NetHack: Wikis


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Did you know ...

  • the 1987 roguelike computer game NetHack was named differently from its predecessor, Hack, because Hack creator Andries Brouwer "...may eventually release a new version of his own"?

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nethack releasing a djinni.png
A released djinni grants the player a wish.
Developer(s) The NetHack DevTeam
License NetHack General Public License
Version 3.4.3 (8 December 2003)
3.4.1 (23 February 2003)
3.4.0 (20 March 2002)
3.3 (10 December 1999)
Platform(s) Cross-platform
Release date(s) 1.3d (July 1987)[1]
Genre(s) Roguelike
Input methods Keyboard and mouse

NetHack is a single-player roguelike video game originally released in 1987. It is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack (1985), which is a descendant of Rogue (1980).[2] Salon describes it as "one of the finest gaming experiences the computing world has to offer."[2]

The "net" element references that its development has been coordinated through USENET [3][4] even before the Public Internet existed. The "hack" element refers to the game it was based on, Hack. The player takes the part of a dungeon-delving character in search of the Amulet of Yendor.[5]


History and development

NetHack is open source and remains one of the oldest computer games still actively developed,[6] with bug fixes added as deemed necessary by a group of volunteers commonly called the DevTeam. The DevTeam rarely discusses versions under development in public, and releases new versions without notice. However, they do maintain a list of known bugs. Since NetHack is open source, others are free to release patches to the game between official, versioned releases.[7]


Before playing a game, the player is asked to name his or her character and then select a race, role, gender, and alignment, or allow the game to assign them. There are traditional fantasy roles such as knight, barbarian, wizard, rogue, valkyrie, priest, monk, and samurai, but there are also unusual ones, including archaeologist, tourist, and caveman.[8] The player character's role and alignment dictate which deity the character serves in the game and "how other monsters react toward you".[9]

After the player character is created, the main objective is introduced. To win the game, the player must retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, found at the lowest level of the dungeon, and sacrifice it to his or her deity. Successful completion of this task rewards the player with the gift of immortality, and the player is said to "ascend", attaining the status of demigod. In addition, a number of sub-quests must be completed, including one class-specific quest.

The player's character is usually accompanied by a pet animal, typically a kitten or little dog, although knights begin with a saddled pony.[10] Pets grow from fighting, and they can be changed by various means. Most of the other monsters may also be tamed using magic or tempting food.


Dungeon levels

NetHack's dungeon spans about 50 levels, of which most are randomly generated when the player character first encounters them. A typical level contains a way "up" and a way "down" (these may be stairways, ladders, trapdoors etc.), along with several "rooms" joined by corridors that may contain features such as altars, shops, fountains, traps, and even sinks. Some "special" levels are of fixed design in every game session. There are several dungeon branches, including a Sokoban puzzle[11] and Vlad's Tower.[12]

Items and tools

A player's inventory, as displayed after application of the "menucolors" patch.

NetHack features a variety of items: weapons (either ranged or melee),[13] armor to protect the player;[14] scrolls and spellbooks to read,[15] potions to quaff[16], rings[17], amulets[18], and an assortment of tools such as keys and lamps.[19]

One important aspect of NetHack's gameplay is the identification of items. For example, a newly-discovered potion may be referred to as a 'pink potion' with no other clues as to its identity. Players can perform a variety of actions and tricks to deduce, or at least narrow down, the identity of the potion.[20] The most obvious is the somewhat risky tactic of simply drinking it.

Unlike some other roguelikes, all items of a certain type will have the same description; e.g., all scrolls of enchant weapon may be labeled 'TEMOV', and once one has been identified, all scrolls of enchant weapon found will be labeled unambiguously as such. Starting a new game will scramble the items' descriptions again, so the 'silver ring' that is a ring of levitation in one game might be a ring of hunger in another.

Blessings and curses

As in many other roguelike games, all items in NetHack are either "blessed", "uncursed", or "cursed".[21] The majority of items are found uncursed, but the "BUC" (Blessed/Uncursed/Cursed) status of an item is unknown until it is identified or detected through other means. The priest character class automatically identifies BUC status.

Generally, a blessed item will be more powerful than an uncursed item, and a cursed item will be less powerful. Regarding objects which bestow effects upon the character, a curse will generally make the effect (more) harmful. There are exceptions, however, which are usually very specific (e.g. the cursed potion of gain level will make the character rise through the ceiling to the level above).

Character death

Like roguelikes in general, NetHack features permadeath: expired characters cannot be revived without having made backup copies of the actual save files. Players sometimes use the acronyms "YAAD" and "YASD" when discussing their characters' deaths, meaning "Yet Another Annoying Death" or "Yet Another Stupid Death".[22] An "annoying" death is typically one that was the fault of misfortune more than the player (such as falling into a spiked, poisoned pit trap early in the game); a "stupid" death is when player's actions were directly responsible for their own death.

An ascending player is asked whether she wants her possessions identified.

The prompt "Do you want your possessions identified?" (abbreviated as "DYWYPI" and used to suggest character death) is given by default at the end of any game, allowing the player to learn any unknown properties of the items found during the game.

The game sporadically saves a level on which a character has died and then integrates that level into a later game. This is done via "bones files", which are saved on the computer hosting the game. A player using a publicly-hosted copy of the game can thus encounter the remains of many other players. Players can also swap bones files via programs like Hearse.[23]


Although NetHack can be completed by new or intermediate players without any artificial limitations, experienced players can attempt "conducts" for an additional challenge.[24] These are voluntary restrictions on actions taken, such as using no wishes, following a vegetarian or even vegan diet, or even killing no monsters. While in general conducts are tracked by the game and are displayed at death or ascension, unofficial conducts, such as the Zen conduct (in which the player's character wears a blindfold throughout the whole game), also exist within the NetHack community.


NetHack is largely based on discovering secrets and tricks during gameplay. It can take years for one to become well-versed in them, and even experienced players routinely discover new ones. A number of NetHack fansites and discussion forums offer lists of game secrets known as "spoilers".[25] Fans of NetHack consider an ascension without having read spoilers very prestigious; the achievement is so difficult that some question whether it has been or can be accomplished.


NetHack was originally created with only a simple ASCII graphical user interface, although the option to use something more elaborate was added later in its development. Interface elements — environment, entities, and objects — are represented by arrangements of ASCII or Extended ASCII glyphs used in plain text, "DEC graphics" or "IBM graphics" mode. In addition to the environment, the interface also displays character and situational information.

A detailed example:

 You see here a silver ring.
                                           |...........#          ------
                                          #...........|           |....|
                      ---------------   ###------------           |...(|
                      |..%...........|##########               ###-@...|
                      |...%...........###    #                 ## |....|
                      +.......<......|       ###              ### |..!.|
                      ---------------          #              #   ------
                                               ###          ###
                                                 #          #
                                              ---.-----   ###
                                              |.......|   #
 Hacker the Conjurer            St:11 Dx:13 Co:12 In:11 Wi:18 Ch:11  Lawful
 Dlvl:3  $:120 HP:39(41) Pw:36(36) AC:6  Exp:5 T:1073
NetHack for Microsoft Windows in "tiles mode".
Vulture's Eye offers an isometric perspective.

The player (The '@' sign, a wizard in this case) has entered the level via the stairs (the '<' sign) and killed a few monsters, leaving their corpses (the '%' signs) behind. Exploring, the wizard has uncovered three rooms joined by corridors (the '#' signs): one with an altar (the '_' sign), another empty, and the final one (that the wizard is currently in) containing a potion (the '!' sign), chest (the '(' sign), and has just moved onto a square containing a silver ring. Large parts of the level remain unexplored (probably to the west through the door (the '+' sign)) and the player has yet to find the down-stairs (a '>' sign) to the next level.

Apart from the original termcap interface shown above, there are interfaces that replace standard screen representations with two-dimensional images, or tiles, collectively known as "tiles mode". Graphic interfaces of this kind utilize the X Window System, the similar Microsoft Windows GUI, the Qt toolkit, or the GNOME libraries.

Enhanced graphical options also exist, such as the isometric perspective of Falcon's Eye and Vulture's Eye, or the three-dimensional rendering that noegnud offers. Vulture's Eye is a fork of the now defunct Falcon's Eye project. Vulture's Eye adds additional graphics, sounds, bugfixes and performance enhancements and is under active development in an open collaborative environment.


Bugs, humorous messages, stories, experiences, and ideas for the next version are discussed on the Usenet newsgroup[26]

A public server at, commonly known as NAO, gives access to NetHack through a Telnet interface. Ebonhack connects to NAO with a graphical tiles-based interface.[27]

NetHack also has an IRC channel, #nethack, on the Freenode network. Many people discuss the game there, and the resident announcer bot, "Rodney", notifies of every death and ascension that occurs on the NAO server. Rodney can also announce full and new moons, as well as providing a substantial database of information which players can access with commands.

Ports and variants

Unofficial ports exist for the Nintendo DS,[28][29] PlayStation Portable,[30] Tapwave Zodiac,[31] GP2X,[32] Windows Mobile,[33] Android,[34], Nokia Internet Tablets 770, N800 and up [35][36] and iPhone.[37] NetHack is acknowledged by Blizzard as an inspiration for Diablo.[38]

Slash'EM[39], SporkHack[40] and UnNetHack[41] are actively developed variants.


  1. ^ "NetHack 1.3d". Wikihack. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  2. ^ a b Au, Wagner James (2000-01-26). "The best game ever". Salon Media Group. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  3. ^ "NETHACK(6) Manpage". Retrieved 2009-12-08.  
  4. ^ "NetHack 1.3d - Wikihack, the NetHack wiki - Wishing, royal jelly, artifacts, and more". Retrieved 2009-12-08.  
  5. ^ Au, Wagner James (August 1997), "Back to the Dungeon", Wired,  
  6. ^ Eli (2006-07-16). "NetHack". Jay Is Games. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Hearse". Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ "". Wikihack. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  27. ^ "Linux Games".  
  28. ^ Pernsteiner, Stuart (2007-03-17). "NetHack for the Nintendo DS". Stuart Pernsteiner's Website. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  29. ^ Kosinski, Brett (2008-10-19). "NetHackDS". The "B" Ark. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  30. ^ "Porting NetHack to the PSP - Latest news". 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  31. ^ "NetHack and SlashEM for Palm OS". Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  32. ^ "Nethack (graphical)". GP2X Wiki. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  33. ^ "Download NetHack 3.4.3 for Windows Mobile PocketPC - Softpedia". Softpedia. 2006-04-16. Retrieved 2008-12-13.  
  34. ^ "NetHack v1.1.3 Game for Android". Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  35. ^ Caron, Frank (2007-05-24). "The N800 surfs nicely, but how does it game?". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  36. ^ "Nethack ported to Maemo on Nokia 770".  
  37. ^ "iNetHack (NetHack iPhone port)". Retrieved 2009-11-23.  
  38. ^ "Blue's News Feb 7-13, 1998". 1998-02-13. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  39. ^ "The Slash'EM Homepage".  
  40. ^ "SporkHack".  
  41. ^ "UnNetHack".  

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Wikipedia has an article about:

NetHack is a single-player roguelike computer game originally released in 1987.



  • After the Creation, the cruel god Moloch rebelled against the authority of Marduk the Creator. Moloch stole from Marduk the most powerful of all the artifacts of the gods, the Amulet of Yendor, and he hid it in the dark cavities of Gehennom, the Under World, where he now lurks, and bides his time.
    • Introduction to the game.

Yet Another Stupid Death

  • You fall into a pit! How pitiful. Isn't that the pits? You land on a set of sharp iron spikes! --More--
    The spikes were poisoned! The poison was deadly... --More--
    Do you want your possessions identified?"
    • Upon falling into a pit, if the character is polymorphed into a pit fiend or pit viper, has lost poison resistance, and is wearing an amulet of unchanging.

Physical impossibilities

  • That is a potion bottle, not a Klein bottle!
    • On attempting to dip a potion into itself.
  • That would be an interesting topological exercise.
    • On attempting to put a bag inside itself.


  • You fall down the stairs.
    • On descending stairs while burdened (can hurt or even kill the character).
  • Talking to yourself is a bad habit for a dungeoneer.
    • On attempting to chat with oneself.
  • You decide not to force the issue.
    • On canceling an attempt to force open a lock.
  • You identify this as an identify scroll.
    • On reading a scroll of identify while confused.
  • The shrieker shrieks.
    • A shrieker is a monster which possesses no attacks but shrieks to aggravate other monsters.
  • The biggest obstacle in NetHack is perhaps your mind.
    • Sometimes received as an engraving.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Box artwork for NetHack.
Developer(s) NetHack dev team
Publisher(s) NetHack dev team
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Roguelike
System(s) MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 and newer, Linux, Macintosh 8.1 and newer, Commodore Amiga, Windows CE, Atari, OS/2 (Official Binary)
Unix, BeOS, VMS (Source Only)
Players 1

NetHack is a free roguelike computer game. The goal of the adventurer is to descend through the dungeon and retrieve the Amulet of Yendor. You can download the game from the official NetHack home page. The game runs on Mac OS, Windows, Unix, and many other platforms.

The dungeon contains many monsters and other causes of death. NetHack is a very difficult game, especially for players who lack knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons and avoid reading the spoilers.

NetHack is a complicated game, and it can be difficult to understand all the details of how it works. There are numerous "spoilers" available on the Web; here is a fairly complete list. However, NetHack is very much an exploration and discovery game, and many people prefer to avoid reading spoilers, or at least to wait to read them until they have a hunch about how a certain part of the game works and want confirmation. If you'd prefer to figure out the game for yourself, here are a few tips that may help:

  • Read the Guidebook that comes with the game.
  • Inscribing the mystic word "Elbereth" on the ground can help to keep you safe. See the Guidebook for more details.
  • Fortune cookies, graffiti and the Oracle will all give you cryptic hints, but only the Oracle's hints are guaranteed to be helpful.
  • It's usually safe to try wielding or wearing items that aren't cursed (though a few particularly nasty items become cursed when worn). Pets are reluctant to step on cursed items.
  • To determine what a magical item is, read a scroll of identify.
  • To determine what special abilities your character has picked up, use a wand or potion of enlightenment.
  • As mentioned in the Guidebook, if you play in explore mode you will have infinitely many lives and will start with a wand of wishing. Ascensions (victories) in explore mode do not count, but it can enable you to explore more of the dungeon than you could reach in a real game.

Table of Contents

Getting Started

External links


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!


NetHack is an open source roguelike adventure game. NetHack evolved from Hack, and has been in continuous development for nearly twenty years. The first version of NetHack was released on July 28, 1987.

NetHack is characterized by its many surprising events. Dipping, quaffing, scrawling, and many other actions can often have hilarious and/or infuriating results. This has yielded the popular phrase, "The Dev Team Thinks of Everything." (TDTTOE)


Nethack features 13 roles which serve as the base of your avatar's starting abilities.

  • Archeologist
  • Barbarian
  • Caveman/Cavewoman
  • Healer
  • Knight
  • Monk
  • Priest/Priestess
  • Rogue
  • Ranger
  • Samurai
  • Tourist
  • Valkyrie
  • Wizard

Roles also restrict races and alignments that your avatar may pick from.


Nethack features 5 races which help determine your starting statistics and abilities, as well as how you get along with the various creatures that populate the Mazes of Menace.

  • Dwarves
  • Elves
  • Gnomes
  • Humans
  • Orcs

External links

  • the official Nethack website
  • Wikihack, the NetHack wiki at Wikia

This article uses material from the "NetHack" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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