Griefing is the deliberate irritation and harassment of other players, most often in online, multiplayer computer and video games. Although NetHack is a single player game, online public servers such as nethack.alt.org allow a degree of indirect interaction between players in the form of bones files.
Although the goal of NetHack is to ascend, what constitutes fun remains a subjective notion. Griefing in NetHack public servers typically involves attempting to get other players killed by intentionally leaving malicious bones files for them to stumble upon. In some cases, the immediate death of another player is superseded by debilitation or mere annoyance. Regardless, NetHack griefers generally experience satisfaction in annoying other players, especially when a public announcement is made detailing the demise of their prey.
Griefing in public servers is a relatively new trend and has increased awareness of the possibilty of griefing other players in NetHack. The actions of some specific individuals on nethack.alt.org has generated debate regarding the possibility of blocking the use of bones files from specific players on the server. At the moment, players may only elect not to use bones files at all.
Bots can theoretically be designed to grief other players, which is a troublesome possibility due to bots' ability to perform much faster than human players and without exhaustion. Although there have so far been no instances of griefing bots in the wild, the possibility of such has intrigued both bot programmers and public server administrators.
A list of successful (managed to kill another player) and otherwise notable examples of griefing in public servers is included here:
- Filling early dungeon levels with monsters extremely dangerous to low level players.
- Converting altars in temples which causes the aligned priest to attack any players who attempt to chat to him, usually for protection.
- Leaving cockatrice corpses around magic traps, which have a chance of blinding the player (blind player characters must feel objects that are on the floor).
- Leaving invisible and frustrating monsters on the level, such as rust monsters and blue jellies.
- Filling entire levels with holes in the floor, which may be impossible to traverse depending on the items and capabilities the player has.
- Naming fruits after highly desirable items, or ending the name with "You die... --More--".
- Digging out every tile of rock and every wall in Minetown, clearing all the stores of loot, and waiting for many monsters to spawn.
- Summoning Juiblex or Yeenoghu on an early level via same-race sacrifice, then aggravating the summoned Demon lord.