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) Javelin.png
Name javelin
Appearance throwing spear
Damage vs. small 1d6
Damage vs. large 1d6
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill spear
Size one-handed
Base price 3 zm
Weight 20
Material iron

A javelin is a type of weapon that appears in NetHack. It is a one-handed weapon that uses the spear skill, and like all spears gains +2 to-hit against kebabable monsters. It is made of iron, and appears as a throwing spear when unidentified.


Javelins make up about 1.0% of randomly generated weapons on the ground, as death drops, and in shops - they can be stocked in general stores and weapons shops.

Player monsters generated on the Astral Plane have a 1116 chance of generating with a javelin as their weapon before role-based replacements.[1]


The javelin is a somewhat more rare form of spear - it is somewhat lighter and weaker than the standard spear, dealing the same damage to small monsters but doing slightly less damage against large monsters. It is generally not considered as an option, unless found early in the game by a character capable of training the skill - even then, a javelin will be more than likely replaced by the mid-game.


The javelin first appears in NetHack 1.3d. From this version to NetHack 3.4.3, including variants based on these versions, there is a separate javelin skill that only the javelin uses:

Max Role

This is meant to reflect the intended use of spears for thrusting attacks in melee, compared to the javelin's use as a ranged weapon. In NetHack 3.6.0, the javelin skill is merged into the spear skill.


A javelin is a light spear designed primarily for throwing as a ranged weapon. The word comes from Middle English and is derived from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot ("spear"). A warrior or soldier armed primarily with one or more javelins is a "javelineer". A javelin is nearly always thrown by hand, although there are launchers designed to increase the distance of thrown javelins, such as spear-throwers or the amentum.

The javelin is often associated with classical Greece and ancient Rome and is used by several other cultures throughout various periods of human history, with archaeological evidence that javelins and throwing sticks were already in use around the end of the Lower Paleolithic era. The most recent use of javelins as a weapon in the modern era is as the primary choice of warriors of the Zulu nation in southern Africa. The modern javelin is also predominantly used for sporting purposes, naturally including the javelin throw.


Some variants based on NetHack 3.4.3 may retain the spear skill, while other variants based on later versions typically do not.


SLASH'EM retains the javelin skill as separate from the spear skill. This also applies to SlashTHEM.


dNetHack merges the javelin skill into the spear skill. The javelin deals 1d8 damage to all monsters, and can be poisoned, and the atlatl serves as a launcher for javelins and other spears.

Amhimitl is a neutral artifact javelin made of bone that acts as the crowning gift for neutral Archeologists. It has +1d5 to-hit and deals +1d8 fire damage against monsters without fire resistance, along with +3d4 holy or unholy damage when blessed or cursed respectively. Amhimitl returns to your quiver when fired and can be multishot, which causes it to be thrown immediately after returning multiple times in quick succession - the artifact does not return if it misfires, and any multishot is aborted if this occurs.


In EvilHack, a javelin can be created at a forge by combining 2 crossbow bolts and a spear.

A javelin can be combined with a glaive to create a lance.

Encyclopedia entry

- they come together with great random, and a spear is brast,
and one party brake his shield and the other one goes down,
horse and man, over his horse-tail and brake his neck, and
then the next candidate comes randoming in, and brast his
spear, and the other man brast his shield, and down he goes,
horse and man, over his horse-tail, and brake his neck, and
then there's another elected, and another and another and
still another, till the material is all used up; and when you
come to figure up results, you can't tell one fight from
another, nor who whipped; and as a picture of living, raging,
roaring battle, sho! why it's pale and noiseless - just
ghosts scuffling in a fog. Dear me, what would this barren
vocabulary get out of the mightiest spectacle? - the burning
of Rome in Nero's time, for instance? Why, it would merely
say 'Town burned down; no insurance; boy brast a window,
fireman brake his neck!' Why, that ain't a picture!

[ A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Mark
  Twain ]