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) Mace.png
Name mace
Appearance mace
Damage vs. small 1d6+1
Damage vs. large 1d6
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill mace
Size one-handed
Base price 5 zm
Weight 30
Material iron

A mace is a type of weapon that appears in NetHack. It is a one-handed melee weapon that is made of iron.

The mace is the base item for the artifact weapon The Sceptre of Might.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Per commit b1a5a9c3, Demonbane's base item is changed to a mace.


Maces make up about 4% of randomly generated weapons (on the floor, as death drops, or in shops).

Priests start each game with a blessed +1 mace.[1]

Aligned priests and high priests are always generated with maces, that are enchanted from +1 to +3 and have a 12 chance of being cursed.[2] Sergeants in the Yendorian army have a 12 chance of generating with a mace.[3]

One of the weapons guarded by the ghost on the Rogue level has a 12 chance of being a mace, with an enchantment ranging from +0 to +3 and a 34 chance of being cursed[4] - the mace is the starting weapon for the player character in Rogue.

Player monsters generated on the Astral Plane have a 129 chance (effectively ~3.45%) of generating with a mace as their weapon before role-based replacements.[5] Player monsters priests have a 12 chance of forcing a mace as their weapon, resulting in an effective ~50.86% chance of generating with one, while player monster cavepeople have a 34 chance of forcing a mace, raising their effective chance to ~75.43%.[6][7]

Mace skill

Max Role

The mace is the only weapon to use the mace skill.


The mace is generally an unimpressive weapon, though the starting +1 mace for Priests is at least passable. It is typically worth exchanging for a more versatile weapon, such as a long sword or aklys.


The mace first appears in Hack 1.21 and Hack for PDP-11, which are based on Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial item list for Hack 1.0.


A mace is type of blunt club or rod that uses a heavy head on the end of a strong and heavy shaft to deliver powerful strikes; it also comes in a two-handed variety and is typically made of stone, bone, copper, bronze, iron, steel, or even metal-reinforced wood. Military maces can be shaped with flanges or knobs to allow greater penetration of plate armour, with their length depending on the soldier's rank.

Maces are used throughout prehistory and post-classical history, and in the modern era are rarely used for actual combat; ceremonial maces are still kept by many universities, government bodies such as the British House of Commons and the U.S. Congress, and other institutions to display as symbols of authority.

The mace's use as a standard weapon for priesthood is derived from Dungeons & Dragons, where clerical classes are typically forbidden by their god from shedding blood with edged weapons.



SLASH'EM adds the silver mace as a weapon that uses the mace skill, and introduces another artifact mace in Disrupter.


SporkHack adds the silver mace as a weapon that uses the mace skill, though it exists only as the base item for Demonbane.


In dNetHack and notdNetHack, the mace deals 1d10+1 damage to small monsters and 1d10 to large monsters. Both variants add the elven mace and kamerel vajra as weapons that use the mace skill.

Some artifacts use the mace skill in some manner:

The November NetHack Tournament

In The November NetHack Tournament, the deathmatch opponent will always generate with a blessed and erodeproof +5 to +7 mace if they represent a caveperson or priest character that does not have a weapon.


In xNetHack, the mace that an aligned priest generates with is never created cursed.

Demonbane's base item is changed to a mace made of silver, similar to SporkHack.


SpliceHack adds the executioner's mace and ornate mace as weapons that use the mace skill.


EvilHack adds the heavy mace, rod, dark elven mace, and dark elven heavy mace as weapons that use the mace skill. A few artifacts use the mace skill as well:

  • Demonbane (heavy mace)
  • The Scepter of Might (rod)
  • Wand of Orcus (rod)

A mace can be created at a forge by combining a dagger and a club. Maces can be used to create many other items:


In addition to SLASH'EM details, SlashTHEM adds the ornate mace as a weapon that uses the mace skill.


Hack'EM adds the executioner's mace from SpliceHack and the heavy mace and rod from EvilHack as weapons that use the mace skill.

The base item of the Sceptre of Might is changed to an executioner's mace.

Encyclopedia entry

Originally a club armed with iron, and used in war; now a staff
of office pertaining to certain dignitaries, as the Speaker of
the House of Commons, Lord Mayors, Mayors etc. Both sword and
mace are symbols of dignity, suited to the times when men went
about in armour, and sovereigns needed champions to vindicate
their rights.

[ Brewer's Concise Dictionary of Phrase and Fable ]