Red dragon scales

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[   red dragon scales   Red dragon scales.png
Appearance red dragon scales
Slot body armor
AC 3
Base price 500 zm
Weight 40
Material dragon hide

Red dragon scales are a type of body armor that appear in NetHack. They are made of dragon hide like all dragon scales.


Red dragon scales are not randomly generated, though they can be wished for or found in bones.

A red dragon that leaves a corpse behind on death (i.e. always, unless killed by disintegration) have a 13 chance of leaving behind dragon scales, while a dragon revived by the wand of undead turning or spell of turn undead only has a 120 chance to leave behind scales.[1] Red dragon scales dropped this way are always generated +0 and uncursed.[2]


While worn, red dragon scales confer 3 base AC and fire resistance. Reading a non-cursed scroll of enchant armor that targets worn red dragon scales will convert them into red dragon scale mail, with a blessed scroll adding a point of enchantment.

Uncontrolled polymorph while wearing red dragon scales will turn the wearer into a red dragon, and doing so while wearing the scale mail will additionally revert them to scales.[3][4][5]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Per commit 9942b65d, extrinsic sources of an elemental resistance now has a 99100 chance of protecting your inventory from that type of damage. Per commit ef1eeed7, both the scales and scale mail also provide infravision.


Red dragon scales are rarely sought out by most characters: reflection is sufficient enough to protect a character against many forms of fire damage, and some other sources of fire are more easily avoidable. It is also likely that you will obtain fire resistance from another source before fire attacks become a serious problem.

Foodless atheist characters may consider finding red dragon scales to make into mail for protection against the fire traps in Gehennom - while it can be superseded by the ring of fire resistance, the ring must generally be identified in some way first.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Red dragon scales are more likely to be considered for some characters: the extrinsic fire resistance can be valuable fire damage protection for their inventory, and humans can use it to gain infravision outside of polymorph. It may see less consideration compared to other colors, due to the dwarvish cloak: per commit b98a70e3, dwarvish cloaks protect against inventory damage from fire and cold 910 of the time.


Red dragon scales first appear with most other colors of dragon scales in NetHack 3.1.0.


Main article: Dragon-scaled armor

In some variants, dragon scale mail is phased out in favor of dragon-scaled armor, whose implementation is based on a proposal by dtsund. Instead of being made into mail of its own, dragon scales are treated as a cloak, and reading a scroll of enchant armor melds them onto a worn set of body armor, generally augmenting that armor by adding its AC and conferred extrinsic properties to it. Dragon-scaled armor is implemented in NetHack Fourk, xNetHack, EvilHack, and Hack'EM.

Several variants also give red dragon scales additional properties while worn, and may even introduce other forms of red dragon scale armor. Variants that implement partial intrinsics and/or object properties may also make red dragon scales and other colors more worthwhile.


In SporkHack, worn red dragon scales additionally confer a +1d6 damage bonus to melee attacks.


In UnNetHack, dragon scales and dragon scale mail have randomized powers and appearances in each game - to wish for dragon armor or scales by its corresponding power, either type of armor must be formally identified first, e.g. by using a scroll of identify on dropped dragon scales (which identifies the matching scale mail along with it) or by witnessing the dragon use its breath weapon.

Red dragon scales are effectively replaced by fire dragon scales, which confer only 1 base AC like all dragon scales in UnNetHack.


In dNetHack and notdNetHack, worn red dragon scales additionally confer flight and protection from sliming.


In FIQHack, worn white dragon scales additionally confer warning, infravision and see invisible. They also weigh 300 aum like all dragon scales in FIQHack (which is halved while worn).