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

Dwarvish mattocks are effective weapons; much more so than pick-axes, the only other weapons in the pick-axe class. They have some drawbacks, however — mattocks are not only heavier than pick-axes, but also require two hands to wield. Furthermore, their -1 to-hit "bonus" can make it difficult to hit enemies with them until you maximize your Luck.

When unidentified, a mattock appears as a broad pick. A shopkeeper will identify it for you by asking you to leave "your mattock" behind.


Considered weapons rather than tools, dwarvish mattocks can be randomly generated under the same circumstances as weapons (on the floor, as death drops, and in shops), and make up about 1.3% of all randomly generated weapons.

Mattocks are most commonly generated in the inventory of dwarves, including lords and kings.[1]

Mattocks can also be generated in the inventory of watchmen and soldiers.[2][3]

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.[4]


The mattock, besides being two-handed, heavier, and a superior weapon, has the same advantages and drawbacks as the pick-axe, namely:

  • They can be (a)pplied (this wields the mattock!) to dig through walls or floors, or to break boulders or statues into rocks (Archeologists are penalized for breaking historic statues). Occasionally a spellbook or other useful item will be found in the remains of a statue. For more information, see the pick-axe and digging articles.
  • Shopkeepers will not allow you to carry a mattock into a shop unless you hide it within a container. Attempting to throw one into a shop by standing in front of the shopkeeper and throwing it diagonally past him/her will fail, as the shopkeeper will catch it.

Enchanted mattocks are the best naturally-occurring weapons you can give to your pet, provided the pet has a weapon attack, is not wearing a shield, and belongs to a species that has the "strong" attribute. Pets understand how much damage mattocks can do and will not drop them in favor of other weapons (in practice swapping them out only for artifacts or cockatrice corpses), and their two-handedness is not a drawback.

Applying a mattock or pick-axe will wield it if it was not already wielded. Wielding it in this manner will not take an extra turn if it you then choose a direction to dig when prompted, and this direction can be toward monsters. This can be used to your advantage in combination with a other wielded items, such as a bullwhip: 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.

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}

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 ]

See also