to purchase items from shops. Accordingly, collecting gold becomes less urgent once the player has assembled a solid enough kit to progress further into the game and can reliably obtain more items by killing monsters, polypiling, sacrifice, etc. Some players may then opt to buy protection at a later point; gold is sometimes put to more unorthodox uses, which are mentioned alongside the more common and general uses below.


In Minetown, pacifying an angry shopkeeper will also pacify Minetown's watchmen if they are angry at you; this is commonly done by stealing a cheap item or a single piece of gold.

Credit cloning is a means of taking the shopkeeper's gold using your own gold; specifically, this is done by dropping your gold or a container with your gold in it to establish credit, then using your pet or a gold-loving monster to steal it back from the shop. You can then retrieve the gold and keep your store credit. See that article for more detailed information.

One consistently applicable use for gold in shops is detecting hidden mimics: throwing projectiles and other items in shops will automatically sell them, and no player enjoys having to buy back their valuable stack of daggers or darts. Searching can uncover mimics easily, but will also result in the larger ones sticking to you; throwing a single gold piece in the direction of a suspected mimic will reveal it safely, and the gold will simply give you store credit.


Some gold-loving monsters such as leprechauns and orcs can potentially be distracted by thrown or strategically placed gold, potentially allowing you to distance yourself or escape from them in a pinch, or else positioning them to maximize damage from certain attacks, e.g. a rebounded magic missile. They can also be used to distract some hiding monsters, such as snakes and cave spiders.


Pacifists can use gold to gain experience points and exercise wisdom by consulting the Oracle, and will want to obtain as much protection as they possibly can, as early as they can. They can also use it as a means of detecting monsters in dark corridors - it will produce the usual hit/miss messages without doing any actual damage.


Some players drop gold on top of piles used for polypiling to reduce the chance of creating a golem from other items; at the same time, too many gold objects in a pile may result in a gold golem.

Other uses

In addition to the above, players use gold pieces to:


The name "zorkmid" is a reference to the Infocom text adventure series, Zork; the zorkmid is the currency used by the monarchy of Quendor, and often carries a likeness of the seventh king of the Flathead dynasty, Lord Dimwit Flathead.


1 Zorkmid. 857 GUE. In Frobs we trust.
YAFM generated from selecting your gold in the read command's extended list.

See also

Encyclopedia entry (for "gold")

A metal of characteristic yellow colour, the most precious metal used as a common commercial medium of exchange. Symbol, Au; at. no. 79; at. wt. 197.2. It is the most malleable and ductile of all metals, and very heavy (sp. gr., 19.3). It is quite unalterable by heat, moisture, and most corrosive agents, and therefore well suited for its use in coin and jewelry.

[ Webster's New International Dictionary
                           of the English Language, Second Edition ]

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