Tinning kit

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( Tinning kit.png
Name tinning kit
Appearance tinning kit
Base price 30 zm
Weight 100
Material iron
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

A tinning kit is a tool in NetHack which can be used to put the corpse of a dead monster into a tin to preserve it for future consumption, or else as a trophy.


An uncursed tinning kit is included in the starting equipment of the Archaeologist, containing 30 to 99 charges. All tinning kits are generated uncursed unless found on a bones level; since 3.6.1, they can also be found among the cursed items in the "bones" generated on some traps.


Applying a tinning kit to an intact corpse, either in your inventory or on the floor, will use up a charge, remove the corpse and create a "tin of <monster> meat" in your inventory; if there is no space in the inventory, the tin will appear on the floor. The corpse must be on your square and within your reach; you can only tin a corpse that is on the floor while riding if you have advanced to at least Basic skill.

Any attempt to tin the Riders (Death, Famine or Pestilence) will cause them to immediately revive. As of NetHack 3.3.0, wraith corpses are too insubstantial to tin.


Normally, corpses rot away quickly, or else may be unsafe or too large for one person to eat; tinning circumvents these problems by preserving the meat for later consumption. However, you cannot sacrifice tinned corpses, and partially eaten corpses cannot be tinned. It is not uncommon for players to tin named monsters and keep them as trophies; a tin of Medusa or Wizard of Yendor meat is a fun item to potentially ascend with.

Tinning kits are not considered magical tools when polypiling. Like most other tools, tinning kits have a limited number of charges; while they can be recharged indefinitely, charging may not be entirely necessary outside of heavy use.

Eating safely

Main article: Tin#Eating

Many unsafe corpses do not cause their usual damage if tinned; normally, Z and M are sickening to eat, but they become edible when tinned. This is because tins cannot be tainted, and the taint in the zombie and mummy corpses is removed by the tinning process. Poisonous and acidic corpses are also rendered harmless. However, corpses which turn you to stone, turn you to slime, stun you, or cause you to hallucinate will still have the same effect when tinned. The rules for cannibalism also apply to tins, as does the rule for eating domestic cat or dog meat; this has a notable effect on a couple of strategies involving tins, discussed further below.

Additionally, tins of corpses will provide the same intrinsic as the corpse itself, but with a set amount of nutrition as opposed to what the corpse would have provided. This makes them quite useful when working with giants and dragons to avoid becoming satiated too quickly, and also works to preserve sources of intrinsics for later and safer consumption. For example, tins of tengu are especially handy to eat once you have a ring of teleport control to avoid getting uncontrolled teleportitis, and stalker tins are a common means of attaining permanent invisibility along with the see invisible intrinsic.

Tin attributes

Main article: Tin#Nutrition

Tins made from a tinning kit always have the same BUC status as the tinning kit,[1] and are either homemade or rotten; its status as homemade or rotten is determined when the tin is eaten. Blessed tins are never rotten; uncursed tins are occasionally rotten and cursed tins always are. Homemade tins of foo only have 50 nutrition, while rotten tins provide negative 50 nutrition.

Tinning for emergencies

You may wish to stockpile a set of tins with valuable intrinsics in case you lose them to something like a gremlin attacking at night. In addition, the following specific monsters are worth tinning in or for emergencies.

  • Eating the corpse of a nurse will restore you to full health, making them a popular choice for tinning: a blessed tin of nurse meat will fully heal you in the two turns it takes to open and consume it. However, this constitutes cannibalism for humans, which you will have to weigh against the convenience of fully restored HP; this is less of a problem for Cavemen. A potion of full healing can do the same just as fast (if not sometimes faster), and can also increase your maximum HP; it is vulnerable to breaking, however.
  • A blessed tin of acid blob or any acidic always opens in one turn and can save you from stoning. The acid damage is removed by the tinning process, but the unstoning properties of the acid are not.
    • Specifically, while the code that handles curing stoning is called by the code for eating tins and eating corpses, stomach acid is handled solely by the latter; the former scenario does not call this code, rendering tins of acidic meat safe.[2]
    • Note that while a cursed lizard corpse or a cursed potion of acid will still work, a cursed tin of acid blob meat can take a long time to open, making it far too long to use in emergencies. Therefore, it is important to track the tins' BUC if you go this route.
  • Tinning a troll is a good way to keep it from reviving, as it immediately removes the corpse; this is especially useful on the Barbarian quest. Be sure you are not surrounded by other dangerous monsters first, however.

Class-specific scenarios

As an Archaeologist, food is sometimes scarce at the start. It may be worth tinning small monsters to raise their nutrition until a good supply is secured. Low-nutrition corpses - such as rats, rock moles, ravens, newts and other early-game :, non-yellow molds, ants and other insects - are all prime early candidates where tinning will raise their nutrition, with only the risk of the tins being rotten until you can get the kit blessed. Additionally, tinned killer bees and soldier ants can provide valuable poison resistance without the risk of losing vital points in Strength, while floating eye tins are also a useful means of re-gaining telepathy later if it is lost.

For non-Knight classes that can advance skills in riding, the ability to tin corpses while mounted can prove incredibly convenient, especially if the corpse is too heavy to carry and/or your steed is difficult to keep tame (e.g. Ki-rin).


NetHack's tinning kit is not considered a magical tool for purposes of polymorphing, but it is hard to say what kind of non-magical real-world object(s) it is meant to correspond to. Home canning of meats is a fairly laborious process that involves cutting the meat into appropriate pieces, usually salting and partially cooking it, packing it into containers, and then boiling the containers in a pressure cooker for over an hour. The pressure cooker is needed to raise the cooking temperature above 100 °C (212 °F), to eliminate dangerous microbes. This corresponds to the concept in NetHack of tinned food not rotting away. Home canning uses screw-top glass jars, but the NetHack tinning kit obviously uses tin cans, which further adds to the complexity, as the cans must be sealed. This is probably done by soldering the top onto the base, as was originally done with real-world tin cans. Canning guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture are here. So, we can assume that the NetHack tinning kit includes the following:

  • A large number of tin cans.
  • Soldering supplies (presumably).
  • A knife or knives for preparing the meat.
  • A pressure canner.
  • Water.
  • A good heat source, such as a propane burner, and fuel.
  • Tongs, silicone gloves, or some other implements for handling the hot containers.
  • (Maybe) salt.
  • (Maybe) a frying pan, or some other implement for pre-cooking the meat.

The length of turn in NetHack is fairly abstract and flexible, and attempts to work this out will yield different results based on what kinds of activities (movement, combat, etc.) are used to calculate it. But, in light of the above, tinning a corpse is clearly one of the most action-packed turns a player will ever experience.

However, this is purely intellectual exercise, and it never hurts to remember that NetHack is not real life.


  1. apply.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1425
  2. "This occurs because (cprefx in eat.c) cures stoning and is called by the corpse-eating code and tin-eating code, whereas stomach acid is handled by (eatcorpse in eat.c) which is not invoked for tins." - Killian, on the talk page.

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