Iron bars

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Iron bars are a dungeon feature in NetHack, represented by #.


Randomly generated inaccessible closets (that have a guaranteed scroll of teleportation) have a 20% chance of having iron bars where the door would be.

There are guaranteed iron bars in the Wizard, Tourist, and Ranger quests. The Minetown variant Orcish Town will also have several iron bars blocking off the center.


Iron bars cannot be walked or dug through, and objects thrown through them have a chance of being stopped by the iron bars. Specifically, "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 (or 100% if the shooter is next to the bars in question).[1][2] Spells, rays and beam attacks - such as dragon breath - will pass right through them as if they weren't there. All monsters that are whirly, amorphous, phasing, tiny, or (unless large) slithy can pass through them, including you if you have phasing or are polymorphed into such a monster.[3]

A potion of acid can be used to dissolve iron bars by hitting them while wielding one.[4][5] Throwing can also work - but as noted above, the potion only has a 20% chance of hitting the bars. The acidic breath of a yellow dragon will dissolve the bars as well.[6] However, if the bars are marked non-diggable, they cannot be dissolved by any of these methods.


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

"Bug still valid for 3.6.0?"

Dissolving iron bars with acid was added in 3.6.1.

Prior to version 3.6.0, iron bars were never randomly generated in vanilla NetHack.

In version 3.4.0, a monster that can pass through iron bars can still do so even while engulfing a monster that cannot. This may be a bug.



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 eaten by metallivores[7][8] and dissolved by a acid breath (with a 20% chance)[9] or a potion of acid.[10]


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


In dNetHack, iron bars can be broken with wands of striking.