From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Score is calculated all throughout the game, and if you have the showscore setting in your rcfile, you can see it on the bottom line at all times. Score also decides if the game considers your character a beginner, receiving less information (a "strange feeling" message) when use-testing things.

Low-score ascensions are generally more prestigious because you got the job done with less effort, although tournaments frequently have awards for both the lowest-scoring and the highest-scoring ascensions.

How score is calculated

The following things contribute to your score:

  • Killing a monster — worth 4 times the monster's experience points
  • Identifying a wand by engraving or zapping — 10 points
    • Non-directional wands always give score
    • Ray-type wands give score if zapped in any direction except yourself, or if engraved with
    • Beam/immediate-type wands give score if zapped up or down, but not in other directions or at a monster engulfing you
    • Breaking wands never gives score
  • Identifying a potion by quaffing — 10 points
    • Lighting a potion of oil identifies it without giving points
  • Identifying a scroll by reading — 10 points
  • Oiling or greasing a squeaky board trap — 9 points
  • Eating a tripe ration when not an orc or carnivorous non-humanoid — 4 points
  • Quaffing from a sink and getting the message "Yuk, this water tastes awful" — 4 points
  • Reading your first novel — 80 points

The first consultation of each type with the Oracle:

  • Minor (if not yet major): 21 points
  • Minor (if already major): 9 points
  • Major (if not yet minor): 210 + (21 * XL) points
  • Major (if already minor): 90 + (9 * XL) points

At the end of the game (via death, ascension or escape):

  • 1 point for each zorkmid more than starting gold (* 90% if game ended in death)
  • 50 * (DL-1) points where DL is the deepest level reached
  • 1000 points for each dungeon level reached beyond 20, to a maximum of 10000 points

If you ascended with your starting alignment, your score so far is multiplied by 2 if you have not permanently converted yourself, or 1.5 if you have (and changed back using a helm of opposite alignment) [1]. Then, if you escaped the dungeon or ascended, you receive points for items in inventory:

And finally, you are given points for adjacent pets equivalent to their total current hit points.

The lowest possible score one can achieve when ascending overall in 3.4.3 is 24400[2] - in 3.6.0 and later versions, the lowest possible score is instead 12200.[3] The lowest score achievable in a given game depends on the Sanctum's depth - see the table below for details.

How to minimize score

Ascending with the minimum possible score is one of the more difficult unofficial conducts. A few people have succeeded at this.

  • Play as a pacifist. Good choices are gnomish healers and elven wizards because of their starting inventories.
  • Levelling up: Quaff a potion of gain level to reach XL 2, at which point it is safe to dally with a foocubus. You will have to formally identify this potion, or see a monster using a non-cursed one, to avoid getting "bonus" score. If you can get one, a wraith corpse is also a viable method of getting to XL 2. Make sure you have an identified, blessed potion of full healing in case you get level drained by a foocubus. As of 3.6.1, a non-cursed potion of restore ability can also restore a lost level, and will not auto-identify.
    • Do not consult the Oracle to level up.
    • Do not #untrap any squeaky board traps, eat tripe rations, or quaff from sinks to regain a single experience points, as this gives score. Kicking, and digging on sinks is okay.
  • Formally identify wands, scrolls and potions before use.
    • Dipping into (un)holy water does not formally identify it, so feel free to bless and curse items as you would usually. Quaffing an uncursed potion of water will give points, however, and must be avoided. Dipping into uncursed potions of water only identifies the potion if it is used up in the process; it is probably best to avoid doing this.
    • Ideally, obtain a spellbook of identify from a wish, prayer, magic marker, polypiling, starting inventory, or random loot. (47% of all dungeons have one in the Mines or above Medusa. Break the Oracle level statues with a pick-axe or a wand of striking.)
    • Finding and identifying a wand of polymorph is the bottleneck if you don't get a spellbook of identify. Temple priests often have the books to polypile. See below.
    • Get a robe from an aligned priest to cast identify reliably. Wizards can use their starting cloak for magic resistance, while other roles should obtain the property from either gray dragon scale mail or an artifact.
    • Your backup is the the scroll of identify. Price-ID it, then formally identify it on a throne. Your quest leader often sits on a throne. Find and bless as many ID scrolls as possible to mass-identify wands, scrolls and potions before use.
  • Scrolls: Price-ID scrolls as you find them. Most will be no use to you until you have a source of identification. It is likely that monsters will identify the scroll of teleportation and scroll of create monster for you relatively early, after which they can be used as needed.
    • 80zm scrolls are of most interest here: the scroll of remove curse will never self-identify on use, and is safe to use. The scroll of enchant armor is the other 80zm scroll, and will not self-identify if you are naked or wearing only dragon scales.[note 1] If you have only one scroll, remember to remove any #name from the scroll before reading to be prompted to re-name it after it has been used up. This may use up a potentially valuable scroll for no benefit though (unless you possess scales you want to turn into DSM), and still does not give you access to armor enchantment, so it is only worthwhile if you have a lot of loot or a critical item such as a bag of holding to uncurse. Alternatively, get a magic marker, #name both 80zm scrolls and write either scroll: this will let you tell the two scrolls apart.
    • The only non-blank 60zm scroll, enchant weapon can also be determined, and safely be used on any weapon whose enchantment is not formally known (e.g. before giving the weapon to a pet).
    • In a pinch, certain scrolls will not self-identify when read while confused. Thus, if you can be sure that a scroll is a scroll of gold detection it can be read while confused to, e.g., pinpoint a suspected polytrap.
  • Wands: You have to rule out the non-directional wands (light, secret door, enlightenment, create monster, wishing) before there are ways to test them without bonus score. Don't engrave until you have additionally identified fire, lightning, and digging.
    • Early intrinsic speed is a valuable trait, and the wand does not give points on formal identification if you zap yourself.
    • 500zm wands need formal identification.
    • 200zm wands: Polymorph is the prize. After monsters identify the wand of create monster for you,[note 2] you can engrave with these. You can formally identify a wand of polymorph by zapping at yourself (preferably with polymorph control), or at an engulfing monster while you are engulfed. Alternatively, give it to a wand-using monster of difficulty less than 5; it will eventually use-identify it for you. Unlike polymorph traps, you do not risk out-of-depth monsters.
    • 175zm wands: If you spend a long time with no source of identification, but have reflection, you may want to let monsters zap 175zm wands at you; hopefully this will give access to a source of permanent engraving. Zapping yourself ignores reflection, and is less preferable until you have all the necessary resistances or can withstand the damage and other effects.
    • 150zm wands are not usually worth sorting through because the wand of enlightenment will auto-identify on engraving, and monsters will neither use it nor be generated carrying it. Nevertheless, having monsters formally identify wands of striking and digging for you is a bonus. Shopkeepers will often have striking and magic missile on their person, which do not give points on self-zapping. But use price-ID in another shop to exclude death and attack wands you cannot yet survive.
  • Potions: Do not #dip into potions without price identifying them first, because you may formally identify the potion of polymorph inadvertently.
    • 50zm: If you (and all monsters around you) are not invisible, it is possible to safely quaff 50zm potions after you rule out the potion of sickness by #dipping a dart, arrow or unicorn horn into it. You can either bless and quaff one of each of the others, or use a delicatessen to determine which potion is see invisible. This is arguably a better way of obtaining this intrinsic than quaffing from fountains or waiting until you are deep enough for stalkers to be generated.
    • 100zm: Once you have identified healing and extra healing by monster use, starting as a healer, etc., you may want to dilute any further 100zm potions. These tend to be junk. However, the 100zm restore ability does not formally identify and can be quaffed once you can tell which it is by process of elimination. This can be useful before you find a unicorn horn or if the potion of restore ability is a smoky potion.
  • Do not ascend with your starting alignment. You can either convert yourself in advance or use a helm of opposite alignment right before offering the Amulet.
  • Before offering the Amulet of Yendor, drop all gold, valuable gems, amulets and artifacts. When you do offer it, make sure any pets are not next to you.

The minimum possible score for an ascension is dependent on the depth of Moloch's Sanctum in the game:

Sanctum depth Minimum score (3.4.3) Minimum score (3.6.X)
45 24400 12200
46 24500 12250
47 24600 12300
48 24700 12350
49 24800 12400
50 24900 12450
51 25000 12500
52 25100 12550
53 25200 12600

Yeti ascended with 24400 points during the 2014 Devnull tournament.

Score value of items

Certain things are worth more than others when completing the game. When the player ascends, his base score is doubled. Because gold is part of this base score, each gold piece is essentially worth two points. Gold has a weight of one unit per 100 pieces. This means that 100 gold, or 200 points weighs one unit, which is the same weight as the least valuable gem.

Each amulet weighs twenty units and, except for the cheap plastic imitation of the Amulet of Yendor, is worth 150 zorkmids. This makes each amulet worth far less than its weight in gold.

It is possible to achieve extremely high score (MAXINT on 64-bit platform) by exploiting bug SC343-8 - "Re-animating a statue containing gold produces too much gold.", as it allows duplicating for an effectively infinite amount of gold.[4] Berry ascended with 9223372036854775807 points during Junethack tournament.


Artifacts weigh more than one unit, so depending on their value, they may or may not be worth more than an equivalent weight in gold. The following chart lists the value of each artifact, its weight, and its value/weight. If the value/weight column is not at least 200, the artifact is worth less than its weight in gold, and, for score purposes, you would be better off carrying gold than that artifact into the End Game.

Artifact Points Weight Points/Weight
The Platinum Yendorian Express Card 17500 1 17500
The Master Key of Thievery 8750 3 2917
The Eyes of the Overworld 6250 3 2083
The Bell of Opening 12500 10[note 3] 1250
The Book of the Dead 25000 20[note 3] 1250
The Candelabrum of Invocation 12500 10[note 3] 1250
Magicbane 8750 10 875
The Heart of Ahriman 6250 10 625
The Eye of the Aethiopica 10000 20 500
Grayswandir 20000 40 500
Stormbringer 20000 40 500
The Longbow of Diana 10000 30 333
The Staff of Aesculapius 12500 40 312
The Magic Mirror of Merlin 3750 13 288
Excalibur 10000 40 250
Vorpal Blade 10000 40 250
The Sceptre of Might 6250 30 208
Mjollnir 10000 50 200
Sting 2000 10 200
The Tsurugi of Muramasa 11250 60 187
Fire Brand 7500 40 187
Frost Brand 7500 40 187
Demonbane 6250 40 156
The Mitre of Holiness 5000 50 100
Sunsword 3750 40 93
Werebane 3750 40 93
Grimtooth 750 10 75
Snickersnee 3000 40 75
Orcrist 5000 70 71
The Orb of Fate 8750 150 58
The Orb of Detection 6250 150 42
Cleaver 3750 120 31
Dragonbane 1250 70 17
Giantslayer 500 40 12
Ogresmasher 500 50 10
Trollsbane 500 120 4

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As of commit ed6b78e2, the Book of the Dead weighs 50 aum instead of 20.


Each gem weighs one unit, so every gem is at least as valuable as its weight in gold. Some gems are worth much more than that.

Gem Value Color
dilithium crystal 4500 white
diamond 4000 white
ruby 3500 red
jacinth 3250 orange
sapphire 3000 blue
black opal 2500 black
emerald 2500 green
turquoise 2000 green, blue
aquamarine 1500 green, blue
citrine 1500 yellow
amber 1000 yellowish brown
topaz 900 yellowish brown
jet 850 black
opal 800 white
chrysoberyl 700 yellow
garnet 700 red
amethyst 600 violet
jasper 500 red
fluorite 400 green, blue, white, violet
jade 300 green
obsidian 200 black
agate 200 orange


  1. Even if the scroll is blessed, reading an enchant armor scroll will never identify it when used on dragon scales even though the enchantment of the resulting DSM is raised.
  2. Alternatively, zap if you are blind and non-telepathic.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Invocation items cannot be held in a bag of holding, so if you have one, they're relatively heavier than items in the bag. They are still more worthwhile than gold for carrying into the endgame.


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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.