NetHackWiki:Ask an expert/Archive4

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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.

Most hopeless death

So I was on IRC tonight, and we were having some fun chatting. One guy says he's in the mines and has one hp. Then:

(name clipped) (Wiz Hum Mal Cha), 1136 points, killed by a worthless piece of white glass

What's the most pathetic death you've seen? Fredil Yupigo 01:54, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I was killed trying to mount my pony in a game of Net Nethack. I slipped and died. -- 02:24, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I died by kicking a wall ItazuEstamaru 16:26, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

I died eating an egg. Turned out to be from a cockatrice, who would have known? -Billob

That's why I never eat eggs unless I'm desperate.--Kahran042 05:27, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
This one was pretty sad for me:
  • Val Hum Fem Law), 287938 points, Phranck,choked on a lump of royal jelly
I just got really greedy and didn't notice I was oversatiated :( Addps4cat 18:49, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
Once I had Magicbane, but forgot I had Magicbane, and was killed by a giant ant :( Fredil Yupigo 02:20, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
  • ok, this isn't death (yet), but I've just done the most utterly retarded thing in nethack... i mean, you know how some terminal emulators (notably PuTTY) allow you to paste text by clicking the mouse?... ok, you guessed the rest... i'll only add that I had about ~1k of a written text in the clipboard... I honestly don't have any idea what exactly happened in the split second that the paste operation went off but I'm sure I was just a tiny bit from YASD... and how pathetic would this be?... argh... ps. i really, really don't know how this managed to toggle this amount of options, but I finally got round to setting them the way I like (afterwards, I mean... I _had_ to...) ;))) - Blueshade 00:04, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Killed by a very fast invisble archlich at level 9 of the dungeon. I was happily exploring a new dungeon level. It "all happened" in 1 turn . The message was looking like: It Hits, it hits, it hits [...] It casts finger of death... You die... DYWYPI ?

   I was killed by tripping on my cat, instead of displacing it or stopping.  It did 23 damage.

How to identify gray stones in containers?

I am familiar with the kick test for seeing if a gray stone is a loadstone. However, how can one determine if a gray stone in a container is a loadstone? After all, the container weight makes it impossible to kick the container, regardless of the stone inside. RJaguar3 14:24, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know, this is one of those corner cases where there's no perfect strategy. I think you'll either have to take a chance and grab it, or else leave it alone. -- Killian 14:55, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
If you can get a gelatinous cube to eat the container, and then kill it, the suspected loadstone will end up on the floor. Maybe then you'll be able to kick it. 15:08, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
You can #Force the container with a blunt object, such as a quarterstaff, repeatedly to destroy the container; the contents will then be left on the ground. Be sure to take out potions and such before doing so, though. Fredil Yupigo 17:49, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Ideally, but very tedious: Take out everything but the mystery stone. Then get another container of the same kind, and an identified safe grey stone of any kind. Drop all your inventory and lift each container in turn. If they have the same effect on you ("Burdened" in both cases, say, or nothing in both cases) then gradually pick up other items and repeat. If they both roll over from burdened to stressed on the same round, then it's not a loadstone; if one jumps before the other, it is. More practically: take out everything but the mystery stone and lift the container. If it's a loadstone, it will be a bigger-than-expected burden.
But, since the DevTeam thinks of everything, the game offers a rare kindness for your situation: loadstones generated in containers will not always autocurse the first time you pick them up. This happened to me two hours ago. Stupidly, I picked it up again.--Jack
My policy is not to retrieve a gray stone from a container if I even suspect that it's a loadstone. It's not worth the risk, especially considering the guaranteed luckstone at the bottom of the Mines. Still, all four gray stones in vanilla NetHack have their unique properties: touchstones go "scritch, scritch" when you rub an iron object on them; flint stones draw no price when offered in a general store; loadstones fail the kick test; and luckstones have none of the preceding properties. (If you're playing SLASH'EM, you also have the healthstone to deal with.) In this way, the four gray stones can be identified, and perhaps you can figure out which stone you're looking at.--Ray Chason 14:24, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
You could pick up the container. It should be much heavier with a loadstone. -- 06:29, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Lance training

Does pounding train the lance skill, and does it matter whether you're mounted or unmounted? What about attacking with the lance while on foot? Getting my lance skill up could be difficult if the only option is to attack while mounted and risk breaking it every time. 404notfound 18:57, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

You can't "pound" a lance. Pounding is when you apply a polearm, while jousting happens when you apply a lance. Every succesful joust will exercise the lance skill (see uhitm.c#line657 and uhitm.c#line907). You must be mounted to be able to joust. You can exercise your lance (as long as you do at least 2 damage) while unmounted but you won't be able to joust. Addps4cat 14:58, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
You most certainly can "pound" a lance. You don't even have to be mounted to do it. It works just like pounding with a polearm. Pounding (mounted or unmounted), jousting, and hitting normally while mounted with a lance all exercise lance skill. (Bashing with the lance doesn't.) Marcmagus 16:23, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Astral fun!

I was playing wizard mode games on the astral plane, and saw a player monster named "Andy the invisible Necromancer". I killed him, and in his corpse were two wands of death - 0:3 and 0:7! What were the odds of that!? Fredil Yupigo 01:25, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

By my calculations, the chance of an Astral PM being generated with 2+ wands of death is about 0.1%. There are apparently 3–6 of them on Astral, so the exact chance would depend on how many you kill and loot. -- Killian 02:09, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Did you notice his name? He's a necromancer; it's probably a DevTeam joke.

Patching Nethack for Windows

I've followed the patching page you have here, but I keep getting the same error. When I get to this point:

  • Start cmd.exe and do the following:
cd c:\nh343
patch -p1 < nh343-menucolor.diff

It gives me this message, "'patch' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program of batch file." I don't know what's up, help!

Checking my own MinGW installation, I see that patch is in c:\msys\1.0\bin. MSYS seems to have been split off from MinGW at some point. You'll need that too, and the path line should be path=c:\mingw\bin;c:\msys\1.0\bin;%PATH%.--Ray Chason 19:05, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I just went to the Patching page and it already has a way to get the patch program:
Did you do that? Does the file c:\mingw\bin\patch.exe exist? If not, you'll need to install it.--Ray Chason 19:09, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I see that I had unpacked the patch zip wrong. But now I get this error:
"E:\nethacksrc>patch -p1 < nh343-menucolor.diff
patching file include/color.h
Assertion failed: hunk, file ../patch-2.5.9-src/patch.c, line 354
This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way.
Please contact the application's support team for more information."
Thanks for the help so far though.

The Platinum Yendorian Express Card and wizards

So, I'm playing a wizard and I am getting close to the castle and will get my wand of wishing. I have almost all resistances (save for disintegrate, but I'm working on it.) and I was thinking of making one of my wishes the PYEC. The Wish page says it's ok for a Neutral character to wish for it, yet the PYEC is an intelligent artifact and it says it will blast me if I use it if I'm not the proper role. So, my question is - should I wish for the card or not? Even if it blasts me, will I still be able to recharge my items with it?

If you're neither neutral nor a Tourist, forget about the PYEC -- it will evade your grasp. If you're neutral but not a tourist, you can charge things with the PYEC, but you will only get the uncursed charging effect. The bottom line here is never charge a wand of wishing or magic marker with the PYEC unless you are a Tourist, because these objects can be charged only once and you want that charge to be the blessed kind. Use a blessed scroll of charging instead.
My style is never to wish for artifacts, not just for the conduct but also because I don't accept the risk of failure. I'll wish for a magic marker if I must, and two scrolls of charging if that's also necessary; once I have a magic marker and have identified the scroll of charging, I tend to find I can get all the charges I need.--Ray Chason 18:36, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I guess I'll forget about it then. Also, the character is in Explore mode so his score and conduct don't really matter that much. I think I'll use the wishes for 2 blessed scrolls of charging, a marker and....for something else I can't think of right now. (gotta check what I need)
Note that blessed and uncursed charging have the same effect on an empty magic marker. (For wishing, though, definitely use blessed scrolls.) 12:53, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Master Mind Flayers

Hello everyone, I have a question re Mind Flayers. I have yet to meet one but my friend as well as various nethack spoilers tell me that they can make you forget items you have previously identified. My question then is this: I have identified a gem, and #name'd it as such. If a Mind Flayer removes my memory of that identified gem will the #name remain? If so would #name'ing all my items be a viable defense?



Yes, if you individually name each item, then you will remember the names after an amnesia attack (note that amnesia might make you forget the names you assigned for each class of items). See #name for more information. —Shijun 22:46, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Loss of ability to search

Something rather strange happened in a recent game. Very early on (first 500 turns or so) I failed in trying to convert an altar and ended up converting myself. I knew this made the game unwinnable, but decided to play on for fun. (Because it was just after finding a WoW and giving myself a nice ascension-quality armor kit, no less!) I was a neutral human archaeologist, and sacrificed a werewolf, without thinking, pissing off my god severely. I forgot that this also made the altar chaotic, so I sacrificed again to appease my god and ended up getting converted.

Anyway, the strange part is that I apparently couldn't search for anything--doors, traps--at all after this. No matter how long I searched in a spot where I knew there was a door, I never found it, although digging would yield "You break through a secret door?" Is this some weird punishment I've never seen before, or is it possible that my luck was so low as to make successful searching completely impossible? How low would this have to be, if so? (I played about 10 000 turns total before succumbing to a mind flayer.)

Well I looked into it a bit. If you look at detect.c#line1191 you'll see
if(rnl(7-fund)) continue;
This is basically making a call to the random number generator that is influenced by luck (see Rnd.c#rnl). Basically that function needs to return a zero for you to find your door. You'll see that right after that it makes a call that reveals the door:
cvt_sdoor_to_door(&levl[x][y]);	/* .typ = DOOR */
Anyway, with the worst luck possible (-13), and no artifacts or lenses you have a roughly 0.2231% (~1 in 450) chance of revealing it each turn. You'd have to search for about 1400 turns to have a 95% chance of the door being revealed. Addps4cat 13:04, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

elemental planes

I'm never able to make it past the elemental planes. What always happens is archons and titans keep summoning more of each other until the entire level is filled with them. Wearing a ring of conflict doesn't seem to be enough to thin their numbers, unfortunately. What am I supposed to do? How do you deal with the hordes of archons? I'm wondering - perhaps I'm genociding too many classes of monsters and thus, their summon spells summon more of each other? Maybe I should pursue a more minimalist genociding strategy?

You shouldn't try to kill them all of them. Archons and others can be zapped with a wand of teleportation. If you get surrounded, you can't teleport yourself but you might get away by breaking a wand of teleportation. -- 22:32, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I just ascended for the first time :) (As a Caveman.) This time, I didn't genocide very many species; I found that the archons did not summon more archons this time around. I also made a point of bringing a few wands of teleportation along (plus 3 wands of death, for good measure) just in case I started getting surrounded again. In the Astral plane, I did find that there were a lot of monsters, but not nearly as many as the archons used to summon when I genocided 20+ species. 06:14, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Recovering games on NAO

So my internet connection is spotty at best. I was playing on NAO the other day, and I lagged out/disconnected while I was waiting for the terminal to tell me what happened after I attacked a monster (I think it was a gnome king). I futzed with my wireless for a bit, and then tried to log in again. NAO had me wait a bit while it resolved some stale processes, which happens when you DC, and it said something about a stale monster (don't remember exactly). So just my luck, I got disconnected again while this was going on. I logged in yet again, afraid that something horrible had gone wrong, and indeed, I got:

Shall I pick a character's race, role, gender and alignment for you? [ynq]

Panicking, I checked the page for my account ( and indeed, after several days it still shows my game as it was when I crashed. I daren't try to start a new game or anything, beyond the message above. Now, and here's the clincher: RNG knows I die often enough, but on this particular game I found a wand of wishing (0:3) on turn 12, an amulet of life saving, and later in Izchak's shop I got two magic lamps! Needless to say, this character is pimped out (AC -1 at level 1, as a wizard!). The RNG giveth, and the RNG taketh away, but I'd really hate to lose this game to anything other than my own stupidity.

So, here are my questions:

  1. Has anyone else had this happen before, and what happened if you started a new game on top of your old one?
  2. Is there any way I can contact someone on NAO to try to recover this game?

I wouldn't even be bothering anyone if this weren't my best game ever ever, but given what's gone on so far I think it's worth trying to save.

Thanks! --Andronikus 16:59, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

When similar stuff happens on my local machine, I "save-scum": zip the entire nethackdir up before doing anything else, and then try recover.Tjr 00:58, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

I die alot

Everytime I start a wizard I die around the mines area (i suck). But more often than not its because I run out of energy first killing all those damn gnomes (as I am an elf, also last game my pet died). Normaly my pet would take care of everything but I feel like I relying on mittens too much. Is their something I should be doing? I'm engraving elbereth alot too. Ha! Showed you! 00:28, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Using your pet and engraving E are both good techniques. The next thing I can suggest is to start picking up and throwing daggers, since starting Wizards don't really have enough power to use spells exclusively. Don't forget to curse-test and wear armour you find, too. Non-metal armour is best, but depending on your spell selection you might find that extra AC is more important in the short-term than spellcasting. Once you can survive long enough to find an altar and start sacrifice-camping for Magicbane, the Wizard game tends to get a whole lot easier. -- Killian 03:37, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Quantum Mechanics

I've never had a chance to figure this one out:

When you kill a Quantum Mechanic you sometimes get a box left behind. This box either contains a live cat or a dead cat (i.e. Schrodenger's box). I have always wondered what happens when you shoot a wand of probing at Schrodengers box? Is the cat alive, dead, or alive and dead at the same time?

anyone ever try this one?

The cat (alive or dead) is created by observe_quantum_cat in pickup.c, which is only called when the box is opened. In fact, a comment in this function explicitly notes that other forms of observation should determine the cat's state, but don't. I haven't tested this, but based on my reading of the code I would expect the box to be considered empty by the probe. -- Killian 15:00, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
That's fantastic that the DevTeam has considered this problem. Any other ideas on how to detect the cat without opening the box? Maybe telepathy? It's definitely a Small Matter of Programming to properly implement all the possibilities. --Andronikus 15:39, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
The cat isn't in the box until it's looted. I just did a wizmode test, and neither telepathy nor probing revealed anything. Fredil Yupigo 02:25, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Seems like a stethoscope ought to work too. Just for the record.

Recovering games

Hey everyone,

I have a first generation Macbook that has the great habit of crashing. Whenever I'm playing the game and it crashes, I lose that particular game. It seems that all of my good games stretch just long enough to have the computer destroy them.

I usually uninstall and reinstall NetHack to get it to work again whenever this happens, but this last game I got down to Medusa's Lair (dungeon level 21), much farther than I've ever gotten. I don't want to reinstall the game just to get that far and have it crash again, so I was wondering if there was a way to recover this character and continue playing?

I'm using Nethack 3.4.3, Mac OS X tile port. The operating system version is 10.4.11N

Many thanks

I am in a similar bind. My computer started to crash as I was fighting a Zruty. I was doing great, I had potions of full heal, SDSM, ring of polymorph control, wands of polymorph, I was on my way to create monsters to sacrifice at an altar when my system froze, I pressed a few buttons, a few of the actions resolved themselves really quickly and then my system crashed. Usually when my system crashes I just put my character's name in and it says "There are some files under the name "xxxx", restore?" and it starts me off at the current level stairs, losing a load of progress at times or at times it is merely a minor inconvenience. But this time it did not load, it created a new character. I feel really bummed; when Nethack kills me, I accept it. But Mage Hand (my character) isn't even on the top 10 list, (she was the farthest I've ever gotten) it's as though she never existed. I'm using the latest version of Nethack on Windows. Is there balm in Gilead?

  • First, before even starting Nethack again, the entire application (right-click on its icon and choose compress) so you can play around with it safely. Do the next steps each on a freshly decompressed copy.
  • Next, try to start Nethack again.
  • If that does not help, reboot the Macbook. Yes, this does help astonishingly often (though I have a later generation macbook).
  • Try the recover command line utililty. At least my build of tiles Nethack does not invoke it automatically, though in the second poster's case it seems to. Do do this, open up (applications -> utilites), and type
cd /Users/tjr/Desktop/NetHack/
ls ./nethackdir/[0-9]*cavemanfred.*

where /Users/tjr/Desktop/ must be replaced with the full path to your copy of Nethack and cavemanfred with your character's name. If the second command prints anything, say "502cavemanfred.0", "502cavemanfred.1" and so on, then type

./nethackdir/recover 502cavemanfred

and you should get your game back, restored at the point of time you last changed dungeon levels.

  • If that still does not help, you should acquire a habit of save-scumming to ward agaist crashes. -Tjr 16:10, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Eating corpses

Pretty silly question, but as an elf is it safe to eat and sacrifice dwarf corpses?

As long as they're not too old in the first case, and it's on an altar of your alignment in the second, you'll be fine. --Andronikus 10:10, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

My keyboard doesn't have "<>" how do I dig down? or how do I change the keys?

seriously, it doesn't have'em. I don't know what to do.--Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

There's no way to remap the keys via NetHack itself. I see two possible solutions: either configure your operating system to use a different keyboard layout that does have those keys, or use some kind of terminal wrapper program to translate some other keystroke into the keys you want. It's difficult to give more help than that without some details of your setup (OS, physical keyboard layout, software keyboard layout etc.). -- Killian
If your keyboard doesn't have "<>", then it must be some non-US layout. Are you playing on Microsoft Windows? If so, are you playing the console or the tiled version? Nhraykey.dll might help you with your problem, if you can do any of these three things:
  • Tolerate a somewhat annoying bug;
  • Patch your source code to fix it; or,
  • The whois data for your IP seems to place you in Colombia. Is that true? ¿Habla usted español? If so, then perhaps this es para usted. It's some silly gringo's attempt to render NetHack in the language of Cervantes. Más que esto, it's the only published version of NetHack that has a correct nhraykey.dll, and even enables it by default.
(Full disclosure: I am the Ray in nhraykey.dll. Yes, that means the bug is my fault. Mi culpa, mi culpa, mi máxima culpa. I am also that silly gringo.)--Ray Chason 14:35, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Preview Is My Friend. The bug I speak of is this one, dammit.--Ray Chason 14:36, 30 September 2008 (UTC) - Really high HP

I'm looking at the all time high scores on, and some of these people have hp in the MILLIONS! How on earth did they do that? Nurse dancing? Potions of full healing? Royal Jelly? Edit: Looking here it seems as though pudding farming is the way to go. --Ha! Showed you! 22:50, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Polyself bug :) Pudding farming was probably used to hoard amulets of life saving so they didn't die from polymorphing to level 0. Fredil Yupigo 23:01, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Hello <player>! I was looking for Zippo

I've never seen a message like the one above before. It's quite early in the game, I'm on Dlvl 5, a bones level from hearse with (at least) two ghosts of this Zippo. One already destroyed, the other one is currently visible to me via ESP, but not directly. Noone who could be speaking is around. The context was:

>>The hobgoblin corpse tastes terrible! "Hello 313! I was looking for Zippo." You finish the hobgoblin corpse.<<

What unknown speaking monster could be lurking here or is the game itself talking to me? 15:50, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

That's probably a shopkeeper that the unfortunate Zippo angered before he dies, probably by stealing from him. Is there an empty shop on the level? When bones files like this come up, if your character has the same name as the dead thief the shopkeeper will attack you too! --Andronikus 16:20, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

looking for a qtnethack version

I play Nethack on Windows. Several years back, I was able to find a compiled *Windows executable version of qtnethack (3.3.1 I believe). Would anyone know where I can get a WinXP executable qtnethack 3.4.3 version?

The official Qt NetHack for Linux uses Qt 3. Licensing issues inhibit the use of the Windows version of Qt 3 in free projects such as NetHack. The current version, Qt 4, is license compatible, but a somewhat different beast from the programmer's point of view. So getting Qt NetHack running on Windows would be a whole new porting job.
I do find the official Win32 version to be rather chintzy in its look and feel. If you want pretty graphics, you might check out Vulture's or Noegnud.--Ray Chason 14:38, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Applying lethe patch in SLASH'EM

Gehennom is boring and i really want to fight Cthulu. How do i apply that lethe patch? i got it from the lethe patch atricle here i just don't know what to do with it. . thank you very much

I've never played SLASH'EM or used the Lethe patch, but I'm guessing that the patch is meant to be applied to vanilla NetHack. Since SLASH'EM's Gehennom is somewhat different there may be some buggy issues if you try the patch there. --Andronikus 17:55, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

It is the SLASH'EM version of the patch. SLETHE 1.5. It is meant to be used on slash'em but i just don't know how to apply a patch. like at all. I love the game but i sadly have never learned the mechanics

Ah I see. Yea, I've failed to apply some patches myself. --Andronikus 18
15, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Losing intrinsics

I just had a death that confuses me and I'm wondering if I misunderstand the rules. I was poison resistant and was wearing an amulet of life saving, but I fell into a pit and got killed by poison spikes.

Is that poison special? Or do intrinsics perhaps have a time limit? I got intrinsic poison resistance from eating corpses way back at the beginning of the game, and my death was around turn 80,000. I know it wasn't stolen by a gremlin because I genocided them ten thousand turns ago, and had got enlightenment from a fountain more recently than that.

Instadeath from poison is indicated by the message The poison was deadly... This shouldn't have happened to you if you're poison resistant, but the spikes also cause HP damage no matter what, so that might have killed you. None of this should happen if you're wearing a amulet of LS, but are you sure you had it on? I've died more than once with an amulet in my inventory :/ --Andronikus 17:55, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
I did see the "poison was deadly" message on death, and when I had my possessions identified the amulet was marked as (being worn). Hmph. Must have been sunspots.
Mystery solved. My buddy the comedian installed a modified version on my local machine, fixed so the first spiked pit trap in the Valley of the Dead would be instadeath regardless of resistances, life saving, or levitation. Bastard.
Your buddy must be quite the nerd to code and install a NetHack variant just to mess with you.
That's incredible, but anyone with the know-how to do that, you can't really get mad at him can you? Actually you probably could very easily.

Dumpfile locations?

Hi. I'm playing SLASH'EM-gtk on Ubuntu, and I ascended for the first time recently. My habit whenever I ascend in vanilla Nethack is to save the dumpfile that gets generated with my final map, stats, kill-record, etc. Nethack-gnome generates these in a directory under /var/games/nethack. Slash'em doesn't seem to have generated a parallel directory, and I can't find a dumpfile (that's what they're called, right?). I haven't played the game since to avoid over-writing it, but I fear the details may be lost forever. So where would I look for such a file; and if none is being generated, how can I change Slash'em's settings so that it will make them?

Also, as long as I'm on the topic: NethackW (GUI) for Windows XP, same question.

Thank you.

Missing Vlad

I've never gotten past my quest in vanilla until now, so I'm not entirely sure what to expect. Still, nothing that I've read has been able to help me.

Long story short, I lost Vlad. Or, well, the candleabrum. I was attacking him a bit carelessly in his usual location and he died (or maybe disappeared, I didn't pay much attention). I looted the chest behind him and sat on the throne. Afterwards, I looked up a spoiler and realized that he is supposed to drop the candleabrum. I searched everywhere in the tower and found nothing. I checked the stairs and next floors to make sure he didn't move down to heal like the demon lords and I still didn't find him. I even checked several different levels of hell around where he was.

I have see invisible, intrinsic and extrinsic telepathy and warning, so I'm pretty sure I didn't miss him. Any ideas?

Perhaps he read a cursed scroll of teleportation and levelported away? If he did that he could be almost anywhere. (Uncontrolled levelport takes you somewhere between level 1 and current depth + 3) -- Marcmagus 22:00, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

He must have. I finally found him on the eighth floor. Took forever to find him :)


I am currently playing a level 16 rogue on the quest level, he got there by falling down a hole. He fell into the big room in the center of the room and after a while, managed to beat the master assassin by polymorphing him into a glass piercer. Once he was dead i began searching for the door out. 2000 turns later i still haven't found it. It would be great if i could be provided with the location to the door out. ~ Adino

So the final level of the Rogue quest has two sections: one with the upstair, and one with the Master Assassin. The walls are undiggable, and I believe the whole place is no-teleport, so the only way out is by some means of levelport (confused scroll of teleportaion, cursed potion of gain level etc. Normally one puts in some preparation for this level, so if you got there by accident you may be stuck until you starve. --Andronikus 18:01, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Edit: I had a uncursed magic lamp and a wand of polymorph so i tried to use it to wish for a ring of polymorph control to turn myself into a xorn and walk through the wall. It didn't work and i summoned a peaceful genie, i was really ticked of at that point so i killed the genie, it droped a potion, sky blue. Figuring i had nothing to lose i drank it, it turned out to be a potion of confusion! I wrote a scroll of teleport and teleported back to the first quest level! All and all i'm VERY lucky to be alive.

Wow, well played. The xorn thing would have worked too. --Andronikus 18:01, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


I have to be missing something stupidly basic about this game. How do you survive the swarms of monsters (or single strong monsters) that camp out around the up stairs after about dungeon-level 6?

After lots of practice I have gotten my class level as high as 9. That involved killing every single monster on every level, and luckily finding a few potions of gain level. Yet no matter how much or how little I grind for XP, I get nuked going down a set of stairs. On the new level I either find myself adjacent to half a dozen killer bees or soldier ants, or else one ettin or giant or something huge, and either way I get two pages of attack messages and "You are dead..." before I even get a chance to press a key.

I'm not burdened or starving or dead of some other cause. I'm just ambushed and smashed by monsters before I can react. I do try to have escape items like scrolls of teleport, and one time I even had a wand of death, but I don't get even one turn to use them before dying.

On all my attempts at the game, 100+ attempts have gotten past dungeon-level 6, and every one of them has been smushed before I get to dungeon level 10.

This is seriously frustrating. What am I doing wrong?

It sounds as though you have low AC. This of course can be improved by wearing armor. If not that, what class are you playing? Maybe your just have a weak in hp class like rogue.
By "low", the previous unsigned commenter presumably means "poor". It sounds that way to me as well; equipment matters quite a bit in NetHack. Increasing your level won't help all that much if this is your problem, as increasing your level leads to meeting tougher monsters. Your difficulty with dying before you get a turn makes me wonder if you are going about encumbered. Any encumbrance will make you get fewer turns than normal, so even just being Burdened can be quite dangerous, especially when entering a new level. Hope these help. --Marcmagus 01:15, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Help with turning off popups

How do you turn off the pop up menu in the Windows version of Nethack, which appears when there is more than one item, but less than several on a square you move your character onto? It is so annoying to have to hit the enter key all the time in a room which has a lot of items...

Pet weight limit

Do pets have a weight limit on what they will take from a shop? Ie my small dog will only pick up boots etc and not a crystal plate mail? The platemail is uncursed, as my pet has run over it multiple times.

--Yes, but I'd love to know how much it is. Tjr 20:41, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

update on credit_cloning: Sometimes your pet will not pick up your "stealing bag" because it is too heavy. Base monster carrying capacity is equal to human maximum carrying capacity, or half human maximum if not strong. This is then modified by the ratio between the monster weights and human weights. Corpseless monsters are given a capacity proportional to their size instead of weight.[1] Tjr 18:21, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Please tell me if I'm doing the correct calculations: Maximum carrying capacity is 1000 and a human has a weight of 1450. A Kitten weighs 150 (and is presumably not strong) so it can carry .5*1000/1450*150 = 51? What is this 'strong' characteristic? DemonDoll 18:59, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Nethack uses purely integer arithmetic. I emulated this by rounding after each elementary operation (order matters), and arrived at 52. I'm not too sure it is correct, but wiz mode testing suggests so. The strong attribute is a property some monsters just have - I've only seen it matter in carrying capacity. -Tjr 23:34, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Dragon Polymorphing?

Is it worth trying to run through a polytrap while wearing DSM, then putting on Unchanging? Is it advantageous being, say, a Black Dragon, or are there more bads than goods when you do that? --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 7 April 2009

Overall, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. There's an @ Play article that discusses playing as a black dragon. djao 07:26, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

finding quest?

So I'm a nethack noob. I've cleared all the way down to the valley of death and realized I hadn't done my barbarian quest. So I head back up to look for it and can't for the life of my find it... Any pointers? Dlvl:11 is big room for me, so it's between Dlvl:12 and Dlvl:18? I've tried to step on each tile to find the magic portal but just can't find a thing. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 29 May 2009

Randomized appearance

Hello. I recently obtained two wands that had the same appearance (platinum)

After making sure they were uncursed, I engraved with them to see what they might be. Turns out they were both wands of sleep. Does this mean that when two items have the same randomized appeareance, they are always of the same type? I am hoping so! The article Randomized appearance does not explain this yet however.

Also, the wand item never stacks, even if they are of the same type right? --Preceding unsigned comment added by Gavin77 (talkcontribs) 4 June 2009

In the same game, items with the same randomized appearance are always the same base type, e. g. wands of sleep. (BTW by engraving alone, you cannot tell it apart from a wand of death, but the odds are 1:6 it's sleep.) It is normal for wands not to stack; stackability mainly concerns BUC status, enchantment, and rustproofing of various types of arrows, daggers, darts, scrolls. -Tjr 12:22, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Do artifacts' luck bonus stack with luckstones?

The article on luckstones isn't very clear about that. I'm playing SLASH'EM and got myself a couple uncursed luckstones, although I already have a blessed Deluder in my inventory. Is there any point in blessing and carrying one of those luckstones in my knapsack (other than having a spare in case the Deluder is cursed), or are they better off in my container? --Preceding unsigned comment added by Vicius (talkcontribs) 11 June 2009

No. "<Artifact> acts as a luckstone" means that it also has the property of not "stacking" bonuses with (other) luckstones. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19 June 2009

Destroying artifacts and wishing probability

I've been trying to get a wallet of perseus from altar camping, but it's only been giving me artifact weapons for which I have barely any use. I think I'm going to try to get it from a wish, but I've been wondering if repeatedly attempting to pick locks until all those useless artifacts are destroyed will make the artifact counter reduce thus increasing my chances of having a succesful wish?

No, it's artifacts created, not found/existing/.../seen. And you can destroy all artifacts in a pinch by polymorphing the container the're in. -Tjr 11:37, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Strange sink message

I found a topaz ring, playing as a wizard on level 4 of the dungeon. I wanted a ring of slow digestion badly, so I dropped it in the sink. the message I got was "You smell rotten potatoes".

What is that supposed to mean? I can't figure out why it would say that, and a search here or on google reveals nothing. I've never had this happen before. Is there something wrong with the sink? Alex -- 08:20, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Here is the explanation. You probably didn't find anything because "potatoes" ist the user customizable fruitname --bhaak 11:38, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, and sorry. I usually figure out the poison resistance ones, so I've never dropped one down the sink. --Crusaderbond 16:09, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

missing stairs.

hi, I am a new nethack player, and many times, when I start a new game, the stairs in one of the levels dissappear! usually that level will be very small, and I always keep looking for secret doors, but to no avail.

is this a bug, or am I missing something?

There are only nine levels in the game with no stairs down (quest end, mine's end, castle, vibrating square, endgame levels), and it is highly unlikely a newbie is seeing them often. Perhaps there is an object on the stairs, including boulders, or a sessile monster. It is very unusual for the rooms in an ordinary rooms and corridor level not to be spread out evenly over the entire screen, so keep looking. You need to be adjacent to a secret door in order to search successfully. Another option is to dig, either into the unexplored area, or down and walk back up.
We should have a tutorial on this wiki how to deal with missing stairs, complete with example maps and where to search first. -Tjr 08:25, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree, and maybe also add a bunch of tips for newbies. all it took was mastering the search command. :)

Bermuda shirt

I can swear, that I did find a few times a Bermuda shirt. This Wiki does not know anything about it: Am I wrong? --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 8 July 2009

Perhaps you were playing a variant, or another roguelike game? -Tjr 15:58, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
No, I play 22 years only NetHack. But might have been an earlier version (3.something). The source code knows a Bermuda shirt? --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 8 July 2009
You are positive you don't remember wrong and actually mean Hawaiian shirt instead? We have a list of defunct features. It lists a lot of stuff but Bermuda shirt is not one of them. —ZeroOne (talk / @) 21:51, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I am sure. But it might have been an earlier version of NetHack, maybe I saw the last Bermuda shirt 5 or 10 years ago. -

-Sky Dumont 00:04, 11 July 2009 (CET)

By your language you're not a native English speaker. Are you playing a localization into a different language? In that case it's probably the same as the Hawaiian shirt (odd choice, though).

Or maybe someone called their piece of fruit "Bermuda shirt"? Did you actually wear it? (Kidding: you sound like you've been playing long enough to notice that.)

Thank you for your help, but no, I use no patches, just "vanilla" NetHack. And I wore it.  :) Must have been an older version. Sky Dumont 02:57, 15 July 2009 (CET)

Resolving resolution woes.

Hello, I've just recently started playing Nethack and I've come across something very troubling. My monitor dwarfs the ASCII used for NetHack.exe. I've found that using the 8 - ASCII 12x16 / Fit to Screen feature in the NetHackW.exe remedies this problem, however, every time I reopen it (I die a lot, as you can imagine), I have to do the same two-step (not too keen on deselecting the default random function for every aspect of character creation either).

Now I'll be grateful for any option that resolves the eye-sight strain (I do prefer the regular ASCII for NetHack.exe :/)or quickens the start-up (defaulting the workable 12x16, fit to screen option) of a NetHackW.exe game. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 22:29, 10 July 2009

Hello there! You could run NetHack in full screen mode. Just run NetHack.exe and hit alt + enter. :) The same command also returns the game into a window.
If you'd prefer to run the game in a window you should create a shortcut for NetHack.exe, right-click it and select Properties. Then from the Font tab you can choose any font, such as that 12x16. From the Options tab you can also make the game start in the full screen mode. Hope this helps. :) —ZeroOne (talk / @) 21:45, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh, now I feel silly (spent way to much time trying to fix this myself). Thanks a bunch, this helps immensely.

The NAO diff file

So I was following the pages here on compiling and patching Nethack, and what I really wanted was a NAO-away-from-NAO, for when I didn't have internet or was behind a firewall or whatever. When I tried patching the source with the nao.diff file, however, it gave me about 100 errors about lines not updating properly, and then I recompiled and ran the binary and it didn't have the menucolors or statuscolors or anything. Am I missing a step or something?

Thanks! `n0m

Which files did it complain about? --paxed 06:10, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Protection racket troubles

Discoverying(reading about) the protection racket and attempting the stratergy has taught me how to survive earlier stages of the game and made the game far more interesting then old approach of hacking monsters to death. The issue I am having with the protection racket approach is in the mines, I have yet to get to minetown without having my pet teleporting away. Seeing that protection racket depends a great deal on your pet killing the monsters, I was wondering if there is a means of either finding the traps or preventing your pet from moving onto the trap so that I can reach minetown at level one. Any suggestions would be most helpful. Thank you to all in advance. nusRa.

I can partially second that (details buried in the pacifist talk page). It helps a little to
* leash your pet, it will whine if a trap is nearby
* acquire several ones (unless this slows you down to starvation)
* zap a wand of detect unseen to search a large area for traps
* develop a feeling for where traps could be. Choke points are especially worthy of extra searching.
-Tjr 20:59, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Multiple pages - casting spells etc.

Hi - just rediscovered Nethack after a gap of 18 years. I have a problem with any list greater than a page. Bringing up the inventory gives me (1 of 3) pages that I can cycle through with the <enter> key, but I can only access the first page of other lists. Examples include casting spells <Z> and advancing skills <alt><e>, both of which are 2 pages long in my current game. They both say (1 of 2) but pressing <enter> (or indeed, anything else I can think of) just returns me to the game! Not an insurmountable problem, but infuriating.

I'm using Windows Vista and Nethack 3.4.3. Anyone had similar problems?

Edit: Thanks both of you, is working in my latest game. I'm sure that I tried both before, but, well, I'm getting old now and maybe read one too many scrolls of amnesia.

Use < and > to cycle up and down.
Hi, try the space-bar. I had the same problem to figure this out (just rediscovering Nethack too after this period of time)

Terminal Position?

Hi, I realise this is a really stupid position to be in, but I have somehow managed in a short space of time, from a good position, to a) pick up a loadstone and b) turn into a wererat. So, I have no equipment, except for the loadstone...but I can't move because it's too heavy. I could try praying, but I don't think that went well last time. There is no useful equipment or food on the square I am on...and I'm getting hungry. I would welcome any suggestions which don't involve death....

Praying would cure lycanthropy for good, but your god seems to be angry. Wait until your polymorph times out or until monsters turn up that cause you to "die", i. e. rehumanize. Then engrave Elbereth first thing, re-equip yourself, and deal with both problems as fast as you can. Luckily, at least you won't shred your armor when you turn back into a rat. On your way back, use Elbereth to lock off rooms in case you turn back into were form to keep the more dangerous monsters at bay. Good things to have are [[holy water[[ (+helmOA if chaotic), a sprig of wolfsbane, an amulet of unchanging, a ring of polymorph control, or "pleased" prayer: they will all cure or keep lycanthropy at bay. In your situation, trying on un-id rings and amulets probably is a good idea. As for the loadstone, there are lots of creative ways to get rid of it, even if you cannot uncurse it.
Hunger should then be the least of your problems, just kill monsters once you are cured. -Tjr 11:16, September 12, 2009 (UTC)

Fun with artifacts

I am currently playing knight. I #dipped for excalibur, Lugh gave me demonbane after about 3 sacrifices, and I found grayswandir. What are the odds of that?

Wizmode Ludios

Fort Ludios was not generated in my wizard mode game. Whaa...? 22:09, December 2, 2009 (UTC)

Fort Ludios doesn't appear in every game; see the page for more info...

Yeah, but it is supposed to appear in every Wizard Mode game. ^O tells me Ludios on 19, but there's nothing there. 01:35, December 4, 2009 (UTC)

Compilation question

Somebody posted a compilation question and provided enough logs to slow Firefox to a crawl. Please ask your question again in a human-digestible format.

If all that material is really necessary, provide a link to a text file.-Tjr 20:30, December 4, 2009 (UTC)

Sorry about that i didn't realize how big it really was, as for removing stuff from it i don't understand it at all so i dont know what is extraneous is the link [1] and [2].
I know you already provided instructions for compiling using mingw. But i am so confused why it doesn't work with visual c++ 2008 express.
I am using visual c++ 2008 express 9.0.30729.1 SP
And windows 7 6.1.7600
I chose the build solution but it fails and i get the gigant log :
--IngerAlHaosului 09:30, December 6, 2009 (UTC)

Initial game questions

Please tell me where is the code for the initial questions. The part that asks for your name, role,race,gender and alignment. More precisely the code that determines the initial(default) values in the gui game.Current default being a blank for the name and random for every thing else.--IngerAlHaosului 18:24, December 6, 2009 (UTC)

I think you're looking for this: Allmain.c#newgame. I haven't been able to track execution beyond askname(), either. -Tjr 21:30, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
No really what i am looking for, I was looking for the gui code for the form that asks the questions.But i guess player name suffix works just as good, tx anyway.--IngerAlHaosului 06:23, December 7, 2009 (UTC)

Giant shoggoth in the Gnomish Mines

So here's a good one. I'm a level 11 vampire necromancer (playing Slash'em, obviously), and I've just found one of my own bones files at Mine's End. Thing is, I remember this bones file--I was doing really good, had just cleared out the level, when out of nowhere a Giant Shoggoth devours me.

In all sense, I should flee from the nameless horrors of these depths without turning back. But I don't have a luckstone yet. Any ideas? I'm not close to being able to handle a shoggoth. But what are the odds of one actually being generated at this level--is it even possible (Dungeon level 10; and I wasn't more than a level 10 character when I met it last time, and it wasn't previously a bones file.) Is this certain to be just a chameleon or a polymorph trap that will wear off after a while?

Also, does see invisible reveal shoggoths when they're still hidden? I don't have telepathy (hard to get even from floating eyes for a vampire.) So that I can check without throwing away a pretty good game.

EDIT: Further investigation reveals that the corpse probably has Serpent's Tongue. I did a bit of sacrificing, and didn't get that as my first gift. (I got a lousy minion, instead.)

Most likely, it is a polymorph trap. Anyway, either a wand of digging or a ring of protection from shape changers will neutralize it. IIRC, a Giant Shoggoth will respect Elbereth, if you decide to chance it. -Tjr 10:00, December 16, 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. But as it happened I got a genocide wish from the throne in Grund's Stronghold, and used it on giant shoggoths. So whatever it was, it was gone when I got back.

How to send messages

How do i send a message to another player?

I assume you're asking how to send a message to another player currently playing on NAO: press m. To reply, the player either engraves his answer or prefixes it with # to form an invalid command. -Tjr 20:49, December 28, 2009 (UTC)

vlads tower

is the entrance to vlads tower under the big square i can't enter or one of the doors around it?

The entrance to Vlad's Tower is simply an extra up-stairs on a random level between 34 and 42. If you're talking about the Wizard's tower, however, you need to keep going down past all the large squares you can't enter until you see a little island and moat in the middle of the level. There will be two of them (on two different levels) - one is a fake entrance, the other is real. The real one has a teleport trap in the middle. Which takes you inside the large squares that you couldn't previously enter.

elemental planes

I'm never able to make it past the elemental planes. What always happens is archons and titans keep summoning more of each other until the entire level is filled with them. Wearing a ring of conflict doesn't seem to be enough to thin their numbers, unfortunately. What am I supposed to do? How do you deal with the hordes of archons? I'm wondering - perhaps I'm genociding too many classes of monsters and thus, their summon spells summon more of each other? Maybe I should pursue a more minimalist genociding strategy?

The planes are different than any other part of the game - you should be racing through them as fast as possible, be in and out long before anything has a chance to summon and fill the level with anything. If there are some Titans/Archons in your way, shoot them with a wand of teleport to clear a path then keep running. Standing around trying to fight the Titans/Archons or trying to thin the herd with conflict is basically a guaranteed way to lose unless your character is mega-pimped.

Ascending without doing the wizard quest

I accidently attacked the Wizard Quest NPC and got expelled. The game was going great until then and I have pretty much all the items needed to ascend.. Is it still worth trying to pursure the great ascension without the eye?

You can definitely ascend without the Eye, but you might have a hard time without the Bell of Opening. --Andronikus 13:28, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Different commands

I am semi-new to net hack, and i know most of the commands and they do.but one thing I haven't been able to figure out is: 1.How do I delete a saved file in explore mode,and 2.How do I make friends with a tame-able animal (I.E. unicorn)? oh, I forgot, how do you sacrafice, and use rings? --BobicusIX 22:20, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Welcome! Here are some answers to your questions:
  1. See the entry on the bones page for what the file names are for the save files. Just navigate to the sandbox directory and delete the appropriate file. Information on how to interact with them is on the explore mode page
  2. See taming for a full description, but the crib notes are: Harps, food and spellbook of charm monster are your friends in different situations. You can pacify any unicorn with a gem, however taming them (making them a pet) requires charm monster. Information with how to interact with them is on the pet or tame pages
  3. Sacrifices are done at altars - carry or move the corpse on to it and then use the extended command #offer. Check the alignment of the altar first! Information on how to interact with them is on the sacrifice page
  4. Rings need to be Put on. You can only wear two of them at a time. Information on how to interact with them is on the rings page
Is it me or do you see a pattern for each last sentence in the above points? -- Kalon 22:49, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. That helps a lot. Yes i do see a pattern, but it doesn't matter.
--BobicusIX 15:12, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, thats all figured out, but i also have the ipod version, and I cant get that fie to delete, so im stuck in explore mode for now. my computer file is good now, but this is still a problem. Does anyone know how to delete ipod nethack files?
--BobicusIX 20:39, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
If you're in explore mode, can't you just die and then select "Yes" to the question about allowing your character to die? Caveat: I don't spend much time in Explore mode, so I can't remember -- Kalon 22:37, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, yes you can but what your talking about is the computer version. im talking about the ipod version. this is it: INetHack, its getting annoying being stuck in explore mode, but I raided a spell book shop and killed the shopkeep. --Preceding unsigned comment added by BobicusIX (talkcontribs) 30 August 2009