To attack a monster in melee, try to move into its square. To use a ranged weapon, wield the launcher if applicable, then t throw or f fire the ammunition (after placing the ammunition in your q quiver). It is not necessary to wield a thrown weapon, such as a dagger or darts, unless you're trying to throw Mjollnir.
You can have a secondary weapon, and switch between both with x; to set a weapon as your secondary weapon, press x - your main weapon will become secondary, and you will be barehanded - then wield your other weapon.
You can wield items other than weapons.
- You can wield nothing "-" to fight bare handed.
- Applying a pick axe, tin opener, polearm, or lance causes you to wield it.
- Rubbing a lamp causes you to wield it.
- If you wield a cursed item, you can then remove the curse using the uncursed scroll or unskilled spell. If the item is not a weapon or a weapon-tool it will not weld itself to your hand.
- You can wield a cockatrice or chickatrice corpse and use it as a potent weapon, provided you are wearing gloves. Caution - mistakes are fatal.
Besides hitting in melee, wielding has (at least) the following effects. (See the bolded link for details.)
- Wielding a launcher (any bow; crossbow; sling) allows you to throw matching projectiles (arrows; crossbow bolts; rocks or gems or gray stones) much more effectively.
- An uncursed scroll of remove curse uncurses the item you are wielding. (It also uncurses armor worn and items used in a few other ways, but wielding is the only way that uncurses any type of item.)
- A scroll of enchant weapon acts on a wielded weapon.
- Forcing the lock of a large box or chest uses the weapon you are wielding. Edged weapons may be destroyed, while blunt weapons may destroy the chest along with some of its contents. Be careful what you wield.
- When eating a non-blessed tin, you try to open it with what you are wielding, which dramatically affects the time to open. Wielding a tin opener is the fastest, then any dagger, athame or crysknife, then a pickaxe or axe (but not a battle-axe).
- Wearing or wielding the Amulet of Yendor gives you messages when you are near magic portals.
- Some artifacts will blast you when you wield them, depending on your class, alignment, and even occasionally race.
- Certain artifact weapons gives you effects while wielded:
- Magicbane gives magic resistance and catches curses;
- The Staff of Aesculapius gives hungerless regeneration and drain resistance;
- Stormbringer gives drain resistance and bloodthirst (attacking peaceful monsters without confirmation);
- Mjollnir can be thrown when wielded if your strength is 25, and will return to a valkyrie's hand 99% of the time.
- Sunsword acts as a light source and protects you from light-based blinding;
- Fire or Frost Brand gives fire or cold resistance;
- Grayswandir protects from hallucination;
- The Longbow of Diana gives reflection;
- Sting warns you about orcs and lets you escape webs.
- Footrice corpses may stone you, such as when you are not wearing gloves or if you fall down the stairs, a pit, a hole or a trapdoor.
Monsters also wield weapons before using them. This takes time for them. This may help you identify that a weapon is cursed, because if you see a monster wield it, you get a message.