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Players can carry only a limited weight, and without a container only a maximum of 52 items plus gold and a loadstone. Thus, most games will involve the creation of a stash - a safe repository of objects.

Using containers

Monsters are quite capable of picking up and using any items they come across. To prevent this, stash items in a container.

A simple sack is sufficient to stop monsters looting your items.

A heavier container such as a large box is more likely to stop a troll picking it up. On the other hand, the extra weight makes it less convenient if you decide to move your stash around.

A chest is heavier still, and also waterproof.

An ice box is the only container that gelatinous cubes will not engulf, destroying the container (but not its contents) immediately. Any item can be stored safely inside an ice box -- corpses will not rot, potions will not freeze, etc. Ice boxes are extremely rare, comprising 0.5% of all tools, and may need to be polypiled or wished for.

Basic Security

Placing your stash in a room with locked doors will prevent most monsters from ever finding it. Some monsters can get through doors though, or dig through walls.

Prior to 3.6.0, a stash could be protected by writing Elbereth into the floor beneath it. This prevented most monsters from stepping on the square, keeping your stash safe. Some monsters don't respect Elbereth. Elbereth could also be used on the entrances to the area around your stash - e.g just inside the door of the room. Elbereth requires an item to be present on the square to be effective - placing a single Zorkmid on the engraving is traditional.

In 3.6.0, Elbereth only works when you're actually standing on the square, so is no longer useful for protecting stashes.

Alternatively, a dropped scroll of scare monster performs the same purpose. The same monsters that don't respect Elbereth also don't respect this. Also you'll need to repeatedly bless or replace your scrolls when you move the stash around.

A stash can be surrounded with boulders. You can either push the boulders aside to gain access, or use teleport control to get in.

A boulder can also be placed on top of your stash. This works even if your items are not in a container, and it does not seem to break any items (I tried pushing a boulder onto an unprotected potion ten times with no breakage.)

A cursed item on the same square as your stash (not inside the container!) will keep sufficiently strong pets from carrying the stash away.

Good stash location

A well located stash in Sokoban. Great place for a Wizard

A stash of useful items or spares is best located in a convenient place, that you can return to later to retrieve your items without having to traverse too many difficult dungeon levels.

In the early game, before you can perform basic stash security, the Minetown light shop might be a reasonable location. Even if a monster does dig down the walls, they are repaired quickly. Plus, you will be returning past this location on your way back up from Mine's End.

The Castle or the Valley of the Dead are popular stash levels, as they both generate immense amounts of loot and have abundant chests. The Valley also has a temple, but it is unaligned. Another popular stash is the first level of Sokoban as it can be branchported to directly with the Eye of the Aethiopica, spawns relatively weak monsters, and is close to both the Dungeons of Doom and the Gnomish Mines where there are many shops and altars.

Some players prefer to keep their stashes on levels which can leave bones files, so that if the unthinkable happens, they stand a chance of seeing their loot again, albeit through the eyes of a different character.

Some players prefer a greater degree of organisation during long games, and so use several stashes, or even separate stashes for each object type (potions, rings, wands, etc.)

Paranoid security

Basic security protects your items from nearly all threats, but paranoid players can go several steps further.

A chest with any sessile monster on it is incredibly secure, but inaccessible without killing or moving the monster. A tame blue jelly might work very well.

An oilskin sack underwater is also perfectly secure, providing there are no water trolls on the level and you can get to dry land immediately after looting it.

You can store items in a pit, and push a boulder on top of them. This makes the items totally inaccessible, except for you and monsters which are trying to flee by digging a hole in the floor. You will need a new boulder each time you want to cover your items after digging them up for retrieval. Organic items underground will rot, and will need to be placed in a container. All containers apart from ice boxes are themselves organic, and will rot when underground.

Additional use of stashes

Stash of Junk

If your stash contains only junk, then perhaps it does not need security. That pile of cursed weapons and armor would not help those monsters much anyway. Such a stash might be useful next to an altar, to dispose of the items dropped by numerous monsters killed for sacrifices.

Some junk, such as discarded weapons, may still need some basic security, to prevent monsters using the items against you.


If you have a wand of polymorph, polypiling is a great way to make use of a stash of otherwise useless magical junk.

Useful Patches

The sortloot patch sorts the items in listings (of inventory, piles or containers), so that duplicate or similar items appear next to each other. So you can immediately see that you're carrying three tin whistles, rather than missing some because they are listed scattered throughout your tools.

The menucolors patch help you visually distinguish items in listings, by assigning colors to certain menu items. For example it can be configured to use red text for cursed items, or items with names containing 'cur'. menucolors is built-in to 3.6.0.

Both patches are installed on, thus many players do use them.