Newt

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A newt is one of the lower-level NetHack monsters, usually appearing on the first few floors. It can be quite the nuisance for low level characters.

Eating a newt corpse occasionally raises your current Power, with the message "You feel a mild buzz"[1]. If your current Power is less than or equal to 2/3 of your maximum, you will always receive the increase; otherwise the chance of receiving it is 1 in 3.

If you do get an increase, your current Power will be increased by between 1 to 3 points.[2] If this increase would raise you above your total maximum Power, the maximum is increased by 1, and current Power is set to maximum. [3]

Newts are featured prominently in Dudley's dungeon, often as creatures which kill Dudley. Strips featuring newts killing Dudley are rated poorly and are called "newt jokes". A reference to this phenomenon can be seen on the high score list of NAO: Adeon holds fourth rank, but has been killed by a newt.

Origin

A newt is a species of salamander. The increase of power when eaten is probably a reference to the Shakespeare quote of the encyclopedia entry—"eye of newt" is named as a spell component in the incantation by the witches in Macbeth. This is thought to be a cryptic name for the mustard seed rather than a reference to the literal eye of a literal newt.

Encyclopedia entry

(kinds of) small animal, like a lizard, which spends most of
its time in the water.

[ Oxford's Student's Dictionary of Current English ]

 
"Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

[ Macbeth, by William Shakespeare ]

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