Vibrating square

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Vibrating square level
Location Level 19-23 of
Gehennom
Bones No
Mappable Yes
Teleportable Yes
Diggable floor No
Diggable walls Yes

The vibrating square is the square where the invocation ritual is to be performed for entry into Moloch's Sanctum. It is always located on the penultimate dungeon level of Gehennom, which could be between levels 44 and 52. It is the lowest level that can be reached without performing the ritual; until the ritual is performed, there is no staircase leading down from that level. Only the Sanctum level has a higher dungeon level number. The square, once found, is automatically marked with a special map glyph (^).

The level with the vibrating square is in most other respects an ordinary maze level of Gehennom.

Identification

Confirm you are on the vibrating square level by checking that the floor is undiggable then read a scroll of gold detection while confused to quickly locate the vibrating square. You can also use a crystal ball.

Another way to locate the vibrating square is to move over it, at which point you will get the message: "You feel a strange vibration under your <feet>.", or "You feel a strange vibration beneath you" if you are flying or levitating. This message will always occur if you walk on top of the vibrating square, but not if you jump over it or are carried over it by an engulfing monster. There are no other special features of the square.

The vibrating square cannot appear near the edge of the screen nor the staircase, because there must always be room for the ring of fire traps and moats to appear around it.[1] Specifically, it will be at least five squares from the left and right sides of the map, at least four squares from the top or bottom, and not within a 23x23 square area centered on the upstair. It will also not be in a straight line with the upstair or on the same square as a trap, although it may be on the same square as a boulder or other item.

In this example map, the eligible places are marked with (X). Red spots are too close to the edge, blue ones in line with the stairs, and yellow ones too close to the upstairs. You can mouse over the map to see what is wrong with some of the squares.

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 |.......|...............|.......................|.|...|.......|.........|...| 
 |.-----.|.-----------.---.-----.-----.---.-----.|.|.|.|.|.---.|.|.-----.---.| 
 |.|.....|...|.......|.....|...|...|...|.|.|...|...|.|...|.|.|.|.|...|.|...|.| 
 |.---X---X---X-----X---X---X|X-----X--|.|.|.|.|--.|.----|.|X|X|X|--X|X---.|.| 
 |...|X|XXX|XXX|X|X|XXX|X|XXX|XXXXXXX|.|...|.|.|...|...|.|.|XXX|X|X|X|XXX....| 
 |.|.---X---X---X|X---X|X|X-----------.|.---.|.-------.|.|.|----X|X|X-------.| 
 |.|.....|...|...|...|.|.|.|.......|.....|...|..<|.....|.|.|.....|.|.......|.| 
 |-------|X---X---X--|X--|X|X-----X|X-----.-----.|.-----.|.|X-----X|------.--| 
 |...|XXX|X|XXX|XXXXX|XXX|XXXXXXX|X|X|.....|.|...|.......|..X|XXXXX|X|XXX|...| 
 |.|.|X|X|X|X-------X---X|------X|X|--.-----.|.---------.-----X---X|X|X|X---.| 
 |.|..X|XXX|X|XXXXX|XXX|X|XXXXX|X|X|X..|.....|.............|XXXXX|XXX|X|X....| 
 |.|------X|X---X|X|X|X|X|X---X|X|X|X|.|.---.-------------.-----X|--X|X|----.| 
 |.|..XXXXX|XXX|X|XXX|X|XXX|X|X|X|XXX|...|.....|.......|.|..XXXXX|XXX|X|X..|.| 
 |.-----------X|X|----X-----X|X|----X|--------.|.-----.|.|.-----X|----X|X|.|.| 
 |...|.......|.|.|.......|...|.|...|.|.....|...|...|...|...|...|.|.....|.|.|.| 
 |.|.|.---.---.|.---------.|.|.|.|.---.---.-------.|.-------.|.---.-----.---.| 
 |.|.....|.....|...........|.....|.....|...........|.........|.....|.........| 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Old versions

In NetHack 3.6.0 and later, as well as in NetHack 4, the vibrating square is marked automatically; in versions before 3.6.0 and some other variants, it is invisible, and you should mark it yourself (e.g. by dropping the invocation artifacts on it).

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, the level with the vibrating square can have various types of borders instead of walls: clouds, lava, water, ice, or, worst of all, nearly indestructible iron bars. If you get any type of borders other than walls or iron bars, it is generally easier to scan the whole level line-by-line while levitating for the vibrating square. Note that this is not quicker in game turns, since you are walking over more squares, and a careful speedrunner will still want to scan for the vibrating square normally.

In the case of clouds and ice, however, this will not work. The vibrating square can be placed on one ice and cloud squares, presumably since they can be walked over, and the whole eligible region of the level must be searched, not just the "path." Notably, if the vibrating square is made of ice, this can be melted as usual, leaving the square underwater.

UnNetHack

UnNetHack has the player start feeling vibrations when they step within two tiles of the square, regardless of intervening walls, making the search process much easier.

References

  1. mkmaze.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 587