Quest.txt format

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quest.txt is a text data file residing in the NetHack source dat-directory. It contains text messages for the quest leaders, nemeses and guardians to say, and other texts related to the quests. It also contains angelic and demonic maledictions.

List of quest messages

Number In-code Name Description
00001 QT_FIRSTTIME The message that is displayed the first time you pass through the magic portal to the quest branch.
00002 QT_NEXTTIME The message that is subsequently displayed each time you reenter the quest branch, until you obtain the quest artifact, or are expelled.
00003 QT_OTHERTIME The message that is displayed if you enter the quest after having failed the alignment test too many times. This is an indication that the next time you meet your quest leader, you will be expelled from the quest and the portal to the branch will disappear.
00005 - 00009 QT_GUARDTALK "5 random things guards say before quest". The five messages that quest guardians can say if #chatted to prior to retrieving the quest artifact.
00010 - 00014 QT_GUARDTALK2 "5 random things guards say after quest". The five messages that quest guardians can say after you have obtained the quest artifact.
00015 QT_FIRSTLEADER This message appears the first time you meet your quest leader. It is followed by a second one indicating if you have permission to embark on the quest, and, if not, the reason for your rejection.
00016 QT_NEXTLEADER Later greetings from your quest leader. As with #00015, this is followed up by a second message indicating whether you are ready to go on the quest or not.
00017 QT_OTHERLEADER This message is not used in the current version of NetHack. It appears to be an alternative to #00016, perhaps used if the player has enough experience but has not passed the alignment test. At present, #00016 is used regardless of the reason for not allowing the player to proceed.
00018 QT_LASTLEADER This is what your quest leader says when you are permanently expelled from the quest for failing the alignment test too many times. It is immediately followed by your expulsion to the Dungeons of Doom and the removal of the portal leading to the quest branch.
00019 QT_BADLEVEL This is what your quest leader says when you are rejected due to inexperience. The quest leader says that you are not experienced enough to face the nemesis, and sends you back to the Dungeons of Doom to continue your training. In some quests the leader is helpful enough to tell you the name of the minimum rank you need (always corresponding to levels 14-17) to embark on the quest.
00020 QT_BADALIGN This is what your quest leader says when you are rejected due to less than pious alignment. Often includes a reference to your starting alignment (lawful/neutral/chaotic) to hint at what monsters you should kill or what actions you can take to reach an acceptable alignment. Following this, you are sent back to the Dungeons of Doom, but the portal to the quest branch is not removed, so you can return and try again.
00021 QT_ASSIGNQUEST This is what your leader says when finally assigning you the quest. One of the longer pieces of text, this tends to provide some backstory to the quest and gives the names of the quest artifact, the quest nemesis, and often the nemesis' in-story place of residence.
00025 - 00034 QT_ENCOURAGE Until you complete the quest, chatting with or standing beside your quest leader will return one of these ten messages. Often these are just for flavor, but sometimes these include hints about how to find or defeat the quest nemesis.
00035 QT_FIRSTLOCATE This message is displayed the first time you reach the intermediate or "locate" level of the quest. Often it just provides flavor, but sometimes it hints at special dangers on the level.
00036 QT_NEXTLOCATE This is the message that is displayed each time you return to the locate level, until the nemesis is killed.
00040 QT_FIRSTACQUIRE This message is displayed the first time you reach the final level of the quest branch, the one on which you first meet the quest nemesis.
00041 QT_NEXTACQUIRE This message is displayed each time you return to the goal level, until the nemesis is killed.
00050 QT_FIRSTNEMESIS This message is displayed the first time you attract the attention of the nemesis, i.e. attack or do something else to wake up the nemesis.
00051 QT_NEXTNEMESIS This message is displayed on the second and third times you meet the nemesis.
00052 QT_OTHERNEMESIS Still later encounters with the nemesis.
00053 QT_NEMWANTSIT If you have somehow obtained the quest artifact without killing the nemesis, this is what the nemesis will say while the item is in your possession.
00060 - 00069 QT_DISCOURAGE "1-10 random maledictive messages" from the quest nemesis. Some of these messages may be displayed as the nemesis attacks you, similar to angelic and demonic maledictions.
00070 QT_GOTIT This message is displayed the first time the artifact enters your possession, whether the nemesis has been destroyed or not.
00080 QT_KILLEDNEM This message is displayed when the nemesis is destroyed.
00081 QT_OFFEREDIT Your quest leader greets you with this message when #chatted to after you obtain the quest artifact. Often this includes a statement that you are permitted to keep the artifact.
00082 QT_OFFEREDIT2 This message is displayed if you throw the quest artifact at your quest leader. The artifact will immediately return to your inventory.
00090 QT_POSTHANKS This is what your quest leader says if #chatted to after acknowledging that you have the artifact and before you have the Amulet. Often this makes reference to your mission to get the Amulet.
00091 QT_HASAMULET This is what your quest leader says if #chatted to while the Amulet is in your possession. Often this includes instructions on how to reach the Astral Plane and offer the Amulet to your deity.

Text Replacement Formatting

The messages can contain special characters that will be replaced at run-time with some other data. For example in a string "Hello, %p" the "%p" would be replaced by the player's name.

Code Explanation
%p Player's name
%c Player's role, eg. "Archeologist"
%r Player's current rank title, eg. for an archeologist it could be "Field Worker"
%R Rank title required to get on the quest.
%s "sister" or "brother"
%S "daughter" or "son"
%l Name of the quest leader
%i Name of the intermediate level, eg. "the Tomb of the Toltec Kings"
%o Name of the quest artifact
%n Name of the quest nemesis
%g Name of the quest guardians
%G "god" or "goddess", depending on player's original alignment
%H Name of the quest home level
%a Player's original alignment
%A Player's current alignment
%d Player's original god
%D Name of the lawful god
%C "chaotic"
%L "lawful"
%N "neutral"
%x "see", or "sense" if player is blind
%Z Name of the first dungeon ("Dungeons of Doom")
%% "%"

The special replacement codes above can be immediately followed by some modifiers. For example "%NC" would show "Neutral" - %N shows normally "neutral", but the modifier C capitalizes the first letter.

Formatting code modifiers
Code Explanation
A Prefix with "A " or "An "
a Prefix with "a " or "an "
C Capitalize the first letter
p Pluralize
P Pluralize and capitalize the first letter
s Append possessive suffix
S Append possessive suffix and capitalize the first letter
t Remove "the " prefix


This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.