Ninja (role)

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This article is about the Ninja role that appears in Slash'EM Extended and SLASHTHEM. "Ninja" is also one of the NetHack Samurai rank titles. For the monster in NetHack 3.6.0, see Ninja.

The Ninja is a role in the variants Slash'EM Extended and SlashTHEM.

The role draws on two earlier Ninja roles, one a defunct feature in NetHack which was eventually replaced by the Rogue, and the other part of NetHack-- 3.0.10, an ancestor of SLASH'EM.

Like Samurai, Ninja know many items by their Japanese names.

In SlashTHEM, a female Ninja is called a Kunoichi, e.g. on the base attributes display.

In NetHack, "Ninja" and "Kunoichi" are the male and female rank titles of a Samurai from experience levels 6 to 9. In SLASH'EM Extended the male title is changed to Ninja Gaiden; the female title remains Kunoichi. In SlashTHEM, the equivalent rank title is "Kumigashira" (which translates roughly to "squad leader").


NetHack-- 3.0.10 was based on NetHack 3.0.10, which predated the skill system, so Ninja could use any weapons.

The Slash'EM Extended version of the role has access to a wide range of skills:

Ninja skills
Max Skills
Grand Master

SLASHTHEM gives the Ninja a skill set reminiscent of both the Rogue and Samurai:

Ninja skills
Max Skills

The Ninja's special spell is enchant weapon. Spell success is determined by intelligence.

  • Slash'EM Extended u_init.c line 3956
  • SLASHTHEM u_init.c line 2081 in v. 0.8


Ninja gain these techniques in SLASHTHEM:

SLASHTHEM tech.c 152


In SLASHTHEM, Ninja gain searching instead of invisibility at XL 3. They continue to gain additional abilities:

SLASHTHEM attrib.c line 71

Starting equipment

The Ninja starts with a pet little dog.

The SlashTHEM Ninja will know the starting shuriken as "hira-shuriken" (flat shuriken), as part of an expanded list of Japanese item names. This reflects the fact that the term "shuriken" was historically also used to refer to other thrown (and sometimes wielded) weapons, not only the star-shaped projectiles associated with the term in Western culture. Darts are known as "bo-shuriken" (stick shuriken).

Rank titles

In Slash'EM Extended, the status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1-2: Sword Trainee
  • XL 3-5: Dual-wield wannabee
  • XL 6-9: Whiffer
  • XL 10-13: Bladebearer
  • XL 14-17: Double-edge Sword
  • XL 18-21: Master Blade
  • XL 22-25: Katana Knight
  • XL 26-29: Sword Acrobat
  • XL 30: Shadowblade

SLASHTHEM has a different set of rank titles:

  • XL 1-2: Kukkyu
  • XL 3-5: Hakkyu
  • XL 6-9: Nanakyu
  • XL 10-13: Rokkyu
  • XL 14-17: Gokyu
  • XL 18-21: Yonkyu
  • XL 22-25: Sankyu
  • XL 26-29: Nikyu
  • XL 30: Ikkyu

Slash'EM Extended role.c line 1785

SlashTHEM role.c line 1005


The quest sees the Ninja fighting Jaquio for the Dragonclan Sword, a lawful katana which has a chance of beheading enemies, like the Vorpal Blade.

SLASHTHEM gives the Ninja a new quest artifact, Fuma-itto no Ken, a chaotic ninja-to (broadsword) which adds +8 to-hit and +8 to damage, grants drain resistance while carried, and can be invoked to create a stack of hira-shuriken. This weapon was adapted from an artifact of the same name from dNetHack.

  • Slash'EM Extended artilist.h line 434
  • SLASHTHEM artilist.h line


The Slash'EM Extended Ninja's pantheon is taken from the Nehwon mythos created by Fritz Leiber (also the source for the Rogue pantheon):

  • Lawful: Votishal
  • Neutral: Raiden
  • Chaotic: Rat God

The SlashTHEM pantheon is taken from the tale of Jiraiya (Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari):

  • Lawful: Jiraiya
  • Neutral: Tsunade
  • Chaotic: Orochimaru


Two early versions of NetHack contained "Ninja" roles. Regular NetHack contained a Ninja role from versions 1.3d to 2.3e, which was replaced in 3.0.0 by the Rogue role, making it a defunct feature. NetHack-- 3.0.10, a variant of version 3.0.10, and a precursor of SLASH'EM, included a revived Ninja role in addition to the Rogue role. The vanilla Ninja had a much simpler inventory than the current role, consisting of a katana, +1 leather armor, and up to 25 shuriken[1]. NetHack-- gave the Ninja the wakizashi, potions of sickness and invisibility, lockpick, and intrinsic stealth that are associated with the role in Slash'EM Extended and SlashTHEM, so it seems that the current incarnation of the role is based primarily on the NetHack-- version.

The NetHack-- Ninja was one of nine new roles in that variant, in addition to the twelve in the contemporary version of NetHack. The discussion thread in which the authors first announced the variant suggests that some of the new roles were taken from a list proposing a role for every letter of the alphabet. See here for the relevant post.

After the release of NetHack 3.1.3 in 1993, NetHack-- was updated to NetHack-- 3.1.3 by porting some of the changes from NetHack-- 3.0.10 into a patch for the newest version. Due to some changes in the vanilla code, however, some content was removed to improve compatibility with NetHack. Most significantly, NetHack 3.1 had seen the addition of the Quest branch. To avoid the challenge of fitting full-length quests for the roles that had been added in NetHack-- 3.0.10 into the patch code, those roles were simply left out of the patch.

The Ninja role, along with the other eight new roles in NetHack-- 3.0.10, made its reappearance in the variant Slash'EM Extended. It was also carried over, with some tweaks, into SlashTHEM, a variant of Slash'EM Extended v75.


  • NetHack-- 3.0.10 attrib.c line 80
  • NetHack-- 3.0.10 u_init.c line 257