Hack 1.0.3

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Hack 1.0.3 is the fourth public release of Hack. Andries Brouwer published it to the (now-obsolete) Usenet newsgroup net.sources.games in July 1985. This version continues to be widely available today because of its inclusion in the *BSD operating systems.


Hack 1.0.3 was distributed as a patch against Hack 1.0.2. This was presented as an "ed script", a method of distributing patches that is now obsolete.

Google Groups has archived the patch.

Hack 1.0.3 distributions can be found hosted by Andries Brouwer at his site and by Ali Harlow at his site.


  • DragonFly BSD: they have Hack, Rogue, and Larn in their CVS, is it also on their installation CD?
  • FreeBSD: install games/freebsd-games from ports; this gives you several traditional BSD games including Hack, Rogue, and Larn.
  • NetBSD: include "games.tgz" when installing the base operating system; this gives you several traditional BSD games including Hack, Rogue, and Larn.
  • OpenBSD: include "gamesXX.tgz" (where XX is the version number, as in games39.tgz for OpenBSD 3.9) when installing the base operating system. This gives you some traditional BSD games, including Hack 1.0.3, but neither Rogue or Larn. OpenBSD has audited their source code and removed Rogue and Larn for being less than free software.


  • Debian: 'apt-get install bsdgames' (HTTP interface); this gives you "all of the games in NetBSD-current are free in the usual (DFSG/OSD) sense". Rogue is in 'bsdgames-nonfree' (HTTP interface), Larn is not distributed at all, both for license reasons.

Significant changes

  • Means are provided to avoid bugs and limitations on certain systems.
  • Wizard mode appears for the first time.
  • Inventory letters can be kept constant at the user's option.
  • Cursed weapons are handled more consistently.
  • A real amulet of Yendor can no longer be found in bones files.
  • An adventurer who walks into a pool has a chance of teleporting to safety.
  • A #pray command exists, but is not functional (it just immobilizes you for a couple of turns).
  • Removing a ring of fire resistance while in hell leads to YASD unless naturally fire resistant.
  • Acid blobs no longer spoil.
  • Stoning is now gradual, and can be cured by eating a dead lizard or acid blob.
  • The dead lizard no longer affects confusion.
  • Invisibility is handled more consistently.
  • Smoky potions may release a ghost (not a djinni, as these do not yet exist).
  • Shopkeepers take exception to digging through the floor in a shop.
  • Support for System V UNIX as well as BSD.

The adventurer

The player may choose a Tourist, a Speleologist, a Fighter, a Knight, a Cave-(wo)man, or a Wizard. All classes permit male and female adventurers.

The adventurer has experience, hit points, armor class, and strength. He may advance to experience level 14.

The initial pet is a little dog.

Dungeon features

The dungeon in Hack 1.0.3 has no branches; there is one way up and one way down. The first 25 levels or so consist of rooms, and beyond that, the adventurer encounters mazes. The deepest dungeon level is 40.

Dungeon level 30 and deeper are designated as "Hell". Entering hell without fire resistance, or losing it once there, is an instadeath. As gremlins and self-polymorph do not exist in this version, the only way to lose fire resistance is to take off the ring. These levels have only up-stairs, and the only way to enter is by level teleportation.

Special rooms are shops, beehives, crypts, swamps, treasure zoos, and vaults.

Traps are:

The Amulet of Yendor is found in the possession of the wizard of Yendor in a maze level. He is in a small room in the center of a maze level, surrounded by water and accompanied by a hell hound.

Other maze levels have wands of wishing tucked under a boulder in a dead-end square. (Yes, there's more than one.) Since NetHack 3.1.0, one version of Medusa's lair has a random wand in a similar spot, commemorating the former location of the wand of wishing.


Hack 1.0.3 introduces no new monsters.

The following monsters may be encountered:

Name Symbol Notes
acid blob a  
bat B  
centaur C  
chameleon :  
cockatrice c Stoning by hissing is no longer an instadeath
demon &  
dog d  
dragon D As the modern red dragon
ettin e  
floating eye E  
fog cloud f  
freezing sphere F  
gelatinous cube g  
ghost (space)  
giant ant A  
giant beetle b  
giant eel ;  
giant rat r  
gnome G  
guard @  
hell hound d Does not have a breath weapon
hobgoblin H  
homunculus h  
imp i  
jackal J  
jaguar j  
killer bee k  
kobold K  
large dog d  
leocrotta l  
leprechaun L  
little dog d  
long worm w if NOWORM not defined at compile time
lurker above '  
mail daemon 2 if MAIL defined at compile time
mimic M  
minotaur m  
nurse n  
nymph N  
orc O  
owlbear o  
piercer p  
purple worm P  
quasit Q  
quivering blob q  
rust monster R Reduces enchantment rather than truly rusting
scorpion s  
shopkeeper @  
snake S  
stalker I  
tengu t  
trapper ,  
troll T  
umber hulk U  
unicorn u  
vampire V  
violet fungi v  
wizard of Yendor 1  
wraith W  
wumpus w if NOWORM defined at compile time
xan x  
xorn X  
yellow light y  
yeti Y  
zombie Z  
zruty z  


Hack 1.0.3 introduces no new objects.


Hack 1.0.3 has only one artifact, Orcrist. Any two handed sword may be named Orcrist and will do d10 extra points damage to orcs. There can even be more than one Orcrist.


Only the Amulet of Yendor and the cheap plastic imitation exist in Hack 1.0.3.


Food items in Hack 1.0.3 are:

The tin did not contain the remains of monsters, but rather a randomly-chosen food such as peaches or, if the adventurer is lucky, spinach.

The dead lizard was a found object rather than a corpse; live lizards did not exist in Hack 1.0.3. It otherwise had its modern properties in this version.


Weapons in Hack 1.0.3 are:


Tools in Hack 1.0.3 are:

The ice box is the only container. Then as now, it preserved corpses, and was generally too heavy (and too rare) to be useful for inventory management.


Armor items in Hack 1.0.3 are:


Potions in Hack 1.0.3 are:


Scrolls in Hack 1.0.3 are:

The scroll of damage weapon acts as the modern scroll of enchant weapon does when cursed. The scroll of genocide acts, in all cases, as the modern blessed scroll; but most symbols refer to only one monster anyway.


Wands in Hack 1.0.3 are:


Rings in Hack 1.0.3 are:

Because charisma does not exist in Hack 1.0.3, the ring of adornment is a useless item.


Gems in Hack 1.0.3 are:

and worthless pieces of blue, red, yellow, and green glass.

Other items

Other items not appearing in the above categories are:

It is not possible to pick up an iron chain, nor can they be generated from iron golems, because these do not exist in Hack 1.0.3.


Andries Brouwer ceased development of Hack after version 1.0.3.

Don Kneller ported Hack 1.0.3 to the PC, producing a long series of PC Hack versions, eventually implementing IBMgraphics.

Mike Stephenson took up development of Hack, eventually producing NetHack 1.3d.

Versions of Hack 1.0.3 are still distributed with operating systems of the BSD family.