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Watch out for team B! Crows are dangerous for the same reason ants are: they come in large numbers and are relatively fast.

Vampire life drain is much more dangerous than in vanilla: It ignores MC. Use the Circle of Acheron to keep Vampires out of melee.

Be very wary of drows and hedrows in the midgame -- they come in groups, are organized with a frontline that hits hard in melee as spellcasters in the back casts mage spells (hedrow) or clerical spells (drow) at you. Spellcasters beware: you can't aim your Fire/Frost Storm if they hide your surroundings with darkness, putting out your lights. This will put out lightsabers as well, and with the ability to keep casting this virtually infinitely they can be deadly if you don't have another weapon handy.

Edderkops are mid-to-late game enemies which are constantly surrounded by a large darkness effect. They have powerful melee and ranged attacks that pierce armor. A character that can take on a group of drow may be in grave danger if they're instead fighting a small group of edderkops.

Inspect creatures you don't recognize with the farlook command. There are three random horrors whose abilities and attacks are randomized each game, so inspecting them this way is the only (safe) way to know what they'll do.

If you happen to be in a position to wish for a figurine of an Archon (or summon one via a candle of invocation), note that they are called Throne Archons in dNethack.


Remember that there is a guaranteed set of crystal plate mail in Vlad's Tower, whose entrance is now located at the top of the Gnomish Mines.

Plate mail and bronze plate mail grant MC3, and can be enchanted to +5.

Crystal plate mail grants MC2, but can be enchanted to +7 and its enchantment is much more effective than for other armor (improving AC and DR by +1 per point)

Sets of dragon scales can now be made into a dragon scale shield by reading confused enchant armor. Combining DSM and a shield of the same dragon color allows you access to said dragon's breath with #monster if the invocation timer for the items are good.

Flying boots (which replaced boots of levitation) can be as useful as speed boots, particularly in the endgame where there are enemies that might create pits.


Learned from spellbooks, they're far easier to learn than the spell itself

Ward off team 'a' with the Sign of the Scion Queen Mother.

Ward off team crow with the Cartouche of the Cat Lord or a Dreprun stave.

Protect yourself from gaze attacks with the Hamsa Mark.

Monster spellcasting

Spell-casters have been made significantly more dangerous -- most of their spells can be cast at a distance now. There is also a selection of new spells.

  • Geyser (clerical spell) now does water damage, potentially ruining valuable scrolls, Acid Rain does strong acid damage, corrodes items and blank items. Geyser can be countered with water walking, Acid Rain with sedge hats. Oilskin cloaks prevent blanking of items of both spells, and also of engulfing from water elementals.
  • Carry lizard corpses, at least 2 in open inventory and as many as possible in the bag -- Gehennom spell-casters have a new toy to mess with, Flesh to Stone. Watch out for The Dark One using this as well. This is resisted by having up to 2 lizards in open inventory, but can be cured by any normal means.

Armor shredding

Some monsters later on in the game can shred your armor -- bebiliths plus the demon lords Demogorgon and Dagon. This works by progressively disenchanting your armor until it no longer provides any AC; in which the next blow destroys it outright. This new mechanic is also used for Destroy Armor, blasts of disintegration (not the wide-angle disintegration beam of gods), and partially by Destroy Weapon (it disenchants to +0, then destroys it). This ensures that writing a lot of ?oEA and enchanting all of your gear to very high levels doesn't necessarily last forever.


Dragon breaths now ignore reflection, and all breaths except for disintegration never miss. Blasts of disintegration has been nerfed as a result to prevent them from being unfair (see above), and blue dragons can no longer blow up rings (they can still blow up wands!) Dragonbreath reflection can only be provided by a silver dragon scale shield or wielding Dragonlance. Combining a DSM with a matching dragon scale shield now allows you to use #monster to perform a dragonbreath based on an invocation timer for both items.

Alignment Quests

Quests start easy and get harder. It is usually safe to explore the first level of an alignment quest branch as soon as you find it.

  • The Law quest entry has many small rooms lining the perimeter of the map. Inside, in the rock, are three bigger rooms, and one has a portal. You'll need a method of digging, though searching for secret doors can get you close.
  • The Neutral quest entry has 4 small rooms in the corners, with corridors connecting them. The stairs are in two of these. There are locked doors into two areas with trees (on the left and right), and into an area with 2 shops (wand and armor) in the centers of the top and bottom. Be careful: there are 6 barracks of soldiers here, and a throne room of deep ones and a master mind flayer. The portal is located in one of the tree areas, and the first level of the branch has many shops and a temple (and no monsters!).
  • The Chaos quest entry is full of traps. It has many teleporters and worse, level teleporters. Watch out if you have pets: you don't want to have to search the entire dungeon for them. The first level has some unaligned altars, and Sir Garland is a pushover (but drops a lance and plate mail when killed).

The Neutral quest is harder than the other two, and contrary to the name, your alignment (neutral or not) matters very little.

Lawful and chaotic players will find their own quests to be somewhat easier.

The Chaos quest has a big jump in difficulty at the very end, and the Neutral quest gets 'significantly' harder with the Lost Cities (after the argentum (silver) golems). The Law quest is arguably hardest at the very beginning, but isn't that hard if you have resistances. You'll need cold, sleep, and drain to get past Axus, and you'll want reflection to deal with the mass of soldiers (at least one of which will likely have a wand of death), and the appropriate resistance for Oona.

In short, bring your resistances for Oona and the end of the Chaos quest. The neutral quest is safe to explore, but tread carefully once you reach the river.

Ranged Attacks

Unlike in vanilla, some form of ranged attack is highly recommended in dNethack. Here is a selection of ranged attack options for each role (does not include darts, javelins, or spears).

  • Archeologist: Basic attack spell, Skilled sling, Expert boomerang
  • Barbarian: Skilled dagger, Skilled bow
  • Binder: Any
  • Caveman: Skilled bow, Expert sling, Basic attack spell, Expert boomerang
  • Convict: Skilled dagger, Skilled sling, Basic attack spell
  • Healer: Skilled dagger, Skilled sling, Skilled shuriken
  • Knight: Expert polearms, Expert lance, Skilled crossbow, Skilled attack spell
  • Monk: Expert shuriken, Basic attack spell
  • Noble: Skilled bow, Skilled attack spell
  • Elf Noble: Skilled bow, Skilled lance, Skilled attack spell
  • Drow Noble: Skilled crossbow, Skilled attack spell
  • Dwarf Noble: Skilled dagger, Skilled bow
  • Priest: Skilled polearms
  • Drow Priestess: Skilled polearms, Expert attack spell
  • Pirate: Skilled dagger, Expert crossbow, Basic attack spell
  • Rogue: Expert dagger, Expert crossbow, Skilled shuriken
  • Ranger: Expert dagger, Skilled polearms, Expert bow, Expert sling, Expert crossbow, Skilled shuriken, Expert boomerang
  • Samurai: Expert naginata, Skilled polearms, Skilled lance, Expert bow, Expert shuriken, Skilled attack spell
  • Tourist: Expert boomerang, Lots of wand charges
  • Valkyrie: Expert bow, Expert attack spell, Mjollnir
  • Wizard: Skilled crossbow, Expert attack spell