Keystone Kop

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The ​K Keystone Kop monster class comprises human law enforcers of various ranks. While they are each not very difficult to eliminate on their own, their numbers are quite intimidating, and they can block your path long enough for more dangerous monsters to catch up with you.

There are four kinds of Kops: Keystone Kops, Kop Sergeants, Kop Lieutenants and Kop Kaptains. Keystone Kops will not become extinct after 120 of each kind have been created,[1] though they are genocidable.

Unlike other humans, the Keystone Kop is a valid polyform, and they also respect Elbereth (but only when occupied by the player); although their symbol is ​K, they are considered human for all other purposes, including sacrificing.


Kops are not randomly generated, and normally only appear when you overtly steal from a shop. If you step outside but remain near the shop, one swarm is created around you; if you teleport a long distance away or leave the level, one swarm is created around the shopkeeper and another around the down stairs. Each swarm consists of a number of ordinary Kops equal to the dungeon level plus d5, 13+1 that many sergeants, 16 that many lieutenants, and 112 that many kaptains, rounded down in all cases. If the shopkeeper is pacified by any means, any remaining Kops are removed from the level, along with their inventories, including anything they may have picked up.

The Tourist quest goal level generates several Kops in a "police station" in the left half of the level.

Each Kop has a 13 chance to receive a club or rubber hose (with equal probability) and a 14 chance to receive 3 to 4 cream pies. Kops never generate with an offensive item, defensive item, miscellaneous item, or gold, and never leave death drops.

Keystone Kop

Kop Sergeant

Kop Lieutenant

Kop Kaptain


The Kops are a very good source of experience and cream pies.

One minor strategy with shopkeepers is to steal a gold piece from the shop and leave for a distant corner of the dungeon; this will summon a slew of Kops and their equipment, followed by the shopkeeper. After slaughtering the Kops, pay or pacify the shopkeeper. Note that Kops that evaporate in this way don't leave death drops. Warning! If you angered him by something else than stealing, it will take at least 1000 gold to pacify him; make sure you have that much cash.

Another option, if you are strong enough to deal with a mass of Kops but do not want to face an angry shopkeeper, is to push a boulder onto the doorway of the shop before you steal.


NetHack's Kops got their name from the Keystone Cops, an incompetent bunch of policemen featured in a series of films from 1912 to 1917.


Convict patch

In the Convict patch, and variants that integrate it, the Convict quest locate level has some Kops.


In UnNetHack, when a Kop is killed, there is a 1/5 chance that another is summoned near the stairs and a 1/5 chance that one appears on a random part of the level. In addition, the Kops can no longer be genocided.


SpliceHack adds a new Kop, the Korrupt Kop. It is exactly like the Kop Lieutenant, except that it can sometimes be randomly generated.

Encyclopedia entry

The Kops are a brilliant concept. To take a gaggle of inept
policemen and display them over and over again in a series of
riotously funny physical punishments plays equally well to the
peanut gallery and the expensive box seats. People hate cops.
Even people who have never had anything to do with cops hate
them. Of course, we count on them to keep order and to protect
us when we need protecting, and we love them on television shows
in which they have nerves of steel and hearts of gold, but in
the abstract, as a nation, collectively we hate them. They are
too much like high school principals. We're very happy to see
their pants fall down, and they look good to us with pie on
their faces. The Keystone Kops turn up--and they get punished
for it, as they crash into each other, fall down, and suffer
indignity after indignity. Here is pure movie satisfaction.

The Kops are very skillfully presented. The comic originality
and timing in one of their chase scenes requires imagination
to think up, talent to execute, understanding of the medium,
and, of course, raw courage to perform. The Kops are madmen
presented as incompetents, and they're madmen rushing around
in modern machines. What's more, the machines they were operating
in their routines were newly invented and not yet experienced
by the average moviegoer. (In the early days of automobiles,
it was reported that there were only two cars registered in all
of Kansas City, and they ran into each other. There is both
poetry and philosophy in this fact, but most of all, there is
humor. Sennett got the humor.)

[ Silent Stars, by Jeanine Basinger ]


  1. propagate in makemon.c: this function never marks non-randomly-generated (G_NOGEN) monsters such as Kops as extinct

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