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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.[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 magic marker. If there was no message, "Your towel gets dusty" or "frosty".[2]

As a weapon

NetHack 3.6.0 adds the ability to use a wet towel as a weapon. Earlier versions and derived variants treated a wielded towel as any other non-weapon object, but it could be jokingly used as a vladsbane. A towel can be made wet by any source of water, including an uncursed potion of water or a rust trap. This will add 1-7 levels of wetness[3][4], to a maximum of 7. When wielded as a weapon, a wet towel will deal between 1 and (wetness) damage, capped at 6 damage. There is additionally a (wetness) in (wetness+1) chance of drying out, losing 1 point of wetness. If only 1 point of wetness remains, the towel will change to moist, then will dry out when the wetness level reaches zero. Applying the towel or wiping out an engraving in the dust with the towel will deliberately remove 1 point of wetness.


In UnNetHack, all characters start with a towel on Towel Day (25th of May).[5] Tourists will not be given a second towel.[6]

Encyclopedia entry

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

There is a false rumor, "Wet towels make great weapons!"[7] It is supported by the encyclopedia entry mentioning that you can "wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat".

Prior to NetHack 3.6.0, a wet towel was no different than any other random object. NetHack 3.6.0 adds the ability to use a wet towel as an actual weapon, but the false rumor persists. While it is a weapon, it is certainly not a great weapon.