User:Chris/dNetHack/Rule Changes

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Race changes


  • Accelerated skill slots -- humans get 1.5x the amount of skill slots compared to other races


  • Begins the game knowing all magical staves, as well as a club and a knife to carve staves.


  • Low-light vision -- light radius is doubled
  • Smaller than other races - can only equip small-sized armor and start with small weapons. Non-fitting armor can be resized with an upgrade kit.
  • Gnomish racial equipment added
    • all gnomes start with gnomish pointy hats
    • gnomes begin with an aklys instead of bullwhips or clubs
    • gnomes begin with crossbows instead of bows
  • Gnomes get an extra damage +1x weapon damage with crossbows
  • Can become expert in club and crossbow, regardless of role.


  • Low-light vision -- light radius is doubled
  • No longer has infravision
  • Very low starting stats, but gain increased AC, to-hit, damage, carrying cap, and physical stats (STR, DEX and CON) with every level up.
  • Gain magic resistance at level 15


  • Major low-light vision -- light radius is tripled
  • No longer has infravision
  • Can still use Elbereth at its full potential (like in vanilla)
  • Hates iron - will take bonus damage when hit with iron weapons and regenerates more slowly when their bare skin is in contact with iron (iron armor, rings, etc.)


Based heavily on the Vampire Patch, with the following changes

  • Gets new perks as they level up -- cold resistance and halved nutrition consumption at level 10, polymorph control at level 21
  • Possess bloodsense, allowing them to see any nearby monster with blood, even if blind or if the monster is invisible
  • Can create vampiric minions from certain corpses at the cost of losing experience level
  • Takes extra damage from silver or blessed items, in addition to penalties for wearing/wielding silver or blessed gear

See the full breakdown of dNetHack player vampires here.

Role changes

A difficulty table of all the modified dNethack roles can be found here.


  • Special alignment penalties made harsher.
  • Itlachiayaque Patch installed.
    • Itlachiayaque is a shield of reflection (thus, automatically confers 2 AC and reflection).
    • It confers ESP, magic resistance, half spell damage and fire resistance when carried.
    • When invoked, it creates a stinking cloud that the player can place unless Itlachiayaque is cursed or the player is not an Archeologist.


  • Can reach expert in Broadsword and Trident.
  • Barbarians now have iterative attacks when in their natural form:
    • At 14th level, they start making two attacks per turn, one at full to-hit, the next one at -10.
    • At 30th level, they make three attacks per turn, at full, -10, and -20 to-hit.
    • Should they wish to make fewer attacks, they may do so as n(number)F.


  • Can reach expert in polearms but only basic in two-weapon fighting.
  • Can expend 30 energy to turn undead in 1 turn instead of 5.
  • Special alignment penalties made harsher.
  • Clarent patch implemented, with Clarent as the Knight's first sacrifice gift.
    • Clarent has the following properties:
      • Intelligent lawful short sword
      • Can be used to dig
      • When invoked, reveals the location of your retinue (all tame creatures) on the level, and increases the tameness of any within line of sight
      • Acts as a luckstone
      • Clarent submits to being held second to Excalibur (but not the other way around)
      • Annoys demons
      • If Clarent is stuck in a wall/door/tree/stone, then it can be pulled out by #untrap as long as you are at least devoutly lawful
      • Is not generated at random.
      • +d8+2 to hit and +d2 damage against thick-skinned monsters (all gargoyles, all mimics, all naga, all baby naga, all dragons, all baby dragons, the Chromatic Dragon, Ixoth, {gold, wood, clay, stone, glass, iron} golems, mumakil, titanotheres, baluchitheria, mastodons, earth elementals, xorn, skeletons, horned devils, barbed devils, sharks, crocodiles, salamanders).



  • Can attack more effectively with artifacts.
    • Always receive the artifact's to-hit bonus.
    • Always receive the maximum to-hit bonus (e.g., receive +10 to-hit instead of +1d10).
    • Inflict +1dXL bonus damage when attacking with an artifact.
    • Invocation timeout is 20% shorter.
  • May expend 30 energy to turn undead in 1 turn instead of 5.


  • Now highly variable depending on race
    • Each different race has a different quest and artifacts, as well as different crowning gifts.


  • Can reach skilled in polearms, and gain a +1 skill-level bonus when using naginatas (glaives).
  • Female samurai start with a glaive and a knife instead of a katana and a shortsword.
  • Special alignment penalties made harsher.


  • Quest monsters revised to better reflect Ankh-Morpork.
  • Gains EXP from seeing new things (new dungeon levels, new species of monsters, etc.)
  • Allowed to wish for anachronistic items, including lightsabers.


  • Can reach expert in spear but only skilled in longsword.
  • Start with a +1 spear instead of a +1 longsword (as in Slash'EM).
  • Start with leather armor and +1 small shields.
  • Get fractionally more energy per level (1x instead of 3/4x)
  • Can no longer twoweapon


  • Wizards start with a -1 athame
  • Hungerless casting nerfed:
    • 50% hunger reduction for intelligence of 15
    • 75% hunger reduction for intelligence of 16 to 19
    • 100% hunger reduction for intelligence of 20 to 25 (no nutrition cost)

The same bonuses are given by having Paimon bound, otherwise the normal nutrition cost applies.


You can no longer become crowned before finishing your role quest. In order to be formally acknowledged as having completed the quest, you must speak to your quest leader while carrying the quest artifact. In addition, your luck must be at least 12, instead of at least 9. This means you need a non-cursed luckstone and maximum luck to be crowned.

Changes to alignment record

Repeated transgressions now reduce your maximum alignment record in addition to reducing your current record. The Hod Sephirah may appear to attack characters who earn many such reductions.

BAB (base attack bonus)

Different roles and binder spirits grant different BAB. BAB grants a <modifier>*level bonus to-hit, so for example a level 30 barbarian would have +30 to-hit on each of his attacks. The roles that get each bonus are as following:

  • Full BAB roles: Barbarian, Convict, Anachrononaut, Pirate, Samurai, Valkyrie, Monks with no weapons wielded.
  • 3/4 BAB roles: Archeologists, Binders, Cavemen, Monks wielding weapons, Nobles, Priests, Rogues, and Rangers.
  • 1/2 BAB roles: Bards, Healers, Tourists, Wizards.

In addition, Berith grants full BAB with any weapon (or none), Eurynome grants full BAB with no weapon, and Enki grants 3/4 BAB. In addition, lightsabers get full BAB with either extrinsic or active intrinsic telepathy, and 3/4 BAB otherwise.

Ability scores

Score drop from abuse can no longer be cured with a unicorn horn. This makes sustain ability more useful, coupled with some new potential nasty stuff in Gehennom.

Constitution and Wisdom changes apply HP/Pw changes that they would have given for level ups retroactively, discouraging drain for gain and making high bonuses more effective late-game. For constitution, you get +4 bonus HP at 19-20 con, +5 at 21-22, +6 at 23-24, +7 at 25 con. For wisdom, you get +(Wis/4) bonus power from every level-up.

Characters with a natural strength limit of 19+ will have to go through the stages of 18/01 to 18/** before moving higher.

Dexterity now contributes to AC, similar to other variants. The formula is (score-11)/2. As a rule, dex bonuses are not cumulative with body armor base AC, but penalties are. Some body armors allow up to 1/2 of the dex bonus to contribute to AC.

  • Full dex bonus: leather jackets, elven togas, jumpsuits, black dresses and mithril coats.
  • 1/2 dex bonus: noble's dresses, leather armor, studded leather armor, chain mail, droven chain mail, scale mail, banded mail, bronze plate mail, high-elven plate, plasteel armor, and any dragon scale mail.
  • No dex bonus: Dragon scales, standard and crystal plate mail, and any other armor types not listed above.

Eating Corpses

You now have a shot at all intrinsic a corpse can give. Each intrinsic is rolled separately, so you can get some, all, or even none.

The intrinsics possible to obtain are more or less the same as vanilla - fire, cold, shock, sleep, poison, and disintegration resistances, and telepathy, teleportitis, teleport control. The only new one added is displacement - though this is also in 3.7.

The chances for these intrinsics have also been modified from vanilla. The chances are based on the base level of a monster, though not necessarily the level of the one that left the corpse. If the level is greater than or equal to rn2(chance), then the intrinsic is granted. This means that any monster above the level is guaranteed, and lower level monsters always have a small shot. The levels to guarantee each are as follows:

Intrinsic Level to guarantee intrinsic
Fire Always
Cold Always
Shock Always
Acid Always
Sleep Always
Poison 15
Disintegration 15
Telepathy 1
Teleportitis 10
Teleport control 12
Displacement 10

The exceptions here are killer bees & scorpions - which have a 75% chance to grant poison resistance outright, instead of rolling for it. In addition, adult shimmering dragons are guaranteed to grant displacement.

However, some of these intrinsics time out. Fire, cold, shock, acid, sleep, and displacement are susceptible to this. Poison resistance, disintegration resistance, and the rest are permanent. For temporary resistances, the base level is rounded up to a multiple of 5 (capped at 20), and multiplied by the corpse nutritional value. Any unique under level 15 is treated as a multiplier of 20, and uniques above level 15 grant permanent intrinsics.

In addition, only these temporary intrinsics can be stolen by gremlins & other similar effects. Resistances gained from leveling up, racial bonuses, crowning, or other permanent sources will not time out and are not eligible to be removed. When gaining any intrinsic a message is displayed, and for all temporary intrinsics you can use the self-examination command (Ctrl-X) to receive clues about which you currently possess.

Tweaked skills

Expert now gives +5 to-hit and +5 damage (-2 to hit and +2 damage for two-weapon fighting). Expert riding gives +2 to-hit and +5 damage.

Crossbows now function differently. High crossbow skill does not grant multiple shots, instead it increases the damage dealt by a single crossbow bolt.

  • at basic or lower, does 1x(bolt+enchantment) damage.
  • at skilled, 2x(bolt+enchantment) damage.
  • at expert, 3x (bolt+enchantment) damage.
  • at all skill levels, adds 3x the damage bonus from skill (-5 restricted, -2 unskilled, +0 at basic, +2 at skilled and +5 at expert)

This extra damage is precision based, and so does not apply against amorphous, stationary, or incorporeal monsters; which are assumed to lack discernible weak-points.

Enchantments on Armor

Many armors can now be enchanted to +7, including ones that aren't elven.

  • Many, but not all, artifact armors can be enchanted to +7.
  • All crystal gear (helm, plate mail, shield, gauntlets, boots) can be enchanted to +7.
  • Cloaks of protection can also be enchanted to +7.
  • Elven gear can be enchanted to +7, but this includes high-elven helms, plate, and gauntlets and elven togas in addition to vanilla elven gear.
  • For wizards, cornuthaums and the Robe of the Archmagi can be enchanted to +7. (but not normal robes for anybody, including wizards)

When any artifact (armor or not) is enchanted beyond the safe point, it will reset to +0 instead of evaporating. This is subject to the same evaporation chances, so with enough enchant scrolls (and a good amount of luck) it is possible for your artifact gear to reach +8 or even +9, or +6 or +7 if it cannot be enchanted past +5 safely.

AC and DR

The player's defense is split into AC (armor class) and DR (damage reduction). Your average DR is displayed on the status line alongside your total AC. When hit, a random bodyslot is chosen, and the your DR in that slot is applied to the attack.

Monsters also have both AC and DR.

Dungeon features

Iron bars

Iron bars now break when struck by force bolt spells or wands of striking, but not pickaxes. They can also be eaten by some monsters (Malcolm Ryan).


Chopping down a tree no longer produces fruit. Kicking a tree still does, with the normal chances of other effects.

Alignment quests

In addition to the role quest, every game now also features alignment quests. There is a lawful quest, a neutral quest and a chaotic quest, with the same layout and guaranteed loot in each game. They can be done regardless of your alignment. Do note that some of the 'loot' from the quests are intelligent artifacts, so the loot may not be usable by everybody.

To win the game, you need to collect 3 alignment keys. These are related or scattered around the three quests, generally guarded by tough boss monsters. These keys unlock indestructible doors at the end of the Valley, and are consumed in the process. The specific keys don't matter, so you can get a key from each, 3 keys from one, or any combination. You can even do all 3 quests completely and just carry the extra 6 to Astral for score.

Shopkeeper services

Shops may (or may not) offer multiple new services. Find out about them by #chatting to the shopkeeper. Possible services include:

  • charging
  • identify
  • remove curse
  • proofing
  • enchanting
  • rustproofing/corrode-proofing (for applicable weapons or armor)
  • poisoning (with any poison, on applicable weapons)

Proofing, enchanting, charging, and poisoning services are only possible on specific kinds of shopkeepers. For example, weapon shops may enchant weapons, proof them, or poison them, but they will never charge wands or enchant armor. Tool shops may charge tools, but they will never charge wands. Curse removal and identification can be obtained anywhere.

ID and charging services may be basic or premium. Premium service provides additional effects; premium identify will add BUC status or enchantment, for example, and is more expensive than basic. Premium charging may be used to "overcharge wands", giving them blessed charging but with 1 extra charge on top of that. However, premium charging is very rare, and only possible to find at wand shops.

New special rooms

dNethack adds some new special rooms, namely:

  • Sepulcher
  • Magic Item Vault
  • Garden
  • Waterlogged Library
  • Dilapidated armory
  • Island

In addition, throne rooms and swamps are somewhat modified, and rivers can spawn on normal dungeon levels.

Bugs/exploits removed

The Astral Call bug (based on Patric Mueller's patch) and Artifact ID bugs have been fixed (or those features have been removed).


Quest artifacts and crowning artifacts can no longer be wished for by any class (not even your own crowning gift), and only your quest nemesis will deliberately steal your quest artifact, other monsters may steal the amulet and invocation items. The QA is therefore a much more dependable source of extrinsics.


Artifact wishes are no longer affected by the current number of generated artifacts, sacrifice or otherwise, and there is a limited number of artifact wishes available. Note that despite this, some artifacts are unwishable, along with any artifacts that have already been generated in that game.

There are a maximum of 3 artifact wishes in the game. One is unlocked from the start of the game. The second is obtained by sitting on the castle throne (the first time you do this will say "You feel worthy."). The third can be obtained by fulfilling a ritual involving the priests of an unknown god.


Traps can be cancelled (Malcolm Ryan, tweaked). Zapping a wand of cancellation downwards while standing on a magical trap will disarm it. This applies to magic traps, teleporters, level teleporters, and polymorph traps. The original patch also included magic portals, dNethack removes this aspect.

Breaking certain wands can now also create traps (such as digging making pits, etc.) (adapted from UnNetHack)


Hallucination now affects how objects are seen as well, until you pick it up (James). It doesn't affect your inventory view like some variants, but it does affect the "pick up what?" and "take out what?" prompts for containers and the floor.

Item material and size

Weapons and armors can have different sizes and material. Most, but not all, weapons and armor can come in varying different materials. Note that different monsters (pets or hostile monsters) also have different sizes and body plans, so the same armor won't fit everything.

The size of a weapon affects its damage and weight, and the size of an armor piece determines what body type can wear it. Ill-fitting armor can be resized with an upgrade kit. Starting equipment will automatically be of your size. The size of a weapon increases or decreases its damage die by 2 per size away from medium, with 'medium' being the base damage (human-sized). Higher sizes increase damage, and lower sizes decrease it. However, each size above your size is also -4 to hit, and a size greater than yours will automatically make the weapon two-handed.

The material of an item determines its weight (mithril equipment is very light, gold is heavy) and whether they deal bonus damage against certain creatures (iron weapons deal bonus damage against iron haters, silver weapons deal bonus damage against silver haters). As a consequence, silver weaponry like silver daggers or silver spears no longer exist as separate items, there's only one "base" item type and a material can be applied to it.

Here is a weight multiplier table. The listed values are multiplies applied to the base weight, depending on material.

Liquid 1.0
Wax 1.5
Veggy (straw) 1.0
Flesh 1.0
Paper 1.0
Cloth 1.0
Leather 1.5
Wood 3.0
Bone 2.5
Shell 2.5
Dragon hide 3.5
Iron 8.0
Metallic 7.0
Bronze 8.0
Silver 9.0
Gold 12.0
Platinum 12.0
Mithril 4.0
Plastic 2.0
Glass 6.0
Gemstone 5.5
Mineral 5.0
Obsidian 6.0
Salt 6.0
Shadow-steel (edderkop bolts, droven armor) 3.0

Artifacts are naturally generated with a specific material and size, which may be iron, silver, mithril, and more. Excalibur obtained by dipping in a fountain will always be whatever you dipped, and other nameable artifacts work the same way.


  • Amnesia only applies to maps, no longer formally IDed items.
  • Luckstones only slow down (600 instead of 300 turns) losing good luck, even when blessed. They still give the usual extra luck, however.
  • Quaffing potions of booze now permanently slightly lowers the chance of moving in the wrong direction when confused or stunned (maximum effect at three potions per XP level). Dwarves outside the mines now carry potions of booze. Your 'drunkeness' value can now be seen with enlightenment.
  • Sokoban boulders have been replaced by huge stone crates, that will pop open and spill out food when pushed into the holes. There is no longer any floor food now, but there are still random rings and wands. If the player does not mind incurring the Sokoban luck penalty, they can also smash open the crates with striking or a digging implement to get at the food inside.
  • Switching between primary and secondary hand no longer takes time.
  • Experience points per level is altered allowing potential for naturally attaining max level 30. Experience per level
  • The number of pets you can have is now limited by Cha/3 (rounded down). When going over that limit, the weakest pet will untame after a few turns.
  • Some items can be wielded to reduce spell failure chance: Spellcasting focus.
  • Nurse dancing is no longer possible. Instead you can pay to have your health fortified.
  • Polypiling unlabelled scrolls won't change them into other scrolls.