|Damage vs. small
|Damage vs. large
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 1⁄14 for normal monsters, 1⁄12 for a monster that is a lord or nasty, 1⁄10 for a monster that is an overlord or both a lord and nasty, and 1⁄8 for a monster that is both nasty and an overlord.
Croesus is always generated with a two-handed sword if Fort Ludios appears in a game. One of the weapons guarded by the ghost on the Rogue level has a 50% chance of being a two-handed sword, with an enchantment ranging from -1 to +3 and a 3⁄4 chance of generating as cursed.
Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have an approximate 1.9% chance of generating with a two-handed sword before role replacements - barbarians have a 1⁄4 chance of receiving a two-handed sword in place of their initial primary weapon, bringing their odds to roughly 27%.
Two-handed sword skill
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, making it 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.
From Hack 1.0 to NetHack 3.0.10, a two-handed sword can be named Orcrist, giving it a bonus d10 damage against orcs - prior to Hack 1.0.2, naming Orcrist was not restricted to this weapon alone. Until NetHack 3.0.0, it is possible to have multiple "Orcrists" by naming two-handed swords this way - NetHack 3.0.0 makes artifacts unique, and Orcrist uses the two-handed sword as its base item until NetHack 3.1.0, which makes it an elven broadsword.