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) Trident.png
Name trident
Appearance trident
Damage vs. small 1d6+1
Damage vs. large 3d4
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill trident
Size one-handed
Base price 5 zm
Weight 25
Material iron

A trident is a kind of weapon that appears in NetHack. It has a special +4 to-hit bonus against swimming monsters that are in water, and a secondary +2 to-hit bonus against any S snake or ; sea monster that is not in water.[1]

If you eat a trident while while polymorphed into a metallivore, you get YAFM and exercise wisdom.[2]


Tridents are one of the rarer weapons in the game, making up only about 0.8% of all randomly generated weapons.

Horned devils have a 34 chance to generate with a trident,[3] and salamanders have a 221 chance (approximately ~9.5%) of generating with one.[4]

Trident skill

Max Role

Tridents are the only weapon to use the trident skill. There are no artifact tridents.


Tridents are a popular choice for the off-hand weapon when twoweaponing, comparable to sabers, crysknives and katanas. They average one more point of damage than the katana versus large monsters, and are the most damaging one-handed non-artifact weapon against such targets. However, their rarity means that players will usually have obtained one of the other weapons by the time they finally encounter a trident.

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Small monsters Large monsters
+0 trident \frac{1+6}{2}+1=\bold{4.5} \frac{3+12}{2}=\bold{7.5}
+7 trident \frac{1+6}{2}+1+7=\bold{11.5} \frac{3+12}{2}+7=\bold{14.5}


Tridents first appear in NetHack 1.3d.


A real world trident

Tridents have origins dating back to ancient Greece and Rome, and have been used for both fishing and combat historically and in modern times; in warfare, tridents were favored for their long reach and ability to disarm and dismount horse-riding combatants. The trident also sees use often in heraldry and military emblems. A trident is the divine instrument of the Greek god Poseidon, as indicated by the encyclopedia entry. Both these facts also explain the to-hit bonus against sea monsters and swimmers.

The word "trident" originates from the Latin tridentis which literally means "three teeth", referring to the tines - tridents designed primarily for fishing usually have barbed tines. This is part of the basis for the 3 dice used to calculate damage versus large monsters; the trident is also explicitly noted as a "spearish" weapon, hence its position in the list of objects and its hitdie versus small monsters.[5]

In Dungeons & Dragons, tridents deal 1d8 base damage versus opponents, but have a lower critical hit multiplier than the long spear, which has the same hitdie. Though this results in lower average damage, they are one-handed, allowing for use of a shield or an off-hand weapon.


That was pure chewing satisfaction!
You ate a trident while in the form of a metallivore.
Four out of five dentists agree.
As above, while hallucinating.



In SlashTHEM, Poseidon's Treasure is an artifact trident that acts as the Diver's first sacrifice gift.


In EvilHack, Infidels can unlock and train the trident skill to Expert if they are crowned. Angelslayer is an unaligned artifact trident introduced in EvilHack.

Encyclopedia entry

Poseido(o)n, lord of the seas and father of rivers and
fountains, was the son of Chronos and Rhea, brother of Zeus,
Hades, Hera, Hestia and Demeter. His rank of ruler of the
waves he received by lot at the Council Meeting of the Gods,
at which Zeus took the upper world for himself and gave
dominion over the lower world to Hades.
Poseidon is associated in many ways with horses and thus is
the god of horses. He taught men how to ride and manage the
animal he invented and is looked upon as the originator and
guardian deity of horse races.
His symbol is the familiar trident or three-pronged spear
with which he can split rocks, cause or quell storms, and
shake the earth, a power which makes him the god of
earthquakes as well. Physically, he is shown as a strong and
powerful ruler, every inch a king.

[ The Encyclopedia of Myths and Legends of All Nations,
     by Herbert Robinson and Knox Wilson ]