Unofficial conducts are conducts that are not tracked by the vanilla version of NetHack. They are typically enforced by the players themselves only, though some variants track various unofficial conducts.
Of the unofficial conducts, these tend to get attempted most often, usually in vanilla games.
Never have your life saved by an amulet of life saving. It's okay to wear one, so long as you never trigger it by dying. It's also okay to die in a polymorphed form and return to your normal form; this doesn't count as being killed. Choosing not to die in explore or wizard mode also breaks this conduct.
Vanilla NetHack actually tracks this, but not as a formal conduct. If you manage to ascend without being lifesaved, you get "You survived" in the attributes list; otherwise it states how many times you have been killed.
Never have a pet of any sort. The starting pet can be turned off from the options file, and most other ways of obtaining pets are very deliberate and easy to avoid. The one exception is the charming effect of a magic trap, which is possible to trigger without any warning and will instantly tame adjacent monsters.
Go through the entire game and ascend while polymorphed. Popular choices include baby dragons, lizards, chickatrices, kittens, little dogs, and rats. Bonus points if you have no hands. More amazing the weaker your polymorphed form is. Every variant which currently offers polyinit mode starts you out with permanent intrinsic unchanging, so you will not be able to repolymorph or revert to your base race, which would be considered breaking the conduct.
Never engrave Elbereth. A stricter version of this conduct would also mean never using the word to scare off monsters in places like Sokoban or the Castle where it's already engraved, but most of the variants that track this conduct only track when you engrave it. This conduct doesn't restrict you from other methods of scaring monsters, such as instruments, coaligned temples, or the scroll of scare monster.
Kill every monster in all the levels until none spawn any more. This is more about patience and dedication than it is about avoiding any specific behavior. It can be done to varying degrees: some extinctionists only kill everything that can be naturally generated with create monster; others will repeatedly stone and unstone statues of various rare or unique monster types in order to have them treated as extinct. Versions of NetHack that produce dumplogs will show extincted species in the dumplog.
You may not gain score in any way. This precludes killing monsters, using scrolls, wands, and potions before formally identifying them, and a few other activities. Unfortunately, you also get points for the depth of the Sanctum, so not every game can attain the theoretical minimum.
Never load a bones file. While many bones files are from relatively early in the game and don't contain much that's particularly useful, they might contain large piles of powerful items, artifacts, or other loot which make the game significantly easier for an adventurer who finds and collects them. Therefore, an ascension that never loaded a bones file couldn't have been able to take advantage of such windfalls. You can force the game not to load bones files by turning the bones option off in your configuration file.
Vanilla NetHack does track whether you have loaded any bones files, but similar to Survivor this is not listed in-game as a conduct or reported in the logfile as one.
Conducts in variants
One may not pick up or use any tools, with the exception of one's quest artifact (if applicable) and the Bell of Opening. At the beginning, one should drop all of one's tools on the starting square before proceeding.
This restriction has many consequences:
- You cannot use bags or containers. Multiple stashes scattered throughout the dungeon will probably be necessary.
- You cannot use unicorn horns, so you need a different source of curing and cannot dip-test.
- You will have a hard time keeping more than one or two pets, since you cannot use whistles or leashes.
- You will be forced to stumble around in the dark unless you manage to obtain a Sunsword or spend a lot of time casting light spells. This can be alleviated through monster detection and magic mapping.
- You cannot write extra scrolls or spellbooks.
- You will not be able to easily blind yourself for telepathy purposes, because you cannot use towels or blindfolds.
- You will not be able to ride, except on your starting horse or pony if you have one.
- You will also have to make do without many moderately useful items like grease, a tinning kit, a stethoscope, figurines, a camera or all varieties of instrument (which in turn means that you cannot control the drawbridge at the Castle).
You may not read a scroll of identify, cast the spell, or take advantage of an insight granted by a throne (which may require avoiding thrones altogether, as their insight has a 20% chance of identifying your entire inventory without prompting for confirmation). More specific methods, such as price identification or enlightenment techniques are acceptable.
Table of variant tracked conducts
|Hardfought's build of vanilla|
|No pudding splits||Never split a pudding||NetHack4|
|Perfectly aligned||Never lose a point of alignment||NetHack Fourk|
|No Sokoban penalties||Never get a Luck penalty in Sokoban||NetHack Fourk|
|Jewelryless||Never wear rings, amulets, or eyewear (eating jewelry is fine)||NetHack Fourk|
|Unihornless||Never applied a unicorn horn (using one as a weapon is fine)||NetHack Fourk|
|Containerless||Never applied or looted containers||NetHack Fourk|
|Toolless||Never applied (or looted) any tools||NetHack Fourk|
|Fountainless||Never interact with a fountain||NetHack Fourk|
|Sinkless||Never interact with a sink||NetHack Fourk|
|Quaffless||Never quaff a potion (other uses like throwing are fine)||NetHack Fourk|
|Conflictless||Never generate conflict||NetHack Fourk|
|Invisibleless||Never turn invisible||NetHack Fourk|
|Displacementless||Never become displaced||NetHack Fourk|
|Reflectionless||Never have reflection||NetHack Fourk|
|Magic-wishless||Never wish for a magic item||UnNetHack|
|Unique items pacifist||Never kill any of the unique guardians of the Bell, Book, Candelabrum, or Amulet||UnNetHack|
|Racial armor||Never wear armor not associated with your race||UnNetHack|
|Racial weapons||Never wield weapons not associated with your race||UnNetHack|
|Heaven or Hell||Game mode where everything has one hit point, but you have three extra lives||UnNetHack|
|Hell and Hell||Game mode where only you have one hit point||UnNetHack|
|Wardless||Never draw a warding symbol||dNetHack|
|Identifyless||Never magically identify items||dNetHack|
|Shop identifyless||Never identify items via shopkeeper service||dNetHack|
|Permahallu||Hallucinate for the entire game||xNetHack|
|Permadeaf||Go deaf for the entire game||xNetHack|
|Artifactless||Never touch an artifact||xNetHack|
|Petless||Never have a pet||xNetHack|
|Unfair-scareless||Never cause a monster to flee by standing on a spot such as Elbereth or a coaligned temple||xNetHack|
|Teetotal||Never drink alcohol||SpliceHack|
|Permafumbling||Be fumbling for the entire game||SpliceHack|
|Illfated||Game mode where very high difficulty monsters can generate||SpliceHack|
|Marathon||Game mode where you begin with 999 HP that can never be replenished||SpliceHack|
|Prayerless||Never use #pray (but can still use altars for BUC testing, offering etc.)||SLASH'EM Extended|
|Dudley||Permanently have -13 luck with no way to increase it, and uncurable fear status||SLASH'EM Extended|
|Elm street mofe||Replicates the effect of playing on a Friday the 13th, except that it's always active; in SLEX this does much more than just decreasing luck by one||SLASH'EM Extended|
This is where users can post their own conducts. You must give some description to the ways the conduct makes NetHack harder, as well as your signature without a timestamp(~~~).
Go through the entire game with your starting equipment. This is a difficult task, because you cannot use any rings, amulets, weapons, spellbooks, or items other than the ones with which you started. This is nearly impossible for the Tourist role, which is designed to buy necessary items.
Exceptions are allowed for the Amulet of Yendor, the Bell of Opening, and any of the items absolutely necessary to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor or the quest artifact that you earn through the quest. --Edrobot
Racial ascensions require the player to make use of weapons and armor appropriate for the character's race. "Soft" racial conducts require the player to use racial armor and weapons whenever possible (thus allowing any race to use a T-shirt or Hawaiian shirt, because there are no race-specific items for the shirt slot). "Hard" racial conducts require that the player only use race-specific items in the weapon and armor slots (thus making shirts and gloves completely unavailable).
It is generally acceptable to use items that are not technically race-specific, but have a strong association with that race (such as the aklys for gnomes). Thus, the acceptable items for each race are as follows:
- Dwarf: Dwarvish mattock, dwarvish short sword, dwarvish spear, dwarvish cloak, dwarvish iron helm, dwarvish mithril-coat, dwarvish roundshield, iron shoes.
- Elf: Elven dagger, elven short sword, elven spear, elven broadsword, elven bow, elven arrow, elven mithril-coat, elven cloak, elven boots, elven shield, elven leather helm.
- Gnome: Aklys, crossbow, crossbow bolt.
- Orc: Orcish dagger, orcish short sword, orcish spear, orcish bow, orcish arrow, orcish chain mail, orcish ring mail, orcish cloak, orcish helm, orcish shield, Uruk-hai shield.
There are no restrictions on items that are neither weapons nor armor.
Racial ascensions obviously vary in difficulty depending on the race. A hard racial elf suffers from little more than a lack of access to dragon mail or powerful artifacts, while a hard racial gnome is playing a nude conduct with a substandard weapon.
- A page of racial ascensions can be found here: 
- A racial orc, combined with the illiterate conduct: 
Humans are generally not used for racial ascensions. --Snikers
(Some people play Humans counting the equipment from Keystone Kops and Minetown Guards as racial) -LL
You may only use wands to cause damage and otherwise affect the dungeon. No use of weapons is allowed to #force locks or attack. You should rely on powerful pets. The wizard, a role with some of the best damage potential from spells, is one of the best roles for this conduct. -- Kalon 01:34, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
You must discover every single square of dungeon on every map and leave all doors open. The idea is that the entire world is now accessible to any future travelers. This adds a lot of time, and there is no closed door protection. Some people do this already on accident, and of course, once you have mapping spells it is trivial. For added headache, also make sure all dungeon tiles are physically connected. -- Funkopedia
You can't move diagonally, but you can jump. This is challenging because you will need to spend in most cases two turns to perform a movement. Another, more difficult version is that you can't even perform directional actions diagonally, such as kick, fight, zap wands or spells, throw ecc. --Orl
- You must drop all your starting gold on turn 1.
- You may not pick up gold.
- You may not pick up gems besides gray stones.
- Bonus conduct: No gold rings.
- You may not sell items in shops. (Price-ID OK.)
- You may eat coins as a Metallivore if standing on them.
Play the entire game punished. For getting punishment at the start of the game, either play as a Convict in a variant that has that role, start-scum for a scroll of punishment or pray several times and hopefully don't get killed. There is a known punished atheist ascension on RGRN: SATAP Punished Atheist
If you see downward stairs, you must take them.
do the game without artifacts
Ascend without ever once entering any of the option dungeon branches (the Gnomish Mines, Sokoban, or Fort Ludios). Most characters will have a 50% chance of accidentally choosing the down stairs to the Mines, but an Archaeologist can avoid this by digging down and then coming back up and noting which stairs are safe. Archaeologists are also advantaged in making up for the loss of the guaranteed luckstone in the Mines, since they can dig for and readily identify luckstones in the regular dungeon. Fyr (talk)
You must drop your entire starting inventory within the first few turns, and cannot pick up anything except invocation artifacts, the Amulet of Yendor and whatever other items are absolutely necessary to win the game. Bonus conduct: no using items (scrolls, spellbooks, corpses etc.) lying on the floor either. Probably easiest for monk and wizard. Bluescreenofdeath (talk)
The goal of this conduct is to maintain an AC of 10 for the entire game. This doesn't mean you must be armorless however. A mummy wrapping is the only potentially useful armor with 0 AC when unenchanted. Others can have their innate AC lowered by as much as 3 with various forms of erosion (that brown pudding could be your friend). Some useful 0 AC items might be a rusty helm to protect from falling rock traps, burned or rotted magical cloaks, a rusted helm of telepathy or opposite alignment, rusty gauntlets of power and all manner of degraded magical footwear. Pesky enchantments can be removed with cancellation or by the friendly neighborhood disenchanter. Protection, whether purchased, worn on your finger, from casting or even prayer with high luck breaks the conduct. Half physical damage artifacts are permissible however. Erode-proof armors such as dragon scales (mail is rather pointless) and silver shields can be offset with a sufficient number of cursed scrolls of enchant armor. A variety of styles, roles and strategies suggest themselves, with only a heavy reliance on melee being a probable non-starter... jim