Crossbow bolt

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) Crossbow bolt.png
Name crossbow bolt
Appearance crossbow bolt
Damage vs. small 1d4+1
Damage vs. large 1d6+1
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill crossbow
Size one-handed
Base price 2 zm
Weight 1
Material iron

A crossbow bolt is a type of stackable projectile that appears in NetHack. They are designed for use with a crossbow, and are made of iron.

Like other cursed missile weapons, crossbow bolts have a chance of breaking after hitting a monster; cursed bolts will occasionally "slip" when throwing or firing them and end up on the ground. Crossbow bolts can be poisoned by dipping them in a potion of sickness.


All Gnomish Rangers start the game with stacks of +0 and +2 crossbow bolts and a +1 crossbow, rather than a bow and arrows;[1][2] crossbows and crossbow bolts are considered racial equipment for gnomes, though gnomish Rangers are the only case where this substitution applies.[3]

Plains and mountain centaurs have a 12 chance of generating with a crossbow and 3–14 bolts.[4] Crossbows and their ammo can also be generated on any monster lacking the strong monster attribute that can use a weapon, but has not received one.[5]

Crossbow skill

Max Role

The crossbow is the only launcher to use crossbow bolts.


Crossbow bolts launched from a crossbow will always fire at their maximum range of 8 squares, but are subject to a multishot penalty if their user is below a certain strength level - gnomes must have at least 16 strength to obtain full multishot bonuses, gnomes who aren't Healers or Wizards also gain a +1 multishot racial bonus when firing bolts from a crossbow; other races require at least 18 strength in order to avoid multishot penalties.


Main article: Crossbow

High-strength characters lacking a ranged weapon may choose to retrieve a crossbow and bolts from the gnomes in the Gnomish Mines; bolts are somewhat scarce compared to arrows, which are much more commonplace due to the various arrow types and arrow traps. As with most launchers, the bolts themselves should be enchanted rather than the crossbow in order to increase their damage.

Monks looking to maintain weaponless conduct may elect to carry a crossbow and bolts on hand; Rogues can also get Expert in crossbow, making them an option for their long-term ranged weapon. Gnomish rangers may have to rely on their pet in the early game to kill their fellow gnomes for additional bolts - though the Ranger quest provides a plentiful source as early as the midgame, they will also have to look out for attack wands; their quest artifact, The Longbow of Diana, also forces them to switch launcher and ammo types as well.


Crossbow bolts have been present in the game since Hack 1.21, a variant of Jay Fenlason's Hack. Their special behavior with regards to range and multishot were introduced in NetHack 3.6.0.



SLASH'EM introduces an artifact crossbow, Hellfire, that is chaotic-aligned and causes bolts fired from it to produce a 3x3 fiery explosion centered on any monster that it hits.

Undead Slayers have a chance of starting the game with a crossbow and bolts.


In dNetHack, gnomish players are always given a crossbow and bolts in place of a regular bow and arrows; all gnomes get an extra die of weapon damage when firing bolts from crossbows.

Crossbow bolts are no longer granted multiple shots at higher skill levels, instead increasing the damage dealt by a single crossbow bolt:

  • Basic or lower: 1x(bolt+enchantment) damage
  • Skilled: 2x(bolt+enchantment) damage.
  • Expert: 3x(bolt+enchantment) damage.

In addition, each shot adds 3x the damage bonus from the current skill level (-5 Restricted, -2 Unskilled, +0 at Basic, +2 at Skilled and +5 at Expert). The extra damage is precision-based and does not apply against amorphous, stationary, or incorporeal monsters, which are assumed to lack discernible weak-points.


In GruntHack, crossbows now fire a set range regardless of strength, and require high strength to fire mulitple shots.


In EvilHack, bolt traps appear in the dungeon that can be untrapped to obtain their crossbow bolts.

Gnomish Rangers have a new quest artifact, The Crossbow of Carl, which is an artifact crossbow that mirrors The Longbow of Diana given to other Rangers. This allows them to preserve their multishot bonuses while also giving access to an unlimited source of crossbow bolts.


For SlashTHEM, on top of SLASH'EM additions, Warriors start each game with a +1 crossbow and a stack of +0 crossbow bolts; Undead Slayers now have a 12 chance to start with a crossbow and some bolts.

Player monster undead slayers and gnomish non-Cavemen are likely to generate with a crossbow and some bolts.


In SpliceHack, merfolk in roles that would start the game with a bow and arrows receive a crossbow and bolts instead.