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A picture of dragons surrounding a Dragonmaster in SpliceHack.

SpliceHack is a variant of NetHack 3.6.x developed by AntiGulp. SpliceHack aims to be a kitchen sink variant that maintains similar balance to vanilla and offers a large selection of quality of life features.

The main goals of SpliceHack are as follows:

  • Add many new monsters, items, and other features in order to make the game more dynamic and interesting.
  • Maintain a healthy balance that is challenging, but still fun to play.
  • Create a more interesting endgame and ascension.
  • Make changes intuitive enough that a player used to playing vanilla NetHack can learn to play SpliceHack with little difficulty.
  • Pull in changes from vanilla NetHack if they are compatible.

How to play SpliceHack

  • If one is familiar with vanilla NetHack, SpliceHack plays extremely similarly. New players are highly recommended to check out the list of new roles and races and the very short SpliceHack Strategy Guide.
  • Online: SpliceHack v0.5.0 is hosted online on hardfought. In order to play, ssh into hardfought, as described in the link.
  • Offline: The development version of SpliceHack can be compiled on unix systems using the source on github.
  • SpliceHack can be compiled and played in tiles mode. Eventually, a compiled tiles binary will be released for those who do not want to or do not know how to compile the game themselves.

Object Materials

  • SpliceHack ported the object materials code from XNetHack, details about which can be found on that variant's main page.

New Monsters, Items, Roles, and Races

New Roleplay and Challenge Mode Options

SpliceHack contains many new challenge modes. All of these can be toggled manually inside of the options file.

  • Intrinsicswap: Gaining a resistance other than poison resistance through food will cause you to lose your other resistances. Originally intended as an experimental balancing option, this is now a very challenging alternative gameplay mode.
  • Deaf: A roleplay option and conduct that allows you to play a deaf character.
  • Hallucinating: A roleplay option and conduct that allows you to play a permanently hallucinating character. Using an artifact to gain hallucination resistance will break this, as will drinking a potion of sickness.
  • Clumsy: A roleplay option and conduct that allows you to play a permanently fumbling character. Probably not terribly hard to ascend with, just very frustrating.
  • Illfated: A challenge mode where the dungeon difficulty is automatically upped by 50.
  • Marathon: A challenge mode where you start with 999 HP, but cannot heal or otherwise regenerate hit points.

Quality of Life Changes

  • Looking at monsters now tells you what weapon they are wielding, and whether they are armored. To avoid nerfing wands of probing, the type of armor is not indicated. Looking up a monster provides you with a list of their resistances, attacks, and other statistics (ported from xnethack and expanded on).
  • Branch staircases are colored yellow (ported from xnethack).
  • Altars are colored based on alignment (ported from xnethack).
  • SpliceHack uses a heavily modified version of L's colored walls and floors patch.
  • Tigers now are colored orange, in order to make room for lions, which are colored yellow.
  • The Curses patch by Tangles has been implemented, so you can now play in curses mode.
  • Horned devils are now yellow to make room for dust devils, which are brown.
  • #give can be used to give items to your pet or peaceful monsters, putting the items directly in their inventory. This should streamline the process of trying to get pets to take something.
  • The hilite_hidden_stairs option highlights stairs with objects on top of them (ported from NAO 3.4.3)
  • Paranoid trap and swim confirmation (ported from xnethack)
  • Peaceful monsters can be displaced (ported from xnethack)
  • The vibrating square can be teleported onto directly.
  • Artifact wishing is based on the number of artifacts wished for, not generated, preventing the increased number of artifacts from nerfing artifact wishing.
  • Deadly poison no longer instantly kills you, but instead will cause both HP and attribute damage.

Monster and Player Symmetry

  • Monsters now use a wider variety of items, including (but not limited to) applying figurines, throwing potions of hallucination, and playing instruments.
  • Monsters are capable of making wishes from smokey potions.
  • Monsters are capable of riding other monsters. The movement speed of the rider is not changed based on the steed. Currently, only headless horsemen and the Riders use steeds.
  • Monsters that eat corpses can gain intrinsics, just like the player does. This makes keeping a pet around much more worthwhile than in vanilla.
  • Monsters are capable of gaining displacement, jumping, and water walking from items.

New Damage Types

  • Sonic damage can destroy any type of glass or gemstone item, and gaining resistance to it is extremely difficult. It can be resisted if one is deafened, however, making deafness on demand an important part of SpliceHack.
  • Psionic (or psychic) damage cannot be reflected, but will only affect things that are not mindless. It is hard to come by resistance to psionic damage, but very few monsters can cause it.

Dungeon Changes

  • Trees generate randomly in the dungeon.
  • Gehennom's structure is slightly different, and will likely be overhauled in the future.
  • Furnaces will spawn in the dungeon. Useful for getting rid of items you don't want lying around, and for dipping lavaproof items in for possible effects.
  • Statuary: This level contains a large number of statues and statue traps. One of the statues has a wand of wonder inside.
  • Beast den: A new special room which contains a number of wild animals.
  • Archery Shops: A new shop type that sells arrows and bows.
  • Junk Shops: A new shop type that functions as a general store, but a large selection of what they sell is useless.
  • Mephisto's Lair: This Gehennom level is the lair of Mephisto.
  • Malcanthet's Lair: This Gehennom level is the lair of Malcanthet.
  • Mysterious Laboratory: This special level is home to mind flayers, amalgamations, and the Ancient Brain, but is an excellent source of spellbooks.
  • Ice Wastes: This special level is full of ice and ice-themed monsters, patrolled by the Failure Eidolon. Loot includes a guaranteed pair of earmuffs and a powerful orb.
  • Additional Castle and Ludios Variants: Paxed's patches for additional Knox and Castle levels have been implemented, resulting in a large number of possible variants for both the Castle and Fort Ludios.
  • The Black Market has been ported from Unnethack.

Ascension Run Changes

The endgame of SpliceHack is much more hectic than vanilla. Although the mysterious force is no longer an issue, many other obstacles stand in your way as you ascend through the dungeon with the Amulet:

  • The Amulet of Yendor (thankfully) no longer causes mysterious force when trying to climb up stairs, but it prevents all forms of teleportation.
  • While you have the amulet, leprechauns are generated awake.
  • Upon performing the invocation ritual, all demon princes and demon lords that have not yet been generated or been slain will instantly teleport to random levels with the dungeon, including SpliceHack-specific demons. This means that one will almost definitely encounter Demogorgon in the course of ascension. Fortunately, unique demons spawned this way are not covetous.
  • The Planes are largely unchanged, although a few SpliceHack-specific monsters are guaranteed to spawn, such as a marid in the Plane of Water.
  • The Astral Plane is populated by more player monsters than in vanilla. Due to the increased number of artifacts, it is more likely than in vanilla that you will encounter player monsters with artifact weapons.
  • All player monsters are capable of stealing the amulet from you. If they succeed in stealing it, they will flee. Should a monster manage to make it to a coaligned high altar with the amulet, they will sacrifice it, causing you to lose the game.

Miscelaneous Changes

  • SpliceHack Tip of the Day will tell you about new features.
  • Quest entry level dropped to 10.
  • Riders carry their appropriate implements, and resurrect with special messages.
  • Zombies moan, groan, and talk about brains, as opposed to being silent.
  • Monks occasionally get martial arts messages when fighting bare-handed.
  • Engraving in the Plane of Fire will mention that you are engraving in obsidian.
  • Probing certain non-unique monsters will tell you their name.
  • Monsters are now capable of sacrificing corpses on altars, and all monsters that like objects will now pick up corpses (as opposed to just nymphs). In rare cases, this can result in monsters being gifted artifacts.
  • Many new artifacts have been added, spanning many different item classes. As such, randomly generated artifacts may be slightly more common.
  • Player monsters no longer spawn with offensive items, making them much more likely to employ their artifacts. Player monsters also have a larger variety of artifacts that they can spawn with. Their abilities have been diversified somewhat, but all of them are now capable of stealing the amulet with their attacks.
  • Decreased floating eye spawn rate to make blind telepathy harder to obtain.
  • There are different descriptions for venom which are randomized each game. This may break realism slightly, but does help with distinguishing what kind of venom an unfamiliar monster might be spitting.
  • Barbed devils now have a passive physical damage attack involving their barbs.
  • Disarmed bear traps and land mines can rarely be generated.
  • The Oracle now drops hints in major consultations about the new features in SpliceHack. Attempts have been made to make this fit as seamlessly as possible into the existing tone.
  • A large number of additional graves, hallucinations, rumors, scroll and wand names, and the like have been added.
  • Engraving "The Yellow Sign" will cause bad things to happen to you and those around you.
  • Monster wielding behavior was changed slightly so monsters are more aggressive about wielding new items.
  • Nephi's grudge patch has been implemented and expanded, so monsters will attack certain other monsters they are opposed to.
  • Dragons have been made subtly more difficult. They will occasionally roar when the player is nearby, awakening monsters on the level. Additionally, dragons are counted as having hands for the purposes of using defensive and utility items.
  • Transforming into a lycanthrope now angers guards.
  • Runeswords and tsurugis can be randomly generated, but they are incredibly rare.
  • Vampire mages, Shimmering Dragons, and Vorpal Jabberwocks have been un-deferred. Vorpal Jabberwocks do not behead the player.
  • Bribing demon lords has been greatly expanded. They now can potentially ask for powerful items in your inventory instead of gold, and you can also use decks of cards to gamble on your immortal soul with them. Challenging them with a deck of fate is potentially a Bad Idea.
  • All demon lords have had their AC significantly lowered.
  • The wailing of the banshee message was changed slightly to account for the addition of wailing banshees.
  • Summon nasties has been expanded to accommodate new monsters.
  • High level adventurers will arise as spectres in their bones files, a more powerful type of ghost which is capable of using weapons. Inspired by a YANIby AmyBSOD and aosdict that was archived on the wiki's YANI list.
  • Added RPresser's epitaph patch, allowing you to write your own epitaph if a bones file is generated.
  • Additional achievements are tracked in the xlogfile that pertain to this variant.
  • Tangles' and K2's livelogging, whereis, and hardfought configurations have been added.
  • Pets can now potentially become stunned or invisible by eating the right kind of corpse.
  • Birds are now a potential kind of pet. You begin with a little bird, which can grow up into a falcon and then into a giant falcon. They are balanced around the existing pet options.
  • Messages appear when monsters follow you or you are teleported.
  • Monsters with heads now "swallow" you instead of "engulfing" you.
  • If you are playing an infernal or polymorphed into a silver-hating creature, silver will deal an extra 1-20 damage to you.
  • Monsters now are more polite, and introduce themselves in certain situations, such as before trying to seduce you.
  • Lifesaved monsters will reassess their equipment, so they will equip an amulet if that slot is free now, or equip armor if that was disintegrated.
  • Particularly powerful weapons can sometimes be randomly named.
  • Many monsters have unique sounds when chatted with.
  • Pets produce a message when leveling up.