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) Katana.png
Name katana
Appearance samurai sword
Damage vs. small 1d10
Damage vs. large 1d12
To-hit bonus +1
Weapon skill long sword
Size one-handed
Base price 80 zm
Weight 40
Material iron

A katana is a one-handed weapon that deals d10 damage to small monsters and d12 to large monsters, with a +1 bonus to hit. When unidentified, it appears as a samurai sword; Samurai start with one. The sole artifact katana is Snickersnee.

A samurai wielding a katana has a chance of performing a shattering blow, destroying a monster's wielded weapon.


Katanas are very rare; only 4 in 1000 (0.4%)[1] of all randomly spawned weapons will be katanas.

Samurai player monsters on the Samurai quest may carry a katana.


The primary differences between a katana and a long sword are the +1 bonus to hit, the katana's d10 damage to small monsters (as opposed to d8 for a long sword), and the inability to convery a katana into Excalibur by dipping.

Because a katana is the most damaging non-artifact weapon to use the long sword weapon skill, it is often a desirable off-hand weapon for two-weapon combat.


Despite being better than ordinary long swords in NetHack, historically speaking, katanas were no better than an equivalent European sword.[2] In the same era, while many katanas were better than European broadswords, this was simply because katanas were not mass produced (recall that Europe was often at war, and Japan quite isolated); in fact, owing to poorer quality steel in Japan, in a fairer comparison (non-mass-produced European sword) katanas were actually worse. That NetHack's katanas are better than long swords likely stems from Dungeons & Dragons.

Due to the large number of soldiers in the game, the long swords in NetHack are most likely mass-produced. Furthermore, the +1 to-hit may be a nod to D&D, in that that is the same bonus given to masterwork equipment. However, this still does not account for that the stereotypically better elven equipment, the elven broadsword, is still worse (on average) than a katana.

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Small monsters Large monsters
+0 katana \frac{1+10}{2}=\bold{5.5} \frac{1+12}{2}=\bold{6.5}
+7 katana \frac{1+10}{2}+7=\bold{12.5} \frac{1+12}{2}+7=\bold{13.5}

Encyclopedia entry

The katana is a long, single-edged samurai sword with a
slightly curved blade. Its long handle is designed to allow
it to be wielded with either one or two hands.


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It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

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