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Wizard mode bones

Discovered the Wizard Bones cheat myself a couple of years ago, but have never heard anyone else use it. I might even be a sort of pioneer of Nethack cheating. Nah, probably not. Wrote the cheat here, anyway. - Potman (Guest), Dec 9, 2006

In doubt

How should the following behaviors be classified?

  • manually keeping track of things the player doesn't usually know. That is, nutrition and prayer timeouts, etc.
  • doing the same as above, but using a hex editor or other tool to view the exact value in the memory.
  • using keyboard macros to automate death farming, pudding farming, etc

- anonymous, Dec 9, 2006

  • Not cheating. If you manage to find out what the exact numbers are (I don't know them), I don't see why you couldn't use them.
  • Probably cheating.
  • Probably cheating.

These are only my opinions, of course. - Potman (Guest), Dec 10, 2006

  • Not cheating. It's "spoiled", but it's not cheating. Prayer timeout is random anyway, and it's really hard to know.
  • Cheating. There's minor variation on hunger that it's not possible to know (such as from jumping, spellcasting, etc) and looking up these values is cheating.
  • Not cheating. All it does is let you go faster.

- JoshJ. 10/12/07


I don't know how NetHack works so I can't do this myself (yeah, just like I could anyway), but wouldn't using of a debugger (to edit the game's memory at runtime) allow you to "easily" change your HP and do plenty of other stuff? Should this be mentioned? -- 17:34, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Oh sure, it's definitely possible. You could even build a simple GUI that pokes memory addresses for object identification, shows damage calculations, displays warnings about corpses, halts the game when you're in danger and so forth and so on. However, for most of these you'll need a local game, and that's hardly worth any bragging points. For the rest, there's always Interhack ;) Renx 08:00, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

RNG abuse

First of all, the "Definitely cheating" section says "none of the methods of cheating described below are possible on a multi-user system", but RNG abuse is possible on a multi-user system (in fact that was the main point of Sartok's post), so at the very least this sentence needs to be corrected.

I'm also puzzled by why (for example) Wizard Bones is only "Probably cheating" whereas RNG abuse is "Definitely cheating." They seem equally bad to me, and if I had to pick one that was worse, I'd pick Wizard Bones. djao 17:47, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

You are right. I didn't read the introduction when I added the RNG abuse chapter, but I have modified it now. I also agree with you in the case of Wizard Bones and I have moved it under the "Definitely cheating" header. —ZeroOne (talk / @) 18:15, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Excellent. I like it. djao 23:35, 3 March 2009 (UTC)


How would you clasify reading dumplogs - to identify things on bones level? --Stevko sk 01:56, January 2, 2010 (UTC)

In my book, it's on par with Wizard Bones / Selectively deleting bones / Save-scumming. -Tjr 03:12, January 2, 2010 (UTC)
Also for me. Moved from "Degenerate behavior" to "Definitely cheating" Bulwersator (talk) 10:21, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Credit Cloning

I don't think I've seen confirmation of this anywhere, but is it or is it not cheating? I personally think it's a bit slack, but it's useful as all hell. It's a bit like file sharing :D --Archmage84 11:04, June 15, 2010 (UTC)

Consider the apport stat for pets. In my mind, it is absolutely useless for everything BUT credit cloning. I find it annoying almost every other time; I'm either trying to pick up the item myself that my dog just picked up or they're deactivating an active Elbereth square or similar. I'd say that pets were given apport for the sole purpose of allowing credit cloning. -- Qazmlpok 11:33, June 15, 2010 (UTC)
I second that. Tjr 12:52, June 15, 2010 (UTC)
In that case, can we have something in the main article confirming this? It's a topic of disagreement with me and my friend. --Archmage84 06:14, June 18, 2010 (UTC)

Out of game notes

Hi, I disagree with the first paragraph of the "Out of game notes" section. After all, it's why people take notes in real life. OneWeirdDude 18:32, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

This is a hot button topic. There is always somebody who will yell at you, regardless what position you take. In my opinion, amnesia itself is bad game design because it damages the fun, not the character. Consequently, out of game notes are a bugfix, not a cheat. --Tjr 21:55, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Bones Stuffing

What is the ideal level to stuff bones piles on in hopes of finding them? Just curious, I probably wouldn't do it. 20:22, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

On your own system? D:4 if you want easy accessibility, deeper if you don't want to have to make the bones pile more than once. On a public server? Well your chances of getting it are fairly slim, but I'd think as deep as possible, since those levels are traveled less. -Ion frigate 03:25, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Source diving?

Modifying the source code is listed as 'not cheating', while reading spoilers as 'degenerate behavior'. But modifying the source involves reading it, and isn't the source a spoiler, too? Or maybe one should edit it blindfolded?-- 19:40, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Zen editing. :-) Really, there are no hard and fast rules. Only a bunch of people who disagree on the fine points. Personally, I say it's cheating if it ruins the fun of the game. Perhaps it's best to disclose what exactly you did and didn't do if you acheive an impressive conduct ascension. --Tjr (talk) 06:33, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
  1. reading spoilers isn't cheating; what made you think it was?
  2. similarly, reading the source code isn't cheating
  3. modifying the source code isn't cheating but assumes that you're running a personal compile of NetHack; no one pays any attention to ascensions like that anyway; there are too many other more profitable ways to cheat on your own server, see definitely cheating
  4. modifying the source code on NAO, say, isn't cheating either; even if you did it to wind someone up by lowering drop percentages by 10% just for them; that would be awesome
as tjr says, though, it's all personal taste. -- 12:48, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  1. Reading spoilers isn't cheating IMHO, and it's also not degenerate behavior IMHO. Some people might consider it to be. That's why it's there.
  2. See above.
  3. You're wrong, people do pay attention to that. Just see
  4. As per #2 — but if the administrator of a public server modified it specifically for a certain person, then that person wouldn't be playing the same game. If that isn't clearly stated but instead mixed with the normal results of other players, then IMHO that's very clearly cheating.
I added a note to the ==Degenerate behavior== section, though (before reading this, in fact). —bcode talk | mail 07:53, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Why isn't Shoplifting and Credit Cloning patched ?

It is rather odd, that harmless Things like staying at an Altar or writing down Idendities are considered cheating, but be Shopkeeper bugs are not. It seems that nobody dares to touch the Shopkeeper Code because Izchak Miller wrote it, but is this sentimental Behaviour really necessary ? Even if the Shopkeepers are left untouched, it would be possible, to prevent it by patching DOGMOVE and MONMOVE. The check for Elbereth and Scare Monster scrolls can be ORed with Shopsquare, and Pets could treat Shopsquares as cursed, and never pick up Gold. Additionally the Shopkeepers could be Level 49, covetous Followers, do 4d50 Damage per hit and get a Wand of Death, so that killing them in the Gamestages, were you may need the items sold in shops would be impossible (if possible at all). The Problem is that the Ease to steal from Shops is the Reason for some Limitaions in Shop-Behaviour. For example the limited Purse of the Shopkeeper. So if Shoplifting would be prevented, you could use Shops with unlimited Money in the late Game to get money from selling Gems. ( A Player who can cast Identify or has spare identify Scrolls, and thus can formal identify Gems reached often a Stage in the Game, where every Shopkeeper who would buy Gems is out of Money). This would also make it possible to restock Shops, though this would need much more Code. - 18:47, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

IIRC a lot of people actually think that credit cloning is intentional because Rogues start with a sack. It's not really gamebreaking in my opinion and that of many others, just useful. 21:04, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
It is almost certainly intentional, the only useful part of apport is stealing from shops. It is obvious that shopkeepers are not supposed to be more powerful than any player. Bulwersator (talk) 23:21, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
  1. Out-of-game notes aren't considered cheating by many people, AFAIK. (The page does state there's often some controversy about whether they are fine or not, too.)
  2. There's no indication anything about the current shopkeeper behaviour is buggy. (The way it is executed has some bugs IIRC, but those are not relevant to credit cloning etc.) Specifically, at least shoplifting is very clearly not a bug: there's a lot of code specifically to deal with it.
  3. Is your suggestion about shopkeepers serious? They already are followers in the important case (see mondata.c, line 547) and do enough damage to make direct shoplifting nearly impossible in the early to mid game. There's no good reason I can see for making them covetous, either, especially as that would likely conflict quite a bit with the normal shopkeeper code (a shopkeeper following you around the level, after all, isn't something the code expects AFAIK).
  4. The limited gold of the shopkeeper is not necessarily because of the ease of stealing from shops; it might actually be a way to make NetHack more realistic, but also, there's the concern of getting much money from a shop and spending it all on protection. Even if stealing were impossible (which I don't think is a good idea anyway), if you sell sufficiently many expensive items (and because of random generation, this may happen early), you can just use all the gold on protection.
  5. I don't think there's any point to allowing late-game players to sell gems for money. Gems are much lighter than their value in gold anyway, and that's the only real purpose for gold in the late game: score, which many people think doesn't matter anyway (high scores, that is). —bcode talk | mail 23:34, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
since strong Pets (Dragon,Xorn,Mindflayer) can kill Shopkeepers they could be stronger. Giving them level 49 would prevent pets from attacking at all. (It is often unintentional, that they kill shopkeepers at all, especially with the Xorn). An overpowered meele attack would also prevent more creative ways to kill shopkeepers like conflict.
according to Hack 1.0#Dungeon Features the limited money of shopkeepers is the consequence of shoplifting.
In the late Game there is still a use for Money, for Divine protection and the Oracle. The act of selling random items and buying protection is not really a gamebreaker, because the more expensive random items (f.e. Mithril Coats and Plate mail) bring several hundert zorkmids, while divine protection may cost several thousand zorkmids at the point a player finds a Temple (usually Minetown) and carrying plate mail to a shop is also very time-consuming because it is very heavy. -- 13:51, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
In multi-conduct games, where I need shops for price identification all game long, I make a point not to drain shopkeepers of cash. The 90% credit markdown makes price ID harder. -Tjr (talk) 15:13, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
(Please capitalize correctly, at least inside wikilinks. Your link to Hack 1.0#Dungeon features has a broken fragment.)
"prevent more creative ways to kill shopkeepers" Of course you can just eliminate creativity. I don't think that'd be a good idea, though. NetHack is at least partly about creativity.
I'm not sure why pets being able to kill shopkeepers is a bad thing (not from the player's point of view; obviously it may be unfortunate for you if you wanted them alive, but that's not what matters here IMHO).
The reason for things in Hack 1.0 doesn't have to be the same as for things in NetHack 3.4.3, and it might also be not the only reason.
Protection and the Oracle usually don't matter in the late game anyway, IME. By the time you've reached the late game, you either already have protection or don't need it anymore. The Oracle's experience effect makes almost no difference at high experience levels, AFAIK.
It seems you'd just like to see shoplifting removed from the game. I don't think that'd be a good idea; of course, your opinion on that may be different from mine. That doesn't make shoplifting a bug or cheating, though. I don't even see a reason to make shopkeepers stronger as you propose; there are many ways of shoplifting and few of them involve actually killing the shopkeeper. —bcode talk | mail 15:42, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
(FWIW, as far as I know GruntHack isn't being developed anymore either.) —bcode talk | mail 11:32, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Hangup Saves

This cheat is just too powerful, and sometimes I can't resist exploiting it. It's also a fixable bug or, if you prefer, design flaw. I only play Slashem anymore... maybe I should work up a patch and try to get it installed on crash-override so I'm not tempted. Folks could patch the other servers, as I doubt I'm the only one who exploits this - it's too freaking obvious.

(There are different approaches, but the simplest one I see is to buffer all the message output until the code is wanting user input. Thus all negative effects of a user action are locked in by the time the user sees the 1st message showing them their error.)

- Fizzbinary 9/16/13 05:07, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Changing timezones to avoid luck penalties

I realized today was Friday the 13th... but not everywhere in the world. So 'env TZ=SomeZoneNotToday nethack' can be used to avoid the luck penalty. Could also be used to push one in or out of new/full moon days. --Kdz (talk) 15:25, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

I actually fixed this in NetHack 4. Once you start a game, the timezone for that game is locked and can't change after reloading a save. Ais523 (talk)
Only problem with the fix is that it not travel friendly. Personally I rather have the game use local time when not cheating... figuring that those who want to cheat will find a way around the fix (such as changing the system time). Not a big deal regardless. --Kdz (talk) 13:20, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, the exploit you first mentioned would also work on public servers that respected the TZ variable, whereas changing the time wouldn't. So it still closes off one avenue for exploitation. In general, it's impossible to prevent exploits in local play because the user has so much control of the machine. Ais523 (talk)
In fact, a local player could always just modify the game (or similar) to allow whatever they feel like doing, for example to take out the Friday 13th luck penalty entirely. (Or they could attach a debugger and modify things as the game is running... the possibilities don't seem to end.) In fact, I don't even mind that sort of thing as long as they're being clear about the modifications they made. —bcode talk | mail 17:03, 14 February 2015 (UTC)