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Shopkeepers tend shops. They are relatively tough for low-level characters and therefore excel at preventing shoplifting.

Should a character die in the hands of a shopkeeper, or be killed while there's an angry shopkeeper around, any possible bones files will be generated with the player's grave empty—the possessions are all transported to the store and inherited by the shopkeeper, who must be pacified to safely search the loot.

For chaotic human players, shopkeepers have a strategic value in that they are one of the few sources of human corpses in the early levels, which can be used by chaotic humans to automatically convert an altar.


Shopkeepers are generated with (30 × 1d100 + 1000) zorkmids,[1] a skeleton key, and some or all of the following:

A d4 is rolled and that many items are generated, starting from the beginning of this list.[2]

Jewelers (shopkeepers of ring stores) also get a touchstone.[3]


It is usually best to avoid angering shopkeepers, but there are some ways to kill them easily, even when you have only a low-level character. By killing shopkeepers early in the game, you're able to get a lot of money.

If you have a cloak of magic resistance (by playing a Wizard, for instance) or an amulet of reflection, and you can become invisible inside the shop, the shopkeeper will not leave their position in front of the door while they can't see you. Now you're able to attack the shopkeeper easily with your choice of ranged attacks. Be aware that you might run out of projectiles or charges doing this, and if you are using spells, make sure to have sufficient food, particularly if you are low-level or using force bolt.

If you lack invisibility, you can also dig pits all around the shopkeeper. Shopkeepers won't move into pits, so you are then free to attack them at range. This requires a container to smuggle a pick-axe inside the shop, or bouncing a spell off a wall from outside the shop, since the shopkeeper will try to keep out of direct zapping range. (As an aside, shops sometimes do sell pick-axes and dwarvish mattocks. They are handled just like every other item, except that you cannot carry one into the shop outside a bag, you get a message when un-bagging it, and the shopkeeper will catch any ones you throw in.)

Also, using a scroll of stinking cloud can be very effective, if you can have the cloud cover most or all of the store, and close the door to prevent retaliation. However, cursed scrolls may not do enough damage to kill the shopkeeper. Again, the shopkeeper will stand still as long as they can't see you. The shopkeeper may be able to cure blindness with a potion of healing.

An easy way to kill shopkeepers is to zap them with a wand of polymorph. Often they will polymorph into a weak creature that is unable to zap wands against you. However, they can also polymorph into something that is much, much tougher than a shopkeeper, so keep that in mind. Due to their intrinsic MR, they will resist roughly 50% of the time. Also, a shopkeeper will never respect Elbereth, even while polymorphed into something that normally would. Should you kill a polymorphed shopkeeper, no insult to your deity will occur; thus it is the preferred method for lawful characters.

Shopkeepers are quite vulnerable to death rays, although the rays can still occasionally miss. If you find a wand in a shop with a base price of 500 zorkmids, it is either a wand of death or a wand of wishing. A wand of wishing can be used to wish for a wand of death, so either provides a means to kill the shopkeeper. (Of course, you should always wish for scrolls of charging first if needed, or a magic marker if you have identified the scroll, regardless of whether you need a wand of death.)


The shopkeeper will greet you and has a high tendency to chat with you.


"<Hello>, <playername>! Welcome to <shkname>'s <shoptype>."
You entered the shop for the first time.
"<Hello>, <playername>! Welcome again to <shkname>'s <shoptype>."
You entered a shop that you have been in before.
"<Hello> <playername>! I was looking for <otherplayer>."
This is a bones level, and the shopkeeper was upset with the player who died there.
<shkname> detects your presence. "Invisible customers are not welcome!"
You are invisible, and the shopkeeper blocks the doorway.
"Will you please leave your pick-axe(s)/mattock(s)/digging tools outside?"
You are carrying a pick-axe or dwarvish mattock, and the shopkeeper blocks the doorway. This also identifies broad picks as dwarvish mattocks.[4]
"Will you please leave <your steed> outside?"
You are riding, and the shopkeeper blocks the doorway.
<shkname> asks whether you've seen any untended shops recently.
This shopkeeper does not own any shop. One way to produce this situation is to wish for a shopkeeper statue and then cast stone to flesh on it.[5]

<Hello> is either Hello or Greetings. Knights are greeted instead with Salutations, Samurai with Irasshaimase, Tourists with Aloha, and Valkyries with Velkommen.[6]


"For you, <honorific> lady/sir/creature; only <price> for this <object>."
You picked up an item and were told its price. <honorific> is either good, honored, most gracious or esteemed; if you have killed the Wizard of Yendor or performed the Invocation, the shopkeeper may also refer to you as most renowned and sacred.[7]
"Thank you for shopping in <shkname>'s <shoptype>!"
You just bought one or more items.
"<objectname>, price <price>, an excellent choice/a real bargain/finest quality!"
You #chatted above a single object.
"Fine goods for sale: "
You #chatted over multiple objects. The objects will be displayed in a list, with their individual price at the right.
<shkname> complains about the problem of shoplifting.
You chatted to the shopkeeper, and they had nothing else to talk about. Izchak has some unique dialogue instead.
<shkname> complains that business is bad.
As above, but the shopkeeper has less than 50 gold.
<shkname> says that business is good.
As above, but the shopkeeper has more than 4000 gold.
"You sneaky cad/minx! Get out of here with that pick!
You hid a pick-axe or mattock in a container and carried it into the shop, then took it out.
<shkname> says "You be careful with my <object>"
You wielded <object>.

Izchak's lines

Izchak says: 'These shopping malls give me a headache.'
Izchak says: 'Slow down. Think clearly.'
Izchak says: 'You need to take things one at a time.'
Izchak says: 'I don't like poofy coffee... give me Columbian Supremo.'
Izchak says that getting the devteam's agreement on anything is difficult.
Izchak says that he has noticed those who serve their deity will prosper.
Izchak says: 'Don't try to steal from me - I have friends in high places!'
Izchak says: 'You may well need something from this shop in the future.'
Izchak comments about the Valley of the Dead as being a gateway.
You chatted to Izchak, and he had nothing else to talk about.

When angry

For unprepared characters, it is often best to appease an angry shopkeeper than try to fight. The following messages can give a clue as to the problem:

<shkname> mentions how much he/she dislikes non-paying customers.
You left a shop without paying. You can make payment by throwing money to the shopkeeper.
<shkname> mentions how much he/she dislikes rude customers.
You attacked the shopkeeper or damaged the shop walls or doors. You can pay 1000 zorkmids for a 23 chance of pacifying the shopkeeper.
"For you, scum; only <price> for this <object>."
You picked up an item for sale. The shopkeeper will charge you extra.
<shkname> calms down.
The shopkeeper is peaceful again.
Satisfied, <shkname> suddenly disappears!
The shopkeeper is peaceful again, and instantly disappears back to his or her shop, wherever it was.
<shkname> is after blood, not money! Moreover, you seem to have no money.
An unhappy shopkeeper seeks to be repaid by you, but you have no gold visible.
"Thank you for your contribution to restock this recently plundered shop."
You drop gold in a shop robbed by the previous player on a bones level, allowing you to exit the store.


Messages will appear if you die or #quit while you are inside a shop, or while you are on the same level as an angry shopkeeper.

<shkname> gratefully inherits all your possessions.
You died in the shop while the shopkeeper is peaceful, nothing was stolen, and nothing was owed.[8]
<shkname> (wakes up and) (comes and) takes the <number> zorkmid(s) you owed him/her.
You owed the shopkeeper money but you were outside of the shop (you robbed the shopkeeper), but your purse contained enough gold pieces to compensate the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper takes the amount of the payment, but not anything else.
<shkname> (wakes up and) (comes and) takes all your possessions.
Either the shopkeeper was angry at you, or you owed the shopkeeper more money than you had in your purse, or you owed the shopkeeper money and ended your game inside of that shopkeeper's shop.
<shkname> (wakes up,) looks at your corpse, (shakes his/her head,) and disappears/sighs.
You die within sight of the shopkeeper but outside their shop, but they either had no reason to take your possessions (none of the above cases apply) or possibly another shopkeeper got there first. There is a 50% chance that the shopkeeper shakes their head. A shopkeeper "disappears" back to their shop, or "sighs" if they are already inside their own shop.

A shopkeeper "wakes up" if they were paralyzed or sleeping. They "come" if they were more than two squares away from you.

Shopkeeper names

If you have telepathy, you can tell what type of items a shop sells by the name of its keeper. The names of hardware store shopkeepers are anagrams of the names of the developers. If a shopkeeper name derives from a developer who only worked on certain platforms, that name will only appear on those platforms. Some names available only on exotic platforms are excluded from the tools shopkeeper list below. The light shop in Minetown is always run by Izchak. Lucrezia and Dirk are catch-all names that don't imply any specific shop type.

Shop type Possible shopkeeper names[9]
liquor emporium Njezjin, Tsjernigof, Ossipewsk, Gorlowka, Gomel, Konosja, Weliki Oestjoeg, Syktywkar, Sablja, Narodnaja, Kyzyl, Walbrzych, Swidnica, Klodzko, Raciborz, Gliwice, Brzeg, Krnov, Hradec Kralove, Leuk, Brig, Brienz, Thun, Sarnen, Burglen, Elm, Flims, Vals, Schuls, Zum Loch
second-hand bookstore, rare books Skibbereen, Kanturk, Rath Luirc, Ennistymon, Lahinch, Kinnegad, Lugnaquillia, Enniscorthy, Gweebarra, Kittamagh, Nenagh, Sneem, Ballingeary, Kilgarvan, Cahersiveen,Glenbeigh, Kilmihil, Kiltamagh, Droichead Atha, Inniscrone, Clonegal, Lisnaskea, Culdaff, Dunfanaghy, Inishbofin, Kesh
used armor dealership Demirci, Kalecik, Boyabai, Yildizeli, Gaziantep, Siirt, Akhalataki, Tirebolu, Aksaray, Ermenak, Iskenderun, Kadirli, Siverek, Pervari, Malasgirt, Bayburt, Ayancik, Zonguldak, Balya, Tefenni, Artvin, Kars, Makharadze, Malazgirt, Midyat, Birecik, Kirikkale, Alaca, Polatli, Nallihan
quality apparel and accessories Yr Wyddgrug, Trallwng, Mallwyd, Pontarfynach, Rhaeader, Llandrindod, Llanfair-ym-muallt, Y-Fenni, Maesteg, Rhydaman, Beddgelert, Curig, Llanrwst, Llanerchymedd, Caergybi, Nairn, Turriff, Inverurie, Braemar, Lochnagar, Kerloch, Beinn a Ghlo, Drumnadrochit, Morven, Uist, Storr, Sgurr na Ciche, Cannich, Gairloch, Kyleakin, Dunvegan
jewelers Feyfer, Flugi, Gheel, Havic, Haynin, Hoboken, Imbyze, Juyn, Kinsky, Massis, Matray, Moy, Olycan, Sadelin, Svaving, Tapper, Terwen, Wirix, Ypey, Rastegaisa, Varjag Njarga, Kautekeino, Abisko, Enontekis, Rovaniemi, Avasaksa, Haparanda, Lulea, Gellivare, Oeloe, Kajaani, Fauske
delicatessen Djasinga, Tjibarusa, Tjiwidej, Pengalengan, Bandjar, Parbalingga, Bojolali, Sarangan, Ngebel, Djombang, Ardjawinangun, Berbek, Papar, Baliga, Tjisolok, Siboga, Banjoewangi, Trenggalek, Karangkobar, Njalindoeng, Pasawahan, Pameunpeuk, Patjitan, Kediri, Pemboeang, Tringanoe, Makin, Tipor, Semai, Berhala, Tegal, Samoe
antique weapons outlet Voulgezac, Rouffiac, Lerignac, Touverac, Guizengeard, Melac, Neuvicq, Vanzac, Picq, Urignac, Corignac, Fleac, Lonzac, Vergt, Queyssac, Liorac, Echourgnac, Cazelon, Eypau, Carignan, Monbazillac, Jonzac, Pons, Jumilhac, Fenouilledes, Laguiolet, Saujon, Eymoutiers, Eygurande, Eauze, Labouheyre
hardware store Ymla, Eed-morra, Cubask, Nieb, Bnowr Falr, Sperc, Noskcirdneh, Yawolloh, Hyeghu, Niskal, Trahnil, Htargcm, Enrobwem, Kachzi Rellim, Regien, Donmyar, Yelpur, Nosnehpets, Stewe, Renrut, Senna Hut, Zlaw, Nosalnef, Rewuorb, Rellenk, Yad, Cire Htims, Y-crad, Nenilukah, Corsh, Aned, Dark Eery, Niknar, Lapu, Lechaim, Rebrol-nek, AlliWar Wickson, Oguhmk, Telloc Cyaj, Lexa, Niod, Nhoj-lee, Evad'kh, Ettaw-noj, Tsew-mot, Ydna-s, Yao-hang, Tonbar, Kivenhoug, Llardom
general store Hebiwerie, Possogroenoe, Asidonhopo, Manlobbi, Adjama, Pakka Pakka, Kabalebo, Wonotobo, Akalapi, Sipaliwini, Annootok, Upernavik, Angmagssalik, Aklavik, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, Chicoutimi, Ouiatchouane, Chibougamau, Matagami, Kipawa, Kinojevis, Abitibi, Maganasipi, Akureyri, Kopasker, Budereyri, Akranes, Bordeyri, Holmavik
health food store Ga'er, Zhangmu, Rikaze, Jiangji, Changdu, Linzhi, Shigatse, Gyantse, Ganden, Tsurphu, Lhasa, Tsedong, Drepung, Azura, Blaze, Breanna, Breezy, Dharma, Feather, Jasmine, Luna, Melody, Moonjava, Petal, Rhiannon, Starla, Tranquilla, Windsong, Zennia, Zoe, Zora


In SLASH'EM, shopkeepers also provide very useful services, although they come at a hefty cost. These are identify, uncurse, appraise, weapon-works, armor-works, and charge. Additionally, they have been made far more formidable adversaries. Their base level has been raised to 24, their AC lowered to −6, and they are always generated with a shotgun, shells, a wand of teleportation, and a knife. This makes it quite difficult to make pets attack them; in particular, no domestic animal can be easily raised to a high enough level.

SLASH'EM adds light and pet stores with the following potential shopkeeper names: Zarnesti, Slanic, Nehoiasu, Ludus, Sighisoara, Nisipitu, Razboieni, Bicaz, Dorohoi, Vaslui, Fetesti, Tirgu Neamt, Babadag, Zimnicea, Zlatna, Jiu, Eforie, Mamaia, Silistra, Tulovo, Panagyuritshte, Smolyan, Kirklareli, Pernik, Lom, Haskovo, Dobrinishte, Varvara, Oryahovo, Troyan, Lovech, Sliven.

Encyclopedia entry

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