From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
) 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, only on par with an orcish dagger. Healers however can use the scalpel to train knives, their best ranged weapon choice. In any case, it is worth keeping as a backup weapon against acid blobs and similar corrosive monsters 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 ]


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.1. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-361}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.