The array of weapons, armor, and other items available in NetHack and its variants include many items that are associated with one of the starting races, and may be considered racial equipment. Items may be linked to a specific race because (1) they are described as belonging to (made/used by) that race (e.g. dwarvish and elven mithril-coats) and/or (2) because they are more likely to be part of the starting inventory of monsters and players of that race (e.g. the aklys and crossbow for gnomes) than other pieces of equipment.
Racial equipment is an informal concept in vanilla. In the objects code, there are no variables (besides the object names) that mark items as belonging to any particular race. Racial associations only impact gameplay (1) during character generation, when some roles may receive racial substitutes for standard items (e.g. an elven dagger or orcish dagger instead of a regular dagger), and (2) when firing racial arrows from a racial bow: some races get bonuses (for example, to-hit, damage, or multishot) when using a matching bow and arrows. Apart from this case, there is no in-game incentive to use racial equipment. Players might choose to use items specifically associated with their race out of personal preference, or adherence to an unofficial conduct. A pragmatist, however, would probably ignore racial associations and pick the option with the best properties (often weapons or armor of dwarven or elven craftsmanship).
No items in NetHack are specifically said to be unique to the human race. Perhaps humans make the items that are not specifically described as elven, dwarvish, gnomish, or orcish.
The fact that human craftsmanship in NetHack does not seem worth mentioning might be in keeping with humans' general averageness as a starting race.
Elven weapons are described as "runed" and are made of wood, which is intrinsically rustproof. As a general rule elven armor has lower AC values than its dwarven equivalents, but all types of elven armor can be safely enchanted to +7. With the exception of the mithril coat, all elven armor is non-metal, and susceptible to rotting and fire.
|Dagger||elven dagger||)||runed dagger||1d5 vs. small, 1d3 vs. large|
|Short sword||elven short sword||)||runed short sword||1d8 vs. small, 1d8 vs. large|
|Spear||elven spear||)||runed spear||1d7 vs. small, 1d8 vs. large|
|Broadsword||elven broadsword||)||runed broadsword||1d6+1d4 vs. small, 1d6+1 vs. large|
|Bow||elven bow||)||runed bow||Elves get +1 to-hit, multishot, and damage bonuses|
|Arrow||elven arrow||)||runed arrow||1d7 vs. small, 1d6 vs. large|
|Helm||elven leather helm||[||leather hat||1 AC|
|Body armor||elven mithril-coat||[||pre-identified||5 AC, MC2|
|Shield||elven shield||[||blue and green shield||2 AC|
|Cloak||elven cloak||[||faded pall||1 AC, MC1, stealth|
|Boots||elven boots||[||random appearance||1 AC, stealth|
Other elven items
- Lembas wafers replace the stack of cram rations for Rangers.
- Elven Priests and Wizards start with a nonmagical musical instrument.
Dwarvish armor options generally offer some of the highest base AC values in the game. The dwarvish mithril-coat is inferior only to the iron and crystal plate mails, and dragon scale mail, but its good weight-to-AC ratio gives it an advantage over the plate mails. The dwarvish cloak is a possible exception to the advantages of dwarvish armor, with its base AC of zero. The dwarvish mattock is one of the most powerful non-artifact weapons.
|Short sword||dwarvish short sword||)||broad short sword||1d7 vs. small, 1d8 vs. large|
|Spear||dwarvish spear||)||stout spear||1d8 vs. small, 1d8 vs. large|
|Pick axe||dwarvish mattock||)||broad pick||1d12 vs. small, 1d8+2d6 vs. large|
|Helm||dwarvish iron helm||[||hard hat||2 AC|
|Body armor||dwarvish mithril-coat||[||pre-identified||6 AC, MC2, enchantable to +5|
|Shield||dwarvish roundshield||[||large round shield||2 AC|
|Cloak||dwarvish cloak||[||hooded cloak||0 AC, MC1|
There are no "gnomish" items; however, there are weapons that gnomes are often found carrying:
Gnomish rangers start with a crossbow and bolts instead of the usual bow, which could mean that gnomes prefer this weapon.
In UnNetHack non-player gnomes have a chance of being generated with a candle, especially if on a dark level of the mines. Gnomes in dNetHack may get a "gnomish pointy hat" (which appears as a conical hat) which contains a candle and can be used as a temporary light source.
- Gnomish helm ("little red hat")
- Gnomish suit ("little blue vest")
- Gnomish boots ("little black boots")
These items have a low AC, which is slightly higher for gnomish players.
Orcish armor and weapons are characteristically described as "crude". The base AC of orcish armor is generally one point less than that of its generic equivalent—even studded leather armor is better than an orcish ring mail.
|Dagger||orcish dagger||)||crude dagger||1d3 vs. small, 1d3 vs. large|
|Short sword||orcish short sword||)||crude short sword||1d5 vs. small, 1d8 vs. large|
|Spear||orcish spear||)||crude spear||1d5 vs. small, 1d8 vs. large|
|Bow||orcish bow||)||crude bow||Orcs get +1 multishot bonus when using orcish arrows|
|Arrow||orcish arrow||)||crude arrow||1d5 vs. small, 1d6 vs. large|
|Ring mail||orcish ring mail||[||crude ring mail||2 AC, MC1|
|Chain mail||orcish chain mail||[||crude chain mail||4 AC, MC1|
|Cloak||orcish cloak||[||coarse mantelet||0 AC, MC1|
|Helm||orcish helm||[||iron skull cap||1 AC|
|Shield||[ / [||red-eyed shield / white-handed shield||1 AC|