Gray dragon scales

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[   gray dragon scales   Gray dragon scales.png
Appearance gray dragon scales
Slot body armor
AC 3
Base price 700 zm
Weight 40
Material dragon hide

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


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

A gray 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] Gray dragon scales dropped this way are always generated +0 and uncursed.[2]


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

Uncontrolled polymorph while wearing gray dragon scales will turn the wearer into a gray dragon, and doing so while wearing the scale mail will additionally revert them to scales[3][4][5] - in practice, only quaffing a potion of polymorph or zapping a wand of polymorph at yourself will do this.


Gray dragon scales are one of the two most coveted types, with the other being silver dragon scales, and both are used to create what is generally considered the best form of body armor available. Most characters will prefer either type for their dragon mail, though there are other instances where another color may be sought out - for details on what makes gray the most preferable color for a given character, see the strategy section of the article on gray dragon scale mail.


Gray dragon scale mail first appears with most other colors of dragon scale mail in NetHack 3.0.0. From NetHack 3.0.0 to NetHack 3.0.10, including variants based on those versions, gray dragon scale mail is created by polymorphing the corpse of a gray dragon. Gray dragon scales are introduced in NetHack 3.1.0, along with the current method for converting them into dragon scale mail.


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.

Some variants also give gray dragon scale mail additional properties while worn, and may even introduce other forms of gray dragon scale armor - due to already being a powerful item, they may be less commonly given properties compared to other colors. Variants that implement partial intrinsics and/or object properties may also make other colors of dragon mail more worthwhile.


In SLASH'EM, the Lawful Quest has a set of cursed -9 gray dragon scales among the items piled on the same square as a statue trap of an arch-lich.


In SporkHack, gray dragon scales are one of the few sets of dragon scales to not confer additional properties while worn.


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.

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


In dNetHack and notdNetHack, worn gray dragon scales additionally confer half spell damage.

The Steel Scales of Kurtulmak are a lawful artifact set of grey dragon scales that serve as the crowning gift for lawful gnomes: they favor kobolds, thus blasting any gnomish character they are gifted to (as well as any character not in kobold form), and have a base material of iron instead of dragonhide. While worn, The Steel Scales of Kurtulmak grant reflection and half physical damage, in addition to the magic resistance and half spell damage of the base item, and penalize spellcasting due to their material; they weigh 300 aum, and can be made into dragon scale mail or a shield as normal. If The Steel Scales are gifted via crowning, the riding skill is unrestricted to Expert level.


In FIQHack, gray dragon scales are one of the few sets of dragon scales to not confer additional properties while worn, as in SporkHack. They also weigh 300 aum like all dragon scales in FIQHack (which is halved while worn).