NetHackWiki:Ask an expert/Archive3

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This page contains old sections from NetHackWiki:Ask an expert. If you want to carry on talking about these topics, post a new section on the current Ask an expert page. This page is intended to be a static archive.

Wizard magic resistance

Do wizards have special magic resistance? Even naked, I can't use polymorph or teleport traps (making Fort Ludios inaccessible, I believe...) --Snicker 22:38, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Wizards don't have any intrinsic magic resistance, but some quest artifacts do confer magic resistance when you're just carrying them. One example is The Eye of the Aethiopica, the Wizard quest artifact, which you probably have if you're thinking about Fort Ludios. --Andronikus 05:41, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Are you wielding Magicbane? That also give magic resistance. Magic portals (which you use to enter Fort Ludios and the Quest) ignore magic resistance, so don't worry there. -- 02:57, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
(Answered) All of the above. Magic Resistance was preventing the teleports from porting me into the vaults, but I don't think the magic portal for Ludios

was created. I was not able to locate it, despite spoilers, clairvoyance and lots of dig wands. Thanks for the answers!

My dog is attacking me!!

I don't know why, I was reading this turquoise spellbook, then I was blinded, then my dog started to attack me! It still says it's tame. Any idea what's going on, or how to fix this?

It sounds like your dog has become crazed with hunger, in which case it can attack you (try leaving food around, when it's hungry, it's less fussy about what it eats). Otherwise, you may have gained either aggravate monster intrinsic or are using conflict in some way - did you put on an unidentified ring recently? --Eucarya Talk 23:44, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Shopkeeper Attack!

I've just been killed by an angry shopkeeper, and I don't know why he was angry. Here are the facts:

  • I had never entered the shop, nor even stepped onto the shop door, although the door was open.
  • This was a bones level from a game I played myself several months ago. As far as I remember, the previous character did not anger the shopkeeper, and died a perfectly ordinary death (overwhelmed by some monsters).
  • The headstone and "bones pile" were outside the shop, but close to it (either diagonally adjacent or a knight's jump from the door).
  • I was not causing conflict, had not thrown or kicked anything, had not cast any spells that would have upset the shopkeeper.
  • I absent-mindedly attempted to identify some gems from the bones pile via #engrave on the headstone. I got the "You disturb the undead!" message, and killed the hostile ghoul that appeared in a few turns. This is the only notable action I took in the turns immediately preceding my death, but I don't understand why it would have upset the shopkeeper. I thought maybe I gained "aggravate monster", but neither the aggravate monster nor headstone pages mention anything about gaining AM under these circumstances; and in any case, aggrivate monster would not cause peaceful monsters to become hostile, right?
  • A turn or two after dispatching the ghoul, I witnessed the shopkeeper wield a weapon, suggesting that he had only recently become hostile. A turn later he attacked and I was dead. He obviously had to leave his shop to get to me. I'm pretty sure I got the "<shopkeeper> takes all of your posessions" message. I also got a message I'd never seen before -- something about the shopkeeper looking down at my body and shaking his head.

Any ideas on what caused this? Alternately, is there a list of all possible ways to anger a shopkeeper around?

Kernigh writes: I never saw the shaking-his-head message before. I had to check the source code, and it seems that the message indicates that a second shopkeeper tried to inherit your stuff, but the first shopkeeper already took everything. More than one shopkeeper was after you! The second shopkeeper might not have been nearby. I updated the shopkeeper page with an explanation of that messages. I still do not understand why the shopkeepers were angry; I do not think that "aggravate monster" nor your actions with the headstone could cause it. --Kernigh 01:39, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Bones file shopkeepers will be angry at your character if they were stolen from in the previous game by a character with the same name as the current one.

--JohnH 01:03, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

The "shakes his/her head" message happens when there is more than one shopkeeper on the level, i.e. in Minetown. See source.

Healing Hit Points

I've only made it as far as Mine Town once or twice, so please be gentle. After I get in a fight and take some damage, I find it hard to heal. There's no "rest" command in NetHack (like there are in the *bands). I can go stand somewhere and do a 20. or whatever multiple times. But the docs say that standing doesn't heal you any faster than moving about and doing other stuff. Of course, I tend to find that healing leads to I'm walking around with half my hit points looking for food. Something I'm doing wrong? I haven't seen a single potion of healing yet, though I have seen quite a few unidentified ones...I've read that testing potions by drinking them is unwise - is that true early on? Very common in *bands, because the worst that could happen was temporary blindness (at least in the early levels). Thanks. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Kernigh writes: Before I learned about the "rest" command in ToME, I would actually walk around to heal, like I do in NetHack! When I need to heal, sometimes I take the staircases up to shallower dungeon levels. Sometimes I go as far as Dlvl 1. NetHack tends to spawn easier monsters on shallower levels, and that may save my life if I had low hit points.
While healing, I sometimes pass the time with exercises such as repeatedly opening and closing a door, or pushing a boulder back and forth.
You might not be eating enough food. In the *bands, you could recall to town and buy more food rations or scrolls of satisfy hunger. In NetHack, you must search for food. Are you eating corpses? Corpses are an important source of food, but you have to learn which corpse is safe to eat. By eating corpses, you can save your food rations for later. (I tried this strategy in ToME and died by eating a green icky thing.)
Try to reach Sokoban, a dungeon branch that tends to have more food. You would need to go down the main dungeon (not the Gnomish Mines) to the level below the Oracle level, then take the other staircase up to reach Sokoban. This is easier if your game has the Oracle at a shallower level.
You start with a pet. Have your pet fight and kill some of the tougher monsters, so that you do not take as much damage and do not have to heal so many times. --Kernigh 02:08, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Also, if you have some food and a key/lock pick, you can go to a room that still has its door(s), lock them, and wait there until you're healed up enough to go on. (while some monsters will open closed doors, they won't open locked ones, so all you have to worry about are teleporting ones and ones who can dig through walls). So while it's tempting to kick down all the doors to exercise your stats, occasionally leaving some around can be useful. --Enehta 18:17, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Pet Concern?

I just got the message "you feel worried about your kitten", Never gotten or heard of it before, does anyone know what it means? Thanks Vantar 01:07, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Your pet is hungry and you cannot see your pet (see dogmove.c#line235). Addps4cat 12:46, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Monster HP?

I've been browsing this site for a while, but I've never once found any mention of the amount of hp a monster has. Is there any way to determine this? Is there a page I missed?

-Vandalier (My user name when I finally get around to registering >_>)
So far all I've found on monster HP is at makemon.c#line917-940.
To summarize my findings:
Golems are hard coded makemon.c#line1541:
Golem HP
paper golem 20
rope golem 30
leather golem 40
gold golem 40
wood golem 50
flesh golem 40
clay golem 50
stone golem 60
glass golem 60
iron golem 80
I use D notation in case you aren't familiar.
Riders (Death, Famine, and Pestilence) have 10d8 hits.
Super demons w/ lvl>=50
(Jubilex (lvl 50), Yeenoghu (lvl 56), Orcus (lvl 66), Dispater (78), Baalzebub (lvl 89), Asmodeus (lvl 105), Demogorgon (lvl 106))
HP = 2*(mlevel - 6) (mtmp->mhpmax = mtmp->mhp = 2*(ptr->mlevel - 6);)
lvl is then scaled down: lvl = hp/4
Monster monst.c lvl HP new lvl
Jubilex 50 88 22
Yeenoghu 56 100 25
Orcus 66 120 30
Dispater 78 144 36
Baalzebub 89 166 41
Asmodeus 105 198 49
Demogorgon 106 200 50
The Wizard of Yendor starts at 30d8 and every time you kill him gains another hit die up to a maximum of 49d8.
Alright from here on out gets annoyingly complicated. The monster's HP is based on a function called adj_lev() (makemon.c#line1362 and dungeon.c#line1455) which depends on (in order of importance):
  • Your dungeon level
  • If your level (XL) is greater than the monster's lvl (MLVL)
  • If you have the amulet
  • If you're in the end game (earth plane or above)
  • If your depth (DLVL) is greater than the monster's lvl
I'll just ignore all that with a wave of my hand:
adj_lev() = 1.5*(MLVL) (grossly inaccurate)
adult dragons+Ixoth+Chromatic Dragon = 4*23 + 23d4 = 92+23d4
Same as above in endgame = 8*22 = 176
Very weak creatures (think grid bugs) = 1-4 hits
Elementals in their own plane = (12d8)*3
Everything else = adj_lev()d8 = (1.5*(MLVL))d8
Yeah so basically it is hard to get exact numbers, or even give a ball park because it depends on so many factors. Hope this helps.
Addps4cat 20:20, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Wow, that helped explain things ALOT. I had no idea HP was such a complicated variable. I just assumed it was a static value like in most other games. Thanks for explaining it to me! Vandalier 8:08, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Or in game you can use a stethoscope on monsters. This is my favourite tool, especially since it still mostly gives you time to Run Away. 00:35, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Longest item name

Out of boredom, I attempted to create the item with the longest name ever. I started off with a helm of opposite alignment. Then I rusted and corroded it, then fixed it with a scroll of destroy armor (cursed/confused). If you're in wizard mode you can do even better by getting a +100 enchantment for a final item of:

"an uncursed greased thoroughly corroded thoroughly rusty rustproof +100 helm of opposite alignment"

Sadly you can't combine them to get "100 uncursed ...". Can anyone beat that? Addps4cat 18:40, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

--Try #naming it or using artifacts.

uncursed greased thoroughly corroded thoroughly rusty rustproof wand of secret door detection (7:104)
uncursed greased thoroughly corroded thoroughly rusty rustproof ring of protection from shape changers 15:52, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Preventing unpolymorphing in SLASH'EM?

Hello, I'm having trouble with keeping my pets alive, and consequently, myself, in SLASH'EM. In vanilla, I could just use a magic whistle to do the polymorph trap boogie and get some amazing pets. In SLASH'EM, they unpolymorph into the crappy large cats/dogs at the worst possible times. Throwing potions of restore ability (prevents unpolypiling) and having them equip amulets of unchanging don't work either. If there isn't a way to prevent unpolymorphing, how do I get better pets, other than getting lucky with taming items, or throwing food at a chameleon? If I can't get good pets, it's going to be real hard for my atheist genoless no-polyself no-polypiling Archeologist to ascend, compared to vanilla, especially with the tougher monsters in SLASH'EM... 20:54, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Cats/dogs/horses seem more common in SLASH'EM than vanilla, so sometimes I try for more pets instead of better pets. (It does become difficult to move four pets up and down the stairs.) I would like to hear about any better strategy. --Kernigh 14:37, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Chameleon turned Master Lich vs genuine Master Lich

Hello fellow nethackers, I have a question - I'm far from being an expert player so take that into account...

Anyway, I have just met, what I thought was my nemesis, a Master Lich... it scared the hell out of me - here I am, an Elvl10 wizard at Dlvl7, perfroming some "maintnance work" using some potion shop and my faithful cat when suddenly I'm faced with a monster I think I have never seen before in any previous games... the bad thing is that I had lost my magic-resistance cloak by forgetting to take it off before polymorphing into a Xorn - I thought that would help in Sokoban, now I know it doesn't ;]...

So, I'm standing there, after having suffered a single attack from this mighty violet "L" which took half my HPs and I'm thinking "ok, so this is it, I'm going to die here" and trying not to panick, I figure the best thing to do considering my heavy but not necessarily most useful knapsack contents ... ok, I have a few wands with me... I consider for a second the one that I think I semi-identified (forgot to do more) as either /oDeath or /oSleep... But then, I had recently died of an ill-targeted ray of death so I rule out this possibility, I have /oDigging so I keep that option in my mind but I also have a /oPolymorph...

I can't find anything here about Liches having magic resistance or other reflection stuff, so, wth, I just zap the /oPolymorph at the Lich... Immediately, it turns to an ape which I finish with a few quick quarterstaff hits... But then, when I move towards a corpse I find that what's lying there is not an ape corpse but a chameleon corpse...

So, here comes the question - was what I've done a viable tactics against an ML or was it that easy just because it was, apparently, not a genuine ML but a chameleon impersonating one? thanks in advance... - Blueshade 12:52, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

ps. btw, this is vanilla 3.4, if that matters in any way...

"You lack the energy to send forth a call for help!"

What the heck does that mean? I get this after turning into a wererat, when trying to "#monster"... What kind of energy do I need? I am satiated and fully healed... Only magical power is not very high... Maybe my ExpLvl is the problem?... thanks in advance, Blueshade 13:07, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Yep, you've got it. Summoning help uses power points, and quite a lot of them I believe. --Andronikus 13:09, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks :)... i'll try waiting until my power goes back to full and see if I can summon then... if not, i'll #pray and hope Hermes is kind enough to rid me of the thing... anyway, I think something along the lines of what you say, should go into the lycanthropy article... - Blueshade 14:26, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Figuring out what I genocided

So, after playing way too much Nethack in the past few weeks, I find myself in a position where I have a blessed scroll of genocide, and can't remember what I've already genocided in this game (as opposed to last week's character, or yesterday's character...) Is there any way to check, besides dying? enehta 21:01, 09 December 2007

Not that I know of. I keep notes, either in a text file or through #name'ing an object I expect to hold onto (like my BoH) - Javelin

A few polypiling and praying questions

  • Which tools (besides the unicorn horns) are considered magical and thus might be able to become magic markers? Are there similar issues with magical armor (e.g. gauntlets of fumbling vs. gloves), beyond the issues with enchantments?
  • While I'm on the polymorphing question, would there be any particular problem to polymorphing an artifact (namely Grimtooth, which as a neutral priest I have no desire for)
    • A quick wizard mode test indicates that artifacts (I tested Grimtooth, Sting, and Stormy) are immune to polymorphing. So, you can either drop Grimtooth, or since it's fairly light you can keep it around for extra points at the end of the game. --Andronikus 12:50, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
  • With the one altar-prayer outcome of the god blessing your weapon, will it bless an object that isn't a weapon but is wielded? (I can't tell whether I'm just unlucky or it won't do it and I should stop trying)
    • Nope, the game specifically checks whether the wielded item is a weapon or weapon-tool. -- Killian 13:52, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
  • And along the am-I-just-unlucky lines, is it at all possible to polymorph armor into a robe? You don't want to know how long I've been trying, especially given my current 84% failure rate (without wearing any metal) for casting polymorph... Yeah, I suppose I should just get on with the game, but... --Enehta 07:30, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
    • I believe it's technically possible, but since the chances of obtaining magical armour from polymorph are so tiny, and robes themselves are pretty rare, it's unlikely to be worth the effort. -- Killian 13:52, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
      • Yes, once I have collected enough elven armor, I often get a robe as byproduct. However, if I need one, I usually kill a priest in mid-game. - TJR

Dungeon stalemate

I am finding that on some generations of the dungeon, on the first level or two, I don't have any way to get to the next level down. Is there something I'm missing? Like a way to find secret passages? I usually end up quitting and starting again, but it's kind of bothersome.

If you can't find the downstairs, there are usually two possible explanations. One is simply that the stairs are hidden under some visible object, in which case you should check each square with items on it. The other is that they are located in a room you haven't found yet, in which case you might need to use the search command to locate an entrance to the room. -- Killian 13:34, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Excalibur + Invisibility

Does wielding Excalibur negate invisibility? It mentions that monsters will still be able to find you, but it's not very clear as to whether that's just blind monsters or any sort of camouflaging effect.--Xazak 17:17, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

My invisible valkyrie with Excalibur wielded is still having monsters whiff and strike at thin air. Make sure you are not wearing a mummy wrapping. Also keep in mind that once you stand adjacent to (or attack) a monster, it will have an easier time locating you, so move around and soften 'em up with daggers or pets before they get a bead on you.

Stolen "oLS

I had an amulet of lifesaving stolen by a wood nymph, who immediately put it on. Is there any way to get the amulet back without killing the nymph in the process? I'm playing a dwarven Valkyrie.--Xazak 18:22, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Polymorph into a nymph or a foocubus, then steal it from her.--Ray Chason 19:03, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Or tame another nymph (say, with a Magic harp) and hope it'll steal it from her. (I have no idea whether taming her would get it back). Good luck! --Enehta 05:16, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
polymorph the nymp into something that can't wear an amulet(ameboid, whirly) or try to give it another amulet to try on(unlikely, since monsters usually id without a scroll, and know relatively how good they are)
The question should simply be "Is there any way to get the amulet back..." - I mean, if you try to kill the nymph, the amulet will save her and crumble to dust, so you cannot obtain it this way... I know you probably know that, I just wanted that to be known to someone else reading this... - blueshade

Long Worm Tails

Is there any way to "grow" a tail if you're polymorphed into a long worm? #Monster didn't work lol Fredil Yupigo 21:45, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Losing the Book of the Dead?

I finally made it to Rodney and zapped him with a Wand of Death while he was over the moat around his room. It looks like the Book of the Dead fell in to the moat and now I can't seem to get it back! I have tried a grappling hook, freezing the moat to ice then digging a pit, and can't find it at all. Help! --Kalon 04:12, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Turbulence ;) Fredil Yupigo 23:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
This happened to me! I found it down there after wearing an amulet of magical breathing, picking up something heavy, and just jumping in. --Beefnut 11:36, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


Is it possible for the Oracle level to not be generated? I'm already at my Quest and I haven't saw him or Sokoban yet!! Fredil Yupigo 21:29, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

As far as i know, no, and as big as the room in the center is, it's hard to imagine overlooking it. Maybe you fell through a trap door and passed it by? Try climbing back up and seeing if you missed a couple of levels.--Ray Chason 23:47, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I find it scary that a hole took me down 4 levels. Thanks :) Fredil Yupigo 01:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Rejected with prejudice

If you are rejected from your quest for failing the alignment test too much, does a game become unwinnable? Fredil Yupigo 18:42, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Unfortunately, yes. You need the Bell of Opening to perform the invocation ritual, and this is held by your Quest nemesis. No Quest, no Bell, no opening of the vibrating square, no Amulet of Yendor. --Kalon 01:12, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

If you are (unconverted) neutral, not a wizard and you don't already have zillions of artifacts, you could wish for the Eye of the Aethiopica and branchport in. TJR

No you couldn't. The Eye's branchport power will only ever take you to a level you have previously visited, so in this situation if you go to the Quest branch you'll always wind up on the top level. Levelport doesn't work either because you cannot levelport within the Quest branch until you have permission to start the quest. Being unable to start the quest really does make the game unwinnable and there is no way to sneak around that.
Yes, you can. Failing the alignment test 7 times only removes the portal. Once you fix your alignment (and XP) problems, you can branchport in and get permission from your quest leader. -Tjr 20:43, December 28, 2009 (UTC)

Old Versions

Is there any repository of old versions (executable or sourcecode) of hack? In particular, I'm searching for version 1.01 (as far as I can tell). I (and many others) spent an obscene amount of time playing it on my old 386 PC. We're organizing a classic gaming party and would very much like to revisit this game that so many played and loved.--Preceding unsigned comment added by Asidonhopo (talkcontribs)

For each of the 33 public releases of Hack and NetHack, NetHackWiki has an article such as Hack 1.0.1. Each links to places where you can find the original source, so far as it survives (parts of Hack 1.0 and 1.0.1 are not fully preserved). If you're looking for binaries you can play on a 386 PC, you might be better off using Google.--Ray Chason 04:27, 1 February 2008 (UTC)