People of secondary interest to NetHack
This article is a list of various notable people of secondary interest to the game of NetHack, explaining each person's works and the contributions to the game that they inspired.
Douglas Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a work of science fiction comedy which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy and developed into a "trilogy" of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated several adaptations. These stories chronicle the adventures of one Arthur Dent, though to be the last survivor of the Earth's destruction by a Vogon constructor that was making way for a hyperspace bypass - he is rescued from Earth's destruction by Ford Prefect, a humanoid alien writer for the in-universe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the pair travel around the galaxy.
In NetHack, there are a few references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with the most primary one being the towel, a multipurpose tool. While not as ridiculously useful as in The Hitchhiker's Guide, it still has various relevant applications: among them are blinding yourself, wiping glop or grease off your person, removing engravings on the floor, and wetting the towel to whip at monsters.
NetHack: The Next Generation
In 1994, Sebastian Klein released NetHack: The Next Generation, a variant of NetHack 3.1.3 that draws much more heavily from the works of Douglas Adams and adapts them to the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash that is the variant's geek culture influence.
Frank Herbert (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was an American science fiction author, best known for the 1965 novel Dune and its five sequels. He also wrote short stories and worked as a newspaper journalist, photographer, book reviewer, ecological consultant, and lecturer.
Dune is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time and considered to be among the classics of the genre. Set in the distant future, it explores various themes: humanity's evolution; planetary science and ecology; and the intersection of religion, politics, economics and power in a future where humankind has undertaken the colonization of space.
The most noteworthy features adapted from Dune are the long worm, its teeth and the crysknives that can be fashioned from them. A quote from Frank Herbert's The Dosadi Experiment also provides the encyclopedia entry for the gas spore and its fellow spheres.
Michael Moorcock (b. 18 December 1939) is an English writer of science fiction and fantasy who has published literary novels, and is also a successful musician. His best selling works are the "Elric of Melniboné" stories centered around the titular sorcerer, who is a deliberate reversal of clichés associated with Tolkien-inspired fantasy adventures.
As emperor of Melniboné, the frail and anemic albino Elric can call upon Arioch - a Lord of Chaos, Duke of Hell and the traditional patron of their rulership who alternates between aiding Elric and antagonizing him. Elric is also the wielder of the demonic black blade Stormbringer, which is similarly his greatest asset and greatest hindrance: it confers enough strength and vitality for Elric to shake off his otherwise-required herbal regimen, as well as augmenting his fighting prowess - but the blade instead feeds on the souls of intelligent beings. A recurring theme in the relationship between sword and wielder is how this codependency brings doom to everything Elric holds dear despite his best intentions.
A significant amount of Moorcock's influence on fantasy is based in his portrayals of the metaphyisical conflict between Law and Chaos - among many other things, this has partly influenced the chaotic alignment's portrayal in NetHack. Stormbringer is the weapon gifted to a crowned chaotic character, who their god declares a soul-stealer for "the Glory of Arioch"; this may also reflect Elric's role as the Eternal Champion.