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"Lord" redirects here. For other uses of the term, see Lord (disambiguation).

The Valkyrie is one of the roles in NetHack. They are based on the valkyries of Norse legend who would carry the spirits of fallen warriors to the afterlife; in contrast to most traditional and modern depictions of valkyries as divine beings, the valkyries of NetHack are ordinary (albeit often very strong) mortal warriors similar to shield-maidens.

Unlike other roles, all Valkyries are required to be female when starting the game, though they can become male through polymorph or with an amulet of change. Valkyries are often considered to be the easiest role for a new player. The guidebook describes them like this:

Valkyries are hardy warrior women.  Their upbringing in  the
         harsh  Northlands  makes  them strong, inures them to extremes of
         cold, and instills in them stealth and cunning.

Valkyries can be neutral or lawful humans or lawful dwarves. Their first sacrifice gift is Mjollnir.

Starting inventory

Each Valkyrie starts with the following:[1]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Per commit c09ae332, Valkyries start with a +1 spear weapon (regular spear for humans, dwarvish spear for dwarves) instead of a long sword. Valkyries can reach Expert skill in spear.


Valkyries gain intrinsics at these experience levels:[3]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As of commit 075c283, stealth is gained at experience level 3 instead.


Valkyrie skills
Max Skills

Valkyries start with Basic skill in Long sword and Dagger.

Valkyries use wisdom as their spellcasting stat.

Special rules

Valkyries never stumble when walking on ice.

Mjollnir, when thrown by a Valkyrie, will return to their hand most of the time. Other roles with 25 strength may throw Mjollnir, but it won't return.


Main article: Valkyrie quest

The Valkyrie quest sees you fighting Lord Surtur for the Orb of Fate.


Main article: Religion

Rank titles

The status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1–2: Stripling
  • XL 3–5: Skirmisher
  • XL 6–9: Fighter
  • XL 10–13: (Wo)man-at-arms
  • XL 14–17: Warrior
  • XL 18–21: Swashbuckler
  • XL 22–25: Hero(ine)
  • XL 26–29: Champion
  • XL 30: Lady/Lord


Character creation

Since Valkyries are unlikely to rely heavily on spellcasting, there's little drawback to being a dwarf, and their generous HP growth is a boon, as is infravision for finding distant targets to storm with daggers or a thrown Mjollnir.

A human Valkyrie will almost certainly want to be lawful to convert their starting long sword into Excalibur; although Mjollnir does more damage against non-resistant targets, Excalibur makes an excellent backup weapon against shock-resistant or level-draining monsters, and is more than sufficient on its own to ascend with. Additionally, the Quest may rarely generate one or more titans, which will most often be peaceful to a lawful character. A neutral human Valkyrie cannot dip for Excalibur and faces a hostile Mines, though they are not as pet-reliant when pilfering armor from dwarves, and more importantly have a less punitive mysterious force in the late game.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Although Valkyries no longer start with a long sword, their spear can be a sufficient weapon for the early game, especially for dwarven Valkyries - though they can still find a long sword early in the game, e.g. from barrow wights or in a weapon shop etc., commit e8212743 makes it so that non-Knights only have a 130 chance of receiving Excalibur by dipping. This means that a lawful Valkyrie should not be reliant on Excalibur to survive before reaching Sokoban - for characters that establish a kit and want to try their luck, the more peaceful Mines for dwarven Valkyries may enable them to blitz Mines’ End and use any fountains present.

Early game


Valkyries start with a good +1 long sword, which lawfuls may upgrade to Excalibur by dipping it in a fountain as soon as they reach experience level 5. However, it is advisable to wait until at least level 7 for the intrinsic speed that can be used to outrun any possible water demons. Ranged weapons are not strictly necessary, but they can come in handy for wearing down particularly strong monsters, eliminating ones with annoying passive attacks, or shooting past boulders in Sokoban. The best option is usually a stack of daggers, as Valkyries can train the skill to Expert and the dungeon is a plentiful source.

Mjollnir is an incredibly powerful artifact for a guaranteed first sacrifice gift, and remains useful as a long-term option well into the late game; neutral Valkyries will almost certainly want to go for it, while lawful Valkyries will have other options such as Excalibur and Grayswandir to weigh the choice against. Valkyries are the only class who can use the gauntlets of power to throw Mjollnir that can also have it return; the hammer has a 99% chance of returning,[4] as well as a 99% chance of the player catching it unless they are impaired in some way (e.g., confused, stunned, etc.), in which case it will hit them instead.[5]


The starting +3 shield is an extremely good option and incredibly light for its AC. Valkyries can wear all armor without any penalty beyond weight, as the class already comes with a substantial spellcasting handicap; players should put on any armor they find that isn't cursed and upgrade to better and lighter armor as they find it. An AC of roughly −5 by the end of the Gnomish Mines is a reasonable goal to shoot for.


Valkyries are strong early game characters that can hold their own in one-on-one combat, but will still need to exercise caution against YASD and mind their HP, even after finding some decent armor and weapons. Poison resistance should be obtained as soon as possible, and retreating and Elbereth usage can save a Valkyrie's life many times over, especially against groups of monsters such as soldier ants and Mordor orcs.

The Gnomish Mines are a plentiful source of armor and weapons, and is a relatively safe first destination for lawful human and dwarven Valkyries - many of the typical dwarven inhabitants will be peaceful, and dwarven players will encounter peaceful gnomes as well, in both cases making it more likely that the Mines' random items may be left untouched. Lawful Valkyries can let their pet fight the inhabitants to get at their armor and weapons, though they should take care not to let the pet die in the process. Conversely, neutral Valkyries will find some of the dwarves and gnomes less peaceful and more willing to pick up and use items against them; the risk also provides an opportunity to gain valuable experience and skill training, while allowing them to gather weapons and armor more easily.

As the Orb of Fate, the Valkyrie quest artifact, is a luck item, Mines' End is not strictly necessary, but can be a viable choice for players who have picked up poison resistance and want an earlier guaranteed source of Luck. However, the guaranteed luckstone must be weighed against the dangers of polymorph traps and other severe pitfalls en route; apart from gems, the usefulness of loot from the possible Mines' End levels will vary.


By this point, players should ideally have the scroll of enchant weapon and/or scroll of enchant armor identified, and bless a few in order to enhance the weapons and armor that will make up their future ascension kit, especially their primary artifact weapon. In addition to Excalibur and/or Mjollnir, a particularly patient Valkyrie player may want to shoot for Grayswandir or Frost Brand. Twoweaponing is a viable option to consider at around XL 10; since Valkyries can only train #twoweapon to Skilled, players looking to long-term twoweaponing should give some thought to leaving long swords at Skilled, as well as training up the skill of the desired secondary weapon if applicable. Common choices include long swords, katanas, and silver sabers; additionally, remember that you cannot wear a shield of any kind while twoweaponing.

Fire resistance is an invaluable intrinsic when preparing for the Valkyrie quest, due to the abundance of fire traps and enemies such as fire giants and fire ants, whose corpses can provide the intrinsic. Fire giants can also provide valuable strength boosts, and are plentiful on the home level as well - but they can also receive a wand of death as an offensive items, so those not willing to take chances may want either magic resistance or reflection. An AC of about −10 is considered safe, and dragon scale mail should be pursued if no wish has been obtained. A source of levitation or fireproof water walking boots will keep you safe if the ice you are standing on is melted by a wand of fire or fire trap, and may be necessary if the staircase on the last level is surrounded by lava. In a worst-case scenario, you can teleport your way past the lava, then used a cursed scroll of teleport or a freshly-secured Orb of Fate to teleport your way back out.

Lord Surtur is not particularly difficult by quest nemesis standards, to the point an accidental spill into the lava or a mishap involving the drawbridges may prove a bigger threat. Even so, he still hits quite hard and has the standard suite of quest nemesis tactics; clear out the fire giants first before engaging him. Lord Surtur himself respects Elbereth, is affected by the scroll of scare monster, and has a weakness to cold-based attacks such as a wand of cold. Once Surtur is defeated and the quest artifact is retrieved, players can continue on to Medusa's Island and beyond.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Lord Surtur, like all uniques, no longer respects either Elbereth or scrolls of scare monster.

Late game


Valkyries who make it to the Castle can typically clear it out and get the wand of wishing without too much difficulty. For those that manage to make it without a source of reflection, Perseus's statue on Medusa's level may contain a shield of reflection. Upon reaching the Valley of the Dead, investing some of your gold in obtaining clairvoyance from the aligned priest there before entering Gehennom can make it much easier to map the area. If you lack magic resistance, be wary of spellcasters such as liches or golden nagas.

For the endgame, while The Orb of Fate can work to detect portals on the Elemental Planes in a pinch, confused scrolls of gold detection are vastly preferable, as they are guaranteed to work and won't immobilize you.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Crystal balls are less likely to fail if they are blessed or your own quest artifact, making them a far more viable option and allowing you to save resources.


Excalibur remains a great weapon through the remainder of the game, especially when twoweaponed with a silver saber or silver spear in the offhand; keep in mind that you cannot bribe Asmodeus and Baalzebub if you are wielding Excalibur. While Grayswandir and/or Frost Brand are also especially good for Gehennom, any artifact long sword that isn't a hassle to use should suffice.

Mjollnir can make a good backup weapon, particularly if you have gauntlets of power, as it excels in frying some particularly nasty monsters such as mind flayers; however, many of the most dangerous endgame monsters (e.g. hostile priests) are shock resistant. If you want to throw Mjollnir occasionally, you should keep most of your wands in your bag of holding to further minimize the chance of blowing them up.


With half physical damage from the Orb of Fate, an armor class of −25 or so should be more than enough. Your magic marker charges are probably better spent on enchanting weapons or writing scrolls of magic mapping. Speed or jumping boots are very nice, but are generally not worth a wish unless you have the rest of your armor and ascension kit covered; you have the Castle armory, Orcus-town, and the rest of Gehennom to find at least one of them. If you lack GDSM and/or a magic resistance-providing artifact, you should wish for a cloak of magic resistance, since Gehennom without MR is an extremely bad idea.


Although Valkyries are far from natural spellcasters and have little energy growth, they get a bonus to emergency spells, and wisdom is easy to raise to its racial maximum through natural exercise and consorting with incubi. It's not impossible that a late-game Valkyrie who forgoes gauntlets of power and a metal helm could make occasional use of healing or remove curse spells. Not all characters can manage this, however. Dwarves in particular might not even have enough energy to recast remove curse if the first cast fails.



In Fourk, Valkyries begin the game with intrinsic flying and a wand of cold, wielding a spear or war hammer instead of a longsword. Valkyries who start with a war hammer also start with speed boots, a popular ascension-kit item. In addition, Mjollnir will never harm the player nor their inventory items, and will never land at an enemy's feet. It can land at your own feet, so don't throw it while flying over lava.


Main article: Valkyrie/SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, Valkyries start with a spear or dwarvish spear instead of a long sword. They can also be doppelgänger.


Other than in SLASH'EM, they can be giant, incantifiers, or nymphs.


Valkyries in SporkHack are substantially similar to Valkyries in vanilla NetHack, but there are a few wrinkles players should be aware of.

  • SporkHack Valkyries can be of any race. Elven and orcish Valkyries are always neutral.
  • It is no longer possible to obtain Excalibur by dipping; this option is only available to lawful Knights. Therefore, unless you find lawful Knight bones (unlikely) or get crowned (more likely), you won't be getting Excalibur.
  • Sacrificing is no longer guaranteed to yield artifacts; it may yield mundane weapons and armor instead. These will be highly enchanted, so it is a very valuable source of early game equipment. However, it's no longer nearly as easy to obtain Mjollnir. Combined with the lack of Excalibur, this can mean that sacrificing in hopes of getting Fire or Frost Brand, Vorpal Blade, Snickersnee, or Grayswandir (depending on your alignment) is worthwhile.
  • With the two-weapon fighting changes in SporkHack, offhand long swords and sabers are no longer viable. Instead, consider a silver spear or silver short sword as an offhand weapon. Though weak, silver dagger are useful as well, and Valkyries can reach Expert in daggers versus Skilled in spears and short swords.
  • Racial armor bonuses make dwarven Valkyries even stronger than they might otherwise be—but be aware that dwarves aren't the only ones who get racial armor bonuses. In particular, if you're an orc, a simple orcish helm improves AC by 3, even before enchantment.

Encyclopedia entry

The Valkyries were the thirteen choosers of the slain, the
beautiful warrior-maids of Odin who rode through the air and
over the sea. They watched the progress of the battle and
selected the heroes who were to fall fighting. After they
were dead, the maidens rewarded the heroes by kissing them
and then led their souls to Valhalla, where the warriors
lived happily in an ideal existence, drinking and eating
without restraint and fighting over again the battles in
which they died and in which they had won their deathless

[ The Encyclopaedia of Myths and Legends of All Nations, by Herbert Robinson and Knox Wilson ]