|Damage vs. small||1d6|
|Damage vs. large||1d6|
|Base price||5 zm|
Quarterstaves make up about 1.1% of randomly generated weapons (on the floor, as death drops, or in shops). Arch-liches have a 2⁄9 chance of being generated with a quarterstaff, but lack any weapon attacks and so will not use it in combat.
Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have a chance slightly lower than 1% of generating with a quarterstaff as their initial weapon before role-based replacements. Healers have a 3⁄4 chance of their initial weapon being made into a quarterstaff, while wizards, including Newt from the Wizard quest, have a 3⁄8 chance for their weapon to be a quarterstaff.
Only quarterstaves use the quarterstaff skill.
The quarterstaff is a more than adequate starting weapon for a Wizard - but at 1d6 damage to small and large monsters, it is much less effective for combat than other two-handed weapons (e.g., a battle-axe or two-handed sword). A Wizard in the early game may still consider enchanting theirs to survive.
The quarterstaff first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.
The Wizard's starting quarterstaff is introduced in NetHack 3.3.0, which merged the influential Wizard Patch against 3.2.X versions into the mainline game; in NetHack 3.2.3 and previous versions, their starting weapon was a +1 athame. This was likely intended to counterbalance their increased power from the redesigned spellcasting system, which allows virtually unlimited casting of spells; it also indirectly nerfed their ability to make a reliably-engraved Elbereth (which can still be done, but requires an appropriate wand and is limited by its charges).
The double lightsaber is a new weapon that uses the quarterstaff skill. SLASH'EM's version of the Lethe patch, SLethe, also adds a silver-capped staff that deals additional damage against silver-hating monsters.
A very burnt quarterstaff can be found along with the corpse of a wizard and a burnt robe on the second level of the Ruins of Moria; this is a clear homage to the wizard Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien's works set in Middle-Earth.
dNetHack adds additional weapons that use the quarterstaff skill:
- The khakkhara does less base damage against large monsters, but is made of silver; khakkharas additionally deal more damage to holy- and unholy-haters (depending on beatitude): the bonus damage is rolled 1d3 times.
- The iron bar does more base damage to small monsters, but is not randomly generated and only appears upon destroying a set of iron bars.
- The double lightsaber is somewhat similar to its appearance in SLASH'EM, and is also known as a double force-blade.
In FIQHack, in addition to improving spellcasting, a cursed quarterstaff that is welded to your hands does not block spellcasting.
In xNetHack, the quarterstaff provides the same benefits as in FIQHack, improving spellcasting success rates and not blocking casting if wielded while cursed. This effect does not stack with other items that provide the same benefit (i.e., the robe and the wand of nothing).
In EvilHack, there are now different spell-enhancing quarterstaves for every school of magic except enchantment spells. These staves boost the cast rates of spells for their respective spell schools, and are designed to make magic more viable for the various casting playstyles that would have had difficulty using them otherwise. The bonus given is a flat +50% spell success chance, applied after all other checks besides the check for body armor.
- Staves of divination are made of wood, and aid in the casting of divination spells while wielded.
- Staves of escape are made of wood, and aid in the casting of escape spells while wielded.
- Staves of healing are made of wood, and aid in the casting of healing spells while wielded.
- Staves of holiness are made of bone, and aid in the casting of clerical spells while wielded.
- Staves of matter are made of mithril, making them lighter compared to the other staves, and aid in the casting of matter spells while wielded.
- Staves of war are made of iron, and aid in the casting of attack spells while wielded. This makes it heavier than its counterparts, but also grants it an extra +d2 to-hit.
- Shimmerstaff is an artifact silver-capped staff and the first guaranteed sacrifice gift for the Bard.
- The Cudgel of Cuthbert is an artifact quarterstaff and the Chevalier quest artifact.
- The Staff of Withering is an artifact quarterstaff and the Lunatic quest artifact.
SlashTHEM also incorporates the Noble role, with the adventuring wizard and his party serving the same roles.
So they stood, each in his place, neither moving a finger's
breadth back, for one good hour, and many blows were given
and received by each in that time, till here and there were
sore bones and bumps, yet neither thought of crying "Enough,"
or seemed likely to fall from off the bridge. Now and then
they stopped to rest, and each thought that he never had seen
in all his life before such a hand at quarterstaff. At last
Robin gave the stranger a blow upon the ribs that made his
jacket smoke like a damp straw thatch in the sun. So shrewd
was the stroke that the stranger came within a hair's breadth
of falling off the bridge; but he regained himself right
quickly, and, by a dexterous blow, gave Robin a crack on the
crown that caused the blood to flow. Then Robin grew mad
with anger, and smote with all his might at the other; but
the stranger warded the blow, and once again thwacked Robin,
and this time so fairly that he fell heels over head into the
water, as the queen pin falls in a game of bowls.
- src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 162
- src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 727
- src/monst.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 1538
- src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 155: 1⁄2 to get a random weapon - the designated range of objects covers weapons from the spear to the bullwhip inclusively in objects.c, and uses normal generation odds
- src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 188
- src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 245
- src/mon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 400
- u_init.c in NetHack 3.3.0, line 161
- u_init.c in NetHack 3.2.0, line 156: no direct source for 3.2.3 on the wiki