Yendorian army

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"Sergeant" redirects here. For other uses of the term, see Sergeant (disambiguation).

The Yendorian army is a group of humans encountered in NetHack. According to their encyclopedia entry, they are employed and often trained directly by the Wizard of Yendor himself. The Yendorian army is composed of:

  • @ soldiers
  • @ sergeants
  • @ lieutenants
  • @ captains

All Yendorian Army members are chaotic, are not valid polymorph forms, and can follow the player to other levels; like other humans, they do not respect Elbereth. They have low monster magic resistance, and possess at least one weapon attack per turn; lieutenants and captains are capable of two per turn.


Main article: Mercenary

All members of the army are considered mercenaries, which among other things governs how their starting inventory is generated. All soldiers are eligible for offensive items.

Yendorian army soldiers and sergeants are frequently generated in small groups. Barracks are special rooms populated entirely by mercenaries; very large contingents of soldiers and barracks are guaranteed to appear in the castle and Fort Ludios.


Ordinary soldiers have a 13 chance of being generated with a random weapon from the set of all polearms, plus lances and dwarvish mattocks; if this is the case, they will always get either a knife or a dagger as a secondary weapon, with equal probability.[1] Otherwise, a plain soldier's primary weapon will have be either an ordinary spear or an ordinary short sword with equal probability; these soldiers have a 34 chance of taking a knife as a secondary weapon.

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.

Lances and mattocks no longer generate as starting weapons on watchmen and soldiers.[2]

Higher-ranked soldiers randomly take one of two primary weapons, with equal probability. Sergeants choose either a flail or a mace; lieutenants choose either an ordinary broadsword or a long sword; and captains choose either a long sword or a silver saber. All of these higher-ranked soldiers also have a 34 chance of taking a knife as a secondary weapon.


Each rank of soldier has a particular target AC as follows:

Rank Target AC
soldier 3
sergeant 0
lieutenant −2
captain −3

The game uses a complicated procedure to outfit each mercenary with a selection of armor giving roughly the target AC. Depending on how the dice roll, a soldier might be given less armor or might be given enchanted armor that takes them beyond the target. Each mercenary is generated with one suit of body armor, and will always receive leather armor at bare minimum. All ranks are eligible for ring mail or studded leather armor; sergeants and above are eligible for splint mail or banded mail; and lieutenants and captains are eligible for plate mail or crystal plate mail.

In addition, soldiers of all ranks may be randomly generated with any of the items from the following list:

There is no guarantee that any particular non-body armor slot will be filled; soldiers can be given multiple items for any slot.

Other items

Soldiers of all ranks have a 13 chance of being generated with a K-ration, and an independent 12 chance of being generated with a C-ration. Sergeants and above also have a 13 chance of being generated with a bugle.[3] Ordinary soldiers are only 113th as likely as other monsters to receive a defensive item, miscellaneous item, or gold;[4] other ranks are unaffected.


The usual tactics for handling groups of monsters applies; drawing soldiers into a corridor is effective for both reducing vulnerability and thinning their ranks, especially since they will likely be caught in the path of their allies' attack wands. However, said wands also make them potentially dangerous to face without reflection or magic resistance in later levels, especially Fort Ludios; on the other hand, a strong enough player can also use them as a source of such wands if so desired. As a majority of soldiers normally wear gloves, they can wield footrice corpses against you; be wary of this if you kill one in their presence, especially in Gehennom.

Due to the potential frequency of barracks outside of the guaranteed set in the Castle, soldiers may become extinct in a game where you reach Fort Ludios.

In addition to wands, the armor, weapons and items dropped from killing Yendorian army fighters are a good source of polyfodder and can also replace your own eroded or lower-enchantment armor. In addition, their corpses will keep you carnivorous pet full, and are plentiful food sources; you can stash the C-rations and K-rations for later use, since they take only one turn to eat. Additionally, non-humans and human Cavemen can get half a food ration's worth of nutrition from eating their corpses without worrying about cannibalism.


Yendorian Army soldiers, as well as any monster with the M2_MERC flag in their code, can be bribed by throwing a certain amount of gold at them, turning them peaceful. Bribing a soldier can be used to block off a hallway in areas such as the Castle; hostile monsters will not route their movement past peaceful ones.[5] This can then be used to herd and eliminate groups of monsters with other crowd control strategies—a knight can pound away at foes with a lance without disturbing the peaceful merc between them, and wizards can cast skilled fireball or cone of cold with impunity. This will not stop teleporting or covetous foes, and the soldier can still die from enemy ranged attacks - a human shield won't do much good against a black dragon's disintegration breath.



In SLASH'EM, soldiers always wield firearms of some kind.

Encyclopedia entry

The soldiers of Yendor are well-trained in the art of war, many trained by the Wizard himself. Some say the soldiers are explorers who were unfortunate enough to be captured, and put under the Wizard's spell. Those who have survived encounters with soldiers say they travel together in platoons, and are fierce fighters. Because of the load of their combat gear, however, one can usually run away from them, and doing so is considered a wise thing.


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

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.