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A two-handed weapon requires both hands to wield. You cannot wear a shield or engage in two-weapon combat while wielding one. Hitting a monster with a two-handed weapon has a chance to shatter its wielded weapon. Monsters, including pets, can wield two-handed weapons if they have the strong attribute and are not wearing a shield, in addition to the usual restrictions, i.e. they must have a weapon attack, no cross-aligned artifacts, etc.

List of two-handed weapons

The weapons below are two-handed:

Weapon Skill Cost Weight Prob (‰) Damage (S/L) Material Appearance Tile Glyph
battle-axe axe 40 zm 120 10 d8+d4 d6+2d4 iron double-headed axe Battle-axe.png )
dwarvish mattock pick-axe 50 zm 120 13 d12 d8+2d6 iron broad pick Dwarvish mattock.png )
two-handed sword two-handed sword 50 zm 150 22 d12 3d6 iron Two-handed sword.png )
tsurugi two-handed sword 500 zm 60 N/A d16 d8+2d6 metal long samurai sword Tsurugi.png )
quarterstaff quarterstaff 5 zm 40 11 d6 d6 wood staff Quarterstaff.png )
unicorn horn unicorn horn 100 zm 20 tool d12 d12 bone Unicorn horn.png (


Two-handed weapons are infamous for their crippling effect when wielding a cursed one; wielding a cursed weapon while wearing a cursed shield has similar drawbacks. Spellcasting monsters (including Rodney) are often the most notorious culprits, as they can curse your items directly; while your hands are welded to a cursed two-hander, you cannot loot or apply containers, cast spells, change your cloak, body armor, or shirt, wear or remove rings, and several other activities. These handicaps also make it hard to get at your curse removal items, since you cannot cast spells and your uncursing items will usually be safely in your bag.

Your god treats this as a major trouble for prayer purposes, making it a viable option provided your weapon was not cursed as a result of angering them. As of NetHack 3.6.0, you can empty your bag on the floor with the #tip command to reach your means of curse removal; it is best to prepare a bag of such items in advance for when prayer is inconvenient or unavailable (e.g. in Gehennom). Some people also drop holy water on the ground in places you can easily branchport or level teleport to.


As the #tip command was introduced in NetHack 3.6.0, variants based on older versions (such as SLASH'EM) may lack the command; this makes wielding a cursed two-handed weapon a much more serious problem in those games, and players may choose to avoid these weapons entirely.


In SLASH'EM, bows, crossbows, and some firearms (but not slings) are also two-handed.

See also

This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.