Silver saber

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) Silver saber.png
Name silver saber
Appearance silver saber
Damage vs. small 1d8+(1d20)
Damage vs. large 1d8+(1d20)
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill saber
Size one-handed
Base price 75 zm
Weight 40
Material silver

A silver saber is a type of weapon that appears in NetHack. It is a one-handed weapon that uses the saber skill, and is made of silver.

The silver saber is the base item for the artifacts Grayswandir and Werebane.

Saber skill

Max Role

The silver saber is the only weapon to use the saber skill.

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.

Per commit 296a3ac2, the scimitar skill is merged into the saber skill, and Barbarians can reach Skilled in saber to maintain consistency with the former scimitar skill.


Silver sabers make up about 0.6% of randomly generated weapons created on the floor, as death drops, or in shops - they can be sold in general stores, used armor dealerships and antique weapon outlets.

Watch captains and Yendorian army captains have a 12 chance of being generated with a silver saber.[1]

In a game with Orcish Town, the orc-captain that acts as leader of the invading horde has a 12 chance of carrying the watch captain's silver saber.[2]

Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have a chance lower than 1% of generating with a silver saber as their initial weapon before role-based replacements.[3]


The silver saber is a respectable weapon in its own right, and is a common secondary choice when #twoweaponing for the bonus damage against silver-hating monsters such as shades, demons, werecreatures, and vampires. Due to their rarity, characters seeking a silver saber often consider killing the watch captain in Minetown if they generate with one - those trying to avoid penalties to alignment record can use a suitably strong pet. Players that do not have a watch captain with a saber or do not wish to take the risk of killing one (indirectly or other one) can search Fort Ludios if they encounter it or head towards the Castle, by which point they may also encounter at least a captain or two.

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Not silver-hating Silver-hating
+0 silver saber \frac{1+8}{2}=\bold{4.5} \frac{1+8}{2}+\frac{1+20}{2}=\bold{15}
+7 silver saber \frac{1+8}{2}+7=\bold{11.5} \frac{1+8}{2}+\frac{1+20}{2}+7=\bold{22}


The silver saber first appears in NetHack 3.1.0, which introduces Grayswandir and changes Werebane's base item from a long sword to a silver saber.


The saber is a curved, single-edged sword with a cross-guard connecting to the pommel (tip of the hilt). It descends from the similar West Asian scimitar, which has a simple cross-guard. The blade of a saber is backward-curved as opposed to the forward curving associated with many similar swords, and was designed for use by mounted cavalry, such as the Central European hussars and the light cavalry of the 16th-to-19th centuries. The saber's cross-guard was improved as the development of firearms made many forms of armor ineffective.


Variants with object materials may change the item's name to simply the saber, and may also change its default material of iron, giving it the possibility of generating as silver. Some variants also add additional weapons that use the saber skill.

In variants that incorporate the Convict role, prison guards have a 12 chance of being generated with a silver saber.


SLASH'EM adds the rapier as a weapon that uses the saber skill.

NetHack brass

In NetHack brass, silver sabers are replaced with iron sabers. Grayswandir retains its silver damage as a unique property of the artifact, rather than an intrinsic property of the base item. The scimitar skill is also merged into the saber skill.


In dNetHack, the silver saber is simply known as a saber, but has a default material of silver and always shows the material's name. dNetHack also adds the rapier, lightsaber, crow-quill and rakuyo as new weapons that use the saber skill. The basic lightsaber is the only one of its weapon type that uses the saber skill, and the rakuyo can be detached into two weapons: a rakuyo-saber form for the main hand, and a rakuyo-dagger for the off-hand.

Several artifacts use the saber skill in some form:

The Air Crystal boosts your skill in sabers by one level while carried.

The spirit Berith grants skill in sabers while bound, and a saber is one of the items that his seal can be drawn around in order to summon him.

Argentum golems have a 112 chance of generating with a silver saber. The Rebel Ringleader, the quest nemesis for the default Noble quest, will always generate with a silver saber.


In xNetHack, sabers have a default material of iron and can generate as silver. Grayswandir and Werebane are still generated as silver sabers.


In EvilHack, sabers have a default material of iron and can generate as silver. Grayswandir and Werebane are still generated as silver sabers.

A saber can be created at a forge by combining a long sword and a scimitar; a fauchard can be created by combining a saber with a spear.


In SlashTHEM, the Mouser's Scalpel and Queen's Guard are artifacts that use the saber skill.

The Rebel Ringleader retains her silver saber and serves as the nemesis for all Nobles.


Hack'EM the rapier from SLASH'EM and the falchion from SpliceHack as weapons that use the saber skill, and merges the scimitar skill (which SpliceHack falchions use) into the saber skill.

Sabers behave as in EvilHack and use the same forging recipes. Upgrading a saber will produce a rapier, and vice versa.

Encyclopedia entry

Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Sab'ring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered:
Plunged in the battery smoke,
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre-stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not--
Not the six hundred.

[ The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson ]


  1. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 205
  2. src/mkmaze.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 760
  3. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 155: 12 to get a random weapon - the designated range of objects covers weapons from the spear to the bullwhip inclusively in objects.c, and uses normal generation odds