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) Scalpel.png
Name scalpel
Appearance scalpel
Damage vs. small 1d3
Damage vs. large 1d3
To-hit bonus +2
Weapon skill knife
Size one-handed
Base price 6 zm
Weight 5
Material metal

A scalpel is a kind of melee weapon. It uses the knife skill, but unlike an actual knife, it is not suitable for throwing—doing so will attract a -2 to-hit penalty rather than a +2 bonus.[1] It does slightly more damage in melee than a regular knife and has a better to-hit bonus, and, being made of metal instead of iron, does not rust.


Scalpels are not randomly generated on the dungeon floor, in shops, or as a death drop.

Healers start with a +0 scalpel, as their "weapon."[2] A scalpel on a bones pile is a good clue that the late adventurer was a Healer.

Player monster healers on the Astral Plane have a small probability (6.25%) of starting with a scalpel as their weapon; they are much more likely to have a quarterstaff, though.[3]


The best strategy regarding the starting scalpel is to find something better as soon as possible, because it is a very poor weapon on par with an orcish dagger. It is worth keeping as a backup weapon against acid blobs and the like until you can rustproof your primary weapon.


Scalpels are a little more useful in SLASH'EM: Healers can use them to cure sickness or sliming, using the surgery technique.

Encyclopaedia entry

A scalpel is a very sharp knife used for surgery ... Merely
touching a medical scalpel with bare hands to test it will
cut through the skin. ... Medical scalpel blades are gradually
curved for greater precision when cutting through tissue.

[ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ]