Silver dragon scale mail

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[   silver dragon scale mail   Silver dragon scale mail.png
Appearance silver dragon scale mail
Slot body armor
AC 9
Base price 1200 zm
Weight 40
Material dragon hide

Silver dragon scale mail, or SDSM, is a type of body armor that appears in NetHack. It is made of dragon hide like all dragon scale mail.


Silver dragon scale mail is not randomly generated. Reading a non-cursed scroll of enchant armor that targets worn gray dragon scales will convert them into mail, with a blessed scroll adding a point of enchantment.

Player monsters that are not monks generated on the Astral Plane have a 19 chance of generating with gray dragon scale mail as their initial body armor before role-specific replacements[1] - wizards have an effective 14 chance of forcing silverdragon scale mail in place of their initial body armor.[2]


While worn, silver dragon scale mail confers 9 base AC and reflection. Uncontrolled polymorph while wearing silver dragon scale mail will revert them to scales and turn the wearer into a silver dragon.[3][4]


Main article: Dragon scale mail

Silver dragon scale mail is one of the two most coveted types of dragon scale mail, with the other being gray dragon scale mail. Reflection is a fairly rare property outside of artifact sources, naturally making it a good first wish for many characters and a popular item in ascension kits - it is usually combined with a cloak of magic resistance and/or other non-body armor source of magic resistance.

In terms of advantages as a candidate for wishes or ascension kits, silver dragon scale mail keeps the amulet slot open for the amulet of life saving to be worn, and also keeps the shield slot free for twoweaponing or use of either a small shield (which is spellcasting-friendly) or an elven shield (which can generally reach the highest enchantment among shields). Silver dragon mail also completely blocks damage to a character and their inventory from rays produced by wands, some monster spells and breath weapons. While magic resistance is harder to obtain without wishing compared to magic resistance, though an early series of wishes (e.g. usually a lucky wand of wishing) can remove this factor, leaving it more up to a player's desired character build and their character's capabilities.

Perks versus silver DSM

Main article: GDSM versus SDSM

Characters that can twoweapon will lean towards silver dragon scale mail for its ability to keep the shield slot free, while Wizards will almost always default to silver dragon mail due to early access to magic resistance. Reflection is also much harder to obtain via artifact wishing, compared to the plentiful artifact sources of magic resistance available primarily to non-chaotic characters, though chaotic non-Wizards can still wish for Magicbane (if they are willing to deal with blasting damage). Characters in roles with a Quest that is likely to feature a high amount of wands and/or a nemesis with deadly breath attacks may tend towards silver dragon scale mail as well. If a particular build is not that concerned about magic cancellation (e.g. they plan to kill most such monsters before they reach melee range), they may consider silver dragon mail to pair with a cloak of magic resistance.

Relying on body armor for reflection introduces some notable risks: a character that obtains silver dragon scale mail first with no sources of magic resistance is vulnerable to polymorph traps - while a silver dragon is not a particularly bad form to be in, their mail will be reverted to scales at minimum, and risks being destroyed if they run into another polymorph trap in silver dragon form. Reflection protects a character from the wand of death, but does not stop the touch of death spell, which means possible doom if they cannot obtain magic resistance before running into a high-level hostile spellcaster (or a shapeshifter in the form of one). Additionally, while reflection can be obtained through a few non-dragon armor sources, the magic resistance source(s) for a character with SDSM will almost always have to include a cloak of magic resistance: this restricts their ability to improve magic cancellation, and the alternative of relying on an artifact source introduces the risk of a quest artifact being stolen by the Wizard of Yendor, prolonging encounters against him even if the cloak is worn as a backup.

Opting for silver dragon mail early can prevent accidents involving floating eyes, though these can be mitigated with careful play. Monsters that attempt to use wands against you are also likely to be killed by the reflected rays - the wand of death in particular is a more "welcome" discovery to a character in SDSM, and the rebound killing the attacking monster can also preserve wand charges for later use. Though the wand of striking is not blocked by reflection, its damage is not much of a threat against characters with decent HP, and silver dragon mail is likely to raise their AC enough on its own that most of the zaps will miss. Reflection is also a stellar aid against a black dragon's disintegration breath, which can then be further trivialized by eating the dragon's corpse or tin.


Silver dragon scale mail first appears in SLASH 6, and makes its vanilla debut in NetHack 3.3.0.


Main article: Dragon-scaled armor

In some variants, dragon scale mail is phased out in favor of dragon-scaled armor, whose implementation is based on a proposal by dtsund. Instead of being made into mail of its own, dragon scales are treated as a cloak, and reading a scroll of enchant armor melds them onto a worn set of body armor, generally augmenting that armor by adding its AC and conferred extrinsic properties to it. Dragon-scaled armor is implemented in NetHack Fourk, xNetHack, EvilHack, and Hack'EM.

Some variants also give silver dragon scale mail additional properties while worn, and may even introduce other forms of gray dragon scale armor - due to already being a powerful item, they may be less commonly given properties compared to other colors. Variants that implement partial intrinsics and/or object properties may also make other colors of dragon mail more worthwhile.


In SLASH'EM, gnoll shamans have a 110 chance of generating with silver dragon scale mail.[5]

Gnomish characters can use their tinker technique to turn various cloaks into a cloak of magic resistance with enough time, food and patience, which may make silver dragon scale mail more favorable for them early on.


In SporkHack, silver dragon scale mail is one of the few dragon mails to not confer additional properties while worn.


In UnNetHack, dragon scales and dragon scale mail have randomized powers and appearances in each game - to wish for dragon armor or scales by its corresponding power, either type of armor must be formally identified first, e.g. by using a scroll of identify on dropped dragon scales (which identifies the matching scale mail along with it) or by witnessing the dragon use its breath weapon. Only wishes from a wand of wishing can create dragon scale mail directly.

Silver dragon scale mail is effectively replaced by reflecting dragon scale mail, which confers only 5 base AC like all dragon scale mail in UnNetHack.


In dNetHack and notdNetHack, worn silver dragon scale mail does not confer any additional properties, but its reflection additionally affects dragon breath as in NetHack, which most sources of reflection in dNetHack cannot do. Dragon scale mail also weighs 150 aum.

The Platinum Dragon Plate is an unaligned artifact set of silver dragon scale mail that can be obtained from the Platinum Dragon in his fortress, which has a 18 chance of appearing as the topmost floor of the Lawful Quest. While worn, the Platinum Dragon Plate confers fire resistance, cold resistance, shock resistance, disintegration resistance, sleep resistance, free action, magic resistance, and reflection, with all properties capable of affecting dragon breath like typical dragon armor. The Platinum Dragon Plate also weighs 225 aum, which is 32 the weight of normal dragon scale mail, and raises spellcasting failure rates like metal armor does; it can be cancelled to revert them to dragon scales, which can be converted back into dragon scale mail or a dragon scale shield as usual while retaining their artifact status.


In FIQHack, worn silver dragon scale mail confers no additional properties, but provides reflection that affects dragonbreath and rays from wands used at Skilled or higher. It also weighs 300 aum like all dragon scale mail in FIQHack (which is halved while worn).

The November NetHack Tournament

In The November NetHack Tournament, the deathmatch opponent has a 12 chance of generating with silver dragon scale mail if they represent a character that is not a monk and lacks body armor.


In SlashTHEM, in addition to SLASH'EM details, Duri always generates with silver dragon scale mail.


  1. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 156: initial body armor for Astral playermons is random DSM, with equal probability
  2. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 249: 12 for wizards to get specific DSM and 12 to get silver DSM
  3. src/polyself.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 501
  4. src/polyself.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 518
  5. makemon.c in SLASH'EM 0.0.7E7F2, line 719