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Doors are represented by + when closed, and - or | when open: - when the door is in a vertical wall and | in a horizontal wall. Doors are distinct from drawbridges and trap doors.

Opening doors

Doors can be generated locked or unlocked. Unlocked doors are opened using the open command (o). Locked doors can be unlocked in a variety of ways:

Doors may be booby-trapped. Opening them causes 1d(5+level) damage if your dungeon level is less than 5, and 1d(7+level/2) otherwise.[1]

Closing doors

Open doors can be closed using the close command (c). Zapping a wand of locking at it will close (and lock) it.

Locking doors

Doors can be locked by applying a skeleton key or a lock pick to a closed door, casting the wizard lock spell, or by using a wand of locking. Shopkeepers can unlock and open doors with a key, and the Riders can unlock doors on the Astral Plane.

Monsters getting through doors

Monsters can unlock locked doors if they are not very small, have hands, and a key (but not other tools). For this reason, you might want to dispose of keys if you lock up the Minetown watch. The endgame riders and the Wizard of Yendor can unlock even without a tool.[2]

Various giants, titans, and giant zombies can bust down locked doors. Amoeboids and fog clouds can flow beneath locked doors, and ghosts pass right through them.

Creating doors

A destroyed door, or any square leading to a corridor, can be turned into a fully functional door by zapping the wand of locking or casting the wizard lock spell at it. A destroyed door is not shown on the map, but can be detected with the look command (:). This effectively means that any destroyed bit of wall can be replaced with a door (although they cannot be created elsewhere). This is one way to make a room impenetrable even to umber hulks, although it's not likely to have much use.

Finding secret doors

Some walls are in fact secret doors, which can be discovered by searching, brute force, or magic.

Searching is done with the search command (s), and is aided by wearing a ring of searching or wielding Excalibur. Luck affects the chance of a searching successfully, so players who mistreat their luck can find themselves stuck on a dungeon level with no obvious exit. Applying a stethoscope to a wall will tell you if it is a door 100% of the time, with no effect from luck.

The brute force method involves kicking at walls, applying a pick axe, or zapping force bolt at a likely position where a secret door might be. This is very time consuming and often dangerous.

The magical method involves using a wand of secret door detection or the spell of detect unseen and will immediately reveal any secret doors within a 13 square radius. A blessed scroll of magic mapping reveals secret doors on the entire level.


You feel an unexpected draft.
Whenever a monster breaks a door, there is a one-third chance of this message[3] (affected by verbose option)
As you kick the door, it <crashes open/shatters to pieces>!
You kicked a door down with the kick command.
You failed to kick down a door. This does not injure your legs.
Ouch! You bump into a door.
You tried to walk onto a square with a closed door, and are blinded, stunned, fumbling or have a dexterity rating lower than 10. This abuses your dexterity.
It won't come off the hinges.
You tried to pick up while standing on an open door with no items on it.


Using doors in combat

Doors do not allow either monsters or you to pass through diagonally. This can be a great advantage when fighting multiple foes. A door like the entrance to the treasure zoo at the top of Sokoban can become a killing ground for monsters who will stream through one by one, allowing you to avoid their ranged attacks.

Using doors to exercise strength

Opening and closing doors exercises the character's strength every time the door resists. This feature can be exploited to enhance the strength attribute. However doors only resist when the player character has very weak strength and low luck.

This technique is only useful for luckless Healers with strength as weak as 7 or 8. With decent physical attributes and luck, the odds of the door resisting become very low. For example, if the character's physical attributes average say 16 with a luck of 4, the chance of the door resisting becomes 1/184 (0.54%). This means that the player has to open/close the door 100 to 200 times to exercise the strength attribute once.

Encyclopedia entry

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.

[ The Inferno, from The Divine Comedy of Dante
                 Alighieri, translated by H.F. Cary ]