Some NetHack variants add many roles of their own, and often change the behaviour of existing roles, substantially changing the information about role difficulty. This page contains the new information.
SLASH'EM has several new roles with varying levels of difficulty. Also, some of the original roles are more or less difficult in SLASH'EM than in vanilla NetHack, due to differences in starting equipment, skills, abilities, and the character of the game. Below is a rough, subjective ordering of difficulty of various SLASH'EM roles, incorporating some stats on ascensions from the SLASH'EM server at slashem.crash-override.net.
|1||Valkyrie||Starts with spear instead of long sword, but still the easiest; Mjollnir much more powerful in SLASH'EM||24%|
|2||Samurai||Fast speed more important in early game where you must flee often; Snickersnee and Excalibur make powerful weapon combo; charged 2x more in shops||13%|
|3||Knight||Start with plate mail, long sword, Str 18/**; much weaker as a spellcaster than in Vanilla||10%|
|4||Monk||Powerful techniques and automatic AC bonuses as level increases||6%|
|5||Yeoman||Two powerful guaranteed sacrifice gifts: Sword of Justice and Reaper||N/A|
|6||Barbarian||Charged 3x more in shops||N/A|
|7||Rogue||Ultra-powerful guaranteed sacrifice gift: Bat from Hell||4%|
|8||Caveman||Gets underground vision but the Sceptre of Might is considerably weaker||N/A|
|9||Wizard||Starts with more but lower-level spells||5%|
|10||Undead Slayer||Slow, weak fighter whose main advantages (drain resistance and immunity to sickness) are less important in early game than late game||N/A|
|11||Ranger||Bows require two hands to wield in SLASH'EM||1%|
|12||Flame Mage||Starts with a hell hound pup and a wand of fire but otherwise far weaker than Wizard||N/A|
|13||Priest||Can now use long swords effectively||N/A|
|14||Ice Mage||Starts with a winter wolf but weaker than either Wizard or Flame Mage||3%|
|15||Necromancer||First sacrifice gift Serpent's Tongue moderately good, otherwise like Undead Slayer with drain resistance and immunity only mattering late in game||N/A|
|16||Archaeologist||Fedora acts as luckstone||N/A|
|17||Healer||First sacrifice gift will not be a weapon||N/A|
|18||Tourist||Starts with more gold and scrolls of magic mapping||N/A|
Note: Ascension rate equals the percentage of games for each role that ended in ascension on slashem.crash-override.net as of Feb. 13, 2013, given that (1) the race was not Doppelganger (too easy) or Vampire/Lycanthrope (too difficult), (2) the player had achieved at least one ascension on the server, and (3) at least 20 qualifying games had been played for that role. N/A indicates a sample size of < 20.
In SLASH'EM, race is often more of a factor than role in determining success. In particular, Doppelgangers are far and away the most powerful race to play, Drow are extremely hardy in early game thanks to their barehanded sleep attack, and Vampires and Lycanthropes are extremely challenging.
|Role||Starting Difficulty||Quest Difficulty||Ascension Difficulty||Notes|
|Archeologist||Normal. The starting +2 bullwhip makes an ok early weapon, the starting pickaxe simplifies exploration and allows early vault access, the starting touchstone allows early identification of valuable stones.||Normal. The Minion of Huhetotl hits quite hard and can cast spells, but he can be warded off.||Normal. Archeologists have no major advantages or disadvantages going into the end game.|
|Anachrononaut||Easy. Good AC and strong weapons make short work of early monsters. Lack of prayer means that mistakes can be fatal, though.||Very Hard. Abundant mind flayers, which can't be genocided due to the nature of the quest. Beware of long-ranged death from mind blasts. Additionally, enemies in the quest tend to use future tech weapons, which are very high damage.||Easy. Future tech complements the standard ascension kit well.|
|Barbarian||Easy. Strong starting weapon and stats makes up for bad AC.||Normal. Thoth Amon's spellcasting can pose a problem to non-magic resistant Barbarians, but his HP is unimpressive and a fast Barbarian can catch him off guard and kill him with the bonus melee attacks.||Easy. The Barbarian's iterative attacks and full BAB gives them nearly unrivaled damage output. The quest artifact is very powerful, providing several necessary resistances and giving unlimited uncurse. MR and reflection are also provided, leaving the armor slots open for something like dNethack's improved crystal plate mail. A fully enchanted crystal plate mail can give 30 AC! (16 base + 14 for enchantment)|
|Binder||Hard. Bad starting weapons, bad AC, lousy stats. Lucky draws for the first three spirits simplify the early game, otherwise progress slowly through the dungeon and let your pet do the bulk of the fighting.||Hard. The Binder needs to convert three temples, and thus have to deal with the three angry aligned priests, which are powerful on their own rights, as well as the minions summoned by the altars. The nemesis himself, Acererak, is a very tough foe with life-draining attacks and spell casting.||Easy. Once a Binder reaches the level cap and unlocks all their spirits, they become extremely powerful. A Binder with Gauntlets of Power and melee spirits bound rivals the Barbarian's damage output.||A Binder's overall power increases strongly with character level, unlike other roles who's overall power depends more on the equipment they find. Orcish Binders almost don't need equipment.|
|Caveperson||Normal. Decent starting weapon and stats makes short work of early enemies.||Hard. The Chromatic Dragon possesses over 500 HP, -20 AC, very damaging attacks and various spells, including summon nasties. She can be warded off with a scroll of scare monster, but even then it can take a very long time before she finally goes down, and during this time the scroll can be destroyed by a stray fire bolt.||Normal. Cavepersons have no major advantages or disadvantages going into the end game.|
|Convict||Hard. Low starting nutrition and bad starting alignment makes early starvation a distinct threat. The heavy iron ball deals a lot of damage but has bad to-hit.||Easy. Warden Arianna's combat power is unimpressive, though the various prison guards and the lava demon around her lair can hit hard.||Normal. Convicts don't become unusually powerful, though the artifacts they pick up on the quest greatly increase their carrying capacity, and allow them to phase through walls, which opens up some unique options.|
|Healer||Hard. Low damage starting weapon, low to-hit due to stats, and bad AC makes melee difficult. No offensive spells or starting ranged weapon makes melee difficult to avoid. Healing spells increase survivability, but low starting food makes starvation a worry.||Hard. There are several dragons in each level, which can pose a problem for Healers lacking a decent weapon. More dangerously, the quest nemesis can wield the artifact against you, but he can be warded off.||Hard. The quest artifact is a good weapon, but is two-handed and thus can be a liability in the lategame. Healers are saddled with a 1/2 BAB, which means they may have trouble hitting things in melee, even at level 30. Finally, they may have trouble casting attack spells, due to their low skill caps in those schools.|
|Knight||Easy. Decent starting weapon and armor. The starting long sword gives easy access to Excalibur.||Hard. There is a unique red dragon on the quest home, and the quest nemesis is a spell casting nymph.||Easy. Their quest artifact lets them cast very damaging magic missile and cone of cold spells. Blessed Excalibur is fine endgame weapon, as is the Rod of Seven Parts.|
|Monk||Easy. Punch all the things. The need to avoid body armor means AC will be bad. The possible starting spells (healing, sleep or protection) all help with greatly increasing early game survivability.||Normal. Master Kaen hits very hard, can cast spells and cannot be warded off with regular wards. Going toe-to-toe against him is usually suicide, so a Monk will need ways to damage him without retaliation. However, a well-enchanted Premium Heart, a means of sleep, and ideally free action can possibly make the quest easier. A triple Gorgoneion on the upstair might help as well.||Normal. Martial arts are only so-so by default, but can be improved through artifacts. Monks are likely to be gifted artifact armor, most of which is quite good.|
|Noble||Normal. Starts with a +2 rapier, but only so-so AC. First Gift is a 2x damage melee weapon.||Hard. The quest nemesis is a team of 4 adventurers, resulting in a surprisingly high damage output.||Normal. The 2x damage First Gift and artifact cloak quest item can help the Noble fill out their ascension kit more easily than normal; however, they don't really increase the Noble's power beyond that of other well-prepared roles.|
|Elven Noble||Easy. AC starts ok and has room to be easily improved. The +2 starting spear makes short work of early enemies. The First Gift is a 2x damage melee weapon. As an Elf, can use Elbereth.||Normal. The quest nemesis is a spell casting wraith with a draining gaze; however, it is able to be warded off.|
|Female Droven Noble||Easy. Very good starting AC, if only so-so weapons (The +2 whip is ok but not great, the crossbow is more powerful but will run out of ammo quickly). First gift is a 2x damage two-handed sliver melee weapon. Light-blindness does make the Gnomish Mines far more dangerous for drow than for other races.||Insanely Hard. Abundant mind flayers, which can't be genocided due to the nature of the quest. Beware of long-ranged death from mind blasts. The nemesis is an Elder Brain, who will absolutely destroy unprepared characters, with powerful mage 'and' divine spells and a '2-square' reaching intelligence-draining attack. It's almost impossible to do without a wand of death for the nemesis, and a crystal helm (which blocks all head tentacle attacks) will help you keep your intelligence.||Normal. The 2x damage First Gift and artifact cloak quest item can help the Noble fill out their ascension kit more easily than normal; however, they don't really increase the Noble's power beyond that of other well-prepared roles.|
|Male Droven Noble||Easy, very similar to default nobles. The +2 starting rapier makes up for only so-so AC. First Gift is a 2x damage melee weapon.||Normal. The quest nemesis can't be warded away, hits hard, and has a disease causing melee attack, but she is not resistant to death rays. She is equipped with both a wand of death and an amulet of life saving.||Normal. The 2x damage First Gift and artifact cloak quest item can help the Noble fill out their ascension kit more easily than normal; however, they don't really increase the Noble's power beyond that of other well-prepared roles.|
|Dwarven Noble||Normal. Decent starting weapon but only so-so AC. As a dwarf, the mines are safer. First gift is good artifact armor, which also confers MR.|
|Priest||Normal. Decent starting weapon, and the ability to know BUC enables easy AC improvement.||Normal. The high volume of undead can be taken care off with turn undead. The nemesis hits quite hard and can cast spells, but he can be warded off.||Normal. The quest artifact is a bit weak, but that can be compensated for without too much trouble. The low skill caps can be troublesome, but Priests are at least a 3/4 BAB role. Priests can also invoke artifacts a bit more frequently than other roles. Priests also always receive the to-hit bonus granted by artifact weapons, even when attacking foes it would not normally apply vs.|
|Pirate||Normal. High starting weapon skill and the flintlock can win most early game fights.||Easy. A Pirate that can survive against the soldiers and skeletal pirates will find no problem fighting Blackbeard's ghost.||Normal. The Pirate's special rules for artifacts constrain them a bit, but their skill caps are fine, their crowning gift is decent, and their quest artifact converts some enemies into weaker pirate enemies. By the end of the game, they should have plenty of artifacts to choose from for their weapons. Getting expert saber is nice, but skilled-expert axe, flail, spear, trident, crossbow, and more means that almost artifact can be used well in the right hands. The sacrifice gift helps you identify these.|
|Rogue||Normal. The starting stack of daggers can be thrown to take out enemies from afar. Furthermore in dNetHack, the daggers can be dipped in the potion of sickness for a very damaging ranged option. Rogues can also have a small stack of daggers coated with paralysis venom (#dip into a potion of paralysis) to deal with more dangerous enemies.||Normal. The Master Assassin is not a threat, however the cruel level design means a Rogue needs to be prepared when entering the quest.||Normal. Rogues have a very damaging attack option in the form of highly enchanted thrown daggers, that can serve as the main weapon during the endgame.|
|Ranger||Normal. The cloak of displacement and bow can help easily avoid and take out early game foes, but the limited supplies of arrows must be managed carefully.||Easy. Scorpius's disease attacks can be mitigated with a unicorn horn, and outside of it he's not very impressive in melee.||Easy. Rangers can fire very damaging volleys of arrows from their quest artifact. Depending on alignment, the quest gift will be a small stack of unbreakable artifact ammo.|
|Gnome Ranger||Normal. The cloak of displacement and crossbow can help easily avoid and take out early game foes, but the limited supplies of bolts must be managed carefully. Gnomes take the quest early, however.||Easy. Gnomes can enter the quest at level 6, and can easily complete the quest at that level. The quest can be reached from the Gnomish Mines by dropping down through any hole. The quest artifact is very powerful.||Easy. The quest artifact is as good as the normal Ranger quest artifact, and helps stretch ammo supplies. The two bolts are each almost as powerful as a full volley from the Longbow.|
|Samurai||Easy. Very good weapons, very good armor.||Normal. Ashikaga Takauji's instakilling attacks pose a very grave threat, but he's not magic resistant and thus should be taken out in one turn with a wand of death.||Normal. The quest artifact is quite good, but is two handed and should be replaced during the lategame.|
|Tourist||Hard. They must rely on their limited supply of darts in order to fix their lack of melee weapons and bad AC. The weapons that they can become somewhat proficient on (unicorn horns and sabers) are also hard to find in the early game.||Easy. The Master of Thieves poses no threat to Tourists that can make it to the quest.||Easy. Tourists have unlimited charging from the quest artifact, and can wish for future tech from the Anachrononaut role. Tourists are, however, a 1/2 BAB role, and therefore can have trouble hitting high AC opponents, so care must still be taken.|
|Troubadour||Hard. No starting weapons (unless you're an orcish troubadour), bad weapon skills and weak AC means they have to rely on buffing pets and have them do the fighting. On the upside, Troubadours gain EXP observing their pets kill enemies. Troubadours can also build up skill with thrown daggers, which helps a lot in this phase of the game.||Normal. Aglaope's main strategy is teleporting you to her, clawing and robbing you before teleporting away to heal. Troubadours possessing teleport control and an engagement ring can chase after her and beat her face in safety, otherwise she can be a very annoying foe. By this point, the Troubadour should probably be using a stack of daggers as their main attack.||Hard. Troubadours' bad weapon skills continue to be a liability in this phase of the game, as as a 1/2 BAB role they may have trouble hitting high AC enemies. By this point their pets are probably very impressive, however. A crystal armored Tulani with an artifact weapon, buffed by your beastmaster skill and your songs, can kill almost anything in the game. The Troubadour may also wish for an Archon or Solar figurine.|
|Valkyrie||Normal. Average weapon, average armor and good stats give them an average early game.||Easy. With fire resistance, the quest level and the nemesis's weapon poses little threat. Flying/levitation is essential to get past the lava pools.||Easy. With all three Valkyrie weapons (Sol Valtiva, Mjollnir, and the Bow of Skadi) Valkyries have access to the three major elemental damage types. They can use Mjollnir and the Bow of Skadi in gehennom, and Sol Valtiva against angels and other non-fire-resistant foes. Lawful Valkyries can also use the Rod of Seven Parts.|
|Wizard||Hard. Low damage starting weapon, low to-hit due to stats, and bad AC makes melee difficult. Force Bolt can easily kill most early game threats, but weak power supply limits its use. Furthermore, most early game AC solutions hamper with spellcasting, so a Wizard looking to improve their AC usually have to give up Force Bolt. Their first gift, Magicbane, is a very decent melee weapon though.||Normal. The Dark One's Flesh to Stone spell can cause delayed instant death, so several lizard corpses/stone to flesh spell is crucial. His other spells can be threatening, but with Magicbane most of them should be nullified.||Easy. With the various attack spells (finger of death, magic missile and fireball/cone of cold) as well as the powerful Wizard-exclusive nameable artifacts, late game Wizards should be able to demolish everything in their way.|
|Incantifier Wizard||Easy. The massive quantities of power make casting spells incredibly easy. Once he is confident, a incantifier wizard can easily clear the mines. Make sure to grab any enchanted items, and stash it for food later. Incantifier wizards can also quickly improve their AC by keeping an eye out for enchanted gear. And make sure to watch your HP, as incantifiers don't naturally regen health.||Easy. Intrinsic magic resistance is nice, and the starting robe is quite useful for casting harder spells later. Keep an eye out for rings with positive extrinsics, and consider eating some to gain it. Rings of regeneration are very useful, as the extra hunger penalty doesn't seem to affect an incantifier For the quests, make sure to bring lizard corpses in addition to acid, to prevent the Dark One's Flesh-to-Stone spell. Lizards provide some resistance versus this, even if you can't eat them.||Easy. Easy permanent intrinsics via ring eating, the Silver Key slows down food consumption massively (energy regen while carried), and the massive mana pool and spellcasting bonus provides easier casts of high-level spells.|
Slash'EM Extended roles
Slash'EM Extended has all of SLASH'EM's roles and also new ones with varying levels of difficulty. So far, the Scientist, Healer, Binder, Korsair, Foxhound Agent, Barbarian and Caveman have been ascended once each, and there are two Monk ascensions.
The role selection menu currently doesn't work with the curses interface. One possible workaround for this is to start the game in tty mode, select your character, save, and then change the configuration file to curses mode.
Acid Mages are the acid-based counterpart of flame/ice/electric mages. They specialize in acid spells, and both they and their starting pet are acid resistant. Starting with a wand of acid, they can blast nasty enemies but unlike flame/electric mages cannot burn permanent Elbereths, making them a bit harder to play.
Activistors start with poor equipment; the main thing they have going for them is the starting charm monster spell. They are also slow and restricted in most weapon skills, but they can advance all spellcasting skills to Expert and eat several types of non-food items. Still, Activistors are a hard role.
Altmer can't get fire/cold/shock resistance, but they're excellent spellcasters that even start with a special form of energy regeneration which stacks on top of other forms of Pw regeneration. If they luck into getting some powerful spells they'll have an easy time overall, and they also get some great intrinsics from leveling up.
Amazons are good archers. Enchanting their arrows and building up some points of luck will be important to prevent arrows from disappearing constantly, but their starting items ensure that they're capable of surviving some dangerous situations. If the Amazon makes it to her quest, some powerful hidden weapons may be claimed, and especially the quest artifact bow with its ability to create ammo will be very useful.
Artists can engrave twice as many characters in a single turn compared to other characters, and with a higher chance of success even when impaired. Their conduct causes alignment penalties if they blank scrolls or break statues though. The artist starts with surprisingly good equipment too, but they're very slow.
Assassins share the rogue's backstab bonuses, and they're also otherwise similar to the rogue but with slightly changed starting equipment.
Augurers start with an extra point of luck, as well as telepathy and telekinesis, but sub-par starting equipment, plus they're slow, making them a harder role.
Bards are a hard role with very weak starting equipment. Their lack of a starting weapon is a problem that should be corrected by finding a suitable weapon ASAP, and their wooden/tin instruments won't be of much use either.
Binders can gain lots of intrinsics and techniques by enhancing their skills, but it will take a while, making the early game very difficult due to the lack of good equipment. However, leveling up may grant a Binder a random spellbook. They may get lucky and receive a useful one.
Bleeders are the dictionary definition of a harder-than-hard role: they take double damage. This applies to just about any source of damage, so they effectively have half the amount of hit points shown on their status bar. Worse, Bleeders randomly lose HP, the random HP loss gradually becomes bigger as time passes, they randomly lose max HP and Pw, and their bad starting equipment means they probably won't be able to rush past the early game quickly to keep the nasty random HP loss at bay. To top it off, the Bleeder quest shows especially malicious design. Bleeders either hurry up and complete their quest as quickly as possible or they will simply die to random HP loss. They will also die if they linger after their quest instead of ascending ASAP, or basically, if they linger at any time, as the HP loss may randomly be higher than their max HP, leading to instadeath.
Bloodseekers heal some hit points whenever they kill a monster, depending on the monster's level. They also start with a wand of fire and occasionally a scroll of teleportation, allowing them to escape from sticky situations more easily.
Bosmer start with a bow and a stack of highly enchanted arrows, so unlike other archer roles they may not have to preserve their ammo until they can build up some luck. The starting poison resistance also helps in the early stages of the game, but their melee options are somewhat limited.
Bullies can steal like a nymph when attacking monsters in melee, allowing them to prevent monsters from using their items so the bully can use them instead. They also start with moderately enchanted gear, but they move at a moderately slow speed, and their starting weapons aren't good either.
Chaos Sorcerors start with a bunch of chaos spells and have a better chance than anyone else to cast them successfully. Their quest also spawns many spellbooks for various chaos spells.
Chevaliers are a fighter/cleric role with the ability to detect the beatitude of objects, bless them every once in a while and use healing and other clerical spells. They also start with an awesome baby dragon pet that can eventually grow up into an adult dragon. Chevaliers have to follow the knightly code of conduct though.
Convicts (which are also playable in UnNetHack, dNetHack or with the Convict patch) are a harder-than-hard role that starts with a heavy iron ball chained to the player, a cursed striped shirt and negative alignment, luck and a high sin counter. Races that would usually be peaceful will be hostile to the Convict. Shopkeepers who see their striped shirt will not allow them into their shop, and watchmen as well as vault guards will attack them on sight.
Cooks can always recognize detrimental food, and even on the off chance they do get sick from food poisoning they have a 50% chance of survival. Plus, cooks are fire resistant and can automatically disarm fire traps by setting them off with a 50% chance. However, their starting knife won't likely take them very far, and they suffer from a lack of decent weapon skills.
Couriers are a harder-than-hard role that hungers extremely rapidly (about 7 extra points of nutrition get used up every other turn), always causes conflict and is slow to boot. They're immune to mind flayer intelligence drain attacks though, and start with a pistol and a knife.
Cruel Abusers start with highly enchanted gear, allowing them to be strong early on both offensive- and defensive-wise, but their real difficulty comes from trying to beat the quest. If the cruel abuser kills their nemesis, their god will become very angry, and even if the player survives the deity's wrath, any newly spawned monsters will most likely be hostile, even if they're of a normally peaceful kind. This means the player should find a way to beat the quest without killing the nemesis monster, which may be very hard to do as the nemesis is a fragile level 1 monster with very little health.
Death Eaters start out slow. Their main strength is spellcasting; they start with several high-level spells and a wand of death as well as an amulet of life saving and a cloak of reflection. If an early nymph shows up and steals some or all of those items, YASD is imminent.
Divers are an experimental role with moderate to high difficulty. They don't particularly excel at anything but don't suffer from serious drawbacks either; their starting equipment includes an oilskin cloak and an amulet of magical breathing among other things. Divers are notable for the ability to reach legendary skill with tridents.
Doll Mistresses start out slow, and their starting equipment isn't exactly good either. However, among their starting items they have a worm tooth that can become a very powerful weapon if a scroll of enchant weapon is found, and the doll mistress also knows the attire charm technique from the beginning. When combined with the Navi race they can even start using it right away, allowing them to gain powerful pets. Furthermore, their big selection of starting food ensures they won't starve early on.
DQ Slimes gain both positive and negative intrinsics from leveling up, and the negative ones are almost impossible to cure, plus they start with no equipment so the early game is very hard. Also, they move at a very slow speed.
Druids are very good at using bows, plus they start out with the spellbooks of charm monster and create familiar and can gain skill in many spell schools. Their possible melee weapon choices are rather limited though.
Drunks benefit from quaffing booze and can always make more, but they also start with a large stack of random potions that may be full healing or other useful types. Other than that they get nothing special, and their starting weapon is particularly crappy, so they'll need to luck into finding good equipment or they'll have a hard time.
Dunmer are yet another archer class that starts with +0 arrows, so they'll probably be better off using their enchanted dagger for a while. They can use some melee techniques after leveling up a few times though, which may help a little.
Electric Mages are the lightning-based counterpart of flame/ice mages. They specialize in shock spells, and both they and their starting pet are shock resistant. Starting with a wand of lightning, they can easily survive the early game by burning a permanent Elbereth in critical situations.
Elementalists start with a bunch of elemental spells and require less mana to cast spells from that school. Their quest also spawns many spellbooks for various elemental spells.
Elphs are basically rangers on steroids, with even bigger multishot bonuses for their starting bow. When combined with the Elf race, they can really do massive damage in a single round of combat, making the early game very easy if the player doesn't unneccesarily waste arrows. Blessing them and enchanting them up with enchant weapon scrolls will make sure they almost never break.
Erdricks start with some moderately useful equipment but also some cursed ones that should be removed quickly. Their intrinsic free action is very useful and might save an ascension kit slot, plus they learn some good techniques from leveling up. However, they're moving at moderately slow speed.
Failed Existences are a harder-than-hard role that starts with heavily cursed equipment and has an automatic 50% failure rate on many actions, including spellcasting, weapon combat and using techniques. Their luck also can't get better than 0, making it much harder to get a good to-hit rating to mitigate the effects of their 50% risk of automissing. And to top it off, they start with slowest movement speed.
Feminists are among the most difficult roles in the game, since they get permanent nasty trap effects from leveling up. What those effects are is pre-determined at game start (chosen from a list), and level draining oneself does not revert them. They also start the game wearing a cursed pair of boots that causes traps to spawn whenever a monster is generated. If the feminist's alignment record is negative, they have a special form of aggravate monster that is rather dangerous. Also, occasionally feminists get hit by the evil artifact effect, forcing them to wear a cursed artifact with downsides.
Fencers specialize in the use of one-handed swords. Of note is that they can advance two-weapon combat to Master, allowing them to deal a lot of damage per round.
Fighters are a melee role with good martial arts skills.
Firefighters should be quite safe early on due to the guaranteed wand of fire which can burn Elbereths, and the scroll of fire is very useful if they run into a green slime with no other way to cure the sliming condition. Their starting stack of water is just waiting for an altar that allows converting it to holy water, so either a dive to Minetown (1 in 3 chance) or an early altar conversion may be viable strategies. The Firefighter's starting axe is not exactly the strongest weapon but they can advance a large variety of other weapon skills as well.
Form Changers are a polymorphitis role that does start with polymorph control, but none of the special effects of the doppelganger/shapeshifter. They also acquire polymorphitis later on, and since their polymorph control has a chance of failing, system shock or ripping valuable armor pieces apart are possible.
Foxhound Agents are telepathic and clairvoyant, which helps while exploring and also allows them to avoid potentially dangerous monsters. Their starting equipment is average, but one of the foxhound agent's weaknesses is their complete lack of spellcasting skills.
Gamers begin with a very high dexterity, basically ensuring they'll rarely miss with their attacks. However, they don't start with any useful equipment.
Gang Scholars have to fight lots of joke monsters, some of which can be rather dangerous. Their deities can occasionally fix bad status effects at random, and are more likely to grant artifacts as sacrifice gifts, plus the deity sometimes responds to the #pray command before the player actually starts to pray, informing them whether it's safe to pray. The gang scholar cannot obtain pets and doesn't start with one. Also, the gang scholar's quest nemesis has almost insurmountable defenses and becomes very dangerous when hurt. A cosmetical effect of playing the gang scholar is that Moloch is renamed to Anna and becomes female.
Gangsters start with a submachine gun and bullets. They also have the very useful create ammo technique that allows them to create new ammo every once in a while, allowing them to shoot enemies with wild abandon. A gangster is good at using daggers, darts and crossbows too, which can be used on weaker foes to conserve ammo for the stronger ones.
Geeks (a role from NhTNG) are very hard to play. They move slowly and don't have a lot of hit points or mana, and their starting electric sword is quite weak too. One of their advantages is that nasty trap effects time out twice as fast.
Gladiators are an experimental role with moderate to high difficulty. They don't particularly excel at anything but don't suffer from serious drawbacks either; their starting equipment includes a shield of reflection though, which might come in handy.
Goffs are constantly high on acid, and they're also very slow so they're very hard to keep alive. The first thing they need to do (unless their player read spoilers) is figuring out what their starting inventory actually is, and even if they find a way to stop the hallucinations (which is possible), their slow movement speed will make the entire game much harder. Finding an item that gives permanent speed (preferably "very fast", e.g. speed boots) should be the Goff's top priority. However, they also need to adhere to the "anorexia conduct" that puts restrictions on eating, and if that wasn't enough, they're also permanently vampiric meaning they can only drain fresh blood from corpses. This means that unless they find a ring of slow digestion, they'll constantly be low on food.
Graduates are basically a weaker version of the Geek, starting with useless wacky equipment and none of the intrinsics that make the Geek worth playing. They're also slow, but at least they have a camera that can be used to shoo away dangerous opponents. For a Graduate, the duration of nasty trap effects is quartered.
Gunners start with lots of guns and ammo, plus the ability to make more by using the create ammo technique, but if they try to melee monsters with anything that isn't a dagger, knife or firearm, they not only tax their alignment but suffer from a massive to-hit penalty too. This basically forces them to use only those types of weapons, and if they run out of bullets and don't have an enchanted dagger or knife yet, they're screwed.
Intel Scribes are a slow role that starts with a magic marker and several blank scrolls, but apart from that they're quite weak.
Jedis (also available with the Jedi patch for SLASH'EM) use lightsabers and have techniques to recharge them, move objects from a distance and do jumps. They can't get proficient at most other types of weapons though, and they either run out of lightsaber energy often or have to waste a turn every time a monster shows up to turn their saber back on.
Jesters get a +3 damage bonus for using a rubber hose, which they also start with but later on they should switch to a real weapon. Their large amount of starting gems may be used to build up luck early on if a unicorn can be found, but occasionally some gems may be generated with high enchantments, making slings a possible weapon choice. However, sometimes one of the starting gems will be a cursed loadstone, and to top it off, jesters are also a slow-moving role.
Justice Keepers are highly experimental characters that move moderately slowly; they don't start with a lot of equipment, but the ones they do get are well-enchanted. The Justice Keeper can reach grand master skill with lances and master skill in riding, making jousting a viable tactic.
Korsairs are an experimental role with moderate to high difficulty. They don't particularly excel at anything but don't suffer from serious drawbacks either; their starting equipment includes an amulet of magical breathing as well as a good stack of daggers. Korsairs can reach legendary skill with firearms.
Kurwas are harder than hard with their cursed starting equipment, crappy skill set, and the fact that they receive specific intrinsic nasty trap effects from leveling up. On top of that, claw attacks will also paralyze them for one turn, even while already paralyzed, which can cause chain paralysis. Also, the randomized appearances from items will re-shuffle every once in a while. Some armor pieces can have dangerous randomized appearances and there will be no warning if a player's equipped stuff suddenly gets such an appearance. However, the #chat command can be used to have sex with intelligent humanoid monsters.
Ladiesmen will cancel foocubi less often and have a high chance of not paying them after an encounter, plus they can "seduce" nymphs, nurses and succubi by chatting to them, sometimes taming them. If that fails, they can still use the attire charm technique to tame any intelligent human(oid), and they start with quite some gold. Their downsides are that they may never as much as hit, let alone kill an intelligent female being, plus they're moving at slowest speed, making it much harder to escape from fast monsters.
Librarians are capable of successfully reading cursed spellbooks, plus they can identify items more easily by using the research technique and start writing scrolls once they recharge their empty magic marker. The downsides are a slightly slower movement speed and a complete lack of weapon skills, making the librarian a very hard-to-play role.
Locksmiths start the game with no weapon and no armor, and their (un)locking tools and wands won't help much in an actual combat situation so they need to turn up useful equipment quickly or they won't stand a chance. They're likely to have to rely on their starting pet for quite some time and engrave Elbereth often.
Lunatics are a role-specific version of the Lycanthrope race; their wereform is randomly determined at the start of the game, but otherwise most of the Lycanthrope's quirks apply. So the player either has to find a way to control their random transformations or accept not always being able to wear/wield armor and weapons. Unlike characters who catch lycanthropy from being bit by a werecreature, their wereforms do more damage if the player's experience level is higher though.
Mahou Shoujo always aggravate monsters and start out slow, but to make up for it, they also start with magic resistance and gain both teleport control and polymorph control by leveling up. Their real strength is spellcasting though. A Mahou Shoujo can always perform hungerless casting, their spell memory will last for a much longer time and all spells only cost half the usual amount of mana. The only disadvantage to this is that mahou shoujo always announce their spells, waking up monsters close by whenever they cast.
Mediums cast spells but also use silver weapons to slay demons and vampires. They can use telekinesis, and will gain lots of Pw from leveling up.
Midgets are similar to dwarves, starting with a very damaging dwarvish mattock and some robust dwarven armor including a mithril coat. They also gain access to some of the intrinsics and techniques that racial dwarves get.
Murderers are a harder-than-hard role that starts with a cursed two-handed weapon and lots of other cursed items. They need to get rid of as many cursed equipment as possible, and do so quickly, since some of those items have crippling negative effects.
Musicians can use their magic harp to try to tame dangerous monsters, and their other instruments (including a drum of earthquake) may also be useful at times. They don't start with an actual weapon though, so they should try to find one quickly. If they manage to get surrounded by several strong monsters and tame them all at once with their harp they may be quite able to survive the early game.
Mystics begin the game with randomized intrinsics and items. Whenever they level up, they may also learn a random technique. A Mystic may enhance any weapon or spellcasting skill to Expert level.
Ninjas are similar to Rogues but with considerably worse starting items, so their early game won't exactly be easy. They get some useful intrinsics from leveling up though.
Nuclear Physicists are well-rounded and have both the contamination resistance intrinsic as well as the decontamination technique available from the beginning.
Occult Masters start with a bunch of occult spells and are hit by backlash less often when casting them. Their quest also spawns many spellbooks for various occult spells.
Officers start with a pistol and some useful wands, which can be "doubled" by their starting pet that starts with the same items and immediately drops them on their first turn. This allows the Officer to dual-wield pistols from the start and gun down any dangerous enemies with the downside of doing crappy melee damage. Still, it's probably better than whacking enemies with a club that doesn't do any meaningful damage either, and may allow the Officer to survive long enough to find another useful weapon. Dual-wielding with a pistol in main hand and a strong melee weapon (e.g. silver saber) in the other hand enables the player to do well in both melee and ranged combat without having to switch weapons.
Ordinators will have an easy early game thanks to the big amount of highly enchanted starting weapons in their inventory; their hit points aren't great though, and they lack armor, plus every stat other than strength starts out very low. This means that the Ordinator will have to kill enemies quickly since if he doesn't, they will quickly overwhelm him. If the Ordinator gets their quest artifact, their offense will be improved even more; the artifact tsurugi always starts out +6 and grants +8 to-hit as well as +4 damage. Keep a potion of holy water in open inventory to be able to uncurse it though, in case an enemy spellcaster curses it!
Otaku are similar to tourists, which means shopkeepers will rip them off and they start with lots of food and gold, but also a katana and some useful weapon skills. The early game is therefore likely to be relatively easy for them.
Paladins are basically enhanced knights who also get undead warning and demon warning, but their code of conduct is much harsher, giving larger penalties than the knight conduct. Attacking Izchak will cause instant death at the hands of the player's deity. However, the paladin's starting equipment is also better than the knight's, and they have a higher chance of successfully casting difficult spells.
Pickpockets will aggravate monsters whenever their alignment record is negative, but their melee attacks can steal gold from monsters and all traps only have a 50% chance of triggering if a pickpocket steps on them. They start with some gold and stacks of daggers and knives.
Pirates (also available in DNetHack) specialize in one-handed weapons and firearms; they have the ability to swim. However, their hit point and mana totals are usually pitiful, making them hard to play.
Poison Mages start the game with poison-related spellbooks and wands, plus they are innately poison resistant. Combining this role with the Poisoner race can result in instadeath before you've moved, due to the starting poisonous cloak and the fact that the poisoner race overrides poison resistance.
Pokemon are bad at using weapons, and they don't start with spells. A viable strategy would be to dig down to the Oracle and smash the statues in hope of finding spellbooks; they may also be combined with a race that gets unarmed damage bonuses and fight hand to hand. Pokemon can throw poke balls at random monsters for a chance of turning them into pets; if the monster has the "petty" string in their name, the ball will always work.
Politicians are capable of sometimes taming soldiers by bribing them, and they sometimes receive extra gold when offering a corpse on an altar, but they don't gain alignment points for killing monsters. Also, they start with absolutely no weapon or spellcasting skills at all; instead, they come to the dungeon with lots of money and a bag of holding.
Prostitutes are relatively weak in combat, but they can #chat to intelligent monsters to have sex, which will cause the player to gain money instead of paying some. However, this prevents the chat command from interacting with the NPC in other ways, which means that divine protection cannot be bought. Also, claw attacks will paralyze the player, even while already paralyzed, which can cause chain paralysis.
Psions are glass cannons with lots of techniques and intrinsics; leveling up enough allows them to detect monsters permanently, which is a huge boon considering that warning and telepathy have been nerfed in Slash'EM Extended. Their single-digit starting HP aren't going to improve much from leveling up though, so nurse dancing or full healing potions are probably required if a Psion is supposed to survive the later parts of the game.
Ringseekers are a role version of the hobbit race, which means they excel at using slings and also gain hobbit-themed intrinsics and techniques. Their skill selection is rather restricted though.
Rockers are lithivores with petrification resistance. This would make them an excellent YASD-proof character were it not for the fact that they start out slow, and they also have a very hard quest to beat. They can repeatedly produce cockatrice eggs from thin air to use on enemies though.
Sages are basically wizards that start with a mace instead of a staff; they're even more likely than wizards to successfully write unknown scrolls, but they don't receive some of the wizard's other benefits.
Saiyan are similar to monks but weaker in many aspects; one of their advantages is a wider variety of weapon skills, but they don't get intrinsics from leveling up.
Scientists start out with a chemistry set, a spellbook of chemistry and some bottles; they also know all potions that exist in the game, so they'll be able to make any potion they want, including invulnerability. Their highly enchanted starting armor might keep them safe for some time but their offensive options kind of suck; finding a good weapon early will be important.
Shapeshifters can #youpoly at will, and they start with semi-polymorph control allowing them to change into forms at will. Later they will gain full polymorph control which makes the polymorphs work when changing into a high-level form, too. Combining this role with a polymorphitis race can be very useful as it allows the player to control their polymorphs (to a certain degree) even if the race would normally prevent that.
Slave Masters have a chance of starting with items that can be used in conjunction with pets, but generally they're very underwhelming. About the only thing they really have going for them is they gain teleport control by leveling up.
Spacewars fighters start out woefully underequipped, but they also get a lot of money so they might be able to buy what they need. They suffer from a relative lack of ranged options though, and their quest can be annoying. This is especially true if they allow their quest nemesis to banish them to the depths of Gehennom, possibly even right into Demogorgon's lair. However, with good preparation the Spacewars Fighter quest isn't too hard to beat.
Supermarket Cashiers are a slow role that starts with teleportitis, which they won't be able to control unless they level up a lot of times or find a source of teleport control. They start with some gold though, and at experience level 18 they also learn the martial arts techniques.
Thalmor are a kind of battlemage class that gets solid stats, starting equipment and intrinsics. They also start with a useful pet that may make the early game quite easy.
Topmodels are relatively good fighters that start out with a rifle, but bullets may be hard to come by. They also get lots of great intrinsics at the start of the game, including flying, unbreathing, warning and more. Additionally, the Topmodel may use the attire charm technique to convert intelligent human(oid)s into pets. However, Topmodels are the slowest role of all, also all of their powers are lost if they take off or lose their high heels, and they need to follow the "anorexia conduct" or they will suffer from negative effects including, but not limited to, vomiting, food poisoning, stat point loss, negative alignment record and eventually being unable to pray safely. Topmodels also face some of the most obnoxious random monsters ever in their quest, and their nemesis commands armies of nasty monsters too.
Tracers receive random artifacts over time, and their starting skills and skill caps are quite random.
Transsylvanians are a harder-than-hard role that starts with heavily cursed equipment. Their items will gradually curse themselves, and the starting footwear causes hallucination and a random nasty effect. However, while wielding "hammer shoes" (which they also start with) they resist hallucinations. It is imperative for transsylvanians to wear high heels at all times since they move at half speed if they don't, and they're already a slow role so this will make them really slow! They can use the attire charm technique to acquire pets, however they will also run into random boss monsters more often.
Transvestites excel at fighting with weapons that use the hammer skill. They should wear high heels at all times for extra speed; if they don't, they will be slow and have a hard time overall. Also, the attire charm technique may be used to turn any adjacent human or humanoid monster (except uniques, quest nemeses and shopkeepers, but including things like gnomes or orcs) into pets. The transvestite starts with a saddle and has increased chances of successfully mounting a steed.
Twelphs are dark elves, starting with droven equipment that also gets bonuses to hit, multishot or AC when worn by a twelph. They can fire lots of dark elven arrows from their dark elven bow, cutting down even the strongest foes in a few volleys, and so they make great archers.
Unbelievers are completely unable to cast spells, but they make up for it with innate magic resistance, and monsters cannot cast spells either. They also cannot pray to the gods, and cannot offer corpses on altars. Unbelievers are good at melee and have some ranged weapon skills as well.
Undertakers begin the game with a useless scalpel that should be ditched for a real melee weapon, and they can turn undead both by using the technique and zapping the wand of undead turning so they may sometimes resurrect a fallen pet. Unless they luck into good equipment, they'll probably need to use pets in order to survive the early game.
Wandkeepers are slow but start with a lot of wands, always see how many charges they have, and also resist fire, cold, shock and sleep, plus they get a bunch of other useful intrinsics from leveling up.
Warriors are great at using melee weapons and good at ranged combat too, but they can't learn any spellcasting skills. The warrior starts with a saddled green nightmare steed. Their main difficulty is beating the Quest, thanks to their nemesis basically being a Master Kaen on steroids. If you used to have difficulty beating Master Kaen, the Archnemesis will probably be next to impossible to defeat.
Wild Talents start with a very randomized inventory and random skills, not necessarily the ones for their starting items. Their quest artifact is a random melee weapon, and they can gain random intrinsics (25% chance) when leveling up. Like Zyborgs, they may get random talents when they level up. (20% chance per level)
YSexymates move at slowest speed, and they only have access to a select few skills. But they are one of very few characters that gain access to both the poke ball and attire charm techniques at once, and their starting pair of feminine pumps is guaranteed to be +7 which, in combination with the ability to reach expert skill in martial arts, allows the YSexymate to make short work of early game monsters. They will have a hard time with dragons and other thick-skinned opponents, though their starting pet is also very strong, dealing up to 32 unarmed damage per round.
Zookeepers start with three blessed scrolls of taming, allowing them to turn dangerous monsters into pets. They also get tripe rations and leashes which further aids them in gaining and maintaining pets, but unless they randomly find a magic marker and a way to blank scrolls, their taming scrolls will only last so long, so the player should make the most out of them. Confusion may allow the scrolls to tame a much bigger amount of monsters, turning them against the ones that resist. Other than that, the starting bullwhip should be discarded as soon as a real weapon appears, and the zookeeper also needs to find some armor if he wants to survive.
Zyborgs are an easy to play role suitable for beginners, with good armor and access to all skills, including martial arts at grand master skill level. They even get random techniques from leveling up, and they are also metallivores, greatly reducing the risk of early starvation. Zyborgs are moderately slow though, and they also have a very hard quest to beat. The quest artifact has a chance of beheading monsters with a head, and it can also be picked up by intelligent monsters and used against the player.