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Players can pound colored squares, depending on their skill level.

In NetHack, pounding is the action of applying a polearm (including but not limited to lances) on a target that is at a distance of exactly two squares from the wielder.


This game function was given the name "pounding" by Shawn M. Moore, who gave a thorough description of it in The Knight FAQ.


At Basic and Unskilled level, the target must be in a straight line from the wielder. At Skilled level, it can be a knight's jump from the wielder. At Expert level the target can also be at a diagonal, meaning that any of the sixteen squares at a distance of two can be hit. Only Knights may reach Expert skill level in lance, and no roles can reach expert in polearms. Pounding can scuff engravings beneath you, just like attacking in melee.[1]

When twoweaponing, the range for pounding is determined by the lesser of your polearm or lance skill and your two-weapon combat skill. This is only possible with a lance, because all other polearms are two-handed. A lance can be used for pounding without any penalty, even when the wielder is not mounted.

Most monsters can only use polearms with a skill level equivalent of unskilled, with the exception of the troll - all trolls can use them with a skill level equivalent of skilled, meaning they can hit you from a knight's jump away.


Pounding is an excellent strategy for hitting both melee and ranged targets; if you have adequate speed and at least Skilled level, you can attempt to kill a group of opponents at a choke point (such as a door) a knight's move away. If you plan on pounding in corridors, though, you will need either a light source or infravision, as you cannot pound a monster you cannot see (even if you can detect it via other means).

In addition, pounding does not trigger passive attacks, meaning you can use it against dangerous creatures without depleting your projectiles or wand charges. Some players like to pound dangerous sea monsters on levels such as Medusa's Island, the Castle, and the Wizard's Tower in order to remain safe from their drowning attacks.

Pounding can also be used for the hit and run tactic, and is much safer than melee attacks in that respect, especially after 3.6 monster speed changes.


The feature of pounding scuffing engravings on the square beneath the pounder is introduced in NetHack 3.6.0.


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-360}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.