Durin's Bane

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Durin's Bane is a unique balrog that appears in UnNetHack and dNetHack.


In UnNetHack, Durin's Bane is found in the Ruins of Moria branch, where it will always await the player on the second level, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm". It carries a wand of speed monster, a cursed potion of paralysis, and an enchanted fireproof bullwhip; it also has a 33% chance of generating with a shield of reflection.


Durin's Bane has attributes almost identical to those of an ordinary balrog, but it is faster and better equipped. Like other hostile monsters, it will use its bullwhip to disarm you.

Encyclopedia entry

... It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as
if a cloud had bent over it. Then with a rush it leaped
the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed
about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming
mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand
was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it
held a whip of many thongs.
'Ai, ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'

[ The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]

In dNetHack, Durin's Bane is the quest nemesis of the dwarf noble quest (Dnb). Unlike many quest nemeses in dNetHack, it is not covetous and therefore does not warp to the upstair. Durin's Bane is always equipped with a cursed +9 whip, a potion of speed, and a potion of paralysis. It also has triple the HP of most monsters of its level, so expect the battle to drag on for some time.


Durin's Bane is a balrog that appears in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, where it attacks the Fellowship as they try to pass through the halls of Moria. It is the only balrog seen and described in Lord of the Rings (though balrogs also figure in some of Tolkien's other writings, such as the Silmarillion) and serves as the model for balrogs in other media, including NetHack: the passage describing the encounter with Durin's Bane is used as the encyclopedia entry for "balrog" in vanilla. This is retained even in variants that add Durin's Bane, who is naturally a stronger version of vanilla's standard balrog; the balrog in turn is one of the strongest non-unique major demons in the game.

Durin's Bane is described in The Fellowship of the Ring as a vast shadowy creature with a humanoid shape and spreading "wings" - Whether these wings are physical or merely a description of its shadow is up for debate. It wields a blazing sword in one hand and a burning whip in the other - the NetHack analogues to this are the broadsword and bullwhip that every balrog starts with.

The balrog that came to be known as "Durin's Bane" was a servant of the evil Morgoth. After Morgoth's defeat, the balrog concealed itself under the Misty Mountains, until it was disturbed or awakened by dwarves mining in their stronghold of Khazad-dûm (Moria). The dwarves gave the balrog its name after it killed their leader Durin VI in battle, which forced them to vacate Moria; the balrog remained in the complex after it was occupied by Sauron's orcs and trolls, and joined the occupying force in trying to kill the Fellowship of the Ring when they attempted to pass through Moria. Durin's Bane proved a powerful foe - it was only defeated after a grueling fight to the death with Gandalf the Grey.