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I've just tried many, many times to use a key on a door right beside a watchman, and he didn't seem to care at all... I'm talking about the line that says that it's the same as a pick or credit card, but it doesn't seem to be. Can anyone shine some light on the darkness that is my comprehension of this conundrum? Aeronflux 20:07, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

When you pick a lock within sight of a watchman, there is a certain probability per turn that the watchman will notice you. A key takes far fewer turns than any of the other methods, so overall you are less likely to be noticed when using a key. However, the probability per turn is the same for all the methods. (I'm no good at source diving; somebody else can surely find out what the probability is.) djao 17:09, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Since you move before the monsters (including watchmen), if you unlock the door in one turn he does not see you doing it. See the unlocking tool page for all the chances, but for this discussion assume you are a non-rogue with a 10 dexterity. Your chance of unlocking a door with key is 80% each turn; it is only 30% with a lock pick. Next the watchman must see you; which means he is not blind, you are not invisible or he doesn't have see invisible, there is nothing between you blocking his sight, and I believe there is also a range element, but I couldn't figure out that part of the code. Finally, there is only a 1 out of 3 chance, !rn2(3), that he will do anything. The last part is probably there to account for the fact that he may not be looking at you even if he could see you. This all equates to a less than 7% chance of a watchman challenging a relatively low level character using a key. Skidragon 18:34, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

huge alignment penalty for sacrificing watchmen

As a chaotic elfish wizard, I angered the mine town watch (by force bolt), lured them to the altar, and sacrificed them. This procedure netted me a huge alignment hit. Why? As I read the spoilers, I got -1 for angering a peaceful, -3 * max(5, malign) = -3 * max(5, -2)=-15 for killing a peaceful "always peaceful" (alignment isn't updated), and finally +8 for "you feel partially absolved". In total, -8 instead of Magicbane. These guys are death traps. Tjr 23:08, July 12, 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, but I don't think the article should say not to sacrifice them, but rather not to anger them, and/or not to expect sacrifice to undo the alignment penalty. I've definitely sacrificed watchmen my pet killed, although they generally have to be in the temple to get them to the altar within 50 turns. But certainly I'd agree killing and sacrificing them is a losing proposition, especially given that they don't always leave corpses anyway. -Ion frigate 15:24, July 13, 2010 (UTC)
The easiest way to lure them to the altar is to anger them. -1 penalty isn't too much. You need non-magic water anyway, so dig down on a fountain. (Lock up the watch captain beforehand.) Tjr 18:13, July 13, 2010 (UTC)

Growing up

Watchmen who start at level 5 will, if they achieve level 10, become watch captains. I don't know if this is notable enough to include in the main article; I'm not even sure if it's a useful thing to know at all -- you can't get a pet watchman (they can't be tamed), and it's unlikely one would kill enough critters on its own to gain five full levels without the player being one of the critters it kills... Delbow 03:25, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, I'd say it merits a sentence or two, since you occasionally see it with watchmen who were generated with a potion of gain level. -Ion frigate 03:46, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Corner case: freeing prisoners

You can anger the watchpeople if you free a prisoner on their level. Since mine town itself doesn't have any, you can take them into the wizard quest with the Eye of the Aethiopica and free the prisoner there. Perhaps the tourist quest has watchpeople and prisoners. --Tjr 21:21, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

It seems the tourist quest goal level indeed has prisoners and one watchman... who is defined to be always hostile, but can be pacified using a scroll of taming. "The prisoner speaks: "I'm finally free!" You see an angry guard approaching!" --Bcode 21:34, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Recovering from angering guards

It would be good to add something about how long it takes for guards' anger to abate - or if in the current version it doesn't abate at all.--Mitlcl (talk) 03:44, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

As the anger never abates, and this is consistent with all angering of basically anything in the game, I don't think that's necessary. --EasterlyIrk (talk) 03:49, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

Throwing gold at watchmen

To safely unlock a door, I once threw a gold piece at an obnoxious watchman in Minetown. He caught it and teleported away — perfect! Though it didn't work like this every time.

The next time I attempted it, the teleport away didn't happen; next throw, I got scolded and angered one and another guard nearby:

What do you want to throw? [$cqwBKO or ?*] 2
Count: 2 $
In what direction? h
The watchman catches the gold. "That should do. Now beat it!"
What do you want to throw? [$cqwBKO or ?*] 3
Count: 3 $
In what direction? h
The watchman gets angry! "Halt! You're under arrest!" You see an angry guard approaching! The watchman catches the gold.
"That's not enough, coward!" The watchman throws a spear! The spear misses the watchman. A spear misses you.

Perhaps this should be added in the page... I'll let somebody more experienced in NetHack do this.

Lastly, does the "Now beat it!" part suggest to increase gold amount?.. How does this mechanic function overall?

--Ulidtko (talk) 09:21, 30 March 2020 (UTC)

It works the same as soldiers - they're all mercenaries so it's possible to bribe all of them (and the page covers that). At the same time, randomly throwing stuff at peacefuls will anger them, and of course there's always the chances of a bribe failing. The "beat it!" thing is just flavor text - if they say that line in the first place, it means the bribe worked. --Umbire the Phantom (talk) 09:41, 30 March 2020 (UTC)