Need +x weapon to hit

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In SLASH'EM and SlashTHEM, new and returning monsters can have the "Need +x weapon to hit" property, where x is an integer from 1 to 4 - monsters with the property cannot be damaged by weapons with less than the required enchantment. This is also informally known as "enchantment resistance", and is derived from Dungeons & Dragons alongside the "Hits creatures as +x weapon" property.


When in combat, the game checks the enchantment of the attacker's wielded weapon against any "Need +x weapon to hit" flags the target possesses[1] - artifacts that you attack with gain a +2 bonus to this check, [2] while Magicbane is always counted as a +4 weapon, effectively ignoring all forms of enchantment resistance when you attack with it.[3] For ranged weapons fired from launchers, only the enchantment of the fired projectile matters.

Monsters with the "hits creatures as a +x weapon" property - including you if you are polyselfed into such a monster - instead have that property checked against the target's enchantment resistance. This property is checked over weapon enchantments for you and for monsters in this case, though you will still gain a +2 bonus if attacking with an artifact.

If the effective enchantment of the attack is equal to or greater than the "enchantment resistance" of the target, it will do normal damage - otherwise, the attack deals no damage, as signified by the message that will follow. Your weapons that fail to damage a monster with a "Need +x weapon to hit" property still count towards training that weapon's skill. There are some exceptions to the above:

  • A silver weapon will do normal damage and silver damage against a silver-hating monster.
  • Attacks using poisoned weapons are always able to hit; this does not include unarmed attacks that are poisoned, e.g. a poisonous sting or bite attack.
  • Lightsabers ignore enchantment resistance, regardless of whether or not they are lit.

Magic attacks from spells, scrolls and wands will function as normal.

Bare-handed combat

Bare-handed attacks count as a +0 weapon irrespective of your skill level or any worn gloves, with two exceptions:

  • You are polymorphed into a monster with the hits creatures as a +x weapon property as mentioned above - you can hit if x is high enough.
  • You are a Monk: Monks fighting bare-handed hit creatures as a +XL/4 weapon, i.e. a level 4-7 Monk hits as +1, level 8-11 Monks hit as +2, level 12-15 Monks hit as +3, and level 16+ Monks hit as +4.


If you are kicking a monster, the relevant enchantment is the enchantment of your boots. Kicking boots and artifact boots such as Whisperfeet do not gain bonuses for this check when worn.

Other items

If you are wielding an item that can be enchanted or charged, whether it is armor, a tool, or even a wand, the game still checks the enchantment/charge of that item. This is because both values are stored by the same variable for objects ("spe"), which is checked for enchantment resistance. Therefore, bashing a statue gargoyle with a wand of wishing (0:0) will do nothing, but bashing it with a wand of wishing (0:1) will hurt it.


The aforementioned +2 bonus to enchantment resistance checks are not only applied to artifact weapons, but to any non-weapon artifact you wield that can be enchanted or charged, as detailed in the section above. An artifact that fails a check versus enchantment resistance will not cause damage from any special attacks it might have, though it will still print the corresponding messages, leading to somewhat confusing situations such as the following example with Vorpal Blade:

Vorpal Blade decapitates the ki-rin! Your attack doesn't seem to harm the ki-rin.

The ki-rin in the above situation was indeed unharmed.


It is urgent that you maintain the enchantment of your weapons as you progress - being stonewalled by a monster with a high enchantment resistance can prove deadly. If your main weapon is insufficiently enchanted, check for wands and other sources of magic that you can use against monsters, and be sure to take note of the cases above. Charged wands or tools are actually useful last-resort options for monsters with weaker enchantment resistance; remember that artifacts get a +2 bonus to checks against enchantment. If neither you nor your pet can damage a monster and you have none of the listed options, your best bet is to retreat and/or engrave Elbereth.

The effective enchantment of a Monk's martial arts attacks rises quickly enough to keep up with the enchantment resistance of monsters, enough that they can avoid much of the aforementioned binds. Even so, they should avoid doing the Chaotic Quest before XL 16, since they will not be able to damage Vecna; descending too deep may also cause hard-to-hit Archons to generate near the Castle. Unfortunately, enchantment resistance makes bare-handed combat for other roles very difficult to use long-term - even roles as proficient as Undead Slayers (who can reach Grand Master level) cannot hit through any form of enchantment resistance.

Pets and enchantment resistance

Enchantment resistance also poses a problem for pets, since most of the readily-obtainable ones lack the ability to hit monsters with enchantment resistance. Some options and advice for managing pets that can hit through enchantment resistance and are somewhat easy to obtain are listed below:

  • Most baby dragons obtained from eggs hit as +1 weapons; the exceptions are baby shimmering, silver, and deep dragons. Male characters have a decent chance of getting such a pet by picking up random eggs early on.
  • Intelligent, weapon-wielding humanoid monsters can hit reliably with a sufficiently-enchanted weapon - even tamed dwarves or gnomes can do the job in theory, though in practice they will not be capable of taking on much higher-levels.
  • All characters can potentially obtain appropriate minions from their god through sacrifice at an altar. The difficulty of accomplishing this varies by alignment and XL:
    • Lawfuls have the easiest time: not only can they obtain minions without an altar by praying at low HP, every lawful minion hits as at least a +1 weapon.
    • Neutrals have the hardest time: the only appropriate minion they can get is a grey unicorn (which hits as +2) while sacrificing at experience level 10 or below, with a better chance at lower levels.
    • Chaotics have dozens of possible minions with the property, but the selection is a mixed bag depending on experience level: Experience levels 12-16 may have the best spread of applicable minions, including bearded devils, bar-lguras and chasmes (which all hit as +2); black unicorns and shadow wolves also hit as +2 and can be obtained at lower levels.
  • Save any bananas you find for the various ​Y apelike creatures that you can encounter: you can use one to tame a yeti, sasquatch or zruty, which all hit as a +1 weapon and deal decent base damage.
  • Early pet shops may provide you with a viable figurine that you can bless for an appropriate pet, most likely something that can wield weapons - beware that you have a 45 chance at most of a blessed figurine generating a tame monster.
  • Using a bullwhip to disarm your pet and enchant its weapon becomes almost crucial in the late game, as there are very few tameable monsters that can naturally hit an Archon or a Solar without a weapon (save e.g., another Solar or a Planetar, which are common targets for a figurine wish). Note that weapon-wielding minions will not re-wield a weapon once it is taken from them.

See also