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This page offers some general hints on how to play Slash'EM Extended without dying all the time. Of course some deaths are unavoidable, but following the advice offered here is the first step to survival. It's mainly meant for newbies who aren't experienced with this NetHack variant yet. You can also join the #slashemextended or IRC channels on Freenode - I am often there, and even if I'm not, other players might be able to help you if you have any questions.

  • First and foremost, remember that Slash'EM Extended is not Quake. There's no need to rush and play like a maniac who has to get things done in a certain amount of real-time. You can think about a tactic for as long as you like, and doing so is in fact recommended.
  • If you're playing on a public server, be sure to join the #slashemextended or IRC channel (Freenode). There is a bot that can be queried for information about monsters with this command: @le?<monster> - so for example you can type @le?pharao to see what the "pharao" monster does. Also, other players can be found there, including me (AmyBSOD) sometimes.
  • Things that will help: a high frustration tolerance, a dose of sedativa, and the expectation to die many, many gruesome deaths. Unlike other NetHack variants, SLASH'EM Extended is really very hard and takes a lot of effort to ascend. But it's possible, so don't give up! :)
  • Do not hang up at a prompt! Doing so counts as cheating and causes a penalty the next time you return to the game. Save your game normally via the S command, or if you do have to hang up, do it while the game is waiting for you to make a move. This is especially important if you leave the game running on a public server while you're afk: clear all prompts first before you go to the toilet, so if you get a disconnect while you're away, it doesn't give you a penalty for "trying to cheat". I know the implementation of this penalty isn't optimal but so far it's the only way to make sure players cannot easily cheat death by hanging up.
  • As you start a new character, also take a moment to familiarize yourself with your inventory: Scrolls of healing are useful to heal hitpoint damage, which is also the only thing they do, so you'll want to always keep some of them around to use in dangerous situations. Scrolls of mana are useful for spellcasters as they restore your Pw. Phase door scrolls teleport you over a short distance and can therefore be used to get out of trouble. The scroll of standard id is like an identify scroll but always identifies exactly one object. And the scroll of cure can be used to cure various afflictions instantly, including food poisoning and petrification. All of these scrolls are sometimes generated by killing monsters, and all characters start with some of them. They work the same if they're cursed or you are suffering from confusion, too. Scrolls of healing, standard id, phase door, mana and cure cannot be polymorphed, blanked or changed in any other way.
  • If you're unsure about the effects of an item, press its corresponding letter while in normal inventory view to get a description.
  • Remember to use the #technique command. All characters start with "invoke deity", which will heal some hit points as long as your alignment record is positive (don't use it with negative alignment though), and "appraisal" which displays the enchantment value of your currently wielded weapon (can also be used to e.g. identify the charges of wands) as well as "phase door" which moves you to a random nearby square (doesn't work on no-teleport levels). There are quite some playable roles and races that get other useful techniques, too.
  • Don't blindly melee everything that moves or looks like it might move. Doing so will generally get you killed. Take your time to farlook unknown monsters for a description of their attacks and stats, then decide whether you want to fight them. If you encounter an aedil or gorgon fly on dlvl1, RUN!!! Those are probably the results of polymorphs, but occasionally the game may spawn out-of-depth monsters too; blindly attacking them will result in DYWYPI.
  • Don't, for the love of God, mess with swamps or weird-looking rooms with your beginning character! The monsters in those don't fight fair. This is especially true if you spent half an hour startscumming for good items and stats. The RNG will kill you. Every time.
  • DO NOT ESC OUT OF A --More-- PROMPT IN CRITICAL SITUATIONS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Doing so is equal to throwing the life of your character away, because you'll skip right past messages like "You are slowing down." or "You feel deathly sick." and die out of the blue. I've seen it happen so many times, including on far-progressed characters. Just don't do it unless your goal is to encounter YASD. Please.
  • If you enter a shop or temple and the expected NPC greets you but isn't visible, that doesn't mean he's not there, and so you should NOT walk around randomly unless you want your possessions identified! Also, make very sure that if you chat to a priest, that the altar is still there and co-aligned with the priest and the temple is not haunted!
  • Contamination is an affliction that can be caused by monster attacks (some angelic beings in particular have it as a gaze attack), but it can also be contracted by triggering certain traps or eating the corpses of monsters that have contamination attacks. The latter is a very bad idea; contamination resistance exists, but is not gained from eating corpses. The contamination will gradually sap the player's wisdom, and it cannot be restored via unicorn horns or restore ability; if it goes below 3, you die instantly! Cure it by reading a noncursed scroll of remove curse, zapping a wand of remove curse, or praying on an altar of your own deity. If you're not fatally contaminated, getting amnesia can also cure it but that obviously has bad side effects. And if you have access to the decontamination technique, using it will reduce your contamination by half.
  • Remember, there's always Elbereth if you're chased by a monster that's faster than you. High-level monsters may still take a few swings at you but few monsters are outright immune; while some monster classes (e.g. major demons) are highly resistant, some other classes that used to be immune (humans, elves etc.) might occasionally be scared by the E-square. Don't waste the charges of your wand of fire if there are any monsters represented by the 7 glyph though, since they will erase your Elbereths! Also take note that the wand of digging can engrave up to 6 Elbereths in a single turn while still using only one charge.
  • Always have a way to kill monsters at range. There are a lot of item-stealing monsters in Slash'EM Extended, and meleeing them will allow them to rob you of your stuff. Plus, sessile monsters often have nasty passive attacks that can be completely avoided by killing them at range. So pick a ranged weapon that you can advance to Expert or higher and start training that skill; daggers and darts are plentiful and lightweight, and most characters can advance at least one of those. Spears are another choice but it's harder to collect a sizable amount of them. Even slings might be useful as the ammo is plentiful and they actually do respectable damage at high skill levels. If you don't mind going without a shield, you might also use bows or crossbows as they do lots of damage and arrows aren't rare either; there are also droven/spider-legged ones that are one-handed but very hard to find.
  • Dropping or picking up items does not consume a turn, unlike vanilla and most other variants. So you can freely do so as much as you like; however, it also applies to monsters.
  • Sometimes, the game might generate tension rooms or other special rooms on shallow dungeon levels, which might be filled with dangerous monsters. If you encounter a room filled with dozens of trolls on dlvl2, be sure to stay FAR away from there unless you know what you're doing, and hope that room doesn't have the downstairs; actually, try to get a pick-axe ASAP, since that also helps with the next point:
  • Sometimes, the game might generate rivers, trees or other obstacles blocking your way forward. Trees can be removed by applying certain weapons at them (e.g. an axe) but most of those weapons aren't generated often, and traversing water also isn't always easy early on, but with a pick-axe you can just dig past the obstacles and move on.
  • You can carry a lot more stuff in Slash'EM Extended than you can in vanilla NetHack; use it! Chests and boxes are actually valid containers that can easily be lugged around, and they also protect their contents from water, so you should pick up and use the first one you encounter. You're also capable of having more than 52 items in your main inventory; additional items all get the # letter but by repeatedly adjusting them to something else you can make sure the important items have distinct letters. The main use of this feature is that you can read blessed scrolls of identify, which will sometimes identify all those pages of items at once. Also, dropping items and picking them back up doesn't consume turns in Slash'EM Extended.
  • There's quite some new domestic animals (and non-animals) in this variant, too; tame them by throwing food (farlook them to see what they eat). If the monster's description states "Can be tamed by throwing a certain kind of food" then you can always throw food they don't eat to turn them peaceful, stopping them from killing you. Monsters that have "timid" or "domestic" in their name are almost always ones that can be tamed this way.
  • Don't ignore spellbooks just because you're a melee role or have a low intelligence stat! Even barbarians can get to 0% fail in finger of death. Also, having a forgotten spell for the confusion on demand is helpful too. Just beware of cursed spellbooks, which can paralyze you and cause negative effects; standing on an active Elbereth square while reading a non-BUC-tested book may be a good idea.
  • If you get slimed, don't cure the condition right away. Unlike vanilla, you have 100 turns to live which should be plenty to kill whatever it is that slimed you. Using a cure while the monster in question is still alive can result in you just getting slimed again and running out of cures (if you have cure sickness at a reasonable success rate then you don't need to care). Unlike food poisoning, getting slimed while already under the condition doesn't make it worse.
  • Item stacks can resist being manipulated, depending on how many items are in a stack. For comestibles, scrolls and potions, the chance is 1 in X, with X being the size of the stack, so e.g. dipping 5 scrolls of enchant weapon into a holy water has a 1 in 5 chance of working, and if it doesn't work, the holy water is simply used up with no effect. On the other hand, a stack of 5 uncursed potions of full healing also only has a 1 in 5 chance of being cursed when it's targetted by a monster's curse items spell. Daggers, knives, javelins, boomerangs and spears, as well as candles, have a 10 in X chance of being affected, so manipulating a stack of 10 or less is guaranteed to work. Most other stackable items, e.g. darts, shuriken or rocks, have a 25 in X chance of being affected.
  • On public servers and certain operating systems (most Unices -- possibly terminal-based), the bottom status line might disappear if it gets too long. This can be remedied by turning off options that put long strings there, e.g. showlongstats, showmc, showexp and showweight. Also, hitting Ctrl-X will show a message with your current HP, Pw, status effects etc. so you'll be able to access the information at every time. Setting your terminal size to 80x25 (the recommended dimensions for SLASH'EM Extended), rather than 80x24, will also probably help. But bigger dimensions like 137x28 or other weird values don't work, unfortunately, because if the display is wider than 80 then the line wrap doesn't occur at all and the status line is instead truncated after the 80th character. TL/DR: 80x25 is the best terminal size for this game.
  • Some types of mimics do not reveal themselves when you bump into them - DO NOT bump into them repeatedly, since that will not damage them but just allow them to get tons of free hits! The F command exists in vanilla too so you're expected to know about it - use it and specify the direction the mimic is in so you attack it!