Expert pudding farming

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Expert Farming

This expert farming guide is written for users who want to farm without the assistance of bots.

Mandatory requirements

  • A weak iron weapon, a -3 dagger works fine
  • A wand of fire/lightning for engraving 'Elbereth'
  • A pick-axe or other digging tool to create a nice hiding nook
  • Some Initial Food
  • A Black Pudding or a Sink to generate one
  • A Container of some sort (Not a Bag Of Holding)
  • Enough hit-points to survive several black pudding bites

Useful requirements

  • A ring of slow digestion, this should be one of your first priorities, once you have this you can start farming much faster
  • Reflection & Magic Resistance
  • A scroll of Earth on case a monster gets away with a wand of digging or to generate a boulder fort if necessary
  • A wand of striking, In case a boulder shows up
  • A Unicorn Horn
  • An Altar
  • Boots of Speed
  • A stethoscope, only really useful for initial farming


First, you need to find a level with either a Sink or method of generating a black pudding. A Sink can be kicked multiple times and always has a chance of spawning a pudding before it breaks. Be aware that it is possible to spawn a foocubus before a pudding, so be prepared.

Ideally you want to find a level with an altar for offerings. However, this won't be all that useful. Once you start farming fast, you won't need an Altar as every non-quest artifact has a chance of being dropped.

Once you have located a method of spawning a Pudding (or found a level with one available), the next thing you need to do is prepare your farming location. Ideally an Elbereth engraved stairs is a good choice, as it allows you to leave the level if necessary. A common farming locations may look like this:


The above farming location has various pros and cons:

  • It provides shelter from attacks from multiple angles
  • The P(udding) square puts you in harms way by one Monster
  • You have no escape
  • Attack wands are still able hit you

A slightly better setup might be:


The only advantage this offers is that you can no-longer be targeted easily by attack wands. However this creates an issue where large monsters may block the passage of Black Puddings.

Once you have a farming location setup. Drop a chest and engrave 'Elbereth' on you Home square. Now Generate a Black Pudding and begin by splitting it slowly. You will find that if you aren't careful, that you may be able to kill off the initial puddings if they aren't given enough time to regain their health. Once you have a large amount of puddings ready you can begin automation.


If you don't wish to use some sort of bot, you can make your farming on some servers easier by using MSGTYPE and AUTOPICKUP options.


Once you have a small farm going, you can begin an automation process. On some servers, this is significantly easier than vanilla nethack due to the MSGTYPE addition.

Edit your config and insert the following:

#msgtypes for instant death!
MSGTYPE=stop "The couatl swings itself around you!"
MSGTYPE=stop "The electric eel swings itself around you!"
MSGTYPE=stop "The giant eel swings itself around you!"
MSGTYPE=stop "The kraken swings itself around you!"
MSGTYPE=stop "The python grabs you!"
MSGTYPE=stop "You don't feel very well."
MSGTYPE=stop "You are turning a little green."
MSGTYPE=stop "Your limbs are getting oozy."
MSGTYPE=stop "Your skin begins to peel away."
MSGTYPE=stop "You are turning into a green slime."
MSGTYPE=stop "You are slowing down."
MSGTYPE=stop "Your limbs are stiffening."
MSGTYPE=stop "It constricts your throat!"
MSGTYPE=stop "You find it hard to breathe."
MSGTYPE=stop "You're gasping for air."
MSGTYPE=stop "Your blood is having trouble reaching your brain."
MSGTYPE=stop "You can no longer breathe."
MSGTYPE=stop "You're turning blue."
MSGTYPE=stop "Your consciousness is fading."
MSGTYPE=stop "You feel deathly sick."
MSGTYPE=stop "You feel much worse."
MSGTYPE=stop "You feel even worse."
MSGTYPE=stop "* needs food, badly!"

##msgtype for pudding farming
MSGTYPE=hide "You hit the black pudding*"
MSGTYPE=hide "The * divides as you hit it!"
MSGTYPE=hide "Your * looks completely corroded."
MSGTYPE=hide "You kill the *!"
MSGTYPE=hide "The * turns to flee!"
MSGTYPE=hide "You attack thin air."
MSGTYPE=hide "You hear a slow drip."
MSGTYPE=hide "You miss the *"
MSGTYPE=hide "You hear the footsteps of a guard on patrol."
MSGTYPE=hide "You caitiff!"
MSGTYPE=hide "The * oozes under the door."
MSGTYPE=hide "It divides as you hit it!"
MSGTYPE=hide "Your * feels completely corroded."
MSGTYPE=hide "You hear a * howling at the moon."
MSGTYPE=stop "The * hits!"
MSGTYPE=stop "The * strikes at you*"
MSGTYPE=stop "The * swings *"
MSGTYPE=stop "You are jolted with electricity!"
MSGTYPE=stop "You are splashed*"
MSGTYPE=hide "Your long sword named Excalibur is not affected."
MSGTYPE=stop "There are many objects*"
MSGTYPE=stop "*digging*" #You want to know when someone uses a / of digging
MSGTYPE=hide "The ware*changes*"
MSGTYPE=stop "*are suddenly very hot!"
MSGTYPE=stop "*are jolted with electricity!"
MSGTYPE=stop "*are suddenly very cold!"

#Testing for scroll detection
MSGTYPE=stop "*a scroll*"
MSGTYPE=stop "*boulder*"

MSGTYPE=stop "You are beginning to feel hungry."
MSGTYPE=stop "*faint*"
MSGTYPE=stop "You are getting the munchies"
MSGTYPE=stop "You are beginning to feel weak."
MSGTYPE=stop "*weak*"
MSGTYPE=stop "You faint from lack of food."
MSGTYPE=stop "You regain consciousness."
MSGTYPE=stop "*confuse*"

The message types defined above will pause your farming when any of the following conditions are met:

  • You need food
  • You find a scroll of scare monster
  • You attack a monster that passively damages you
  • You become confused
  • You become in a situation where instant death is possible
  • When a monster picks up or uses a Wand of Digging


The following auto-pickup options will pickup all money, potions, wands, rings, amulets and scrolls. It also has some exceptions that will pickup magic markers and magic lamps.

autopickup_exception="<*magic marker*"
autopickup_exception="<*magic lamp*"
autopickup_exception="<*lamp called magic"

When you stand on your Pudding square, you will automatically pickup all the items above, you can then move back to your Elbereth square and put all of the following items back in your chest.

Paste Farming

The following example below will constantly attack left, check for scrolls, and save occasionally to prevent NAO crashes.


Repeat this as many times as you like, Ideally you want to end this just before you become hungry, and end it with a 'Sy' so that your game is saved. NAO has issues in the past with long farming sessions where it may corrupt your game. Saving and quitting occasionally seems to prevent this.

Farming interruptions

There are still some conditions you need to manually resolve, should they arise:

  • You need to eat food
  • You need to kill some monsters that aren't puddings that stand on your farming square
  • You need to resolve being stunned/confused/blinded/hallucinated
  • A wand of digging is used
  • A boulder is dropped on you or your pudding square
  • A scroll of scare monster is dropped

Of all the above, the wand of digging situation can be the most frustrating to deal with. If a monster manages to pickup and use a wand of digging on your Pudding square the contents of that square get scattered several dungeon levels below you. It also creates a hole that you need to fill. Be sure to carry a scroll of earth in case this situation arrives.

A boulder (usually from a giant) being dropped on you or your pudding square is also a likely situation over a long farming session. Make sure you have a pickaxe, and a wand of striking.


In the situation above, lets assume a boulder was also thrown at you and has landed on your Elbereth Square. First, make sure there are no items on your square that can be destroyed by a striking blast. Use your pickaxe (not your wand of striking) to destroy the boulder(s) to the left. Move left and then use your wand of striking to destroy the boulder on your Elbereth Square.

Cleaning your pudding square

Occasionally you are going to want to 'clean' your pudding square. NAO doesn't deal well with 100's of pages. The easiest way to do this is with a wand of polymorph. Make sure you have a bunch of AC, HP and a decent weapon and stand on your pudding square and zap downwards. This will cause a few items to be destroyed. Be careful of generated golems though!

Making wishes

After a while, you will get an abundant supply of smokey potions, magic lamps and maybe a few wands of wishing. While wands of wishing can be used while you are standing on your Elbereth square, the potions and lamps both required a empty tile for a Genie to be generated. Instead of using potions or lamps on your Elbereth square, use them on your pudding square while your Elbereth square is empty.

See also