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( Towel.png
Name towel
Appearance towel
Base price 50 zm
Weight 2
Material cloth
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

A towel is a multipurpose tool inspired by the towels carried by hitchhikers as instructed in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Sometimes, a Tourist begins the game with one.

Among its functions:

  • You can use P to put on your towel and blind yourself, then R to remove it and see again. Thus a towel can perfectly substitute for a blindfold, enabling tourists to attempt the zen conduct.[1]
  • You can apply the towel for these purposes:
    • If your hands are slippery from a cursed potion of oil, a cursed can of grease, or from eating deep-fried food from a tin, you can apply a noncursed towel to wipe them off so you can wield a weapon again.
    • If you are blind because of a cream pie or blinding venom, you can apply the noncursed towel to clean your face and unblind yourself. (If you remain blind for another reason, "Your face feels clean now.")
    • A cursed towel will give you one of those effects instead.
  • You can engrave with a towel. You will not actually write anything, but you will erase anything written with dust, blood, or even the magic marker. If there was no message, "Your towel gets dusty" or "frosty".[2]


In UnNetHack, all characters start with a towel on Towel Day (25th of May).[3] Tourists will not be given a second towel.[4]

Encyclopedia entry[edit]

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say
on the subject of towels.
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing
an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great
practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as
you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie
on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus
V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it
beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of
Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down down the slow heavy
River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it
round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze
of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mind-bogglingly
stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't
see you - daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can
wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of
course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean

[ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams ]

False rumor[edit]

There is a false rumor, "Wet towels make great weapons!"[5] It is supported by the encyclopedia entry mentioning that you can "wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat".

Though you can wield a towel as you would any other object, a towel does not qualify as a weapon, and lacks an associated skill. At a weight of only 2, it barely does any damage to monsters. You can wet a towel but it has no effect (so the developers didn't think of everything?).


  1. use_towel in apply.c
  2. engrave.c, line 784
  3. src/u_init.c in UnNetHack revision 1554, line 898
  4. src/u_init.c in UnNetHack revision 1554, line 786
  5. rumors.fal, line 368