Experience level

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Your experience level in NetHack is a measure of the overall power of your hero and progress of your adventure. As you gain experience, you become better at both fighting and magic, but more difficult monsters are generated.

Experience points (XP) are the units that you accumulate to increase your level. Depending on the showexp option, you may see a display of your XP or only see your current experience level.

You start at level 1 and can reach a maximum level of 30. Monsters also have an experience level defined, but it can only be seen with a wand of probing, stethoscope, or Magicbane. These will also show your own level unless you are polymorphed. In that case, you could work backward from spell failure rates.

Effects

Gaining an experience level will have a number of effects on gameplay:

  • Increases your maximum hit points
  • Increases your maximum energy
  • Increases your skill slots by one
  • You may gain intrinsics, based on your role and experience level.
  • Increases your chance of hitting in combat
  • Increases your chance of successfully learning spells from spellbooks
  • Decreases your spell failure rates
  • Increases damage done by certain spells (e.g. magic missile)
  • Increases difficulty of monsters generated
  • Changes your rank, based on your role (and possibly gender)
  • Increases your chance of converting an altar
  • Increases your chance of successfully playing certain musical instruments
  • Lawful characters at level 5 or higher can obtain Excalibur by dipping a long sword in a fountain.
  • Characters at level 12 or higher can teleport at will if they have teleportitis.
  • Characters at level 14 or higher can attempt the quest.

Your experience level has no direct effect on your attributes.

Gaining levels

There are several ways to gain an experience level, ranging from obvious to somewhat obscure:

You may never gain more than one experience level at a time; killing a water demon at XP1:0 will only put you on 2:39, not 4:148 as might be expected. (You can, however, gain multiple experience levels in a single turn, as for example when a beginner character manages to destroy many creatures at once with an exploding gas spore.)

If you are already at level 30, experience points will not raise your level. Except for polymorph, effects which instantly increase your level can still increase maximum HP and energy at level 30.

Losing levels

The following effects can decrease your experience level:

Drain resistance protects against all these except polymorph.

Having a level drained puts you a single experience point below the threshold of the level you just lost.[1] If you gain any experience at all, you will regain a lost level, but only one level can be restored in this way. A noncursed potion of restore ability or blessed potion of full healing can be used to restore multiple levels. Full healing is inferior to restore ability, because it will only restore up to half of the levels that were lost. Regardless, care should be taken when fighting level drainers, particularly in graveyards where there are many around.

When losing a level, your HP and maximum HP are both decreased down to the level they were when you attained that earlier level, to a minimum of one. Energy and maximum energy work similarly, down to a minimum of zero.[2] Being drained below experience level one is deadly, although an amulet of life saving can rescue you, leaving you at level one with no experience.[3]

There are several uses for intentionally lowering your level; these are typically referred to as "drain for gain". Watch out for outdated strategy advice regarding this, though; several drain-for-gain exploits were removed in NetHack 3.6.

Experience points required per level

Several variants alter the experience requirements to reach each level; these are included in the tables below.

Total

Level NetHack SLASH'EM dNetHack FIQHack SLEX
1 0 0 0 0 0
2 20 40 20 20 20
3 40 80 50 40 40
4 80 160 100 80 80
5 160 320 200 160 160
6 320 640 400 320 320
7 640 1,280 800 640 640
8 1,280 2,560 1,600 1,280 1,280
9 2,560 5,120 3,200 2,560 2,560
10 5,120 10,000 6,400 5,120 5,120
11 10,000 20,000 10,400 10,000 10,000
12 20,000 40,000 15,600 15,000 20,000
13 40,000 80,000 22,800 21,000 40,000
14 80,000 150,000 32,500 28,000 80,000
15 160,000 250,000 45,200 36,000 130,000
16 320,000 300,000 61,900 45,000 200,000
17 640,000 350,000 83,100 55,000 280,000
18 1,280,000 400,000 109,300 66,000 380,000
19 2,560,000 450,000 141,000 81,000 500,000
20 5,120,000 500,000 178,700 100,000 650,000
21 10,000,000 550,000 223,000 142,000 850,000
22 20,000,000 600,000 274,500 188,000 1,100,000
23 30,000,000 650,000 333,800 238,000 1,400,000
24 40,000,000 700,000 401,500 292,000 1,800,000
25 50,000,000 750,000 478,200 350,000 2,300,000
26 60,000,000 800,000 563,900 412,000 3,000,000
27 70,000,000 850,000 659,600 478,000 3,800,000
28 80,000,000 900,000 766,300 548,000 4,800,000
29 90,000,000 950,000 885,000 622,000 6,000,000
30 100,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 700,000 8,000,000

Per level

Level NetHack SLASH'EM dNetHack FIQHack SLEX
1 0 0 0 0 0
2 20 40 20 20 20
3 20 40 30 20 20
4 40 80 50 40 40
5 80 160 100 80 80
6 160 320 200 160 160
7 320 640 400 320 320
8 640 1,280 800 640 640
9 1,280 2,560 1,600 1,280 1,280
10 2,560 4,880 3,200 2,560 2,560
11 4,880 10,000 3,600 4,880 4,880
12 10,000 20,000 4,000 5,000 10,000
13 20,000 40,000 5,000 6,000 20,000
14 40,000 70,000 6,000 7,000 40,000
15 80,000 100,000 7,000 8,000 50,000
16 160,000 50,000 9,000 9,000 70,000
17 320,000 50,000 11,000 10,000 80,000
18 640,000 50,000 13,000 11,000 100,000
19 1,280,000 50,000 15,000 15,000 120,000
20 2,560,000 50,000 17,000 19,000 150,000
21 4,880,000 50,000 20,000 42,000 200,000
22 10,000,000 50,000 23,000 46,000 250,000
23 10,000,000 50,000 26,000 50,000 300,000
24 10,000,000 50,000 29,000 54,000 400,000
25 10,000,000 50,000 32,000 58,000 500,000
26 10,000,000 50,000 36,000 62,000 700,000
27 10,000,000 50,000 40,000 66,000 800,000
28 10,000,000 50,000 44,000 70,000 1,000,000
29 10,000,000 50,000 48,000 74,000 1,200,000
30 10,000,000 50,000 55,000 78,000 2,000,000

The following graphs show the amount of XP required for each level in vanilla and SLASH'EM.

Vanilla NetHack XP amount required for each levelSLASH'EM XP amount required for each level

Messages

Welcome to experience level <x>.
You gained a level.
Aloha level <x>.
You lost a level as a Tourist.
Sayonara level <x>.
You lost a level as a Samurai.
Farvel level <x>.
You lost a level as a Valkyrie.
Fare thee well level <x>.
You lost a level as a Knight.
Goodbye level <x>.
You lost a level as any other role.

Monsters

Main article: Monster level

Monsters also have experience levels, but they are largely a function of their maximum hit points. When a monster (usually a pet) kills another monster, it gains a few maximum hit points. Unlike the player, monsters do not gain current hit points when their max HP increases. Some monsters can grow up into more mature monsters by gaining experience levels.

Variants

SLASH'EM

Getting zapped with the drain life spell or a wand of draining drains an experience level. Using draw blood to make a potion of vampire blood also drains a level, but you are put at the minimum experience for the new level; killing a monster won't get the level back.

In SLASH'EM, a character usually gains enough experience to reach XL 30 naturally without farming. This advantage is slightly balanced by the higher experience requirement at low levels; most early characters will be about one level lower than their vanilla counterparts.

UnNetHack

In UnNetHack, Monks receive the message "Punardarsanaya level <x>" when losing a level.

References

External links

This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
  2. Any modifications to the spoiler must be acknowledged and credited.