Zorkmid

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$ Gold piece.png
Name gold piece
Appearance gold piece
Base price 1 zm
Weight 0.01
For the material, see gold (material).

A zorkmid is a single unit of currency. A gold piece, $, has the value of 1 zorkmid.

"Gold piece" and "zorkmid" are used similarly but slightly differently throughout NetHack. For example, when you pick up money lying on the floor, you receive the message, "# gold piece(s)", but when you pick up an item in a shop, you receive the message, "x- an [item] (unpaid, # zorkmids)". The difference is that the zorkmid is the currency and gold pieces are the coinage.

Gold pieces are a special type of object: they have weight and take up an inventory slot when dropping items, but have no BUC status. The inventory slot they occupy is never fixed, it is just the next available letter. If there are no free inventory slots the gold pieces go into #. Their symbol is $, although this should not be taken to mean the zorkmid is in any way related to the US dollar or, for that matter, the Spanish American peso (which was the first currency to be represented by a $ symbol.) The abbreviations zm and zk are sometimes appended to a number as a currency symbol.

Weight

A gold piece weighs 0.01 "weight units". Since these units have no name, it is common to consider 100 gold pieces the base unit of weight. All weight figures given in spoilers and on this wiki are in units of 100 gold pieces.

Gold and monsters

Monsters that love gold have a 1/5 chance of being generated with some in their inventory. The amount of gold given is determined by die roll: the number of dice rolled is the current dungeon level, with the usual adjustments for players carrying the Amulet or in the endgame. If the monster already has some items in its inventory these dice are 5-sided, otherwise they are 10-sided. Thus a monster on Dlvl:10 with no items might get 10d10 zorkmids, whereas a monster on Dlvl:20 with some items might get 20d5 zorkmids.

There are two exceptions to the above formula. Leprechauns always receive gold, and always roll a number of 30-sided dice equal to the dungeon level; priests always get gold and receive 20–29 zorkmids. Another less exceptional case is an ordinary soldier - 12/13 of the time they miss their roll for gold.

Origin

The name "zorkmid" is a reference to the currency used in the text adventures series Zork, made by Infocom, where the currency used by the monarchy of Quendor is the zorkmid, and often carries a likeness of the most recent (and last) ruler of Quendor, Lord Dimwit Flathead.

Use

Generally speaking, gold becomes pretty useless after the early game. Some ways to use gold are listed below, roughly sorted from most to least commonly done:

Messages

1 Zorkmid 857 GUE. In Frobs we trust.
YAFM

See also

Encyclopedia entry (for "gold")

A metal of characteristic yellow colour, the most precious
metal used as a common commercial medium of exchange. Symbol,
Au; at. no. 79; at. wt. 197.2. It is the most malleable
and ductile of all metals, and very heavy (sp. gr., 19.3).
It is quite unalterable by heat, moisture, and most
corrosive agents, and therefore well suited for its use in
coin and jewelry.

[ Webster's New International Dictionary
                           of the English Language, Second Edition ]