Randomized appearance

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A major part of NetHack is identifying items. To make this more difficult, the appearances of scrolls, potions, rings, amulets, wands, spellbooks, and some armor are randomly shuffled at game start. This page lists the possible appearances.

In a few cases, an item's appearance affects its function beyond its identified type.

Scrolls

Scrolls of mail and blank paper have fixed appearances; all others appear as one of the following:

   ZELGO MER       JUYED AWK YACC   NR 9               XIXAXA XOXAXA XUXAXA
   PRATYAVAYAH     DAIYEN FOOELS    LEP GEX VEN ZEA    PRIRUTSENIE
   ELBIB YLOH      VERR YED HORRE   VENZAR BORGAVVE    THARR
   YUM YUM         KERNOD WEL       ELAM EBOW          DUAM XNAHT
   ANDOVA BEGARIN  KIRJE            VE FORBRYDERNE     HACKEM MUCHE
   VELOX NEB       FOOBIE BLETCH    TEMOV              GARVEN DEH
   READ ME         ETAOIN SHRDLU    LOREM IPSUM        FNORD
   KO BATE         ABRA KA DABRA    ASHPD SODALG       MAPIRO MAHAMA DIROMAT
   GNIK SISI VLE   HAPAX LEGOMENON  EIRIS SAZUN IDISI  PHOL ENDE WODAN
   GHOTI           ZLORFIK          VAS CORP BET MANI  STRC PRST SKRZ KRK
   XOR OTA

For the meanings and origins of some of these, see scroll origins.

Potions

A potion of water is always a "clear potion". Other potions have one of these descriptions:

   ruby        pink        orange        yellow          emerald
   dark green  cyan        sky blue      brilliant blue  magenta
   purple-red  puce        milky         swirly          bubbly
   smoky       cloudy      effervescent  black           golden
   brown       fizzy       dark          white           murky

Of these, the smoky potion and milky potion are special in all games regardless of their actual identity. A smoky potion may contain a djinni and a milky potion a ghost.

Spellbooks

The Book of the Dead, novels and blank spellbooks all have a fixed description. Regular spellbooks will appear as one of the following:

   parchment    vellum       ragged       dog eared    mottled
   stained      cloth        leather      white        pink
   red          orange       yellow       velvet       light green
   dark green   turquoise    cyan         light blue   dark blue
   indigo       magenta      purple       violet       tan
   plaid        light brown  dark brown   gray         wrinkled
   dusty        bronze       copper       silver       gold
   glittering   shining      dull         thin         thick

Of these, the dull spellbook may cause the player to fall asleep when reading it. This currently ignores sleep resistance, which is bug C360-15 in NetHack 3.6.0.

The source code also contains appearances for the deferred spellbooks of flame sphere and freeze sphere, which are canvas and hardcover respectively. These will presumably be randomized if the spellbooks are enabled.

Rings

Rings (other than the meat ring) will randomly take one of the following appearances:

   pearl       iron        twisted     steel       wire
   engagement  shiny       bronze      brass       copper
   silver      gold        wooden      granite     opal
   clay        coral       black onyx  moonstone   tiger eye
   jade        agate       topaz       sapphire    ruby
   diamond     ivory       emerald

Of these, topaz, sapphire, ruby, steel, diamond and emerald rings can be used to semi-permanently engrave something on the floor.

If you are wearing a silver ring and are not wearing gloves[1], you will do extra damage to silver-hating monsters with bare-handed and martial arts attacks.

The appearance of rings determines what monsters can eat them, and also influences golem creation when polypiling. The former is especially important because you can sometimes gain intrinsics from eating rings while you are polymorphed. Pearl, iron, twisted, steel, wire, engagement, and shiny can be eaten by any metallivore (rock mole, xorn, or rust monster). Bronze, brass, copper, silver, and gold can be eaten by any metallivore not restricted to rustable metals (rock mole and xorn). Additionally, gelatinous cubes can eat wooden rings.

Amulets

Amulets, other than the Amulet of Yendor and its imitation, have the following appearances:

   circular    spherical   oval
   triangular  pyramidal   square
   concave     hexagonal   octagonal

Except for the Amulet of Yendor and its imitation, they can all be eaten by metallivores. You have a chance of gaining intrinsics from eating amulets while polymorphed.

Wands

Wands take one of the following appearances:

   aluminum    balsa       brass       copper      crystal
   curved      ebony       forked      glass       hexagonal
   iridium     iron        jeweled     long        maple
   marble      oak         pine        platinum    runed
   short       silver      spiked      steel       tin
   uranium     zinc

Glass and crystal wands are fragile so they can break. This is significant if you kick the chest that stores the wand of wishing in the castle. The appearance of wands also determines what monsters can eat them, and also influences golem creation when polypiling. Eating a wand while polymorphed however has no effect besides nutrition.

Armor

The material of armor is determined by its type, not by its appearance. This is significant for gloves and boots: gauntlets of power and kicking boots are iron, the rest are leather. Some appearances have additional effects.

Helms

Four helms are randomized: the helmet, helm of brilliance, helm of opposite alignment, and helm of telepathy Each has one of the following randomized appearances:

   plumed helmet      etched helmet      crested helmet      visored helmet

Of these, the visored helmet is always special. It protects against the blinding attack of ravens and the venom-spitting attack of cobras.

Cloaks

Four cloaks have random appearances: the cloak of displacement, cloak of invisibility, cloak of magic resistance and cloak of protection. They are chosen from the following:

   tattered cape      ornamental cope      opera cloak      piece of cloth

Cloaks of displacement and protection automatically identify themselves when worn, and cloaks of invisibility will too unless you are already invisible. Even a -3 cloak of protection, which grants no change in AC, is identified upon wearing. Otherwise, if you find yourself wearing any of those randomized appearance cloaks as-is, it is the cloak of magic resistance.

Gloves

Appearances of all gloves are randomized:

   old gloves      padded gloves      riding gloves      fencing gloves

Of these, the riding gloves are special, increasing the chance of successfully saddling a steed.

Boots

The appearance of the magical boots is randomized from the following set:

   mud boots      snow boots      riding boots    buckled boots
   hiking boots   combat boots    jungle boots

Of these, snow boots and riding boots are special. The former prevents the fumbling effect of ice and the latter increases the chance of successfully saddling a steed. However, this bonus is not cumulative with the riding gloves.

SLASH'EM

Due to the many new items in SLASH'EM, new randomized appearances were added. See that article for more information.

The cloak that happens to have the randomized appearance "opera cloak" will appear much more often than its base type's frequency suggests, because many vampires will be generated with one. At least in the case of cloaks of invisibility and magic resistance, it also means many vampires will be invisible or magic resistant.

This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
  2. Any modifications to the spoiler must be acknowledged and credited.

References

  1. src/uhitm.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 587