Dwarvish mattock

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) Dwarvish mattock.png
Name dwarvish mattock
Appearance broad pick
Damage vs. small 1d12 (1-12)
Damage vs. large 1d8+2d6 (3-20)
To-hit bonus −1
Weapon skill pick-axe
Size two-handed
Base price 50 zm
Weight 120
Material iron

A dwarvish mattock is a type of weapon that appears in NetHack. It is a two-handed weapon-tool that is made of iron and uses the pick-axe skill, and appears as a broad pick when unidentified.


Player dwarves start the game with knowledge of the dwarvish mattock - a commented-out line of code would give any dwarven character that started the game with a pick-axe a dwarvish mattock instead.[1]

Dwarvish mattocks make up about 1.3% of all randomly generated weapons. In addition to random generation, weapon shops and general stores can stock dwarvish mattocks.

Live dwarves have an effective 18 chance of being generated with a dwarvish mattock.[2] Watchmen and soldiers can also generate with dwarvish mattocks.[3][4]

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.

Mattocks no longer generate as starting weapons on watchmen and soldiers.[5]


As with a pick-axe, a dwarvish mattock can be applied or wielded to dig through walls or floors, as well as break boulders and statues; shopkeepers will also prevent you from entering a shop with a mattock in your inventory. Buying or selling a dwarvish mattock will auto-identify it, as will attempting to enter a shop with one, or else removing it from a container in your inventory while inside.


A dwarvish mattock can be an effective weapon, as it deals far more damage than a pick-axe, especially against larger monsters - it is also much heavier and requires both hands free to wield, and their -1 to-hit penalty can make hitting with one difficult early in the game until you boost your Luck Archeologists and other roles planning to utilize a mattock as their primary weapon can use their starting pick-axe and train to Skilled to offset the penalty.

As with a pick-axe, applying a mattock to wield it does not use up a turn, which can be advantageous when combined with other wielded items: as an example, you can apply a bullwhip at a monster to disarm it, then immediately attack on your next turn by applying a mattock, without having to take a turn to wield it.

Enchanted mattocks are among the best naturally-occurring weapons that can be given to a strong pet with a weapon attack - they are also the deadliest weapon you and your pet can encounter early on in the hands of hostile dwarves, who can do upwards of 20 damage per swing.

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 monster Large monster
+0 dwarvish mattock \frac{1+12}{2}=\bold{6.5} \frac{1+8}{2}+\frac{2+12}{2}=\bold{11.5}
+7 dwarvish mattock \frac{1+12}{2}+7=\bold{13.5} \frac{1+8}{2}+\frac{2+12}{2}+7=\bold{18.5}


The dwarvish mattock first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.



In SLASH'EM, upgrading a pick-axe will produce a dwarvish mattock and vice versa. This makes it possible to enchant a weapon to +127: polymorph the weapon of choice into a mattock, then upgrade it to a pick-axe, polymorph it further into a tinning kit or an expensive camera, use charging until the output has 127 charges, then wait for it to revert completely. A +127 long sword can be turned into Excalibur for a lawful character, while a +127 bow or other launcher can fire 40 or more projectiles at once.


In dNetHack, the dwarvish mattock can be thrown with no to-hit penalty.

Slave to Armok is a lawful artifact weapon dwarvish mattock that favors dwarves. It is bloodthirsty, with a sanity-based chance of attacking an adjacent monster each turn, and grants +1d5 to hit and double damage against elves, orcs, always-peaceful monsters, and monster lords.


In SpliceHack, combining a pick-axe and an axe at a furnace creates a dwarvish mattock.


In EvilHack, a dwarvish mattock can be created at a forge by combining a dwarvish short sword and a pick-axe.


In Hack'EM, upgrading a pick-axe will produce a dwarvish mattock and vice versa, as in SLASH'EM. Forging recipes are the same as in EvilHack.

Encyclopedia entry

A mattock is an agricultural tool similar to a mining pick.
It is distinguished by the head terminating in a broader blade
rather than a narrow spike, which makes it particularly suitable
for breaking up moderately hard ground. ... During the Middle
Ages of Europe, the mattock served as an improvised shafted
weapon for the poorer classes.

[ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ]


  1. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 228: Race-based substitutions for initial inventory
  2. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 367: a dwarf must be given a dwarvish short sword and dwarvish iron helm (14 chance) in order to have a 12 chance of a mattock
  3. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 191: eligible weapons include those from partisan to bec-de-corbin in the objects list
  4. src/objects.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 249: mattocks are in this range
  5. fix github issue #623 - soldiers and mattocks