Iron bars

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Iron bars are a dungeon feature represented by #.

You cannot walk through them or dig through them, and objects thrown through them have a chance of being stopped by the iron bars. Specifically[1], "large" objects such as most melee weapons, most armor or boulders will be always stopped, while "small" objects such as most projectiles (including spears, but not daggers or boomerangs) or potions will pass through with 80% chance[2], or always when the shooter is next to the bars in question. Spells and ray/beam attacks (such as dragon breath) will pass right through them as if they weren't there. All monsters which are whirly, amorphous, phasing, tiny, or slithy (but not large) can pass through them,[3] including you if you are polymorphed into such a monster.

In 3.6.1, a potion of acid can be used to dissolve iron bars by hitting them while wielding it.[4][5] Throwing also might work, but as noted above, the potion only has a 20% chance to hit the bars. Acidic breath of a yellow dragon will dissolve the bars as well.[6]

Randomly generated inaccessible closets have a 20% chance of having iron bars where the door would be. This is the only time iron bars will appear on ordinary dungeon levels in vanilla, meaning there is a guaranteed scroll of teleportation past the bars. There are guaranteed iron bars in the wizard, tourist and ranger quests. The minetown variant Orcish town will also have several iron bars.

A bit of history

Prior to version 3.6.0 they were never randomly generated in Vanilla NetHack.

Probably a 3.4.0 bug

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"Still valid for 3.6.0?"

If you are currently engulfed by a monster that can pass through them. The monster can still pass through them.



In SLASH'EM, iron bars may be found in some of the new levels of Sokoban, but aren't randomly generated. They are also found in Grund's Stronghold, and may comprise the walls of some maze levels, like in Gehennom. Iron bar mazes, are especially annoying during the ascension run.

Most creatures cannot pass through the bars, but a doppelganger character may still liquid leap through them.


In UnNetHack, iron bars may be found in some of the new levels of Sokoban. They sometimes are generated on room-and-corridor dungeon levels instead of doorways. There is a small chance that levels in Gehennom may have iron bars instead of walls, making it difficult to hack a path.

Creatures are able to pass through Sokoban bars. Some are created around the exit if you are attempting to steal from the Black Market.

Iron bars may be dissolved by a potion of acid,[7] acid breath (with a 20% chance),[8] and eaten by metallivores.[9][10]


In SporkHack, they are sometimes generated on room-and-corridor dungeon levels instead of doorways.


They can now be broken with wands of striking.