Lessons learned the hard way

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Lessons learned the hard way was a huge Rodney entry. It was so large that it had to be removed from the database because Rodney would become unresponsive to everyone else whenever someone requested the entry. For a while it was hosted by GreyKnight, but now that the wiki exists we can put it where it really belongs. So here they are, loosely sorted by dungeon branch.

You die...(again)

Note that some of the lessons don't apply to post-3.4.3 versions of NetHack, but may still apply to variants based on older versions.

The Lessons

Dungeons of Doom

  • Don't try to cancel your own spellcasting by pressing Escape, especially when polypiling. Skipping the direction prompt releases the magic power to the previously used direction!
  • When you get a blessed scroll of genocide, @ means you, even when you aren't a human.
    • Commentary: Besides, many important @ monsters (such as shopkeepers) can't be genocided anyway.
  • Sleep rays bounce, and elves don't start with sleep resistance.
  • "Huh. Didn't know a bag of tricks would explode a bag of holding."
  • You have to really be INSIDE a temple for sanctuary to work. The door isn't good enough.
    • Commentary: Unless the monsters are inside the temple too.
  • Don't wear levitation items until you need them. They deprive you of Elbereth and other useful escapes.
  • Don't panic. Always know where your towel is.
  • Be very careful with uncontrolled teleportitis and quantum mechanics in stores!
  • Never eat tins in shops whilst wielding potentially expensive artifacts. Also don't let nymphs get near you.
  • Remember, "Thou shalt not worship graven images"
  • Never sacrifice something you can't touch! Attempting to lure a cockatrice onto an altar for sacrifice with the idea that you can do so without touching it will cause you to develop a stony appearance without the chance to eat a lizard.
  • Don't carry wands/scrolls/potions outside bags. Nothing like standing on the vibrating square with the Bell of Opening (0:0), complaining about exploding wand of cancellation and wand of wishing and not having a scroll of charging handy.
    • Commentary: Or at least minimize the vulnerable items you have out. It is worth risking a few escape items to have them ready when you really need them.
  • If you have crappy ISP, NEVER reconnect to server right after you got your Internet connection back. There can still be some glitches with it.
  • NetHack doesn't know about arrows/function/home/end/page up/page down keys and treats them as escape. Therefore DON'T TRY TO EDIT YOUR WISHES WITH THEM.
    • Commentary: NetHack 3.6 lets you clear the input with escape, as did NAO before.
  • NEVER leave fragile items (such as potions) unattended when there are intelligent foes around. Wand of striking == BOOM!
  • NEVER skip messages with space. Ever. Especially when handling petrifying monsters.
  • When you have a laggy connection, NEVER type next command before you see how the previous one ended.
  • When running from a nasty monster, go back the way you came.
  • Be careful of what items are marked as 'y' and 'n' in your inventory to avoid confusion with yes/no prompts. For example, trying to eat something on the ground while levitating by typing 'ey' quickly will have disastrous effects if your inventory contains 'y - a cockatrice corpse'.
    • Commentary: Watch out in the spells menu too, double tapping "y" and casting a spell without seeing which one it was could put you in an interesting predicament. Was it FOD? Poly? Or maybe extra healing?
  • Be careful of what items are marked as direction-moving keys in your inventory, in case you miss a key, so instead of 'ahky' (apply h-a key north Unlock the door? yes) you hit 'aky' (apply k-a wand of cancellation Really break your wand of cancellation? yes)
  • When hiding in a shop to recover HP, make sure to rest instead of search to avoid finding (and waking) mimics.
  • Make sure comestibles (esp. rubber chickens) aren't assigned 'e', wands aren't assigned 'z' or 'a', potions aren't assigned 'q', scrolls and spellbooks aren't assigned 'r', tools aren't assigned 'a', weapons that might be cursed aren't assigned 'w', armor that might be cursed isn't assigned 'W', rings that might be cursed aren't assigned 'P', etc.
  • When the ground around you looks the same except for being a different color, examine it with / or ; before stepping there.
  • Don't try to polymorph a merely annoying monster just to get it out of your way; save your charges (or mana) for things that are just about to kill you; the creature it becomes might be something deadly. (StormEagle, blue jelly => ice devil)
  • If you levelport, angry shopkeepers are somehow able to levelport with you.
  • There is a vital difference between '<god> is displeased' due to praying too soon, and praying on the wrong altar or with negative luck/alignment. Only the first one makes your god angry.
    • Commentary: Is this really true? Also, a water prayer on a cross-aligned altar will make your god angry.
  • If you are being held/crushed by an owlbear, zapping down with a wand of digging is not as effective as you might think. Engrave Elbereth with it instead...
  • If you leave skeleton keys (but not lock picks or credit cards) lying around, monsters that can open doors are smart enough to pick them up and unlock doors with them.
  • For beginners: if your HP shows as yellow or red (with the statuscolors patch), you have the spell of healing and you have enough power to cast it, do so. You'll never know which gnome has the wand of lightning/cold/fire.
    • Commentary: Of course, if said gnome happens to have a wand of death it won't matter anyway.
  • If you're trying for #conduct weaponless, just leave pick-axes on the ground. Don't even bother to put them in your BoH. Use wands of digging instead (which are not wielded). If you're going for #conduct pacifist, wield a cream pie and never let go. Rely on 5 to move.
    • Commentary: (Unless VERY careful: this means thinking for 5 seconds before every move.) You can remap the movement keys to use 5 or m to cut down on accidents.
  • Never underestimate a bones level.
  • Get a second or third opinion. ALWAYS.
  • Don't stone-to-flesh statues from a bones file. They are likely to be well-armed and armored.
  • If a zombie of your race dies on your altar during a sacfest, move the human corpse away before trying to sacrifice anything.
    • Commentary: Rotted corpses still anger gods.
  • Don't just try on unidentified rings if you're near a priest or any other friendly "@". If that ring turns out to be conflict, you won't live to regret it.
    • Commentary: Unless you know it isn't conflict. Other powerful or threatening peaceful monsters, not just "@", are also to be avoided, though trying on an unidentified ring near a weak peaceful monster is a good way to identify conflict. Also, priests will wield their weapons before attacking; you can watch for this from a safe distance and take the ring off as soon as they do.
  • Locking a door will not do much if you leave a pick axe or mattock immediately outside it.
    • In NetHack 3.4.3, engrave Elbereth under the pick, since all digging monsters respect that.
  • When attacking a gas spore, make sure your pet isn't within the range of the explosion when the spore dies. It will count as if you killed the pet.
    • Commentary: Unless your pet can survive the 4d6. This also applies to aligned priests - losing the only co-aligned temple in your entire dungeon is a real bummer.
  • Don't try to polymorph at experience level 1 or 2, unless you like being killed by unsuccessful polymorphes.
    • Commentary: The polyself bug was one reason you might actually want to do this.
  • Don't zap your kitten with a wand of polymorph. It may die from system shock and you will have killed it.
    • Commentary: Prefer a polymorph trap - it will not kill, and you can retry indefinitely.
  • Before you kick in a locked door, make sure it's not attached to a shop, lest you anger the shopkeeper.
    • Commentary: Check for the "Closed for inventory" engraving (in dust) outside the door. Unlocking the door is okay though, and open shops (even empty ones) never close.
    • Note, this means you must never kick down any doors while blind unless you already know they are not shop doors!
  • When waiting for monsters to show up and force you out of were-form, don't wander away from your only weapon just because you couldn't carry it.
    • Commentary: Try throwing that weapon upwards.
  • When in a zoo, fight shriekers and gas spores last.
  • Pause every time you see a monster. Watching the contents of your inventory, or what you are polymorphed into, is free. Thinking of a tactic is also free. Going toe-to-toe with a footrice when you're poly'd into a master mind flayer is priceless.
  • Werecreatures are considered human. Sacrificing werecreatures is good idea only if you are chaotic or playing an elf/orc/dwarf/gnome.
    • Commentary: Werecreatures return to human form upon death in Slash'em.
  • Chameleons leave brown corpses. They can also impersonate monsters which leave brown corpses.
  • If you're confused in a shop and standing next to the shopkeeper with your very promising character, keep doing nothing for as long as it takes. Yes I know it's only a 1 in 8 chance. Yes it will kill you. Stuning is even worse.
    • Commentary: The same may happen for blind characters without telepathy. The m prefix to movement commands is only safe if you can detect the shopkeeper, even as I - you will say "Pardon me" instead of attacking.
  • A bugle is not a good tool for a knight to use to wake sleeping monsters - especially in Minetown.
    • Commentary: Bugling in Minetown is not recommended for any other role, either, if any of the watch are still alive.
  • Never use force bolt in a level with a shop (you hear the chime of a cash register) if you haven't explored the area in the direction you're shooting if you can't pay for broken things, unless you can fight the shopkeeper.
  • Engraving with wands is useful. If you get the message "The bugs on the floor stop moving!", more often than not, it will be a wand of sleep, but rarely it can be a wand of death. Don't zap it on walls that can reflect back to you. It will be that wand of death.
    • Commentary: All walls reflect rays. Death and sleep can be distinguished via price-ID. Also, even if it isn't, putting yourself to sleep is quite dangerous too - allowing yourself to possibly get hit by the wand is only safe if you have reflection or can deal with both effects.
    • Commentary: In a nutshell, when reflection is involved, don't dish out what you can't take.
  • Do not pray on an cross-aligned altar when you are starving. You stomach won't change, but your prayer timeout will.
  • When you accidentally get water moccasins from a fountain, run. Don't fight, run.
    • Commentary: Unless you deliberately drank from the fountain because you were hungry for a snack of fresh water moccasin and are capable of preparing that dish. Ordinary snakes are functionally identical to water moccasins (but moccasins always appear in groups).
  • Go ahead - leave autopickup on. It's handy until you walk over that footrice corpse without gloves.
  • Don't fight the Soldier ant fairly. Just don't.
  • In NetHackW (graphical version) please remember to turn off auto-pickup. It's nice until you find a statue. You wonder why you can't pick up anything when You see here 57 gold coins. There is nothing here to pick up. Or You see here a statue. You can barely move a hand's reach with this load!
    • Commentary: Or set pickup_types, or pickup_burden. Or compile in and set autopickup exceptions.
  • Be sure to identify wands before zapping them at enemies, especially if you're zapping an unknown wand of make invisible at a nymph!
  • For crying out loud, don't kick down doors if they have an engraving in front of them! Even if it's ??o?? f? I???t???.
    • Commentary: A bones level may have a pre-eroded engraving. Or you may have stepped on it and not noticed.
  • If you find a dead end, don't hold down s. It'll just make things worse if you encounter a monster and are still searching.
    • Commentary: Use a numeric prefix instead, like n10s or just 10s if using vikeys.
  • When you find a small mimic in a shop, be sure to attack it, not the shopkeeper! There's no way to say that you meant to hit the mimic!
  • Similarly, when attacking a mimic with wands or spells, check your rebound path every single time. The shopkeeper does not stand still while you're fighting.
  • When playing NAO, if you get lag, don't just keep pressing buttons, once the prompt has stopped lagging, I guarantee you will have the message, "Do you want your possessions identified? [yn](n)"
  • If you're multi-tasking with NetHack, be sure you're in the chat box with your friend(s) and not still on the NetHack command prompt. "r u playing nethack again?" yes (y: Unknown extended command e: What do you want to eat? [acdsR-?*] s: A cockatrice corpse. Do you want your possessions identified?)
  • Engraving with your fingers in the dust is fine unless your Elbereth happens to be E¦bereth.
    • Commentary: Always, always check your writing with : (but not if you are blind, in which case that will use a turn).
  • Just because you survived that rolling boulder trap DOES NOT mean you or your pet will survive it again.
  • If you fall through a trap door into a vault without a pickaxe, don't keep saying that your name is Croesus; the vault doesn't have a kitchen, refrigerator, or any other type of food producing place that you'd find in your house.
  • When casting force bolt, be sure that there are no pets, shopkeepers, guards, etc. behind what you're hitting. Or nymphs — you'll break their (likely) potion of object detection and incur a loss of luck.
  • Don't put every single damn piece of armor, gloves, or shoes you find on! Sure they might not be cursed, but when you do put them on, they'll be cursed. Every single time!
    • Commentary: (Unless you have the spell of remove curse and enough power.)
  • Make sure to remove that ring of conflict you might be wearing before you enter a shop.
  • Eating a chickatrice corpse does not make you petrification resistant.
  • If you're kicking things off traps, make sure you aren't low on HP, and are strong.
  • Even if you happen to be wearing a ring of polymorph control, don't try to polymorph (quaffing sinks ...) when you are a low level (like XL1) - you risk death from system shock or from level drain after feeling like a new man/elf/orc.
    • Commentary: Polymorph control protects you from system shock, but you still have a 8% chance of fatal level drain.
  • So wait, I'm NOT supposed to use that fireball scroll while hallucinating?
  • Don't eat eggs unless you're sure of what's in them. Just because you haven't seen any cockatrices yet, doesn't mean the egg is safe.
  • Don't bang on the keyboard, you'll just be angrier.
  • And don't rest on the keyboard as well!
  • Have a laptop? Move carefully!
  • Attacking a floating eye isn't fatal...unless there might be a powerful monster nearby...
  • Collecting useful items from bones files is great! Reading/Using anything immediately after isn't.
    • Commentary: Determine BUC first.
  • Yes, pressing any directional key counts as 1 turn, no matter what! (Except for trying to move into a wall or solid rock.)
  • Just because your laptop doesn't have a numpad, doesn't mean you cant move diagonally. Then again, normal numbers hate laptops that play NetHack. Especially if you're confused.
  • Don't try to play 2 NetHack games at the same time. Just don't.
  • If you're listening to music while playing NetHack, don't, don't, DON'T press buttons (especially directional keys) to your music; you'll miss your YASD.
  • In SLASH'EM as an ice or flame mage, don't youpoly into a dragon when you are wearing armor. Unlike lycanthropes and doppelgangers, you will break out of it. And unlike regular polymorphs into them, your dragon scale mail is not preserved.
  • Don't even try to read spell books at level 1.
    • Commentary: Wizards will get a warning if the book is too hard, so long as it isn't cursed. Blessed books are safe.
  • Remember, look, don't touch!
  • Organized pack helps. a - primary weapon, d - pick axe, g - unicorn horn, etc. Arrange to taste.
  • After clearing a screenful of monsters involving c, leave for a few hundred tics, to let the corpses expire.
    • Commentary: Or pick all of them up and use for yourself or safely put away -- but be sure you're wearing gloves! Corpses almost always rot after 250 turns.
  • Finding a blindfold from a bones file while having intrinsic telepathy is great! Now don't get all excited and immediately after just to "try it out", because you'll be "trying it out" much longer that you'd like.
  • Get greedy, get killed.
  • If your spells spill over onto a second page, make sure that healing and finger of death aren't represented by the same letter.
  • Be careful when BUC-testing items with a leashed pet. You won't necessarily get the "<Pet> moves only reluctantly" message--very bad if you then put on a cursed ring of conflict with no known method of removing curses handy.
  • NetHack is a good patience detector. Hurry equals death. Which can also be fun actually, if you don't mind not ascending
  • NEVER use a figurine of a monster that might be strong enough to kill you without curse-testing it, unless desperate. (And even if it is uncursed or blessed, there's still that 10% chance ...)
  • ^S (control + S), in some *nix shells, suspends output to your screen. Your keystrokes will go through, but the results won't be displayed yet. ^Q un-suspends it. ^I is an invalid command that happens to also be the tab key, if you want to test a "frozen" terminal, press this. Then try ^Q. DO NOT SPAM KEYS. You will, upon resuming your session, or killing your session and starting a new one--whether because it really is frozen or because you didn't know about traditional terminal flow control--that you have died.
    • To disable XON/XOFF flow control in a *nix terminal, run stty -ixon from a shell prompt.
  • Just because you found a wand of wishing on DL 8 doesn't mean that a spotted jelly can't hurt you.
  • Pets are not invincible!
  • Be sure you know the distinction between the lowercase o and capital O in your inventory. Bad things can happen...very bad things...
  • Cockatrices are very dangerous creatures. In every way.
  • If you see something like "a? ae??r|um" in front of a door, don't open the door if you don't have teleportation control. Okay, fine, you can open it, but don't go in unless you're carrying pocket change at most, want to #occupy Fort Ludios, or are willing to lie about your name.
    • Commentary: If you've got enough food to wait a few turns, it's fine. Just drop your gold before you go in. Let the guard show you out, and now you know exactly where the vault is, for easy digging later when you find a pick.
  • Eating killer bee corpses is a bad idea, unless you're going for some sort of low-strength conduct.
  • Praying to recover your HP? Don't do it unless your HP falls below max/5 at levels 1-6 (or below 6 HP), max/6 at levels 6-13, max/7 at levels 14-21. Otherwise, you're screwed.
  • If you're not sure if a corpse is spoiled yet, DON'T eat it. Otherwise the next word you see may be the eight-letter F-word.
  • Be wary if you have poor eyesight. If you see a blue, round-looking letter, look at it closely before you move next to it or else I guarantee you'll see lots of messages culminating in "You die..."
  • Dwarven Valkyries and Human Tourists are VERY different.
  • Don't dip for Excalibur if you aren't equipped for some possible nasty surprises!
  • Don't dip for Excalibur if there aren't enough fountains around. Fountains can dry up; you don't want to run around searching for another one with a cursed thoroughly rusted long sword.
  • Don't eat during combat situations if you can avoid it. There's always the chance that you'll be knocked out for several turns by rotten food.
  • If your monk gets an uncursed scroll of genocide, do NOT misspell "master mind flayer". The slightest error will cause YASD, and lifesaving won't protect you. Yes, that also applies if you write "master mindflayer".
  • Don't read random unidentified scrolls while confused unless you're absolutely sure they're cursed or you've identified genocide already!
  • If you got a dragon scale mail from wish, and a wand of polymorph, and you encountered a dangerous monster (ex. water demon), why don't you zap yourself?
    • Commentary: Your cloak will rip, and your mail will revert to scales.
  • BUC-testing potions at an altar while levitating will result in acrimony and broken glass.
  • Make sure there is no co-aligned priest in the firing line before zapping Speed monster at your pet. This will anger the priest and you won't be able to enter his temple without being attacked.
    • if you manage to escape, don't return to that level with uncontroled teleportitis as the RNG will telelport you into his temple and he will kill you.
  • When playing with number_pad off, be careful when going northwest. "Really attack Izchak?"
  • Beware the hallucinating pet arch-lich. (Make sure that that black light over there blows up in your face and not your pet's.)
  • Don't eat wraith corpses when satiated. You don't get a warning.
  • If you just spent a year extincting/genociding everything and then polypiling gems, hauling them to the first floor, trying for hours to get your giants arranged around the upstair, and Rodney comes...for the love of God, don't quaff the potion of gain level he may drop on death without checking BUC first. Lives have been ruined that way.
  • Plains centaurs in the mirror are stronger than they appear.
  • Baby silver dragons don't reflect zaps of cold that you shoot at them. Looks like it's going to storm!
  • Hitting e instead of w can be a fatal mistake when you have a cockatrice corpse.
  • Don't stand on ice when there are foes with fire attack around.
  • What do you think amulet of life saving is for?
  • When polypiling, be careful with where you aim. In particular, don't hit that damn chest with goodies - if it polymorphs into non-container, ALL CONTENTS ARE LOST.
    • Contents are always lost on polymorph, but the container has a 5% chance of resisting the polymorph beam. (95% for the Wallet of Perseus in SLASH'EM.)
  • Wield the cockatrice corpse when you're already in position to attack (you won't be moving into any unknown squares). Otherwise you will fall into a spiked pit on your way to your victim.
    • Commentary: and be instantaneously stoned. Any pit, trap door, or hole will have the same effect. If there is an item, you can check for known traps with the ^ command.
  • Don't anger your god after getting divine protection. Praying for unholy water on a crossaligned altar, for example.
  • Don't melee cockatrices if you're polymorphed, especially if you are a vrock, master mind flayer, vampire lord, dragon or any other biting monster.
    • If you are a Yellow Dragon it is safe. (The word ARE is important, YDSM isn't enough)
  • Drop your gold, bag of holding, and unicorn horn on another square before #sitting on a throne.
    • Commentary: It is only necessary to drop your bag of holding or unicorn horn if your Luck is zero or less, in which case they could be cursed. See throne for more details on exact throne effects and precautions to take. It is also safer to put them into a container than to drop them, so that monsters can't get at them.
  • If you have no gloves and are blind have recently dispatched a cockatrice, always move with the 'm' key. Doing so will cause you not to automatically feel objects on the ground.
    • Commentary: Having gloves alone is not what matters - they have to be worn.
  • If someone throws an egg at you, it might have been a cockatrice egg - don't skip through the messages about stiffening and turning to stone as if they were ordinary battle spam, if you don't want to become a statue.
    • Commentary: Cockatrice eggs are the only eggs monsters ever use.
  • If you don't have a way to protect against touch of death, NEVER step off of an E-square when facing an arch-lich.
  • While trying to tame something using charm monster that can resist, you'll probably gain a lot of pets. Naming them *all* will help keep you from sacrificing a pet (since corpses retain names) and losing your 50 points of protection.
  • Always kill shapechangers when you see them. If you don't they turn into bad things that will kill you. (argiopeweb -- Minotaur in Soko3)
    • Commentary: (Demin -- Black Dragon Gnomish Mines lv 2) (RegalStar -- Archlich in Soko4) (Beezor -- Master Lich on the Rogue Quest. Of course, I didn't realize there were like 8 guaranteed chameleons on that level at the time, so avoiding that level entirely was probably the best idea. It tele'd in w/ ToD before I could even see it)
  • If you see any messages pertaining to a swamp, do NOT blithely skip along the level. You WILL hit the water, and all your stuff WILL get blanked.
  • If you're dipping potions into a fountain, don't typo and dip your bag of holding. The RNG will curse it. Every time.
    • Commentary: You can dig down on a fountain to make a pool of water, which is much safer to work with.
    • Commentary: When digging down on a fountain, don't stash your armor, weapons, and BoH within four squares of the fountain. The resulting flood can extend out to five.
  • Wielding a cockatrice corpse around a foocubus is an excellent way to get a permanent hard-on.
    • Commentary: A charisma of 20 will allow you to tell the foocubus not to take your gloves off. Don't type too fast though.
  • Don't try to feed a dragon unless it is currently tame. If it is peaceful, thrown food will anger it.
  • Standing on a burnt Elbereth and reverse genociding dragons to create DSM is a great idea... unless you have uncontrolled teleportitis.
    • Commentary: In that case, go to Sokoban and use an Elbereth cage.
    • If you are riding a dragon over water avoid any foocubus. There is a chance a given attack hits your steed and it will remove the saddle.
    • Commentary: Write several Elbereth the dust below the items. Doesn't work as of 3.6.0; use scrolls of scare monster instead.
    • Commentary: Grayswandir is inherently rustproof. If you have a rustproof weapon, probably best to take it with you into the moat.
  • Destroying a drawbridge with force bolt kills everything in the same way as closing it. Including you.
  • Even if you've been struggling with containerless inventory management for 10,000 turns, and you've finally got a bag of holding from a wish, don't get all excited and just throw everything into it. That pesky wand of cancellation will go in last, and then you're screwed.
  • If your luck is negative, or even if you think it MIGHT be negative, DON'T WISH UNTIL YOU FIX IT!
  • Never eat an unknown tin whilst hallucinating. It WILL be cockatrice meat.
    • Commentary: Cockatrice and chickatrice meat always "smells like chicken" when hallucinating. Tins of disenchanter meat or anything of your race give no warning, however.
    • Commentary: Chickens don't exist in Nethack Vanilla.
  • Be careful if you have suffered amnesia. Although not remembering the exact layout of a level while climbing the dungeon with the Amulet is annoying, what's more annoying is forgetting that ELAM EBOW is a scroll of enchant weapon, deciding not to identify it first, and then reading it while wielding your blessed +7 Grayswandir.
    • If you get mind-flayed very often, it helps to collect a specimen of everything in your stash, to mass-identify.
  • Stand back when casting fireball unless you want your pets and belongings to burn.
  • When it comes to genociding (Master) Mind flayers, if you're a dwarf ... enough said ...
  • When surrounded by resurrecting rock troll corpses, don't quaff an unidentified potion. It will be polymorph, and you will become a grid bug.
  • In SLASH'EM, make sure you beware creatures hiding under items. It could be a deadly asphynx, which has the ability to petrify you and cause an easy-to-miss YASD.
  • Unless you are in immediate danger of dying, don't break an unidentified wand. You may be killed by a blast of magic.
    • Commentary: Most of them blast you for some amount of damage dependent on their charges. Many of them have secondary effects like teleportation or slowing.
  • If the RNG gives you another bag of holding after you already have one, leave it alone. Don't carry it around as a spare. You will space out and try to put one of them in the other.
    • Commentary: Hauling it to your stash is good, but do so carefully, and possibly on a separate trip. Alternatively, putting both bags into another container will eliminate the possibility of typos.
  • When trying to get crowned so that your god will give you a spellbook of finger of death, make sure your luck is actually maxed before casting create monster a couple hundred times.
  • Carrying around a lot of potions in your main inventory is a bad idea. You will step on a magic trap and die when a blast of fire causes all of your potions to boil and explode right after you've wished for blessed +3 silver dragon scale mail and the Master Key of Thievery.
    • Commentary: They are too heavy to carry around, anyway.
  • Don't try that genocide scroll until you've BUC tested it! A room full of Liches at level 3 leads to YASD!
  • A throne room full of dragons is fantastic for intrinsics but take your damn time in eating them. They're a lot to choke down and it sucks to find out that you have just choked on your disintegration resistance.
    • Commentary: Killing and eating them one at a time is good. A tinning kit will also help. They are larger than most other corpses.
  • Using a cursed scroll of create monster to create sacrifice fodder is never a good idea.
    • Commentary: Though a confused one is handy at times (it will produce only acid blobs, good for blocking movement.)
    • Commentary: Never try to create monsters as a weak character without a good escape route. Almost every monster creation method has a chance of summoning a horde rather than a single monster.
  • Don't throw Mjollnir while blind -- you won't catch it, and will likely be hit and lose all your wands and rings.
  • Consider that Mjollnir returns only 99% of the time before throwing it at a Titan.
  • Sex in real life can cause life-threatening conditions. This applies to NetHack too, for different reasons.
  • Wishes are valuable. To avoid wasting one on a redundant item, know your inventory before employing a potential source of wishing.
    • Commentary: Wishes are divine in nature, so praying right after receiving one is a bad idea.
  • Found the Big Room? Stay on the up stair and watch out for quantum mechanics!
  • Dragon scales don't make good polyfodder.
  • If you're wearing the Tie-Dye Shirt of Shambhala (in dNetHack) that your god gave you, wear your ring of polymorph control too (a mask isn't enough), or stepping on a polytrap will deprive you of its increased carrying capacity for the rest of your run!
  • Teleport control doesn't work when you're unconscious from rotten food, so even it's not a complete safeguard against teleportitis.
  • A greased helmet is not a license to melee mind flayers.
  • In Slash'EM Extended, scrolls of standard id, healing, cure, mana, and phase door can't be cancelled or polymorphed. Zapping yourself after seeing a wand do nothing to them will still ruin your inventory if it's a wand of cancellation or polymorph.
  • Always use up cockatrice eggs you lay. Tame cockatrices turn any golem to stone golem, which is hard to kill.
    • Commentary: Or store the egg in a container until it is no longer hatchable after 200 turns. It will still petrify when you want to use it.
  • Cursed athames aren't good items to engrave with.
  • After you're done dancing with nurses or foocubuses, DON'T FORGET TO RE-EQUIP YOURSELF!
  • On that note, be sure to remove all armor AND weapons before reverse-genociding that swarm of nurses.
  • A xorn will gladly munch your Magicbane, especially when you disrobe to take a bath and blank scrolls.
    • Sacrifice gifts are always rustproof, and if you wish for it you should order it rustproof, so there is usually no reason to unwield artifacts for that anyway.
  • When you're on a level with water or lava, and you have uncontrolled teleportitis, and your connection is laggy, TREAD LIGHTLY.
  • If you've altar scummed for Magicbane as a wizard who started with a ring of slow digestion, don't forget that you can actually use it to engrave an E-square when you're facing a giant ant.
  • Be careful about wishing for cross-aligned/cross-class artifacts when low-level or low on health, especially when said artifacts are intelligent.
  • Don't polymorph an air elemental in Slash'em. You will get a very fast baby dragon that is even more powerful.
    • Commentary: Also applies to vanilla, and the resulting monster will be that fast only for 1 turn.

Gnomish Mines

  • Be wary of statues in the Gnomish Mines...
  • And also remember to press k if you want to kick things off a rolling boulder trap in the Gnomish Mines
  • Skip the Gnomish Mines and come back when you're more powerful, or, you won't get past level 3 of the main branch and will die in the Gnomish Mines.
    • Commentary: If you're playing as a Gnome or Dwarf, most of the monsters will be peaceful.
  • If you find Minetown bones, before you go #chatting up the priest, make SURE both the priest and the altar are of the same alignment.
    • Commentary: Also make sure that the temple isn't haunted. There is no way to fix that.
  • If a fountain in Minetown reduces to a trickle, cease using it immediately.
  • If you want to create Excalibur in Minetown, make absolutely sure that there are no watchmen around (or that you have a pet strong enough to deal with them). Even if they aren't in sight, they will somehow sense you and get angry at you, and killing them count as murder.
  • Do not walk around Minetown blind for easy guard murder as a chaotic until you can smite a leocrotta in one hit. The Watch Captain hits hard at lower levels. If not chaotic, wait it out.
    • Commentary: #Chat will get responses from watchmen: if you get none, it is safe to move there.
  • A trio of large cats will not protect you from a floating eye in Minetown.

Sokoban

  • Do NOT do Sokoban if your NetHack lags.
  • Just because you beat Sokoban and got a bag of holding, it doesn't mean you're invincible.
  • When in Sokoban, and you are at the fringe of death, do not try to teleport away using a scroll of teleportation. Sokoban is a no-teleport area, which will result in a few more hits from that monster you are trying to flee from, possibly resulting in your death.
  • When you solve a Sokoban level and open the door at the end of the hall, it will be packed with monsters. One might just be a Nymph who will charm you, steal your wand of death, fail to teleport then use it on you.
    • Instead, displace a pet inside, or fight diagonally at the door because monsters are less likely to zap you at melee range.
    • For that matter, always use telepathy to scout out the treasure zoo before rushing inside.
  • Keep in mind that an AoR from Sokoban can be cursed, although you should put it on anyway. BUC status has no effect on the amulet's power; you just can't take it off as with any cursed amulet.
    • Commentary: If the amulet is missing for some reason, kill and search every monster on the level. Monsters will never pick up the bag of holding.
  • Training escape spells by repeatedly casting "jumping" is a sound strategy -- except in Sokoban. Especially if you plan to zap your wand of wishing soon afterward.
    • Commentary: Jumping in Sokoban carries a -1 luck penalty. You don't get dinged if you press escape at the prompt where you want to jump.

Medusa's Island

  • Levitation spells don't cut it on Medusa's Island. Find a permanent source.
  • Don't go below dungeon level 18 or so without a means of crossing water. Falling past Medusa through a hole can really ruin your whole day.
  • Don't eat anything while standing on Medusa's corpse. You WILL fatfinger it and suffer a legendarily stupid stoning.
  • AVOID foocubi of opposite gender when levitating over water in Medusa's level using boots. Drowning is not kinky.
    • Commentary: A charisma of 20 will force the foocubi to ask, but watch out for typos.
  • Blind yourself BEFORE walking up the stairs to Medusa's house if you've dug to avoid moving over her water. Else she will petrify you right away.
    • Commentary: Medusa is @. Elbereth won't stop her, even if you have time to burn it.
  • If you have jumping boots or can cast the spell, it's possible to cross the water on Medusa's level by jumping from island to island. Just make sure that the statue you're about to jump towards really is a statue, and not a mimic who will block your jump with fatal results.
  • Don't bring a pet gremlin to Medusa's level.

Quest

  • Don't EVER tangle with Cyclops, the Healer quest nemesis, in melee.
  • Don't rely on a quest artifact as the only source of ANYTHING.
    • Commentary: That is: in the late game, where the Wizard of Yendor can appear and steal it. Before that, it is fine.
  • Any monster in the 'follower' category will follow you through portals created by the Eye of the Aethiopica.
    • Commentary: They will also follow you through staircases or any other level change.
  • Monsters will follow you through your quest portal. Engraving on the portal square doesn't work.
  • If Branchport into Fort Ludios, you may very well land in the area just outside the inner keep and get swarmed by everything. While it's (generally) not a fatal error, it can still get rather annoying when you can't deal with about fifty creatures one-on-one.
  • Ashikaga Takauji gets two attacks per round. While extremely unlikely, it's possible to get bisected twice in a row, so even an Amulet of life saving isn't a surefire way to survive!
  • Don't kick trees in the ranger quest maze, unless you want the resident minotaur to ruin your day.
  • Never, ever, ever jump near your quest leader. Your quest portal will be removed, with only one way to salvage your game: the Eye of the Aethiopica. Better hope you're a neutral non-wizard. It also helps to be able to cast charm monster with a relatively low failure rate.
  • If you genocide giants before you do the Valkyrie quest, you will get lots of titans instead. You don't want lots of titans.
  • If you have controlled teleportitis, don't use an uncursed scroll of earth to build your boulder fort - especially in Kaen's lair.
  • In SLASH'EM, yes, you can sacrifice the Hand of Vecna. And yes, this gets rid of it permanently.

Castle

  • The castle level is a cruel, cruel place... Trust me...
  • Don't crush peacefuls in the Castle drawbridge, even if you don't want a red naga to fry you under conflict. The resulting bad luck can make your wished-for blessed magic marker come out cursed. The resulting cursed scrolls of charging will discharge and waste your wand of wishing.
  • Even though you're fire resistant and put on that ring of levitation to get out of the lava, you'll still die instantly when your legs get stuck.
  • Forcing the lock on the chest with a blunt weapon on the castle level isn't the best idea. Kicking it isn't such a good idea either, if the object you're expecting happens to be made of glass or crystal.
  • If you drop your weapons and armor to go for a scroll-blanking swim in the castle's moat, please take care where you leave those items lying around. Chasing down a master mind flayer that's made off with your +7 Grayswandir is not fun when you're unarmed.
  • When you get to the castle level, do not burn Elbereth on the drawbridge and fight the monsters there. A wand of striking will kill you instantly, and it won't be fun.
  • Plugging the trap doors on the Castle level with boulders is a Bad Idea. It will result in the lower levels being inaccessible, except through a controlled level teleport.
    • Commentary: You cannot dig downwards on the castle level. Leaving even one trap door open is sufficient. Since NetHack 3.6.0 you can dig through the filled trap doors.
  • When you're cutting a swathe on your way to the castle and you spot a master mind flayer nearby, and you're confident because you greased a helmet specifically for this occasion, if you're going to engage him in melee, make sure you put the blasted thing on.

Gehennom

  • When breaking wands for their area-denial purpose, DO NOT break a wand of lightning unless you hate your rings.
  • Especially not when Demogorgon is on the level. Not even if double-meleeing arch liches.
    • Commentary: the Wizard of Yendor and his clone are better examples, since arch-liches are resistant anyway.
      • Sorry, it was me who did that, and it just makes the original death even stupider in retrospect… --Preceding unsigned comment added by Ais523 (talkcontribs) 12:43, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
  • In Moloch's Sanctum, be sure that you have entered the temple, and that the high priest has called you an infidel, before killing him. If you don't, you'll get dinged for murder.
  • Watch where you kill the Wizard the first time. Killing him above the moat is a VERY VERY bad idea if you can't swim.
  • After spending hours of hard work and effort to descend into Gehennom, only to be swamped by monsters, remember to check your status as often as your inventory. Scrolls of genocide may be great escape items, but only if that umber hulk next to you isn't looking your way!
    • Commentary: And no, your AoLS will not save your sorry self here! In general, the Amulet of life saving will fail to save you if you genocide yourself or have your INT reduced to zero by a mind flayer.
  • When you've been fighting hordes of monsters as a master mind flayer, remember that your stomach is now quite full. Do not try eating anything, especially a randomly generated newt in the lower levels of Gehennom just to try and get that one extra point of power for the heck of it.
  • If you enter an area (say, perhaps the zoo on the way to kill the Wizard) with cockatrices and weapon-wielding monsters (say, perhaps a troll), back off and make SURE you've got a lizard corpse handy in your inventory. Be a good Boy Scout and always be prepared.
  • Do not teleport at will while hungry if there is a demon prince attacking you. You will likely faint from the energy cost of this and be entirely at their mercy.
  • Don't attack Orcus with Mjollnir, unless you want that shiny Wand of Death to be destroyed by lightning.
  • Just walk right up to the Executioner in Sheol (UnNethack). Come on Punk, make my day.
  • Levitation does not protect you from the kraken in Rodney's (the wizard, not the bot) moat.
  • Don't engrave Elbereth on the vibrating square. Else Orcus won't follow you into the Sanctum to retrieve the Amulet. (He will no longer retrieve it for you anyway as of 3.6.1.)

Ascension Run

  • Using water walking boots on the plane of water will result in you drowning. Levitation, on the other hand, will work safely.
    • Commentary: As of version 3.6, you can't levitate there either.
  • Don't try to disarm/disarmor your Archon with F command when polymorphed into a nymph. You can untame it.
    • Commentary: Instead, enchant its new armor better than what it's currently wearing, and drop the armor in front of your pet. It will change once it eventually picks it up. Weapons are a bit trickier: A bullwhip is a safe way to disarm your pet. To keep it from swapping artifacts, you want it to drop as many items as possible before you give it its new weapon.
  • Zapping a high priest/priestess on the Astral Plane with a wand of teleportation to move them off an altar DOES NOT WORK. It makes them angry instead, even if they were peaceful beforehand.
  • Don't polymorph in > direction while riding. Even your ki-rin is not invincible; A's are vulnerable to system shocks!
  • Don't mess with player type characters on the Astral Plane. Yes, there's only a small chance they'll be spawned with the Vorpal Blade. Yes, there's only a slight chance that the Vorpal Blade will instantly behead you. The RNG will kill you. Every time.
  • Archons' dazzle is incredibly annoying — lenses are nearly worthless.
    • Commentary: Lenses do not stop an Archon's gaze attack, only blinding acid and raven claws.
  • Despite an Archon being a very powerful and useful pet capable of dispatching many enemies on its own, it is not immune to being engulfed and digested.
  • Don't let your flying steed die when you're over water or lava. Fire elementals on the Plane of Fire can do a lot of damage to a steed without fire resistance.
  • A steam vortex will happily carry you out of an air bubble on the Plane of Water, even if you aren't levitating. You'll drown as soon as you're expelled.
  • Far look won't tell you if a high altar is co-aligned - "aligned" and "co-aligned" are not the same.

See also