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The sink is a dungeon feature that appears in NetHack, represented by a hash (#).


Sinks have a varying amount of effects depending on how they are interacted with:

  • Sinks will cause anything in the air above them to "sink" to the floor, be it thrown weapons or your levitating hero. Falling into a sink while levitating will deal up to 25 damage, killing you if you're unlucky.
  • Sitting on a sink will produce the message "Your rump gets wet" with no other effect.
  • Kicking a sink or quaffing from it has its own set of effects - most of them are negative, though there a few notably beneficial ones.
  • Dropping rings into a sink will cause them to be lost down the drain, with a message that enables you to identify the ring. Digging down on a sink will turn it into a (non-magical) fountain.

If there is a sink on the current dungeon level, you will occasionally hear a "gurgling noise" or a "slow drip".


Kicking a sink produces one of several possible effects:

Klunk! The pipes vibrate noisily.
Dexterity is exercised, and this wakes nearby sleeping monsters.
A black ooze gushes up from the drain!
A black pudding is summoned, and dexterity is exercised. This happens once per sink.
The dishwasher returns!
A foocubus of opposite sex to the hero is summoned (or of random sex if the hero is polymorphed into a neuter form); dexterity is exercised. This happens once per sink.
Flupp! Muddy waste pops up from the drain.
You see a ring shining in its midst.
Once per sink, a ring is generated on the sink's square, and dexterity and wisdom are exercised; the latter message is omitted if a ring was already produced this way.
Ouch! That hurts!
You lose up to 5 hit points, abuse dexterity and strength, and possibly end up with a wounded leg.


You can drink from a sink by using the quaff command while standing over it. Upon doing so you get a message hinting at the resulting consequences. The specific message you receive depends on your status and the condition of dungeon monsters.

Chance What came out Effect Condition Message
1120 water No effect. "You take a sip of (very) <hot, warm, cold> water."
"You hear clanking from the pipes..."
"You hear snatches of song from among the sewers..."
you are hallucinating "From the murky drain, a hand reaches up... --oops--"
120 scalding water Lose 1d6 hit points. "You take a sip of scalding hot water."
No effect. you are fire resistant "You take a sip of scalding hot water. It seems quite tasty."
120 a rat A sewer rat is created you can see the created rat "Eek! There's a sewer rat in the sink!"
you cannot see the rat "Eek! There's something squirmy in the sink!"
nothing No effect. sewer rats are genocided or extinct "The sink seems quite dirty."
120 random uncursed potion Same effect as quaffing that potion. you can see "Some <potion appearance> liquid flows from the faucet."
you are blind "Some odd liquid flows from the faucet."
120 random ring A random ring is created, and you exercise wisdom. "You find a ring in the sink!"
dirty water No effect. you already got a ring from this sink "Some dirty water backs up in the drain."
120 nothing The sink becomes a fountain. "The pipes break! Water spurts out!"
120 a water elemental A water elemental is created. "The water moves as though of its own will!"
nothing No effect. water elementals are extinct "The water moves as though of its own will! But it quiets down."
120 hard water You gain one experience point. "Yuk, this water tastes awful."
120 sewer water You vomit. "Gaggg... this tastes like sewage! You vomit."
120 toxic waste You polymorph. "This water contains toxic wastes! You undergo a freakish metamorphosis!"
No effect. You have unchanging "This water contains toxic wastes!"

Identifying rings with a sink

All rings can be identified by dropping them into sinks. The sink will show an effect depending on the type of ring. Rings of searching and slow digestion will never be lost; all other rings will be lost down the drain with 95% probability. Therefore, it is a good idea to test only if you have another ring of the same type as the one being tested, or if you are desperate.

After receiving the message, you will be given the opportunity to name the kind of ring you dropped if you have not already named it. A ring of hunger will also not give you the opportunity if it fails to destroy an item.

Most messages require you to not be blind, and the ring of hunger requires that there be a (preferably worthless) object already on the sink. If these are not the case, you will just get "You hear the ring bouncing down the drain pipe".

Any ring lost in the sink has a 20% chance of ending up buried under the sink square.[1]

Message Type of ring Notes
"You thought your [ring] got lost in the sink, but there it is!" searching Ring is not lost
"The ring is regurgitated!" slow digestion Ring is not lost
"The sink quivers upward for a moment." levitation
"You smell rotten <fruit>." poison resistance
"Static electricity surrounds the sink." shock resistance
"You hear loud noises coming from the drain." conflict
"The water flow seems fixed." sustain ability
"The water flow seems stronger now." gain strength (at least +0)
"The water flow seems weaker now." gain strength (−1 or worse)
"The water flow seems greater now." gain constitution (at least +0)
"The water flow seems lesser now." gain constitution (−1 or worse)
"The water flow hits the drain." increase accuracy (at least +0)
"The water flow misses the drain." increase accuracy (−1 or worse)
"The water's force seems greater now." increase damage (at least +0)
"The water's force seems smaller now." increase damage (−1 or worse)
"Several flies buzz around the sink." meat ring
"Several flies buzz angrily around the sink." aggravate monster

The messages in the following table are only given if you can see:

Message Type of ring Notes
"Suddenly, <item> vanish(es) from the sink!" hunger An item must be on the sink. The message is given for each item that vanishes. Some items may resist, giving no message.[2]
"The faucets flash brightly for a moment." adornment Does not distinguish negative enchantment
"The sink looks as good as new." regeneration
"You don't see anything happen to the sink." invisibility
"You see the ring slide right down the drain!" free action
"You see some air in the sink." see invisible
"The sink seems to blend into the floor for a moment." stealth
"The hot water faucet flashes brightly for a moment." fire resistance
"The cold water faucet flashes brightly for a moment." cold resistance
"The sink looks nothing like a fountain." protection from shape changers
"The sink glows silver for a moment." protection (at least +0)
"The sink glows black for a moment." protection (−1 or worse)
"The sink glows white for a moment." warning
"The sink vanishes." teleportation The sink is teleported to a new location on the same level that is out of sight. "Momentarily" vanishes if the teleportation failed. The ring is always lost unless teleportation fails.[3]
"The sink looks like it is being beamed aboard somewhere." teleport control
"The sink transforms into a {feature}." polymorph The sink is turned into a fountain, throne, altar, or grave with equal probability. The ring is always lost.[4]
"The sink momentarily looks like a regularly erupting geyser." polymorph control


Quaffing from sinks is generally a dangerous gamble without much reward. At best you get a ring, which you could already get by kicking it (which is much safer). At worst, you get a potion of sickness or polymorph into something that will break your armor. The chance of something bad is significantly higher than the chance of something good (look at the chart of possibilities).

On the other hand, kicking sinks is fairly safe provided you're past about experience level 5. Foocubi pose no significant threat and may be beneficial, and black puddings are slow enough that they won't kill you if you move carefully. It's unwise to kick sinks at low experience levels (1–3), since foocubi can cause instadeath through level drain.

Remember that if you plan on eating jewelry, only metal and wood rings are edible. Since you can't get the intrinsics from non-edible rings, you'll only need one to wear if you want that extrinsic; dropping one more down the sink isn't costing you very much.

Ring identification is always safe, if costly, and you only need a single sink to do it. Therefore if you decide to quaff or kick sinks, it's in your best interest to leave at least one undamaged sink for your rings.


Putting on levitation boots while standing on the same square as a sink formerly caused the game to crash; this has been fixed as of NetHack 3.6.3.

The chance to find a ring dropped down the sink in the ground underneath was introduced in NetHack 3.6.1.



In UnNetHack, a sink glows red rather than white when a ring of warning is dropped in.

When quaffing from a sink, the random potion has a 113 chance of being a potion of vampire blood. In addition, potions can now be of any BUC, depending on Luck with the following probabilities:

  • First, there is a 1 in (17 + Luck) chance of the potion being cursed.
  • Then, if it isn't cursed, there is a 1 in (17 − Luck) chance of the potion being blessed.
  • Then, if neither of those happened, the potion is uncursed.

Lucky players might find it more worthwhile to drink from sinks, because the BUC of the random potion is random, and skewed toward blessed with high Luck. Additionally for vampires, the chance of getting a potion of vampire blood can be a large boon. However, it is still a significant gamble.


SLASH'EM has new messages for its new rings.[5] Intelligence- and wisdom-modifying rings cannot be distinguished via sink-dropping.

Message Type of ring Notes
The sink looks groovy. mood ring
You hear loud snores coming from the drain. sleeping Works when blind.
The water flow seems faster now. gain dexterity (at least +0)
The water flow seems slower now. gain dexterity (−1 or worse)
The water flow seems quicker now. gain intelligence or gain wisdom (at least +0)
The water flow seems duller now. gain intelligence or gain wisdom (−1 or worse)

The ring of polymorph and ring of teleportation will not modify the sink in any way.

Slash'EM Extended

Messages for rings added in the Slash'EM Extended variant are on their own page.


In FIQHack, you can retrieve any rings dropped down a sink by destroying the sink and digging a pit on that square.


  1. src/do.c in NetHack 3.6.1, line 510
  2. do.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 324: Balls and chains bound to you will resist, whereas normal objects will resist with 1% chance, artifacts with 99% chance, and unique items and the Amulet of Yendor always.
  3. src/do.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 305
  4. src/do.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 271

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