Madman (dNetHack role)

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The Madman is a new role specific to dNetHack. It was designed to be more difficult than the Convict role.

Madmen may be any race except for Chiropteran. They may be any alignment to start.

Starting inventory

  • cursed straitjacket
  • uncursed blindfold (this can be put on and remove via apply even while stuck in the jacket, and madmen begin with intrinsic telepathy).
  • 2 uncursed potions of booze or two potions of human blood as a vampire.

The cursed straitjacket prevents the use of the hands, with the same basic effects as a cursed two-handed weapon. Worse, the jacket prevents melee attacks with the hands. The Madman will kick as their default attack.

Further, Madmen have a summon-able secret whisperer instead of a normal pet.

Psychic powers

Madmen can use mind blast for 10 power, and can summon their secret whisperer, initially at a cost of 10 power (this cost increases as your insight increases).

  • The mind blast can be used to thin crowds of enemies from across the map, but this is not reliable. The blasts are very reliable vs. mind flayers, and pretty reliable vs. other psychic monsters.
  • The secret whisperer initially has no attacks and is quite fragile. Its primary purpose is to buff the Madman ("whispers dire secrets, filling you with zeal"), increasing their to-hit and damage. Enemies will also still attack the whisperer in preference to the PC, so it can be used to absorb a blow or two. It's typically important to summon the whisperer before a battle begins, since it costs a turn and needs to be out for a round before buffing you. The whisperer gains one level per point of insight you gain.
    • Every time the secret whisperer buffs you, both wisdom and intelligence are exercised. This is one of the only ways to exercise intelligence.


Madmen gain intrinsics at these experience levels:


Madman skills
Max Skills

Madmen start with no skills learned.

Madmen use charisma as their spellcasting stat.


The madman quest sees you fighting Doctor Archer for the Star of Hypernotus, a amulet versus curses that protects against confusion, stunning, sanity, and madness effects when carried.


Main article: Religion
  • Lawful: Lobon
  • Neutral: Tamash
  • Chaotic: Zo-Kalar
  • Non-aligned: Bokrug, the water-lizard

The Madman pantheon is made up of deities worshiped by the inhabitants of Sarnath in the H.P. Lovecraft story "The Doom That Came to Sarnath." They have the option to switch to the unaligned Bokrug after they complete their quest.

Crowning gifts

Water-damaged scroll

This page is a stub. Should you wish to do so, you can contribute by expanding this page.

Rank titles

The status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1-2: Ward
  • XL 3-5: Escapee
  • XL 6-9: Drifter
  • XL 10-13: Derelict
  • XL 14-17: Raver
  • XL 18-21: Lunatic
  • XL 22-25: Maniac
  • XL 26-29: Augur
  • XL 30: Seer


Madmen start the game stuck in a straitjacket, with a negative alignment record, and an angry god. Vampiric madmen also start the game punished.

  • The jacket prevents the use of the hands (even in combat), so the Madman must get free from the jacket before being able to improve their offensive or defensive abilities. See the straitjacket article for suggestions on how to get free.
    • The jacket forces Madmen to kick down doors in order to pass through them. Use the starting blindfold to make sure you aren't about to kick down a shop door!
  • Your god's anger and your negative alignment record prevents prayer.
    • It will be at least 800 turns before you can increase your alignment record to 1.
    • If you can fix the anger, you will be able to pray for aid once your alignment record is positive.