NetHackWiki:Ask an expert/Archive2

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Feeling of inadequacy message?

I've just started NetHack last night, and found something odd that, as far as I could tell, is not addressed here or in any easily found spoilers. I was Chaotic and found a Chaotic altar really early, like on the 2nd or 3rd level down. I figured it'd be a good chance to play w/ praying and offering. I offered some corpses, and they were consumed by fire, but then the message said that I "had a feeling of inadequacy". Does anyone know what that means? Am I too piddly to have offerings do anything at that level?

You only have feelings of inadequacy if your deity is angry with you and the corpse you're sacrificing is not enough to mollify him. Did you ever get a message that "<deity> is displeased."? Usually it's something obvious; things that anger deities include praying too soon, killing a pet, and sacrificing a coaligned unicorn. To mollify him you'll need to sacrifice big corpses (especially since you're chaotic; nonchaotic deities are easier to mollify). See the How to Appease an Angry God spoiler. --Eidolos 23:16, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Also (and this is unfortunate), you probably won't find big enough corpses for awhile - it goes by monster level. Chaotics have it even harder, as that list shows. Lotte 02:01, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Basic questions

Hello :)

Been playing Nethack since sometimes, haven't yet gone after level 6 or 7, and i still got some basic questions which maybe someone could answer ;)

Sorry for those basic questions :) -- Poppu 23:16, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


  • how do you avoid starving to death? I usually play a wizard, and i often feel like i'm gonna die of starvation. So i often rush without letting time to resplenish my mana or hp -- Poppu 23:16, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
It's hard to tell why you're starving without observing you play, but there are a few possibilities. Firstly, are you eating monster corpses? They're probably the most important food source in the dungeon. Just be careful of poisonous and other dangerous corpses (see the article linked above for more info).
Spellcasting also consumes nutrition, making you more hungry. For Wizards, though, this effect is reduced or eliminated if your intelligence is high enough (see hungerless casting).
Also, if you're really in a tight spot, praying to your god might result in a full belly. This should be unnecessary, though, and makes it harder to use prayer to escape other sticky situations. -- Killian 01:57, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
If playing as a wizard, collect and throw daggers at your enemies. Avoid using your mana because, as Killian already pointed out, consumes nutrition. ZeroOne 13:05, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Try to restart your wizard till he has a ring of slow digestion at the start or.. wish for a blessed ring of slow digestion (in my current game i did this for my monk, but were unlucky later in the game when masses of soldiers from a barrack kept zapping me with wands of lightning, one destroyed my ring, but i made them pay for that ;) ) Jin Tsu 01:09, 04 March 2007
A much easier and more ethical solution to Jin's is just to be careful about using rings, as they cause additional hunger. Rings of regeneration especially tend to create hunger problems. Just remember though, reroll scumming is BAD!


  • what is the point of reading a spellbook again and again? -- Poppu 23:16, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Spells that you know at the start of the game, or learn from a spellbook, only last 20000 turns. (For reference, a typical ascension might take 40000-80000.) After this time, you will forget the spell, and you'll need to read the spellbook again to be able to continue casting it. -- Killian 02:16, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Hidden doors

  • how do you figure where there are hidden doors, without magic mapping? -- Poppu 23:16, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
For low-level characters, searching and kicking (or force bolt) are the main ways of discovering hidden doors. Note that searching will only find doors adjacent to you (and won't always succeed), and kick and force bolt essentially require you to already know where the door is (which is quite often the case). Kicking an ordinary wall will hurt your leg.
You can also apply a stethoscope to walls, if you have one. This is guaranteed to find a secret door if you apply it to the correct square (proveded it's not cursed), making it much faster than searching.
A wand of secret door detection is perfect for the task, but is largely unnecessary, and you won't always have one. I've never used one outside of Moloch's Sanctum and the Elemental Planes. -- Killian 02:16, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Dungeon and experience levels

  • what level should one at eg dungeon depth 5? 10? -- Poppu 23:16, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
There's no simple answer to this one. I generally find that if I clear out each level before descending, and run away when necessary, I'm ready to handle each dungeon level I encounter. -- Killian 02:16, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Experience level 10 is way too high at dungeon level 5 -- you'd probably run into resource issues (not having enough food, for example). Common wisdom suggests keeping your experience level and your dungeon level about the same until (I'd say) 2 or 3. After that you don't level up quickly enough to warrant staying on a level for too long. Killian's advice is pretty sound though - descend after you've explored the current level. --Eidolos 03:27, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions :) I'll try to use those advices :)

I do eat corpses when i can, but sometimes it's hard anyway ;)

It's a good question; there's more here than the answers indicate. The higher your level, the harder the monsters generally will be. But hard monsters also are only found on lower levels. Getting properly prepared for lower levels is important; getting your intrinsics, like poison resistance so you can deal with killer bees and ants without losing your strength.
At level 5, I like to be at level 5 or so, but level 3-7 is ok, too. By level 10; I'm seeking better armor and intrinsics, not increasing my own level. I actually try to avoid increasing my own level as long as possible, by letting my pet kill things, instead of myself.

Poppu 22:30, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Losing one of the Ritual items

Is it possible that he teleported away, and you only think that he's dead? I don't think it's likely that it's in the moat. Try drinking a potion of object detection, or cast detect treasure. If you can't, though, you can get items from underwater a few ways:
  • polymorph into a swimming or nonbreathing monster, and jump in!
  • apply a grappling hook at the water. Careful! you might get dragged in.
  • Fill the moat with a boulder or freeze it, then dig pits in its place. I think water may rush in to fill the hole if there are water-filled spaces nearby, so be careful.
  • zap a wand of teleport. This will move items out of the moat, but there's no telling where they will go. Maybe even back into the moat!
Well, it's not in the moat... Can he cast Double Trouble more than once per appearance? Maybe he just keeps cloning and teleporting away. I killed the one that stole my quest artifact, though... I thought he'd be the one to have it. Supposing he's teleported away, he's no longer on the level. How do I find him now?
He can cast Double Trouble all he wants, except when there are already two of him. (That is, there's no Triple Trouble, all praise be to the DevTeam.) If he's no longer on the level, try the one above you.--Ray Chason 18:12, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Are you sure of no triple trouble Ray ? I remember a game with more than two of that nasty guy, but that could have been an older game version.

.--Jin Tsu

Getting through levels when there are no staircases

I have played the game, on my new computer using Vulcan's, with 7 characters. 3 of them had a YASD (starvation the first time, hitting a floating eye the second time, drinking an unidentified potion the third time). The other 4 got stuck between dungon levels 2 and 4. On any of these dungon levels (2, 3 or 4), there is a possibility that there is no obviously visable staircase. It always happens by level 4. I don't have any equipment to search and cannot magic map (and no, I am not starting as a tourist to magic map). I know that the staircase is hidden (there were no boulders on one of them, so its not by that). There must be a hidden door somewhere. Unfortunatly, searching takes up too much time, and I eventually have to quit and give up. I cannot get past this problem. Any suggestions, or is something seriously wrong? Dylnuge 16:35, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

If you get tired of searching once at a time, you can activate it a number of times with a single command. Just press "n 100 s" to search 100 times, or whatever number you want. Just be careful you don't get killed while searching. 879(CoDe) 17:31, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Indeed there must be staircases. As far as I know, no objects can be generated to top of them, so they can't be hiding under objects. Just search for the secret door. Guesstimate where some room(s) might fit and search along the walls closest to that seemingly empty space. I usually walk along the walls and hit [s] some five times at each position. It doesn't really take that much time because you'll soon learn to see, where the secret doors probably are. -ZeroOne 18:06, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
It happened on level 1, this time. There were no staircases and I searched everywhere for a hidden door (as there was only two possible places) before climbing the stairs out.
In general, it is sufficient to search two or three times along every section of wall and five or six times at the end of a corridor. (You don't need to search as much along walls if you do it one square at a time since you also search diagonally.) Be aware that you will need to search both dungeon room walls and dead-end corridors, but you don't need to search the middle of a corridor, since thankfully corridors will never unexpectedly T. When you say that there were only two possible places for a hidden door, I highly suspect you are not searching dungeon walls, since almost any wall can potentially be a hidden door. --Mogri 19:52, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Next time that happens post a picture of the level in question somewhere and we'll try to guess the location of the secret door for you. --ZeroOne 20:54, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Corridors actually do "unexpectedly" T sometimes, although it's usually not too bad to tell where they do once you get the hang of it." Lotte 06:38, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
OK, I know it has been a vere very long time since I last played, but here is a picture of this level. (Just a note, my character is standing on a staircase down, however, this staircase leads into a branch (Gnomish Mines))

NoStairs.png Dylnuge 14:47, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

I see large empty areas at top center and bottom right, and a smaller one at top left. You might try searching walls and corridors facing those areas. Telepathy or a ring of warning can also help: detecting monsters in the corridors in unmapped areas can reveal the location of a secret door. If nothing else, you can descend into the Mines and try to find a pick-axe, with which you can dig into unmapped areas, or dig to the next level and then look for the upstairs.
Oh, and is that a teleporter in the center left room? If it is, try stepping on it a few times and you may end up in an unmapped part of the level. Be prepared to fight. Also, that appears to be a vault teleporter in the corridor above the bottom center room. If you use it, maybe the guard will lead you to a new room. Make sure you drop all your gold if you mean to keep it, including any you have hidden in bags.--Ray Chason 16:57, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Those are both boulders...I guess they don't look like an `, but they are. I will check the open spaces...failing that, finding a pickaxe in the mines is also fine.

Converting to Unaligned/Moloch

Is it possible to convert your alignment to unaligned?--Edrobot 14:48, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

It would be funny, but no. Considering Moloch already has the Amulet and the point of the game is to steal it from him, it would probably be a game over if you did convert. --Mogri 16:32, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Taming the Horsemen

How do you tame the 3 horsemen in the astral plane? Assume you're in wizard mode.--Edrobot 14:16, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

To tame Pestilence and Famine, level drain them (typically with Stormy or the Staff) until charm monster or a scroll of taming wins them over. Death is immune to level drain and I think he can't be tamed, but I'm not positive on this. --Mogri 21:14, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
If you're already in wizard mode, you can just ^G tame death and there you go.

But then the Death on the Astral Plane is still there, so I guess that doesn't exactly answer your question.

Lots of Pets

If you have a lot of pets, how do you get them all down a staircase? What about the one-way staircase to the astral plane?--Edrobot 14:16, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Take down as many as you can, wait until they move away from you, then go back up and repeat. A leash is strongly recommended when taking pets through the portals (not staircases) in the Elemental Planes. -- 18:59, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
The maximum number of pets that can be taken up the DL1 stairs and through the portals is 11 -- eight pets adjacent to you, two pets on a leash (you can hold a maximum of two leashes) and one ridable pet on your location (being ridden)-- 11:21, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Medusa's gaze attack

I know most gaze attacks depend on mutual sight. Does Medusa's gaze attack work when she is blind? Mythologically speaking, it was her ugly mug, not her eyes, that caused petrification. -- 19:09, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

If Medusa is blind, you get the message "Medusa gazes ineffectually." I guess the NetHack Medusa is not exactly the Greek Medusa. :) --Eidolos 05:45, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

IBM Graphics Set

I like the default IBM Graphics set in the Windows port, but want to change a couple of characters in the dungeon list. The defualt values are listed as \ |--------||.-|++##.##<><>_\\#{}.}..##\ #} in opthelp, but this is for the basic ASCII set so if I list this in the config files I lose the nice solid walls and shaded floors. Does anyone know the IBM defults so I can just change the ones I want? --Canageek 23:33, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

If you look in your defaults.nh file, you'll find a block that looks like this:
#DUNGEON=  032 179 196 218 191 192 217 197 193 194 \
#          180 195 249 239 239 254 254 240 241 249 \
#          177 177 060 062 060 062 220 124 190 035 \
#          244 247 249 247 042 042 186 205 046 035 \
#          247
Remove the # signs and this block will determine your dungeon symbols. You can change the numbers and get different symbols.
Do you see fountains as , , or some other symbol? If , you can use code page 437 to find some appropriate symbols; if , you can use code page 850. If you see some other symbol, check the IBMgraphics article for further help; but as your user name seems to imply that you're in Canada, you'll probably see either or .
The answer to this question perhaps deserves its own article. -- Ray Chason 22:10, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you very much, I didn't know which code page was used. It was code page 437. I'll post up the options I chose in case anyone else wants to give them a try:
#DUNGEON=  032 179 196 218 191 192 217 197 193 194 \
#	   180 195 250 254 254 043 043 240 241 250 \
#	   177 177 060 062 060 062 227 127 234 232 \
#	   157 247 250 247 042 042 186 205 046 035 \
#	   247
--Canageek 00:14, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's a nice set -- AngleWyrm 11:47 15 November 2007 (GMT-8)

# --|Dungeon Settings|------------------------------------
DUNGEON= 032 186 205 201 187 200 188 206 202 203 185 204 \
         249 239 239 240 240 \
         227 157 \ 
         250 176 178 174 175 243 242 \
         002 127 001 236 237 \
         244 247 249 015  \
         186 205 186 205 \
         249 236 126

Unicorn Horns

Does enchanting unicorn horns increase their chances of healing an ailment? or is the B/U/C status the only thing that affects this? 21:07, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

In vanilla Nethack, enchantment does not matter, only blessed/uncursed/cursed status; enchantment is only relevant if you're using the horn as a weapon. In Slashem, both status and enchantment matter (the former effecting the number of ailments healed per use, the latter effecting the chances of success).
Considering how useful they are, it's a good idea if you have a blessed horn because it makes it much harder for enemies to curse it. This only really applies below Medusa level when you start meeting the larger types of lich and demons. Applying a 'cursed' unicorn horn to yourself will give you one of the status bar effects, rather than taking it away, which can be very nasty. --Eucarya Talk 12:26, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Who is Maud?

Who is this "Maud" scrolls of amnesia keep mentioning? Is it Maud Flanders from "The Simpsons?" --Edrobot 19:56, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Hack predates the Simpsons by about 3 years, even counting the shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show, and "Maud" is already present in Hack 1.0. So no, I don't think so. If you use the '/' command to inquire about Maud, you'll find a more likely explanation.--Ray Chason 16:37, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
The name is based of a Tennyson poem. Check out the Scroll of amnesia page for more details. Dylnuge 23:52, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Nogund Spyware?

When I downloaded Nogund, my AOL spyware protection thing went off the hook! for months it insisted that there was spyware on the computer. it eventually went away, but untill then, it kept on mentioning "Ezula". We don't use AOL anymore, but I'm too scarred to download Nogund agian. What happened?-- 19:57, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Try submitting whatever it was that you downloaded to Virustotal if it can fit within the max upload size, should easily do. It could help you make a more informed decision since most antiviruses worth their salt can detect potentially unpopular software (Pups). It was most likely a a false positive.--A Passing Visitor68.237.248.26 04:44, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Beating demons and other queries

I've reached Gehennom for the first time, and I'm struggling a bit with the big demons. I've beaten Jubilex (thankyou wikihack for the tip about the wand of digging), Asmodeus and paid off Baalzebub. But they seem to take ages, and unless I can get them onto a level with teleport restriction, I don't seem to be able to hit them enough for it to matter, they just teleport near me, summon some nasties or hit me, and let me get one or two hits in before they teleport away. I'm worried that Demogorgon's going to turn up and it'll be all over very quickly. I've also got problems in that I fell through a hole a couple of times and now don't know the way back up - should I use the Orb of Fate to get me back to the Valley and then go down again? Some other questions:

  • I accidentally summoned a whole bunch of disenchanters (reverse genocide, oops). This wasn't too much of a problem, I just teleported away and took off anything that I didn't want disenchanted, then went back and beat them up with no armour and weapon. BUT, it appears that my native AC that I'd spent ages improving with the help of a priest (donating money to temple) returned to normal. Was this the disenchanter's effect?
  • Can I donate to a priest of Moloch to improve my native AC, or will this just anger my god? I only have access to 4 altars in the game - level 1, minetown, level 11, and valley of the dead, making treks between them annoying.
  • If I put scrolls and potions in a bag, will they be affected if I step on a fire trap?
  • I've got a choice of artifacts to bash things with in Gehennom - +1 rustproof sunsword, Mjollnir, very rusty demonbane, trollsbane, and ogresmasher. Which?
  • What should I use my magic markers for? I've genocided most of the big nasties (mind flayers, all liches (L), all rust monsters and disenchanters (R), all sea-types like kraken (;)). What scrolls do I write and why?
  • What should I wish for and should I do it now? I have 2 wishes left in my wand of wishing, plus a recharge of the wand to come. I have +4 GDSM, +1 SDSM, a couple of blessed scrolls of charging, all useful rings except conflict, plenty of holy water, +1 boots of speed, +2 shield of reflection. Most of the rest of my armour is ok, but nothing special. Current AC of -17 so it's not overly low, but I'm surviving well enough cos my healing rate is frankly amazing. I need better armour (rustproof,fireproof, etc), but might need wands too (don't have cancellation, death, or secret door detection, I've also only got 1 wand of polymorph with 7 charges left). --Eucarya Talk 09:21, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
  • To beat a named demon (and certain other monsters) the key is to note where they go when they teleport, and control that spot.
  • Demogorgon is scary and deadly, but he's also rarely seen. He doesn't just appear; he has to be summoned, usually by Orcus. He respects Elbereth. If you do see him, you might try using the Orb of Fate to return to the main dungeon where you can pray.
  • I might just go up anyway, having fallen all the way through Orcus town, I don't know where the up stairs is on that level, both Orcus and Yeenoghu are on that level so I don't like the idea of going up to battle both of them.
  • Yes, I annoyed my god by sacrificing the wrong thing at one stage, was probably that that did it.
  • You can donate to any peaceful priest with an altar, even a priest of Moloch. P.S. Have you found Fort Ludios?
  • Yes, I've found Fort Ludios, luckily on the same level as I have my (one and only) altar in the main dungeon - level 11. It's cleared out and I spent the cash on raising my native AC only to have it taken away, as above.
  • Bags do protect your stuff from fire.
    • Superb.
  • Mjollnir packs a punch, but has the bad habit of destroying wands and rings in the monster's inventory. Sunsword will give you some light, though a lamp has greater range. The Banes are pretty much useless except as swag, to add to your score when you ascend.
  • I'll stick with sunsword for now, it's blessed +1 rustproof, whereas I have no combat skill in warhammer.
  • I'd say save your magic markers and wishes for an emergency. You seem to be quite well equipped.
Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.--Ray Chason 14:14, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Will do --Eucarya Talk 15:26, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

3.4.3 3075416 1 51 51 -16 216 2 20070425 20070421 1 Val Hum Fem Neu Purity,killed by the invisible high priest of Moloch

Shucks, got double troubled at the altar --Eucarya Talk 23:13, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Update: Many many thanks to this wiki and it's spoilery goodness, I just completed my first ascension! As a tourist!! Couldn't have done it without all the help from this site, so thanks again! --Eucarya Talk 23:41, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Peaceful Monsters by Alignment

How does your alignment affect whether monsters you find are peaceful? I mostly play Lawful characters, and most of the tengus and all the Aleaxes and Couatls I find are peaceful, but most of the giants aren't. Does the chance to be peaceful depend on the monster's difficulty level?

Also, what about the Mines? I know if you're a dwarf or gnome, all the dwarves and gnomes will be peaceful, but what about lawful or neutral humans? What about the hobbits in the Mines? -- 02:53, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

The best answer, to the these questions, comes from the source code. The crucial file seems to be makemon.c (especially the peace_minded function). However, answers to questions about race are in role.c, the const struct Race races[] array. (The definition for struct Race is in you.h.) For a human player, all gnomes and orcs will be hostile. The fact that your human is lawful, or neutral, or chaotic has no effect.
(For an elf player, all elves will be peaceful, but all orcs will be hostile. For a dwarf player, all dwarves and gnomes will be peaceful, but all orcs will be hostile. For a gnome player, all dwarves and gnomes will be peaceful, but all humans will be hostile. For an orc player, all humans and elves and dwaves will be hostile.)
In other cases, your alignment (lawful, neutral, chaotic) becomes important. The cross-aligned monsters that you find will be hostile, but the co-aligned monsters have a random chance of being peaceful. For a lawful hero, some tengus and giants may be peaceful, as you observed. However, the tengu has a monster alignment of 7, while the giant has the monster alignment of 2. (A positive monster alignment is lawful, while a negative monster alignment is chaotic, and all neutral monsters have alignment 0.) The tengu is actually more lawful than the giant, so the tengu is more likely to be peaceful to lawful heroes, as you observed. As far as I can tell, the difficulty level actually has no effect here. (A hobbit has a monster alignment of 6, so have your lawful heroes been encountering peaceful hobbits?)
Your alignment record also has an effect. A better alignment record improves the chance of peaceful monsters. If you have "strayed" (or "sinned" or "transgressed"), then all of the coaligned monsters will be peaceful.
NetHack has numerous exceptions to the above rules. This is why the shopkeepers are peaceful, but the killer bees from kicking a tree are hostile. One of the exceptions is for monsters that are minions of a god, like Aleaxes or couatls. These are always peaceful to heroes of the same alignment. --Kernigh 18:17, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Oh crap

triple rothe... what to do???--Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It's hard to say without some details. Are you surrounded? Is there a convenient staircase nearby? Can you withdraw into a corridor? Got any wands? If some are unidentified, sometimes you might get lucky by trying one.--Ray Chason 21:45, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Also, Elbereth may save you (just learning this lesson m'self!). --Snicker 22:56, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
This is a meme in a certain NetHack channel. :) -- 00:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Detect Treasure spell

Has anyone else noticed that sometimes the "Detect Treasure" spell shows things that aren't there? For example, I'll see some coins embedded in stone, dig all the way there, only to find nothing?! What's with that? --Snicker 02:25, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Treasures detected by the spell are always real. If the gold/gem symbol suddenly disappears when you get to the marked spot, it means that the items are buried in the floor. Just dig a pit (apply a pickaxe down by choosing ">" as the direction you want to dig in) and you'll find the stuff. -- 12:19, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

While I'm asking questions.... are "Master Mind Flayers" immune to charm monster? I'm trying to re-tame my pet, and all he's doing is eating my brain. Thank Anhur for blessed unicorn horns, but I still need a way to retame or defeat him. --Snicker 04:26, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Nevermind - answered that one through sheer determination. Took 20 casts, but I retamed him. Also lost 15 points of INT and the maps to every level, and all ID'd items *LOL* --Snicker 05:16, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Charm monster (and scrolls of taming) are subject to a monster's percentile magic resistance, and master mind flayers have a lot of it. Taming by either method also fails if your level is not higher than the monster's. -- 18:23, 8 August 2007 (UTC)