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This article is about the extended command. For the force that sometimes prevents you from teleporting or climbing stairs, see mysterious force.

#force is the extended command to unlock a container with a weapon, either by prying or by smashing the lock. It cannot be used on doors, you will instead get the message "You decide not to force the issue."

Prying with an edged weapon (such as a dagger) is a better method, as it will do no harm to the container and its contents. However, it may break your weapon, so do not pry with your only (or best) weapon! Smashing the box with a blunt weapon (such as a mace) may destroy the whole container including its contents. Smashing the container, therefore, is a very bad idea and it would be best to leave the container until you have some means of unlocking it. Forcing the chest with an edged weapon exercises dexterity, while a blunt weapon exercises strength.[1]


The per-turn percent chance of success is 2x+1, where x is the maximum amount of base damage the weapon deals to large monsters.[2] For example, a dagger deals 1d3 damage to large monsters, so the per-turn chance of success is 2*3+1=7%. If you have not succeeded after 50 turns, you give up.[3]

Weapon breakage

When forcing open a locked container with an edged weapon, there is a chance the weapon will break, unless it is cursed.[4] Artifacts will resist breaking 99% of the time. The probability that a non-artifact, noncursed, edged weapon will survive an unsuccessful attempt to force a locked container is given in the following table, depending on the weapon's enchantment and erosion level:[5]

Enchantment Erosion level
Uneroded Eroded Very eroded Thoroughly eroded
+7 0.95 0.57 0.34 0.20
+6 0.90 0.54 0.33 0.19
+5 0.86 0.52 0.31 0.19
+4 0.82 0.49 0.30 0.18
+3 0.78 0.47 0.28 0.17
+2 0.74 0.45 0.27 0.16
+1 0.70 0.42 0.25 0.15
+0 0.67 0.40 0.24 0.14
-1 0.64 0.38 0.23 0.14
-2 0.61 0.36 0.22 0.13
-3 0.58 0.35 0.21 0.12
-4 0.55 0.33 0.20 0.12
-5 0.52 0.31 0.19 0.11
-6 0.50 0.30 0.18 0.11
-7 0.47 0.28 0.17 0.10

Destroying the container

If you successfully force the lock using a blunt weapon, there is a 25% chance that you also destroy the container.[6] If you do destroy the container, you will also destroy every potion in the container, and every non-potion in the container has a 25% chance of being destroyed.[7]


In SLASH'EM, you can also use the force command on doors to bash it down with your weapon.

SLASH'EM Extended

In Slash'EM Extended, you can also use the force command on monsters to deal some damage to them. This counts as a melee attack and will therefore set off a monster's passive attack, but unlike an actual melee attack it cannot miss. Also, sometimes the monster is knocked back a square. A Jedi deals extra damage by doing so.


  1. lock.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 207: edged weapons exercise dexterity; blunt weapons exercise strength
  2. lock.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 488: success probability depends on the weapon's damage vs. large monsters
  3. lock.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 139: give up after 50 turns
  4. lock.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 149: cursed weapons won't break
  5. lock.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 148: whether an edged weapon breaks depends on its enchantment and erosion
  6. lock.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 168: containers forced with blunt weapons destroyed 25% of the time
  7. lock.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 182: contents of a destroyed container have 25% chance (or 100% for potions) of being destroyed

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.