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The Musician is a role in the variants Slash'EM Extended and SlashTHEM.

The Musician first appeared in an early version of SLASH'EM (NetHack-- 3.0.10) but was dropped from the code at the time the quest branch was ported into that variant. The role was later revived and given a quest in Slash'EM Extended.

The Musician's main advantage is its starting inventory, consisting of every type of magical musical instrument.


NetHack-- 3.0.10 was based on NetHack 3.0.10, which predated the skill system, so Musicians could use any weapons.

The Slash'EM Extended version of the role has a narrower weapon selection:

Musician skills
Max Skills

SLASHTHEM gives the Musician a skill set modeled on the Bard's (including the ability to use music):

Musician skills
Max Skills

The Musician's special spell is cause fear. Spell success is determined by intelligence.

  • Slash'EM Extended u_init.c line 4063
  • SLASHTHEM u_init.c line 2144 in v. 0.8


Starting equipment

In Slash'EM Extended, Musicians start with a pet Green-elf. In SlashTHEM, this is changed to a tame little dog or kitten.

Rank titles

In Slash'EM Extended, the status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1-2: Doodler
  • XL 3-5: Whistler
  • XL 6-9: Flute Player
  • XL 10-13: Harp Player
  • XL 14-17: Orchestrator
  • XL 18-21: Concertist
  • XL 22-25: Virtue
  • XL 26-29: Piano Master
  • XL 30: Godly Voice

SLASHTHEM has a slightly different set of rank titles:

  • XL 1-2: Whistler
  • XL 3-5: Drummer
  • XL 6-9: Fiddler
  • XL 10-13: Singer
  • XL 14-17: Entertainer
  • XL 18-21: Concertist
  • XL 22-25: Meistersinger/Primadonna
  • XL 26-29: Conductor
  • XL 30: Virtuoso

Slash'EM Extended role.c line 1695

SlashTHEM role.c line 946


The quest sees the Musician fighting Draco the Sharpshooter for the Blackharp, a chaotic magic harp which grants warning, teleport control, and drain resistance while carried.

SlashTHEM gives the Musician a new quest artifact, the Harp of Harmony, a lawful magic harp which grants warning, stealth, and drain resistance while carried, and speaks a random rumor when played. It can be invoked to tame monsters.

  • Slash'EM Extended artilist.h line 496
  • SlashTHEM artilist.h line 674


The Musician's gods are Melnibonean, drawn from Michael Moorcock's fantasy series starring Elric of Melniboné (the source also of Stormbringer):

  • Lawful: Donblas
  • Neutral: Grome
  • Chaotic: Arioch


The Musician's first appearance was in SLASH'EM precursor NetHack-- 3.0.10, as one of nine new roles in addition to the twelve in the contemporary version of NetHack. The discussion thread in which the authors first announced the variant suggests that some of the new roles were taken from a list proposing a role for every letter of the alphabet. See here for the relevant post.

After the release of NetHack 3.1.3 in 1993, NetHack-- was updated to NetHack-- 3.1.3 by porting some of the changes from NetHack-- 3.0.10 into a patch for the newest version. Due to some changes in the vanilla code, however, some content was removed to improve compatibility with NetHack. Most significantly, NetHack 3.1 had seen the addition of the Quest branch. To avoid the challenge of fitting full-length quests for the roles that had been added in NetHack-- 3.0.10 into the patch code, those roles were simply left out of the patch.

The Musician role, along with the other eight new roles in NetHack-- 3.0.10, made its reappearance in the variant Slash'EM Extended. It was also carried over, with some tweaks, into SlashTHEM, a variant of Slash'EM Extended v75.


  • NetHack-- 3.0.10 attrib.c line 77
  • NetHack-- 3.0.10 u_init.c line 195

See also

  • Bard - another music-themed role, from a patch to NetHack 3.4.3