Grappling hook

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( Grappling hook.png
Name grappling hook
Appearance iron hook
Damage vs. small 1d2
Damage vs. large 1d6
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill flail
Size one-handed
Base price 50 zm
Weight 30
Material iron

A grappling hook is a weapon-tool that uses the flail skill. When unidentified, it appears as an iron hook.

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.

It is no longer referred to as an iron hook, being identified by default, and always appears as "grappling hook".



You can apply a grappling hook to a location up to a distance determined by your skill in the use of flails:

.SUUUS. U: unskilled or basic
.UU@UU. S: skilled
.SUUUS. E: expert

You can only apply the hook at a space you can see without astral vision.[1]

Possible outcomes

You can attempt to grab an item on that square, drag yourself towards a spot on the ground, attack a monster, drag a tiny monster to you, or you may end up accidentally hitting yourself (doing 10–19 points of damage). You cannot hit yourself if you are Skilled or Expert.

If you are Unskilled or Basic, there are equal chances of nothing happening, hitting an item, hitting a monster, hitting the ground, or hooking yourself.[2] If you are at least Skilled, you can select which target you are aiming for. If Skilled, you have a 50% chance of achieving what you try to, and a 95% chance at Expert; otherwise, there are equal chances of each outcome other than hooking yourself. If you can't decide which to choose, you may type enter to trigger a random effect.

If you select or get an item or monster as a target, and there is no such thing present on the target space, nothing happens.

Grabbing items

When grabbing an item, you will always snag the item that was last dropped on that square. Only one item from the stack at a time can be snagged this way.[3] This can be used to snag items from the ground while levitating.

Dragging yourself

When dragging yourself towards the ground, you will only be dragged one square. If you are trapped, you instead remain trapped and may take further damage from the trap.[4]


A tiny monster may be dragged with a 25% probability; otherwise, it is simply hit. Larger monsters are always hit. When grappling a monster that is strong or at least large, there is a 25% chance that you will be pulled toward the ground instead, unless the space has water or air, in which case there is no effect.[5]


While the grappling hook's abilities are unique, they are unfortunately not terribly useful in most situations:

  • One might wish to bring a monster with a dangerous ranged ability into melee range, but very few such monsters are tiny, and even then the ability is very unreliable.
  • The ability to grab an item from under a monster has some niche uses (e.g. grabbing a cockatrice corpse before a soldier can wield it), but only Priests can reliably pull it off, and such situations are quite uncommon.
  • Generally, the solution to the inability to pick up items while levitating is to stop levitating. If this is not possible, the player will also be unable to descend staircases - a situation the grappling hook does nothing to ameliorate.
  • The ability to drag oneself is no better than simply moving to the adjacent square, as it can only move you a single square at a time.
  • Probably the grappling hook's most useful ability is simply that it lets you hit non-adjacent monsters with a one-handed weapon that is also effective in melee range. Unfortunately, its low damage makes it generally unimpressive in this role, and the chance of being dragged towards large monsters can be dangerous in certain situations.

Notably, one must attain Skilled proficiency in Flails in order to use a grappling hook without risking injury; it is simply not worth this skill investment for most characters, especially given the lack of any artifact flails.

Encyclopedia entry

But as for Queequeg -- why, Queequeg sat there among them -- at the head of the table, too, it so chanced; as cool as an icicle. To be sure I cannot say much for his breeding. His greatest admirer could not have cordially justified his bringing his harpoon into breakfast with him, and using it there without ceremony; reaching over the table with it, to the imminent jeopardy of many heads, and grappling the beefsteaks towards him.

[ Moby Dick, by Herman Melville ]


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

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