Two-handed sword

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) Two-handed sword.png
Name two-handed sword
Appearance two-handed sword
Damage vs. small 1d12 (1-12)
Damage vs. large 3d6 (3-18)
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill two-handed sword
Size two-handed
Base price 50 zm
Weight 150
Material iron

A two-handed sword is a kind of melee weapon that appears in NetHack. It is one of the most damaging non-artifact weapons in the game, and one of the most damaging among two-handed weapons.


Barbarians have a 12 chance of starting the game with a +0 two-handed sword as their starting sword.[1][2]

Two-handed swords make up about 2.2% of randomly generated weapons (on the ground, as death drops, and in shops).

One of the weapons guarded by the ghost on the Rogue level has a 12 chance of being a two-handed sword, with an enchantment ranging from -1 to +3 and a 34 chance of being cursed.[3]

Several monsters can be generated with two-handed swords:

  • A strong humanoid monster with a weapon attack, the ability to wield weapons and no other ruleset governing its monster starting inventory has a chance of generating with a two-handed sword, unless they are being generated on the Rogue level: the base odds are 114 for normal monsters, 112 for a monster that is a lord or nasty, 110 for a monster that is an overlord or both a lord and nasty, and 18 for a monster that is both nasty and an overlord.[4]
  • Croesus is always generated with a two-handed sword.[5]
  • Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have an approximate 1.9% chance of generating with a two-handed sword before role replacements[6] - barbarians have a 14 chance of receiving a two-handed sword in place of their initial primary weapon, bringing their odds to roughly 27%.[7]

Two-handed sword skill

Two-handed sword
Max Role

The two-handed sword skill covers the use of two-handed swords and tsurugi. The Tsurugi of Muramasa is an artifact tsurugi that uses the skill.


Main article: Two-handed

Two-handed swords are solid early game weapons for their high damage rolls, particularly for weaker roles like Tourists, but they can become a nuisance when cursed and are an unpopular choice to use past the mid-game. The #tip command can be used to get curse removal items out of a carried bag, but most players will still prefer a one-handed and/or curse-resistant weapon to avoid this issue entirely.


The two-handed sword first appears in Hack 1.21 and Hack for PDP-11, which are based on Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial weapon list for Hack 1.0.

From Hack 1.0 to NetHack 3.0.10, including some variants based on these versions, a two-handed sword can be named Orcrist, giving it a bonus d10 damage against orcs - prior to Hack 1.0.2, naming Orcrist is not restricted to this weapon alone. In versions prior to NetHack 3.0.0, which makes artifacts unique and once-per game, it is also possible to have multiple "Orcrists" by naming two-handed swords this way.

From NetHack 3.0.0 to NetHack 3.0.10, Orcrist uses the two-handed sword as its base item - NetHack 3.1.0 changes it to an elven broadsword.



SLASH'EM adds Deathsword, an artifact two-handed sword that is the second sacrifice gift for Barbarians.


In SporkHack, successfully untrapping a land mine trap may generate a two-handed sword instead of a land mine item - this is a dual pun on claymore swords and claymore mines.

SporkHack introduces Lifestealer, an artifact two-handed sword that functions similarly to Stormbringer and is generated in the hands of Vlad the Impaler - a comment in the code indicates that the choice of base item was deliberate to try and deter players from using the artifact themselves, as two-handed weapons were still considered unpopular at the time (and still are to an extent).


In UnNetHack, Thiefbane is an artifact two-handed sword carried by One-eyed Sam, the black market proprietor.


dNetHack adds the droven greatsword, white vibrozanbato and gold-bladed vibrozanbato as weapons that use the two-handed sword skill.

Carrying The Black Crystal increases a character's skill cap in two-handed swords by one. Dantalion is a spirit that grants skill in two-handed swords while bound.

Aurumach Rilmani always generate with a gold two-handed sword enchanted to at least +4, and wandering githyanki pirates are generated with a two-handed sword.

There are many artifact two-handed swords:

  • The Atlantean Royal Sword is a neutral artifact that favors Barbarians, and is the first guaranteed sacrifice gift for Barbarians that start with a two-handed sword. It has +1d3 to-hit and deals double damage, and automatically shatters the wielded weapons of targets it hits - Barbarians can also wield it in the offhand.
  • Sol Valtiva is a chaotic obsidian two-handed sword that favors fire giants, and is the signature weapon of Lord Surtur.
  • Genocide is a lawful large intelligent artifact that is wielded by Bael. It has +1d10 to-hit and deals +1d20 fire damage against targets without fire resistance, while dealing +6d6 fire damage to all monsters of the same race (or monster type if race does not apply) on the current level - if a monster is killed by that fire damage, a fiery explosion that deals 6d6 damage occurs centered on the monster. While the fire damage from this secondary attack does not affect the victim's inventory, the subsequent explosion can burn items in its range.
  • Doomscreamer is a chaotic and intelligent artifact wielded by Graz'zt. It has +1 to-hit and deals double damage against targets without acid resistance, and grants acid resistance when wielded.
  • The Sword of Onoel is a lawful and large intelligent artifact that is made of silver and grants +1d7 to-hit and +1d10 damage versus all monsters. While wielded, the Sword of Onoel grants automatic searching and blindness resistance, and acts as a light source; targets that it strikes may be blinded, gremlins are reduced to dust, and trolls are petrified.


In xNetHack, the Valkyrie quest artifact is changed to Sol Valtiva, a chaotic artifact two-handed sword made of mithril that is the signature weapon of Lord Surtur.


In notdNetHack, in addition to dNetHack details, Dantalion is generated with an artifact two-handed sword called The Dread of Dantalion when summoned by an Illithanachronounbinder.


In EvilHack, The Sword of Kas is an artifact two-handed sword that appears in the hands of Kas. EvilHack also adds Lifestealer from SporkHack.


  1. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 44: Barbarian initial inventory
  2. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 680: Barbarian inventory substitution; rn2(100) is used rather that rn2(2)
  3. src/extralev.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 328
  4. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 527: Case for two-handed sword in "default" monster weapon generation
  5. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 1308
  6. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 155: 12 to get a random weapon - the designated range of objects covers weapons from the spear to the bullwhip inclusively in objects.c, and uses normal generation odds
  7. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 171