NetHackWiki:Ask an expert/Archive6

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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.

The path to ascension

I haven't gotten THAT far yet, been playing for about a month now, and the furthest I've gotten to is Dlevel 22 with a lvl14 Babarian. (I just found out yesterday how to use the #enhance command. No I am not joking, I actually played about 50 hours without knowing how to raise my skills).


Alright, basically, could someone give me a slight guide to the Dungeons? Like, you start in the DoD and around level 3-5 you can go to the GM, there is the big room in between... etc.

Just a general guide as to where you go through ever since you begin the game, until ascension.

As always, the answer's "it depends". I tend to go to Minetown as early as possible to buy protection before leveling up too much, but many others do Sokoban first and so on. The article about Standard strategy might be a start. Also some roles' quests are easy and gain you much so should be done early, whereas others are mostly useless and best delayed, so best read the article dealing with your role. Also helpful: a map in ASCII, and a hand-drawn one: http://modcult.org/image/150 --62.80.22.186 10:54, September 14, 2010 (UTC)
I learned with Maniac's Ascension Guide.Tjr 15:51, September 14, 2010 (UTC)

Keeping a pet

What would you say is best? Having a tame Large dog/Cat/Warhorse, no pet, or pet monster?


I find keeping a Dog/Cat to be more trouble than it's worth. First, they attack peacefuls and creatures you'd rather keep alive. They also eat bodies you'd possibly like to eat (floating eyes, normal bodies when you're hungry, etc).

They also kill shopkeepers, priests and guards in Minetown.

They get lost constantly, and you have to keep going back to get them before you go down a level.

A leash is annoying as it keeps the pet too close to you and can interfere in several situations.

They can trigger some awful traps which can hurt even you.

And they can even turn feral if you're not careful.


Now, the only upside of keeping a standard pet, is the BUC identification, and some help when fighting (usually they don't, the end up chasing a grid bug when 5 trolls are rushing you). Oh, and stealing from shops, though that's limited (they can't get big stuff), and there are other ways to steal anyway.


So the question is, is it worth it keeping a pet? Especially at low level?

Or should you dump the pet and tame a decent monster?

In a non-conduct game, keep the pet until you are sure you can survive without, then abandon it. As a pacifist, your life depends on your pets. Keep 3-4 of them, and shove them on a polytrap to improve them before you go much farther down than say dungeon level 10. It pays off to learn the art of luring pets, and credit cloning.Tjr 18:04, September 14, 2010 (UTC)
Also, a magic whistle massively cuts down on the problem of having to go back to get pets, and is useful for keeping them away from peacefuls you want alive (although other than the minetown priest and (sometimes) shopkeepers, it doesn't really matter if they wipe out peaceful monsters). As for which pet is best, by far warhorses: they're fast, have a higher level than dogs/cats, and don't eat desirable corpses other than lichens. The downside is that you have to keep them fed on vegan food, but there's usually enough of that in the dungeon. -Ion frigate 22:00, September 14, 2010 (UTC)
Each stage of the game its pet choice. Warhorses are good before you find a polytrap, but they die very quickly in Gehennom.

Tjr 04:48, September 15, 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I should have been clearer; I meant of the starting pets/easily tameable ones (i.e. cats, dogs, horses), warhorses are the best. -Ion frigate 06:48, September 15, 2010 (UTC)

Rogue ranged preference

What is the prefered ranged choice for Rogues?

Daggers are my usual choice, as the rogue can level up the Dagger skill quite quickly, but I was wondering whether there are any alternatives. Like, besides carrying daggers, you could carry a crossbow with poisoned bolts? Because I generally think melee should be avoided when playing a Rogue, unless you have a crazy enchanted main artifact.

What are your opinions?

Daggers are probably best: they're plentiful, relatively damaging, and they are never destroyed on impact. If you want to go for a poisoned weapon, go for darts instead. You can get a lot of them out of dart traps, whereas bolts are often quite hard to find, and the damage gained from them isn't that much. Also, not having to switch weapons when monsters get within melee range (and they will) can be a lifesaver, particularly against fast monsters.
As for melee with rogues, they can always get Stormbringer, either from crowning or sacrifice. Combined with skilled proficiency in broadswords, it's pretty deadly and for my rogues eventually becomes their main weapon. But in the early game, yes, melee is better avoided if possible. -Ion frigate 17:10, September 19, 2010 (UTC)

Trapped in Sokoban

Oh boy. I'm in quite a mess. I'm playing a lvl 10 Knight, and I'm currently stuck on the first level of Sokoban. How? I completely forgot that the two scrolls there are Earth scrolls, and the boulders trapped me in a corner. I tried jumping away with no sucess. I also removed all my clothing and dropped everything and tried to fit through, nothing. I had a wand of magic missile but it's out of charges. I have a wand of lightning but it doesn't destroy boulders. I tried praying, but it was too early and he was displeased.


Now, I think the only way to get out of here, is to pray, but I'm unsure whether my god can do anything about it. I can post my inventory if you'd like, but I don't think I have anything that can get me out of there. Right now, I think I should just wait and try to pray later. I have a few food rations that should make me last for quite a while.

What can I do otherwise?


EDIT: Nevermind, YASD. I prayed, and he teleported me near the entrance, sorrounded with monster. I killed most of them, but they backed me against the wall, and since I had used most of my items trying to escape, I had no way to survive... Except jumping, which I only remembered I could do just after I got killed. Oh well.

Advice on how to proceed

So, this is the farthest I've ever gone, so I'm going to take it nice and slow.

Lvl 12 Barbarian, Chaotic. Intrinsics: Poison, Shock, Cold, Speed, Telepathy.

125hp. Wielding a +5 two handed sword. Wearing +0 crystal plate mail, +0 high boots, +0 leather gloves. AC is 0. Plus I'm wearing an amulet of reflection (I had better equipment but... polymorph trap :/

Got a wand of death and a a few others, a couple of scrolls of teleportation, a ring of teleport control (wearing it) and like 6 unidentified rings.


Now the question is, should I go further down? I'm in dlevel 23. Can I take on what's down there? I think I should probably go up and try and get some better armor, but there's nothing in Minetown... I haven't done Sokoban and Mine's end, maybe I should do those first and hope to find something good?

What do you guys think?


Edit: Thanks for the tips. If you're wondering how it went down, I basically finished Sokoban and the mines, where I found nothing decent, only a +1 blessed ring of protection. So I proceeded carefully, killed Medusa for the first time (she stoned herself) but it all went downhill from there. I wanted to start double wielding, and found a broadsword on her level, and well, it was cursed, and -2. I went around a couple of levels looking for scrolls of remove curse, blessed potions of water, or altars, nothing. I prayed here and there, but with no success. I managed to enter the castle in the end, but soon got stomped by a minotaur.I was used prayer to heal and bashed him some more, but he wouldn't die (I was hitting him with a cursed -2 broadsword, after all) and I managed to escape barely, with about 13 HP, where two fire ants trapped me and finished me off.

Still, it's the furthest I've ever gone, and I've learned some good lessons from it. And besides, it was fun :) Thanks again.


If you can handle d23, then you can definitely finish Mine's End and Sokoban. You already have reflection so the Sokoban final reward might be redundant, but even the items all over the lower floors may be useful. Just watch for more poly traps in the lower levels.
Your biggest priority should be magic resistance. Try to find a kill a gray dragon for the scales. Your AC also needs to be lowered; DSM will help with that. Try to secure some enchant armor scrolls and bless them. Also, get a cloak. Elven cloaks are the best that can be easily obtained; you'll need MC3, especially if you switch to DSM. Check the wiki for how to get DSM; reverse genocide is usually the best. Stand on burned Elbereth and you;ll be fine, since you have reflection. -- Qazmlpok 15:20, September 22, 2010 (UTC)

So...I have acquired all three artifacts to open the Sanctum and found the vibrating square. I applied the candelabrum and it lit giving off a powerful light, I applied the bell but "it didn't make any sound." Then I read the book of the dead...but "something is wrong" and lots of monsters appeared. None of the items were cursed. What is going wrong? Does a Bell need a charge? I have looked for other answers but am not coming up with any other answers. Any help?

Yes, the bell of opening needs to have at least one charge. You'll need to find a scroll of charging and use it on the bell. Also, make sure you snuff the candles on the candelabrum so they don't burn out while you get the scroll. -- Qazmlpok 11:58, October 4, 2010 (UTC)

Innvocation Problems

Some help, please? I’m trying to complete my first ascension and I am close enough to taste it, maybe that’s my problem. I have collected all of the invocation artifacts and found the vibrating square. I put the candles on and lit them. Then I applied the bell “but there is no sound.” Then I read the book …”something is wrong “ and a mass of creatures appear. None of artifacts were cursed. I am wondering what I am doing wrong? It is the bell, does it need charges?

Also, after doing this twice and finally killing all of the creatures and Rodney, now the Book of the Dead is cursed and I have no means to uncurse it. Any suggestions?

As above, yeah it's the bell that need[ed] a charge. Now, to uncurse the Book; do you still have the Castle wand of wishing? Cursed items are a problem that can be wished away; just wish for a 2 blessed scrolls of remove curse or 2 potions of holy water. The latter is probably the better choice, since you can use it to make more of the same (dilute potions twice, dip stacks of water in the holy water). Make sure to make more before using it to uncurse the book.
If you don't have any wishes left, you might be able to write a scroll of remove curse with a magic marker. Unless you're a lucky wizard, this will fail at least 2/3 of the time if you haven't identified the scroll. However, a fully-charged magic marker will, on average, be able to write at least one scroll of remove curse as long as you've maxed out your luck (if you haven't, do that now... see luck for how). Make sure the scroll you're writing on is uncursed, wield the book, and read the scroll. Other options include dipping it in a fountain repeatedly (until the water "glows for a moment"), zapping it with a wand of cancellation, an occasional effect from praying at altars, learning and casting remove curse, or wielding the book and repeatedly stepping on a magic trap.
Whatever you do, do it quickly; the wizard is going to be harassing you every few hundred turns, and fighting him and his summoned minions repeatedly can bring down even a high-level character. Try to zap him with a wand of death every time he appears. -Ion frigate 19:56, October 5, 2010 (UTC)

Ascending with my original dog/intellgent pet advice

I currently have a level 21 invisable fast dog and I am a level 30 tourist. I got the dog past the level 9 threshhold through cursed scrolls of genocide and I've fed him potions of extra and fullhealing when I've found them. I am plalying slashem. I am on level 32 and I am am attempting to beat the game with my original dog. I have tried this before but Gehennon does me in. Also can give my dog any other intrinics other than speed and invisablity? Any advice on how to make it through the whole game with my original dog?

Also I have a watch captain as a pet. I polymorphed her into and charmed her with a harp. When she reverted back to human form she stayed charmed. First, is this the only way to tame a human? Second, is there anyway to get her to put on rings and amulets? What about using wands?]

Lastly I want to know whether something is a bug. My dog got caught in a polymorph trap when he was level 15. When he reverted to dog form he was level 9 ie the maximum level for a dog without wraith corpses. Also potions of gain level don't affect pets. Is this a bug and if not is there what is the logic for this?

You can't give it any further intrinsics; pets that will wear armor or wield weapons can be given reflection and magic resistance, as well as some other resistances from artifact weapons. No monster in nethack or SLASH'EM will put on rings, and the only amulets they will wear are reflection and life-saving.
As for the level-reversion, looking at SLASH'EM 0.0.7E7F2/timeout.c#line599, there doesn't seem to be any reference to the monster's level; I'm guessing that whoever wrote that just didn't want to keep track of the monster's level as well. Potions of gain level should affect pets, however, up to a maximum of 49. That doesn't help for pets which won't drink potions, of course.
And if you want to keep your dog alive through the whole game, you can:
    • Play very carefully - I imagine that keeping a particular dog alive through the whole game is probably significantly easier than a pacifist ascension, for example; you just have to watch out for monsters such as crystal golems and black dragons which can one-shot it. A wand of teleportation, wand of (extra) healing and magic whistle would all greatly assist in keeping it alive.
    • Polymorph it into stronger forms. Make sure you use polytraps to do this, as the wand or spell has a chance to kill it outright. In addition to having a more survivable form, it also has a "second chance" if it's killed, as it will just revert to its original form. The downside is this only lasts 1000 or so turns per polytrap, and they may not be spaced correctly for that.
    • If you have a bag of holding (or better the Wallet of Perseus) and a slightly loose definition of "alive through the whole game", you could stone it, carry the statue, and stone-to-flesh and retame it at the altar.
But also note that leveling your dog up is actually likely to decrease its ultimate chance for survival: pets won't attack things more than a level higher than them without conflict, meaning a dog in the endgame isn't going to attack that much. Monsters will never actively attack pets without conflict; they always attack as a response. A high-level dog is likely to get itself killed, as its attacks don't scale with its level. No monster better demonstrates this than the Oracle; she will wipe out any domestic animal foolish enough to attack her (and I've seen her take down devas even). -Ion frigate 09:24, October 31, 2010 (UTC)
I've considered the stoning apporach but I'd rather not. I've been throwing the potions of gain experience on my pets. which I thought would have the same affect (it does with extra and full healing) but has no affect. The reason I've been avoiding polying the dog "Ragnar" is he reverts to level 9 when he becomes a dog again. I'll hand my watch captain a amulet of life saving. One more question how does a humanoid determine what armour or weapons it will wield. I enchanted a silver sabre to +5 assuming she would wield it. She wielded it for a cou-ple levels and now has dropped it in favor of a regular long sword.
thans for the help
Two things to add;
Hitting a pet with a potion of (extra/full) healing will heal it, but will not increase maximum hit points like it does with you. Additionally, potions of restore ability and gain ability have the same effect, and all potions like this have the same effect: a potion of healing will heal for the same amount that a potion of full healing will. Also, if you wield the potion and hit them with it, it counts as abuse and lowers tameness (although this isn't a big issue for a carnivorous dog).
Invisibility has no effect on pets. None. Monsters never need to 'see' your pet as they only counter-attack, and invisibility doesn't grant a to-hit penalty in this situation either. -- Qazmlpok 13:46, October 31, 2010 (UTC)
In Slashem I have noticed the max hp actually does go up. I believe by 4 for each full healing. potion. I don't know about vanila nethack
I suggest you abandon the dog on dungeon level one, play the game without it, and retame it (with food) on your ascension run. Tjr 12:21, November 1, 2010 (UTC)

what wuold hapen if you used the spell stone to flesh on a statue of a former player

what would hapen if this ocued

--Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.223.193.11 (talkcontribs) 08:09, November 18, 2010 (UTC) on the old wiki

It would revive as a player monster. --Ilmari Karonen 08:15, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

he will come back as whatever class he was. Based on alignment and plain cance he has a possiblity of being hostile or peaceful. Never tame. I am playing a Slashem game where I wished for a statute of one of my former players. I polymorphed him and then tamed him. Taing will nt work on humans unless they are polymorphed. He died while polymorphed and reverted to being a tame necromancer.

Identifying Potions and Scrolls without Pricing

My current strategy for identifying items early on is just to quaff potions and read scrolls immediately. That way if they're detrimental I haven't lost much in the way of time or equipment, and if they're beneficial I have an early identification of them for later in the game. Obviously this method can be suicidal at times, and it doesn't always work. Potions in particular pose a problem, as not all of them can be quaff ID'd easily; I think there are like three of them that taste like slime mold juice.

The obvious solution would be to price ID them, but I've only been playing for about a week now, so I'm not experienced enough to do that just yet. So what methods should I use to identify these items as safely as possible, and as early as possible?

Henshin 21:53, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

You can try to apply a new potion to test for oil. If you find an item on a monster's corpse and you did not kill it yourself, name it something like "purple moninvent" because only a small subset of objects can be generated on monsters. Nymphs often carry object detection. That's about all you can say safely.
Using unknown scrolls and potions is a pretty bad idea. There are some outright dangerous ones, and generally it's a waste of resources. I recommend you learn price identification. There are pre-made price tables. See also the object identification spoiler. --Tjr