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~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ = +
Q W E R T Y U I O P { } |
q w e r t y u i o p [ ] \
A S D F G H J K L : "
a s d f g h j k l ; '
Z X C V B N M < > ?
z x c v b n m , . /
q w e r t u i o p Alt
a s d f j l Alt
c v n m ? Alt
A C R T O Alt
a c d o p r t [ Ctrl

The search command, which is used by pressing the [s] key, causes you to search the 8 squares surrounding you for secret doors, secret passages, hidden monsters, and hidden traps. It may require several attempts to locate many of these: New characters still have a 22% chance of missing a door after 10 times searching the same spot. Applying a stethoscope instead can speed up things significantly.

Searching will always reveal hidden or invisible monsters which are in any square adjacent to you.

Your chance of success for other forms of searching is primarily dependent on Luck.

Wielding Excalibur improves your chance of finding secret doors and secret corridors based on its enchantment. Wearing any sort of lenses also improves your chance of finding these.

No other factors affect the success rate of searching.

The automatic searching property will cause you to automatically search (just like using the command, except that it does not find monsters) every turn. Some roles can gain this as an intrinsic, and it is granted by wielding Excalibur or wearing a ring of searching.


For source reference, see dosearch0 in detect.c.

Secret Doors and Passages

  • Lenses give a searching bonus of +2 if you are not blind.
  • Excalibur gives a searching bonus equal to its enchantment. (Nothing prevents this from being a penalty if Excalibur is negatively enchanted.)
  • Your bonus cannot exceed 5.
  • You will find a secret door or corridor if rnl(7-bonus) is zero.


  • You will find a trap if rnl(8) is zero.
  • This will activate statue traps (exercising wisdom), and reveal other traps.

Searching Chances

Your chances of searching success based on your current Luck and whether you are using any equipment which aids searching.

Luck Traps Secret Doors/Corridors
Normal Lenses +5 Excalibur
<-2 <0.24% <0.27% <0.38% <0.94%
-2 to 2 12% 14% 20% 50%
3 to 5 25% 28% 40% 99%
6 to 8 37% 42% 59% 99%
9 to 11 49% 56% 78% 99%
12 to 13 61% 70% 98% 99%

To find a given trap or secret door, the number of trials to be 95% certain of success:

Luck Traps Secret Doors/Corridors
Normal Lenses +5 Excalibur
<-2 >1247 >1108 >787 >317
-2 to 2 23.43 19.86 13.43 4.32
3 to 5 10.41 9.12 5.86 1
6 to 8 6.48 5.5 3.36 1
9 to 11 4.45 3.65 1.98 1
12 to 13 3.18 2.49 1 1


Searching in FIQhack functions in a considerably different way than in vanilla NetHack. In FIQhack, searching may detect secret doors, secret passages, and hidden traps up to 5 tiles away. With non-negative luck, searching will always reveal any hidden doors or passages that are adjacent to you, but the effectiveness decreases as the distance from the player increases.

Base search formula: x/20*(2 ^ (distance - 1)) capped at 5 tiles away (x/320, i.e. 1/16 with the base search rate)

x is 20 + Luck + Ring enchantment*5 + 5 with lenses, lower cap is 1, no upper cap.

If this check passes, doors and corridors will always be revealed, meaning at base Luck and no negatively enchanted rings of searching, you will always find secret doors and corridors. Traps must, in addition to this, pass another check -- x/6 -- where x is 1 normally or 2 + Ring enchantments with the extrinsic searching.

Automatic searching no longer always happens. The autosearch rate is 1/3 with the intrinsic, or (3 + net ring enchantment)/6 of the time with the extrinsic. With a ring of searching enchanted to +2 or greater, you will usually detect traps before stepping on them, reducing your need to search manually.

At +3 ring enchantment, you find traps 5/6 of the time when next to it (about 1/2 of the time you'll spot a trap two tiles away, with base luck), 6/6 at +4. Further enchantment only helps you detect hidden and secret things from a greater distance.

Finding hidden monsters work exactly the same as in vanilla. Automatic searching will not help you find hidden monsters, nor will they be revealed further away than next to you.

Note that an object with the searching object property does not gain additional effectiveness from enchantment, but merely grants the automatic searching extrinsic. They do, however, still gain the benefit of having extrinsic automatic searchin rather than intrinsic, meaning it procs more often and finds trap more realibly (searches 3/6 of the time instead of 2/6, and find traps 2/6 of the time rather than 1/6).