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This page is the dumping ground for all ideas related to overhauling NetHack's class system for better differentiation between its classes. It is based on dtsund's original class overhaul proposal, and except where otherwise noted consists of his own non-definitive suggestions. Text from the original proposal, slightly updated from its original form to be more detailed in places and incorporate some received feedback, is below.

Original Proposal (dtsund)


NetHack's class (or "role") system is in dire need of an overhaul. Too often, there is little distinguishing one class from another; the differences between Valkyrie, Barbarian, Caveperson, and Samurai, for instance, are not so much huge differences in playstyle so much as they are relatively minor technical details. Little thought seems to have been put into determining specific, distinct playstyles and designing classes around these. Rather, the game's class system seems to have accreted somewhat haphazardly over time.

Here, I present an attempt to fix this. I have assembled here a list of playstyles, and retooled the existing classes to fit them. In some cases, classes are more or less identical to their predecessors; in others, however, more drastic changes were made.

First, some overall changes to mechanics.

Thrown daggers are currently altogether too powerful; they should serve as a comparitively weak ranged option for classes that have nothing else, inferior to dedicated ammo-based ranged attacks like darts and bows. The current state in which daggerstorms can be one of the game's most powerful attacks, in some cases even more powerful than a volley of arrows, should be rectified. One possible fix would be to remove multishot from thrown daggers.

Spell schools, and to a lesser extent spell levels, appear to have been organized around flavor rather than to serve game mechanics. Currently, they are organized thus:

  • Attack: Force Bolt (1), Drain Life (2), Magic Missile (2), Cone of Cold (4), Fireball (4), Finger of Death (7)
  • Clerical: Protection (1), Create Monster (2), Remove Curse (3), Create Familiar (6), Turn Undead (6)
  • Divination: Detect Monsters (1), Light (1), Detect Food (2), Clairvoyance (3), Detect Unseen (3), Identify (3), Detect Treasure (4), Magic Mapping (5)
  • Enchantment: Sleep (1), Confuse Monster (2), Slow Monster (2), Cause Fear (3), Charm Monster (3)
  • Escape: Jumping (1), Haste Self (3), Invisibility (4), Levitation (4), Teleport Away (6)
  • Healing: Healing (1), Cure Blindness (2), Cure Sickness (3), Extra Healing (3), Stone to Flesh (3), Restore Ability (4)
  • Matter: Knock (1), Wizard Lock (2), Dig (5), Polymorph (6), Cancellation (7)

I would propose reorganizing them as follows:

  • Attack: Force Bolt (1), Magic Missile (2), Cone of Cold (4), Fireball (4), Finger of Death (7)
  • Defense: Healing (1), Protection (1), Cure Sickness (2), Extra Healing (3), Turn Undead (4), Create Familiar (6)
  • Divination: Light (1), Detect Monsters (2), Detect Unseen (2), Identify (4), Detect Treasure (4), Magic Mapping (5), Clairvoyance (6)
  • Enchantment: Slow Monster (1), Confuse Monster (2), Cause Fear (3), Sleep (4), Cancellation (5), Charm Monster (6)
  • Escape: Knock (1), Jumping (1), Wizard Lock (2), Haste Self (3), Invisibility (4), Dig (5), Teleport Away (6)
  • Matter: Levitation (1), Drain Life (2), Stone to Flesh (3), Create Monster (3), Remove Curse (4), Polymorph (6)

Detect Food, Cure Blindness, and Restore Ability were struck from the roster because nobody has ever cast them in the history of ever. Magic Missile has its damage scale according to skill with Attack magic, doing 1/4 damage at Unskilled and scaling linearly up to full damage at Expert. Skilled-level Detect Unseen confers its wide-range searching effect for a period of time rather than once. The Clairvoyance spell allows you to see through walls to a limited range for a period of time, akin to a wide-angle Eyes of the Overworld. Drain Life now additionally drains the equipped gear of targeted monsters with no chance to save. The rest of the document has been written under the assumption that these changes have been made.

The split between Int casting and Wis casting should be removed. It removes mechanical consistency for the sake of flavor and at the expense of gameplay to boot. Additionally, Wisdom should have a vastly greater effect on Pw regeneration, allowing some classes to restore their magic much more quickly than others at the outset). Maxed-out Wisdom should confer Pw regeneration roughly equivalent to one-quarter to one-half of an Eye of the Aethiopica. Elevating Wisdom should be as difficult as raising Intelligence currently is. Allowing classes to have spellcasting prowess decoupled from Pw regeneration at the start would be a good thing, helping distinguish classes who can occasionally use potent magic from those who can spam, but only with lower-level spells.

To better differentiate between what spells are castable by a given class and what spells aren't, being restricted in a spell school should (perhaps) incur a significant failure penalty when attempting to cast spells in that school. I would go as far as to say that this penalty, skill level, experience level, Int, and worn armor should be the only factors contributing to success rate.

Special spells should be removed. The mechanic serves no real purpose. The same goes for emergency spells.

I propose the following algorithm for Pw regeneration, which is intended to make increases in Wis significant at nearly all Wis levels. To accomplish this, the number of turns it takes to regenerate a point of Pw decreases exponentially at low Wis and linearly at high Wis:

  • If you have the Eye of the Aethiopica, recover 1d2 energy every turn, similarly to current. Otherwise, fall through.
  • At 12 Wisdom, recover one point of Pw every 12 turns.
  • For each point of Wisdom above 12 up to 20, reduce the number of turns needed to recover each Pw point by 1. At Wisdom 20, recover Pw every 4 turns.
  • At Wisdom 22+, recover Pw every 3 turns.
  • For each point of Wisdom below 12 down to 4, increase the number of turns needed to recover each Pw point by 20% compounded. At Wisdom 4, recover Pw every 52 turns.
  • For Wisdom below 4, don't recover Pw at all.

I propose the following algorithm for spell success, which is intended to be vastly simpler than the original algorithm (which is good because tweaks to complex algorithms have obscure effects on gameplay, so nobody changes them and they ossify) and also make it simpler to determine which roles can and cannot cast what spells.

  • Proposed percentage success rate: 150 - 200 * spell_level * unskilled_penalty + (Int * (character_level + skill_bonus)) / armor_penalty.
  • Armor penalty defaults to 1 if no interfering armor is worn. Add 1 for metallic body armor, 0.2 for a small shield, 0.4 for a large shield, 0.4 for a metal helmet, 0.2 for metal shoes, and 0.6 for gauntlets of power.
  • Wearing a robe functions as +5 Int.
  • Unskilled penalty is 2 if the appropriate skill is Restricted or Unskilled, 1 otherwise.
  • Skill bonus is 15 for Basic skill, 30 for Skilled, 45 for Expert, and 0 otherwise.

The unknown spellbook bug should be fixed, making polypiling a significantly poorer source of new spells. However, it should also be made much easier to obtain new spellbooks by other means; perhaps a library special level with many spellbooks a few levels prior to Medusa's Island would be in order, and spellbooks either from statues or as tribute from the floor god could be made more common. Other solutions to this problem may come to the reader's mind.

While there is some merit to varying the starting inventory, all instances of "you have a 1/5 chance of getting this useful thing, and no compensation if you don't" should be removed.

No Quest nemesis should respect Elbereth. The majority of the ones who do have no way of attacking a player standing on an E-square, and the exceptions to that are countered hard by reflection. While Quest nemeses don't need to be uniformly difficult fights (and one or two of them are altogether too dangerous right now), defeating one should at least feel climactic. On the other hand, their covetousness mechanic should be removed. When you *are* strong enough to kill a nemesis, covetous teleportation is more obnoxious than threatening with halfway decent play, and when you aren't, it makes it too hard to flee. In some cases, the HP of a Quest nemesis might be increased somewhat to compensate for the removal of their regenerative tactics.

Magicbane should be effectively useless as a damaging weapon and probably shouldn't be an endless source of cheap, clean Elbereth either; it'd still be an excellent wielded artifact without these (perhaps it could be turned into a knife).

Riding skill needs to matter more above Basic, or else be discarded. Alignment penalties should be reworked to be something players should care about. Specific proposals for these adjustments are beyond the scope of this document.

Without even further ado, the archetypes and classes themselves:


These classes are meant to play one aspect of the game, and play it well.

Pure Fighter: Valkyrie

Relatively little needs to be changed in this case, save the aforementioned blanket nerf to thrown daggers (which would reduce their ranged combat potential noticeably). As-is, the Valkyrie, from start to finish, already epitomizes the melee game. They may now achieve Expert in any melee weapon type, but aside from the boosts to Two Weapon Combat and Saber, this is unlikely to matter much in practice.

Alignment: Lawful, Neutral.

Race: Human, Dwarf.

Starting inventory:

  • a +1 long sword
  • a +0 dagger
  • a +3 small shield
  • 1-2 food rations
  • an oil lamp (now guaranteed)

Initial Basic skills: Long Sword, Dagger.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack (down from Basic), Defense, Divination, Enchantment, Escape (down from Basic), Matter, Bow, Crossbow, Dart, Shuriken, Boomerang.
  • Basic: Javelin, Sling, Riding (down from Skilled).
  • Skilled: -none-
  • Expert: Knife (up from Restricted), Club (up from Restricted), Mace (up from Restricted), Morning Star (up from Restricted), Flail (up from Restricted), Whip (up from Restricted), Unicorn Horn (up from Restricted), Saber (up from Basic), Scimitar (up from Basic), Quarterstaff (up from Basic), Trident (up from Basic), Pick-Axe (up from Skilled), Short Sword (up from Skilled), Broadsword (up from Skilled), Polearms (up from Skilled), Spear (up from Skilled), Lance (up from Skilled), Dagger, Axe, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Hammer, Bare Hands, Two Weapon Combat (up from Skilled).

Intrinsics: Cold Resistance (level 1), Speed (level 7). Level 1 Stealth removed.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: Unchanged.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: Unchanged.

Pure Ranged: Ranger

The changes to Ranger are less minor than those to Valkyrie and are geared toward further ensuring they favor ranged combat above all other options. Significantly, they are worse spellcasters than in vanilla NetHack.

Alignment: Neutral, Chaotic.

Race: Human, Gnome, Elf.

Starting inventory:

  • a +1 dagger
  • 4 +0 daggers (new)
  • a +1 bow (always, even for gnomes)
  • 50-59 +2 arrows (always, even for gnomes; never initially poisoned)
  • 30-39 +0 arrows (always, even for gnomes; never initially poisoned)
  • a +2 cloak of displacement (always, even for elves)
  • 5-7 cram rations (always, even for elves; range narrowed somewhat)
  • a blessed spellbook of slow monster (new)

Initial Basic skills: Dagger, Bow.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack, Defense (down from Basic Healing), Divination (down from Expert), Escape (down from Basic), Matter, Broadsword, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Scimitar, Saber, Club, Mace, Lance, Unicorn Horn, Two Weapon Combat.
  • Basic: Pick-Axe, Short Sword, Morning Star, Hammer, Quarterstaff, Trident, Whip, Riding.
  • Skilled: Enchantment (up from Restricted), Knife, Axe, Flail, Polearms, Spear.
  • Expert: Dagger, Javelin, Bow, Sling, Crossbow, Dart, Boomerang, Shuriken (up from Skilled).

Intrinsics: Searching (level 1), Stealth (level 7), See Invisible (level 15).

God gifts: First sacrifice gift guaranteed to be the Bottomless Quiver, a Chaotic magical tool which provides a number of arrows when applied if it has nonzero charges. The Bottomless Quiver will not be given as a sacrifice gift to non-Rangers; it may be wished for, but gives non-rangers only half as many arrows. The arrows produced will be ordinary arrows 80% of the time, silver arrows otherwise. It can be recharged indefinitely.

Quest: The Home level is to have its terrain completely redesigned. The person who designed the original Home level is to be tracked down and shot. Given the change to the Longbow of Diana below, Scorpius should probably be more threatening, though the removal of his Elbereth sensitivity might suffice for this.

Quest artifact: The Longbow of Diana, when invoked, now provides the same effect as a blessed scroll of enchant weapon. +1 multishot over an ordinary longbow. No other changes.

Other details: Rangers get the same multishot bonus they normally do. Their spellcasting penalty should be such that they can get to Sleep with relative ease, Cancellation with a bit more difficulty, and Charm Monster with heroic effort.

Pure Magic: Wizard

Much of the Wizard's design is cruft left over from the days before the Wizard Patch was incorporated, introducing the modern spellcasting system. The result is a class which, despite ostensibly being the game's magic specialist class, is optimally played with rather little magic early on. The changes here are intended to give focus to the class, and in particular both allow and require it to lean harder on magic in the early stages of the game.

Alignment: Neutral, Chaotic.

Race: Human, Gnome, Elf, Orc.

Starting inventory:

  • a +0 dagger
  • a +0 cloak of magic resistance
  • a blessed spellbook of force bolt
  • a blessed spellbook of magic missile (new)
  • a random Escape spellbook of level 1-3 (new)
  • a random Enchantment spellbook of level 1-3 (new)

Initial Basic skills: Attack, Enchantment, Escape.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Quarterstaff (down from Expert) Pick-axe, Broadsword, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Scimitar, Saber, Morning Star, Flail, Hammer, Lance, Bow, Crossbow, Boomerang, Whip, Unicorn Horn, Two Weapon Combat.
  • Basic: Dagger (down from Expert), Short Sword, Mace, Spear, Javelin, Trident, Axe (down from Skilled), Club (down from Skilled), Polearms (down from Skilled) Shuriken, Dart (down from Expert), Bare Hands, Riding.
  • Skilled: Knife (a Wizard desperate for some decent melee damage may choose to make a crysknife), Sling.
  • Expert: Attack, Defense (up from Skilled, where Clerical and Healing were), Divination, Enchantment, Escape, Matter.

Intrinsics: Teleport at will (level 8), Warning (level 15), Teleport Control (level 17).

God gifts: First sacrifice gift guaranteed to be Magicbane, subject to the nerfing mentioned above. Crowning gift remains a spellbook of finger of death, and will not unrestrict long sword skill.

Quest: Unchanged.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: Wizards should typically start out with maxed-out Wisdom, which (according to the above rebalancing) would give them much greater innate Pw regeneration than in vanilla. Wizards will no longer have any advantage in writing unknown books or scrolls over other classes. However, they do retain hungerless casting.

Comments: That wizards start with enough Wisdom for fast Pw regeneration is important; in the absence of most of their starting gear, as well as no prospect to compensate with daggerstorming, they'll need to lean much more heavily on their starting magic spells. Having ready access to four spells, however, gives them much more raw power than they otherwise enjoy, and should be enough to make up for the absence of their usual rings, wands, and so on. Including Magic Missile as a starting spell is intended to make sure Wizards have something to use when Force Bolt becomes inadequate; retaining the cloak of magic resistance lets them be unafraid of ricochets.


These classes combine the elements of the pure classes in various ways.

Melee/Missile Hybrid: Samurai.

One of the relatively few things distinguishing Samurai from Valkyrie in vanilla is its prowess with ranged weapons. As most Samurai players nevertheless content themselves with melee games, this aspect of their design should be more heavily emphasized.

Alignment: Lawful.

Race: Human.

Starting inventory:

  • a +0 katana
  • a +0 wakizashi
  • a +0 yumi
  • 35 to 45 +0 ya (formerly 26 to 45 ya)
  • a +0 rustproof splint mail

Intrinsic Basic skills: Short Sword, Long Sword, Bow, Martial Arts

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack (down from Skilled), Defense, Divination, Enchantment, Escape (down from Skilled), Matter, Axe, Pick-Axe, Club, Mace, Morning Star, Hammer, Trident, Sling, Crossbow, Dart, Boomerang, Whip, Unicorn Horn.
  • Basic: Dagger, Scimitar, Saber, Quarterstaff, Spear, Javelin, Two-Handed Sword (down from Expert).
  • Skilled: Knife, Broadsword, Flail, Polearms, Lance, Two Weapon Combat (down from Expert), Riding.
  • Expert: Short Sword, Long Sword, Bow, Shuriken
  • Master: Martial Arts

Intrinsics: Speed (level 1), Stealth (level 15)

Stats: Largely unchanged from vanilla. Int and Wis should both be fairly low.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: Ashikaga Takauji's weapon is changed as noted below. The Donjon of Ashikaga Takauji now permits teleportation, and Ashikaga himself can teleport at will, favoring places a short distance away from the player in a cardinal direction while he still has remaining ya. The Shogun's Castle should have a small to medium stash of replacement ya.

Quest artifact: Yoichi's Yumi. Lawful yumi, +1d5 to-hit bonus over an ordinary yumi, +1 multishot over an ordinary yumi, teleports the player adjacent to the target when the target is hit by a ya (overriding no-teleport levels), and can be invoked for a controlled teleport (not overriding no-teleport levels).

Other details: Unchanged.

Attack Magic/Melee Hybrid: Barbarian

Currently, Barbarians are functionally equivalent to Valkyries who have decided to trade away many of their advantages to start with poison resistance. Allowing them to realistically supplement their inferior melee attacks with Attack magic (and *only* Attack magic) would make for fine compensation while giving them a distinct niche.

Alignment: Neutral, Chaotic.

Race: Human, Orc, Elf (new).

Starting inventory:

  • a +0 two-handed sword
  • a +0 axe
  • a +0 studded leather armor (changed from +0 ring mail)
  • a food ration
  • a random food item
  • an oil lamp (now guaranteed)
  • a blessed spellbook of force bolt

Initial Basic skills: Two-Handed Sword, Axe, Attack.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Defense, Divination, Enchantment, Escape, Matter, Knife, Polearms, Javelin, Lance, Sling, Crossbow, Dart, Shuriken, Boomerang, Whip, Unicorn Horn.
  • Basic: Dagger, Saber, Flail, Quarterstaff, Bow, Two Weapon Combat, Riding.
  • Skilled: Pick-Axe, Broadsword, Long Sword, Scimitar, Club, Mace, Morning Star, Spear, Trident.
  • Expert: Attack (up from Skilled), Bare Hands (down from Master), Axe, Short Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Hammer.

Intrinsics: Speed (level 7), Stealth (level 15).

Stats: The Barbarian's spell penalty and starting Int should be good enough to permit casting Force Bolt at early stages, but perhaps not flawlessly at level 1. Their starting Wis, and thus their Pw regeneration rate, should be quite low. Endgame and even late-midgame Barbarians should have no trouble whatsoever casting Fireball or Cone of Cold; Finger of Death should be within their reach.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: Unchanged.

Quest artifact: The Heart of Ahriman now confers double spell damage rather than stealth, similar to the Magic Mirror of Merlin for Knights in vanilla. The code for this should be augmented to support Fireball and Cone of Cold at Skilled and Expert. It can be invoked to halve the distance between current and maximum Pw, as with the Mitre of Holiness.

Other details: Unchanged.

Utility Magic/Melee hybrid: Priest

In vanilla NetHack, priests have a distinct identity as a class that has difficulty killing things, but has a wide variety of useful survival and non-combat tools. This identity is preserved, with minor adjustments, here.

Alignment: Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic.

Race: Human, Elf.

Starting inventory:

  • a +1 mace
  • a +0 robe
  • a +0 small shield
  • a clove of garlic
  • a sprig of wolfsbane
  • two random spellbooks level 1-3 from Defense or Divination
  • four potions of holy water
  • an oil lamp (now guaranteed)

Initial Basic skills: Mace, Defense.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack, Enchantment, Escape, Dagger, Knife, Axe, Pick-Axe, Short Sword, Broadsword, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Scimitar, Saber, Whip, Two Weapon Combat, Riding.
  • Basic: Lance, Bow, Sling, Crossbow, Dart, Shuriken, Boomerang, Bare Hands.
  • Skilled: Matter (up from Restricted), Polearms, Spear, Trident, Javelin, Unicorn Horn.
  • Expert: Defense, Divination, Club, Mace, Morning Star, Flail, Hammer, Quarterstaff.

Intrinsics: Warning (level 15), Fire resistance (level 20).

Stats: Largely unchanged. Their Pw regeneration should be moderate.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: Unchanged.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: Unchanged. They retain their innate knowledge of beatitude.

Comments: The Priest's starting Wisdom should be reasonably high, but their Intelligence should be low enough to prevent them from casting high level spells *too* easily. Despite their robe, they should have to work at it if they want to cast Polymorph.

Ranged/Magic Trickster Hybrid: Rogue

In vanilla NetHack, Rogues are best off using ranged attacks (mostly thrown) and have a variety of tools enabling them to fight dirty. Keeping and enhancing this identity was the guiding philosophy underlying the changes made to the class here.

Alignment: Chaotic.

Race: Human, Orc.

Starting inventory:

  • an uncursed +0 short sword (possibly orcish)
  • 4-8 uncursed +0 daggers (possibly orcish)
  • 15-20 uncursed +0 darts (new)
  • an uncursed +1 leather armor
  • an uncursed potion of sickness
  • an uncursed lock pick
  • an uncursed sack

Initial Basic skills: Short Sword, Dagger, Dart.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack, Defense, Divination (down from Skilled), Axe, Pick-Axe, Quarterstaff, Javelin, Trident, Lance, Bow, Sling, Boomerang, Whip, Unicorn Horn.
  • Basic: Matter (down from Skilled), Long Sword (down from Skilled), Saber (down from Skilled), Two-Handed Sword, Morning Star, Flail, Hammer, Polearms, Spear, Two Weapon Combat (down from Expert), Riding.
  • Skilled: Enchantment (up from Restricted), Broadsword, Scimitar, Club, Mace, Crossbow (down from Expert).
  • Expert: Escape (up from Skilled), Dagger, Knife, Short Sword, Dart, Shuriken (up from Skilled).

Intrinsics: Stealth (level 1), Poison resistance (level 5), Searching (level 10). Poison resistance is new.

Stats: Mostly unchanged. Their Pw regeneration should be moderate.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: In addition to being difficult to reach, the Master Assassin should be nearly impossible to kill via conventional means - not because he'll kill you first, because he certainly won't, but because he's too durable and tends to spam self-healing magic. His stoning resistance should be supplemented by poison resistance. The level's leprechauns should be replaced by nymphs and moved closer to the nemesis, for reasons that will be clear shortly. Rogues are expected to take the Bell of Opening and the Master Key of Thievery via more underhanded means. Unlike most quest nemeses, the Master Assassin should be generated asleep, rather than meditating, giving players the opportunity to teleport him off of the items (especially since Rogues have intrinsic stealth). Failing this, polymorphing into a nymph, taming some nearby nymphs, or putting the nymphs under the influence of conflict will allow the player to steal the key items from an awake nemesis. If the player must resort to direct combat, it is essential to disable the nemesis with sleep or paralysis to prevent him from healing. If nothing else, death rays should still work against him.

Quest artifact: The Master Key of Thievery loses warning. Instead, when the bearer throws a dart or shuriken, the projectile is automatically poisoned.

Other details: In addition to dealing with the daggerstorm nerf, Rogues no longer have a multishot bonus with thrown daggers. They retain their backstab, however, and it also applies to attacks via thrown darts and shuriken.

All-Around Hybrid: Monk

Monks can do a little bit of everything: they can cast spells of all schools, hit well in melee, and gain a wide variety of useful intrinsics as they level up. Little was changed here, save to extend the class's versatility to include projectiles.

Alignment: Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic.

Race: Human.

Starting inventory:

  • +2 leather gloves
  • a +1 robe
  • a blessed spellbook of healing, protection, or slow monster (healing, protection, or sleep in vanilla, but sleep is now level 4)
  • 3 potions of healing
  • 3 to 6 uncursed food rations
  • 5 to 10 apples
  • 5 to 10 oranges
  • 3 to 6 fortune cookies
  • 10 to 14 shuriken (new)

Initial Basic skills: Defense, Shuriken, Martial Arts

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Nearly every weapon type, Two Weapon Combat, Riding.
  • Basic: Attack, Divination, Enchantment, Escape, Quarterstaff, Spear, Javelin, Crossbow.
  • Skilled: Matter (up from Basic).
  • Expert: Defense, Shuriken (up from Basic).
  • Grand Master: Martial Arts.

Intrinsics: Poison resistance (level 3), Stealth (level 5), Warning (level 7), Searching (level 9), Fire resistance (level 11), Cold resistance (level 13), Shock resistance (level 15), Teleport control (level 17).

Stats: Mostly unchanged. They should have a moderate rate of Pw regeneration.

God gifts: First sacrifice gift guaranteed to be gauntlets of power. Crowning gift guaranteed to be a helm of brilliance. Other ideas may occur to the reader.

Quest: Master Kaen needs to be weakened significantly.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: Unchanged. Perhaps the bonus from Martial Arts skill should apply to all attacks, not just the ones where the 1d4 roll isn't 1.

Comments: The choice of shuriken for the Monk's projectile weapon is not merely flavor; the rarity of shuriken forces Monks wishing to use them to do so sparingly. While Monks are decent at just about everything, they shouldn't be the best at anything.


These classes are designed around specialist strategies that don't fit neatly into one of the categories above.

Avoidance: Archeologist

Archeologists are poor fighters, but excel at avoiding combat.

Alignment: Lawful, Neutral.

Race: Human, Dwarf, Gnome.

Starting inventory:

  • a +2 bullwhip
  • a +0 leather jacket
  • a +0 fedora
  • 3 to 6 uncursed food rations
  • a +0 pick-axe
  • an uncursed wand of digging
  • an uncursed touchstone
  • an uncursed sack
  • an uncursed oil lamp
  • 12 to 15 +0 grappling hooks (new; see below)

Initial Basic skills: Whip, Pick-Axe. Loses Sling.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack (down from Basic), Defense (down from Basic Healing), Matter (down from Basic), Axe, Broadsword, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Mace, Morning Star, Flail, Hammer, Polearms, Spear, Javelin, Trident, Lance, Bow, Crossbow, Shuriken, Two Weapon Combat (down from Skilled).
  • Basic: Dagger, Knife, Short Sword, Dart, Riding
  • Skilled: Enchantment (up from Restricted), Saber (down from Expert), Scimitar, Club, Quarterstaff, Sling, Unicorn Horn
  • Expert: Escape (up from Restricted), Divination, Pick-Axe, Boomerang, Whip, Bare Hands

Intrinsics: Stealth (level 1), Speed (level 1), Searching (level 5, down from level 10).

Stats: Archeologists should generally have poor HP, but good Pw and Pw regeneration. They should be able to cast spells in the Enchantment, Escape, and Divination schools with ease.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: Completely overhauled, and rather distinct from any other class Quest. All levels of the Quest save Home are maze floors, and the Quest nemesis is not necessarily located on the final floor; he can be found in a random location on one of the other floors. Defeating him in combat is easy, bordering on trivial, but the mazes are populated by difficult, hard-hitting monsters which most players will need to avoid (see below). All walls and floors are diggable, except for the floor on the bottom level, and all levels may be magic mapped. In addition to the Quest artifact, the nemesis (possibly a corrupt archeologist, who doesn't think the Orb of Detection belongs in a museum and would rather sell it?) carries a supply of replacement grappling hooks, as they are rare.

Quest artifact: The Orb of Detection may now be invoked to temporarily phase through walls, rather than toggle invisibility. It should be possible to phase through Moloch's Sanctum and the walls of the Wizard's Tower (global change). No other changes.

Other details: Grappling hooks are now much lighter and may stack with one another. Archeologists specifically may apply them to nearby holes to create "climbing shafts": two-way passages between floors, effectively serving as alternate staircases. The destination square for the climbing shaft, and the square from which the Arc can climb back up, is the closest square on the next floor down in X/Y coordinates to the shaft (the author acknowledges that this will require a significant rework of the level code). Shops are ineligible to be destinations. Archeologists may dig through walls using a pick-axe in a single turn, and through a floor in three. When breaking through the floor, an Archeologist with a nonzero number of grappling hooks in his or her main inventory is given a y/n prompt to throw a grappling hook up to the edge of the pit. TODO: Give Archeologists some means of gaining experience aside from fighting.

Item User: Tinker

Wizards, above, lost much of their domination over the item game. As no other class fits such an item-heavy theme either, the game has room for an additional class to fill the niche. They have basic melee skills, since they can't kill everything with wands.

Alignment: Lawful, Neutral.

Race: Human, Gnome.

Starting inventory:

  • a +0 quarterstaff
  • a +0 leather armor
  • four random scrolls (not fire, amnesia, identify, or blank paper; all of different types)
  • a blessed scroll of identify
  • five random potions (not hallucination or acid; all of different types)
  • three random rings (not aggravate monster, hunger, levitation, or +0 chargeable rings)
  • a random powerful attack wand (fire, lightning, or cold)
  • a random other wand (not fire, lightning, cold, wishing, polymorph, death, or nothing)
  • an uncursed magic marker with 70-90 charges
  • a sack

Initial Basic skills: Quarterstaff.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack, Defense, Enchantment, Pick-Axe, Saber, Club, Mace, Morning Star, Flail, Polearms, Spear, Javelin, Trident, Lance, Bow, Shuriken, Whip.
  • Basic: Escape, Knife, Axe, Broadsword, Two-Handed Sword, Scimitar, Sling, Crossbow, Dart, Two Weapon Combat, Riding.
  • Skilled: Divination, Short Sword, Long Sword, Hammer, Boomerang, Unicorn Horn, Bare Hands.
  • Expert: Matter, Quarterstaff, Dagger.

Intrinsics: Shock resistance (level 1), Fire resistance (level 7), Polymorph control (?) (level 20).

Stats: Low Strength; high Constitution to help them carry all their equipment. Good Int, decent Dex, lousy Wis.

God gifts: First sacrifice gift guaranteed to be a very heavily-charged wand of polymorph (think 15-20 charges).

Quest: I got nothin'. Average rooms-and-corridors, nemesis of average difficulty, perhaps. It was suggested in #nethack4 that their quest be golem-themed, which seems appropriate to me.

Quest artifact: The Pen of Leonardo. Lawful artifact magic marker that writes the desired spellbook or scroll without fail, charges permitting. Starts with 99 charges, is recharged to 99. Grants double wand damage when carried, can be invoked for charging as from the PYEC.

Other details: None.

Berserker/Tank: Caveperson

Caveman/Cavewoman, in vanilla NetHack, is yet another of those "basically Valkyrie but worse" melee classes. This would be fine if it were intended as a challenge role, but Tourist and (in some variants) Convict both fit that better. Here, I propose to change it into something dramatically tankier and stronger, but with severe restrictions other characters don't have to deal with.

Alignment: Lawful, Neutral.

Race: Human, Dwarf, Gnome.

Starting inventory:

  • a +1 club
  • a +2 sling
  • 15 to 22 flint stones (formerly 10 to 22)
  • 18 to 33 rocks
  • a +0 leather armor

Initial Basic skills: Club, Sling, Bare Hands

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack (down from Basic), Defense, Divination, Enchantment, Escape, Matter (down from Skilled), Short Sword, Broadsword, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Scimitar, Saber, Lance, Crossbow, Dart, Shuriken, Whip, Riding.
  • Basic: Dagger, Pick-Axe, Morning Star, Unicorn Horn.
  • Skilled: Knife, Axe, Flail, Hammer, Polearms, Javelin, Trident, Bow, Two Weapon Combat (up from Restricted).
  • Expert: Club, Mace, Quarterstaff, Spear, Sling, Boomerang.
  • Master: Bare Hands

Intrinsics: Sickness resistance (level 1), Speed (level 7), Warning (level 15). Sickness resistance is new. +2 innate AC per level up to level 8, and +1 thereafter. +1 damage per attack every three levels.

Stats: Largely unchanged. Stupidly high strength matched only by their stupidity.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: Given their new restrictions, they could certainly do with a good attack, even despite their added intrinsics. It should be possible to find at least one trident during the quest, as that's one of the best options a Caveperson has for twoweaponing; perhaps horned devils are common Quest foes.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: Cavepersons are incapable of communicating in modern terms. This means they are incapable of reading scrolls or spellbooks (the Book of the Dead's ancient runes are contemporary for him, though), cannot engrave Elbereth, cannot chat except during the Quest, and cannot name creatures to genocide or items to wish for. When given a wish, a Caveperson may only indicate what he or she wants by gesturing to an existing item in his or her inventory, duplicating it. They can, however, pray. Owing to their primitive nature, they have a pet-like ability to sense curses; this may help them find naturally enchanted armor.

Petmonger: Healer

Healers are designed to rely on pets, and for the most part this is already true of their early-game play. It could stand to be encouraged a little bit more later on, but this is pretty much already accomplished by the spell school reorganization allowing them to cast Create Familiar.

Alignment: Neutral.

Race: Human, Gnome.

Starting inventory:

  • 1201 to 1600 gold pieces (formerly 1001 to 2000)
  • a +0 scalpel
  • an uncursed +1 pair of leather gloves
  • 5 to 10 uncursed apples
  • 5 to 10 blessed eucalyptus leaves
  • a blessed spellbook of healing
  • a blessed spellbook of extra healing
  • 4 potions of healing
  • 4 potions of extra healing
  • a wand of sleep (4 to 8 charges)
  • an uncursed stethoscope

Initial Basic skills: Knife, Defense.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack, Divination, Enchantment, Escape, Matter, Axe, Pick-Axe, Broadsword, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Morning Star, Flail, Hammer, Lance, Bow, Crossbow, Boomerang, Whip, Two Weapon Combat, Riding.
  • Basic: Scimitar, Saber, Mace, Polearms, Spear, Javelin, Trident.
  • Skilled: Dagger, Short Sword, Club, Sling, Shuriken.
  • Expert: Knife, Quarterstaff, Dart, Unicorn Horn.

Intrinsics: Sickness resistance (level 1), Poison resistance (level 1), Warning (level 15). Sickness resistance was added partly because the Healer's theme, but mostly because they lost Stone to Flesh to the Matter school and need something else to compensate for the loss of that easy source of food.

Stats: Largely unchanged. They should have high Int, but only moderate Wis.

God gifts: First god gift guaranteed to be a decent but not overpowered pet, like an aleax. Subsequent gifts may also be pets.

Quest: Unchanged. The loss of covetous AI is especially important here, given the Cyclops's level-draining melee attacks and the new immunity to Elbereth.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: Healers might be given the ability to use cursed figurines as uncursed, uncursed as blessed, and blessed with 100% reliability, flavored as healing a cursed being. Eucalyptus leaves (present to allow pet recall) should be tweaked so that the entire stack is not unblessed when one is blown.

Cavalry: Knight

Knights are already designed effectively as mounted fighters; as with the Healer, all they really need are a few minor tweaks to help encourage this throughout the game.

Alignment: Lawful.

Race: Human.

Starting inventory:

  • a +1 long sword
  • a +1 lance
  • a +1 ring mail
  • a +0 helmet
  • a +0 small shield
  • +0 leather gloves
  • 10 to 20 uncursed apples
  • 10 to 20 uncursed carrots

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack (down from Skilled), Divination, Enchantment, Escape, Matter, Quarterstaff, Sling, Dart, Shuriken, Boomerang, Whip, Unicorn Horn
  • Basic: Defense (down from Skilled Clerical), Dagger, Knife, Pick-Axe, Scimitar, Club, Flail, Hammer, Trident, Bow.
  • Skilled: Axe, Short Sword, Broadsword, Two-Handed Sword, Saber, Mace, Morning Star, Polearms, Spear, Javelin, Crossbow, Two Weapon Combat.
  • Expert: Long Sword, Lance, Bare Hands, Riding.

Intrinsics: Speed (level 7).

Stats: Largely unchanged. Their Int and Wis should both be low; their HP should too, to ensure they have a noticeable disadvantage compared to Valkyries.

God gifts: First god gift guaranteed to be the Lance of Longinus, a Lawful artifact lance. Identical to an ordinary lance, save that it cannot be broken.

Quest: Unchanged.

Quest artifact: The Magic Mirror of Merlin, instead of telepathy, magic resistance, and double spell damage, confers reflection and controlled flight to the bearer and any steed he or she may be riding. When invoked, it summons a familiar, biased toward warhorses.

Other details: Unchanged. Starting pet remains a saddled pony.

Comments: Knights get some elementary ability with Defense magic so they can keep their steed healthy.

Back-loaded: Tourist

Tourists already have a weak early-game paired with a somewhat versatile late-game; no significant changes need to be made here, as the class is already working as intended and has a unique identity.

Alignment: Neutral.

Race: Human.

Starting inventory:

  • 500-1000 gold pieces (formerly 1-1000 gold pieces)
  • 21-40 +2 darts
  • an uncursed expensive camera with 30-99 charges
  • an uncursed credit card
  • 10-20 random items of food
  • 4 scrolls of magic mapping
  • 2 potions of extra healing
  • a +0 Hawaiian shirt

Initial Basic skills: Dart.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Attack, Defense, Matter, Club.
  • Basic: Divination, Enchantment, Axe, Pick-Axe, Broadsword, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Mace, Morning Star, Flail, Hammer, Quarterstaff, Polearms, Spear, Javelin, Trident, Lance, Bow, Sling, Crossbow, Shuriken, Boomerang, Whip, Riding.
  • Skilled: Escape, Knife, Scimitar, Saber, Unicorn Horn, Bare Hands, Two Weapon Combat.
  • Expert: Dagger, Short Sword, Dart.

Intrinsics: Searching (level 10), Poison resistance (level 20).

Stats: Largely unchanged. High Int, moderate Wis.

God gifts: Unchanged.

Quest: Unchanged.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: Unchanged.

This concludes the original proposal.

Alternative Barbarian Proposal (Jonadab)

Note: This proposal is withdrawn in favor of the Chris_ANG proposal (below).

It was objected that Barbarians should not be casting spells, for flavor reasons. I had an alternative proposal for them, as follows.

The major premise is that Barbarians have a deep-seated distrust of magic. This is probably best considered a challenge role.

Barbarians will be tanky, along similar lines to Cavepersons (albeit less so) but will differ from them in making different tradeoffs to get it. Barbarians can communicate just fine but have such a high distrust of magic (realized as spellcasting penalty) that they cannot usefully cast even level-one spells, no matter how high their intelligence and wisdom become. (Yes, this makes two roles that can't cast spells.) Additionally, they are to be restricted in wand use, for the same flavor reason, and should probably incur a small alignment penalty any time they zap one. Additionally, the character will outright refuse to wield magic weapons (i.e., artifacts), or wear magic armor or jewelry. (Whether dragon scale mail is considered magic for this purpose is an open question to be resolved by balance considerations; I can make a coherent flavor argument either way.)

Barbarians can get to at least Basic in practically any melee weapon but can only reach Expert in a few, most notably broadsword and axe. (This reduces their melee options compared to Valkyries; in particular, they should be limited to at most Basic skill in longsword and dagger.) Two-handed sword skill is negotiable. Their first sacrifice gift is to be a non-artifact +7 broadsword or axe, I don't care which, and subsequent gifts should also be enchanted weapons (in which they are NOT already restricted) and enchanted non-magical armor. The flavor is that Barbarians consider +n weapons to just be really sharp or whatever and +n armor to just be really high-quality stuff, which is good, as long as it doesn't have any magical properties.

In contrast, things like Boots of Speed are magical and not to be trusted. The major exception is the cloak of magic resistance: because it protects against magic, Barbarians are quite happy putting it on, because they don't like magic and want to be protected from it. Shields or reflection are also considered acceptable, since they're basically just really highly polished metal.

Barbarians are to have essentially no ranged combat options to speak of. Besides the restriction on wands, they are also to be restricted in ranged weapon skills. As compensation, they get an adrenaline rush whenever they sustain damage that brings them below some percentage (perhaps 20%, perhaps 40%; we can tweak this for balance) of their MaxHP. This makes them temporarily very fast (equivalent to wearing speed boots) for some number of turns. Taking damage repeatedly causes the number of turns remaining to stack up. The formula for how long it lasts can be tweaked for balance.

Barbarians can engrave Elbereth (if they can get their Int or Wis or whatever the formula calls for high enough to do it successfully, or if they start well in advance). This is to be flavored as a religious activity -- invoking the name of a diety -- which is different from magic. They can also pray, donate to aligned priests, sacrifice, and all that jazz. Barbarians are no more religious than the average person in a fantasy setting, but they do not distrust religion in the way they distrust magic.

Cavepersons, in contrast, have no particular distrust of magic, so they can use all magic items (except the ones that require reading, obviously) and (like most roles) start with Basic skill in wand use and can get to at least Skilled. (Which roles can get to Expert is left as a balancing exercise for later.) Cavepersons can also get skill in some ranged weapons, sling at the very least, but have worse weapon skill options (in particular, no sword skills). Cavepersons are presumably tankier than Barbarians and in general are more versatile in the late game, except for the restrictions on reading, writing, and engraving.

Barbarians should have fewer max HP than (similarly-leveled) Cavepersons but regenerate faster. The exact numbers can be tweaked for balance. Their offensive damage potential should work out similar, after accounting for their use of better weapons and two-weapon combat, balanced against the Cavepersons' innate damage bonus that increases as they level up. Similarly, the Barbarians' receipt of enchanted armor from sacrifice is balanced against the Caveperson's innate AC bonus as they level up.

For flavor, Barbarians should probably start with a different kind of pet from most other roles -- perhaps an intelligent sidekick even -- but I don't know the relevant literature well enough to suggest anything specific. Something from that old Hanna Barbara series that I only half remember, maybe.

Whether we want to invent a new role for the melee/attack-magic hybrid is a question that can be addressed separately.

Alternative Barbarian Proposal (Chris_ANG)

Chris_ANG proposed that Barbarians are really meant to be the original all-melee best-melee role (what Valk has become), and that Valk were intended as a cold-themed hybrid, with decent melee but also (limited) spellcasting and ranged combat abilities.

Pure Fighter: Barbarian

Relatively little needs to be changed in this case, but melee weapon options should be improved until they are strictly better than for all other roles, including Val and Sam; and spellcasting and ranged combat can be made even worse for Barbarian than they were in previous versions. The new Barbarian epitomizes the melee game. They may now achieve Expert in any of the major melee weapons, including longsword and saber, as well as in two-weapon combat. Additionally, the Barbarian can now be any alignment, for two reasons: it is now intended for new players and will allow them to experiment with the different alignments; and lawful Barbarians can potentially dip for Excalibur. Additionally, Barbarians can now be Dwarves, for the better physical stats, which fits with their melee role.

Alignment: Any.

Race: Human, Orc, Dwarf.

Starting inventory:

  • a +0 battle axe (always, to train for Cleaver)
  • a +1 short sword (up from +0, but still short)
  • a +0 ring mail
  • 1-2 food rations
  • 1 random food item (usual chance of a stack)
  • an oil lamp (now guaranteed)

Initial Basic skills: axe, short sword, two-weapon combat (new), broadsword (new).

Barbarian Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Defense, Divination, Enchantment, Escape, Matter, Attack, Boomerang, Shuriken
  • Basic: Dart, Dagger, Sling, Crossbow, Bow, Javelin, Lance, Riding
  • Skilled: Whip, Pick-Axe, Hammer
  • Expert: Two-Weapon Combat, Broadsword, Long Sword, Saber, Scimitar, Two-Handed Sword, Short Sword, Axe, Spear, Trident, Polearms, Unicorn Horn, Club, Mace, Flail, Morning Star, Quarterstaff, Knife
  • Master: Bare Hands

Intrinsics: Poison Resistance (level 1), Speed (level 3), Stealth (level 7).

God gifts: Cleaver itself is largely unchanged (its damage bonus may be increased, perhaps to +1d12; double damage would be overpowered, I think, but we want Cleaver's late-game damage to be comparable to other options); but additional changes are to be introduced to make two-handed weapons a more attractive option in the late game, roughly equal to two-weapon combat in desirability. (For a start on that, see ticket #625.) As a crowning gift, Barbarians are to receive a new artifact Claymore (two-handed sword), comparable in power to the Tsurugi of Muramasa.

Quest: Mostly unchanged. The chest on quest home is now guaranteed to contain a +1 longsword, which lawful Barbarians may use to obtain Excalibur.

Quest artifact: The Heart of Ahriman now grants a +2d5 damage bonus as well as stealth when carried and uncurses your inventory (if you are a Barbarian) or whatever you are wielding (otherwise) and blesses itself when #invoked. As before it is an intelligent neutral Barbarian artifact luckstone, so lawful and chaotic characters cannot wish for or use it, and it will blast neutral non-Barbarians. It deals double damage and has the to-hit bonus when slung or thrown, for whatever that's worth.

Other details: To Be Announced

Hybrid Fighter: Valkyrie

The Valkyrie's melee prowess will be gently nerfed, to make it strictly worse than the new Barbarian; and other capabilities, such as the ability to do limited spellcasting, will be slightly emphasized, particularly with regard to attack magic. It shall now be possible for Valkyries to cast Cone of Cold reasonably. Valkyries have decent ranged combat abilities, clearly better in this regard than Barbarian, but not as good as Samurai (or of course Ranger).

Alignment: Lawful, Neutral.

Race: Human. (Dwarf is removed for two reasons: first, it doesn't fit with the new emphasis on improved non-melee options; and second, there are strong flavor reasons why an always-female role definitely should not include dwarves.)

Starting inventory:

  • a +1 spear
  • a +0 dagger
  • a +3 small shield (does not inhibit spellcasting)
  • 1-2 food rations
  • an oil lamp (now guaranteed)

Initial Basic skills: Spear, Dagger.

Skill caps:

  • Restricted: Defense, Divination, Enchantment, Matter, Shuriken, Boomerang, Lance.
  • Basic: Escape, Saber, Knife, Javelin, Sling, Riding, Bow, Crossbow, Dart, Polearms, Two-Weapon Combat.
  • Skilled: Attack spells, Long Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Axe, Quarterstaff, Club, Mace, Morning Star, Flail, Whip, Unicorn Horn, Pick-Axe, Dagger.
  • Expert: Scimitar, Spear, Trident, Short Sword, Broadsword, Hammer, Bare Hands.

Intrinsics: Cold Resistance (level 1), Speed (level 7). Level 1 Stealth removed.

God gifts: When thrown by a Valkyrie (and only by a Valkyrie) and caught, Mjollnir will no longer destroy your own inventory if you have shock resistance. (It still destroys monster inventory as before; and if you do not have shock resistance, it will behave exactly as in 3.4.3 when thrown.) To compensate for this buff, its damage bonus is reduced to +1d18. The chance of not returning when thrown is unchanged.

Quest: Mostly unchanged. The chest on the quest home level shall always contain spellbooks of magic missile and cone of cold.

Quest artifact: Unchanged.

Other details: The Valkyrie's spell-casting penalty shall be adjusted so that a post-Castle Valkyrie (in the absence of speed running or conducts) can reasonably expect to be able to cast cone of cold reliably.

Alternate Daggerstorm Nerf (Jonadab)

Rather than removing multifire from thrown daggers entirely, I propose to rebalance the damage for projectiles and restrict multi-fire heavily by role.

I propose that the counter for the max number of projectiles you can throw be calculated as follows:

  • base value is 1 (no multi-shot), as before.
  • +1 if you are at least Skilled, as before, but the list of roles that can get to Skilled in Dagger will be much shorter, see below.
  • +1 more if you are at least Expert, as before, but almost no roles will be able to get expert in Dagger, see below.
  • +1 racial bonus only if your role can get to Expert (and only if you are firing a racially-aligned projectile from a racially-aligned launcher, as before). It doesn't matter what your current skill is for this, only the cap. As before, it's your starting race that matters, not your current polyform. For racial multi-fire bonus purposes, crossbows and their bolts shall be considered Gnomish.
  • +1 role bonus for Samurai/Ya/Yumi, Tourist/Dart, Caveperson/Sling/*, Rogue/Dagger, and Ranger/Bow. For Samurai, this is specific to the Ya and Yumi only; for the others, anything that uses the corresponding skill qualifies.
  • If necessary, a small malus can be applied for low-level non-player monsters, to prevent e.g. early Gnomes with crossbows from being excessively dangerous.
  • The multi-fire maximum is reduced to 1 if you are impaired or not using a required launcher, as before.

The actual number of missiles fired shall be initially calculated at 1dn, where n is the max-multi counter calculated above, as before; however, it shall then be capped at 4 for Rangers and at 3 for everyone else. Having the extra bonuses is still beneficial, as it increases the likelihood of a max-sized volley.

The skill caps for Dagger shall be as follows:

  • Expert: Rogue, Ranger
  • Skilled: Tourist (possibly; but I think not)
  • Everyone else shall either be Restricted or limited to Basic, so no multi-fire for them. These roles listed above shall be the only ones able to get multi-fire in dagger under any circumstances.

If Tourists are capped at Basic in Dagger (which they probably should be), they will need a significantly larger supply of darts, or perhaps some kind of non-break bonus, to compensate for the loss of multi-fire dagger.

If Wizards not being able to get Expert in Magicbane is deemed unacceptable, Athame could become a distinct skill from Dagger, or dagger-throwing could become a distinct skill from dagger-wielding.

Additionally, the damage on arrows should be increased so that the average damage from a volley of arrows (fired from a bow) is strictly greater than the average damage from the same number of thrown daggers. Then the damage from quarrels fired from a crossbow should be increased until the average is higher than for a same-sized volley from an ordinary bow and arrow.

Sling damage may need a buff as well, but that can be balanced around the needs of the roles intended to use slings, chiefly Caveperson. Further, the supply of ordinary rocks in the dungeon should be increased by having mineralize() sprinkle them around on the floor of the dungeon in rooms, corridors, caverns, wherever; or else rocks should not break. It's silly to have a sling-user constantly worried about running out of rocks.

A Modified Caveman Proposal (raindog308)

I like some of the caveman ideas above, but I think we could go further. Here are some thoughts:

  • As discussed above, the Caveman is completely incapable of communication, so no chat, no scrolls, no spellbooks, no genocide, wish only for things you already have, and no Elbereth. The only exceptions are the game-essential ones discussed above. With this in place, we've made him a lot harder, so we need to balance a bit.
  • The Caveman has a deep natural ability. He can #listen at doors to see what might be on the other side, or #smell.
  • He tracks intuitively, so if a leprechaun or nymph steals from him, he always know where he/she is.
  • He has a "danger sense". If there's a new bunch of orcs spawned on the level, he gets a suggestion of it, and it's graded by the threat, based on his Clvl. There may be no message for fodder, or "you sense danger nearby", "the hairs on the back of your neck stand up", "your danger sense tingles!" etc. With suitable paranoia for hallucinating of course :-) This is eventually augmented by Warning at Clvl 15 but its range is whole-level (though not as accurate as Warning).
  • He gets "level feelings". When he steps onto a level, he gets an immediate danger sense evaluation for what exists on the level.
  • He has a pet-like ability to sense items, but it depends on how long he carries something. This is somewhat stolen from angband's Pseudo-ID for warriors. If the Caveman picks a sword off the dungeon floor, initially its BUC is unknown as with any character. But after a while, he may sense it's not cursed. Even longer, he might sense it's magical or blessed (but he's not sure which). He'll never formally ID this way, but his inventory will show "good" (not cursed) or "excellent" (blessed or magic) or "special" (artifact, though currently they self-identify). Of course, this only applies to weapons, armor, food, etc. - not to rings, scrolls, spellbooks, etc. Different than the priest's auto-BUC.
  • He can't read, but like many pre-literate people he has exceptional memory. If he sees a spell enough times, he has a chance of learning it. This is the primary way he acquires spells. It adds a tension - do you genocide Liches or keep them around to watch them? Some pets would obviously be very beneficial for observation.
  • He can always pray. Maybe this is too powerful, but taking away nearly all magic/Elbereth, and the severe wish-nerfing needs a big balance.
  • He should start with a luckstone. Again, balance out the lack of communication.
  • Dinosaurs should always be peaceful and he should be able to #ride them. He should be able to tame them with any food.

These are ideas - needs a bit of balancing to weigh what we take away vs what special things he gets. My goal was to think about some way to really make the Caveman radically different than other roles rather than just "Valkryie only harder".