Tin opener

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( Tin opener.png
Name tin opener
Appearance tin opener
Base price 30 zm
Weight 4
Material iron
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

A tin opener is a type of tool that appears in NetHack. It is made of iron, and is naturally used for opening tins.


Archeologists have a 110 of chance of starting the game with a tin opener, while Tourists have a 125 chance of starting a game with one.[1][2]


Applying or wielding a tin opener before opening a tin to eat will reduce the number of turns required to do so. The exact number of turns required to open a tin with this tool depends on its beatitude: 0-2 turns if the tin opener is cursed, 0 or 1 turns if uncursed, and 0 turns if blessed.[3]

You can only apply a tin opener if you have at least one tin in your inventory - doing so will prompt you to choose which tin you want to open, and you can also wield it before manually opening the tin via e. Wielding a tin opener by applying it will not take up an additional turn if you immediately open a tin when prompted.[4]

Though a tin opener is not a weapon or weapon-tool, a cursed tin opener will weld to the player's hand when wielded.[5]


Applying a tin opener to wield it and immediately opening a tin saves a turn compared to wielding the tin opener with w, which may prove important when eating a tin of a monster that cures stoning or in a turn-count speed ascension. Using a blessed tin opener is also the only way to guarantee that a tin is opened immediately, since even a blessed tin may otherwise take 1 turn to open, during which you may be interrupted.


The tin opener first appears in Hack 1.0.2. From this version to NetHack 3.0.0, the item is called a can opener.

From Hack 1.0.2 to NetHack 3.6.1, including some variants based on those versions, applying the tin opener will only display a message with instructions to wield it before eating a tin; Tourists with a tin opener in their starting inventory begin the game wielding it, and should ideally unwield it before attempting melee combat. NetHack 3.6.2 introduces the ability to apply a tin opener, and sets tin openers that Tourists generate with to not be wielded automatically.


Some variants based on NetHack 3.4.3 may lack the updated behavior of tin openers from later versions.


In UnNetHack, the iron golem found in the forest within the Ruins of Moria has a 12 chance of generating with a tin opener.

Encyclopedia entry

Less than thirty Cat tribes now survived, roaming the cargo decks on their hind legs in a desperate search for food.
But the food had gone.
The supplies were finished.
Weak and ailing, they prayed at the supply hold's silver mountains: huge towering acres of metal rocks which, in their pagan way, the mutant Cats believed watched over them.
Amid the wailing and the screeching one Cat stood up and held aloft the sacred icon. The icon which had been passed down as holy, and one day would make its use known.
It was a piece of V-shaped metal with a revolving handle on its head.
He took down a silver rock from the silver mountain, while the other Cats cowered and screamed at the blasphemy.
He placed the icon on the rim of the rock, and turned the handle.
And the handle turned.
And the rock opened.
And inside the rock was Alphabetti spaghetti in tomato sauce.

[ Red Dwarf, by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor ]


  1. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 669: Archeologist-specific initializations
  2. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 771: Tourist-specific initializations
  3. src/eat.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 1482
  4. src/eat.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2726: use_tin_opener sets res, the number of turns taken, to 1 if you wield the tin opener. res is then returned if you choose to not open a tin. However, opening a tin will cause '1' to be returned regardless of whether you wielded the tin opener. Note that start_tin will set an occupation for the number of turns it would take to open the tin, which is processed separately.
  5. src/wield.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 161