The NetHack Docs

The NetHack Docs are fully cross-referenced versions of the documentation and data files that come with NetHack (see the Official NetHack Home Page for more information.)

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                           A Guide to the Mazes of Menace
                               (Guidebook for NetHack)

                                   Eric S. Raymond
                      (Extensively edited and expanded for 3.4)

          1.  Introduction

          Recently, you have begun to find yourself unfulfilled and distant
          in your daily occupation.  Strange dreams of prospecting,  steal-
          ing,  crusading,  and  combat  have haunted you in your sleep for
          many months, but you aren't  sure  of  the  reason.   You  wonder
          whether  you have in fact been having those dreams all your life,
          and somehow managed to forget about them until now.  Some  nights
          you awaken suddenly and cry out, terrified at the vivid recollec-
          tion of the strange and powerful creatures that seem to be  lurk-
          ing  behind  every  corner  of  the dungeon in your dream.  Could
          these details haunting your dreams be real?  As each night  pass-
          es,  you feel the desire to enter the mysterious caverns near the
          ruins grow stronger.  Each morning, however, you quickly put  the
          idea  out  of  your head as you recall the tales of those who en-
          tered the caverns before you and did not return.  Eventually  you
          can  resist  the yearning to seek out the fantastic place in your
          dreams no longer.  After all, when other  adventurers  came  back
          this  way after spending time in the caverns, they usually seemed
          better off than when they passed through the first time.  And who
          was to say that all of those who did not return had not just kept

               Asking around, you hear about a bauble, called the Amulet of
          Yendor  by  some, which, if you can find it, will bring you great
          wealth.  One legend you were told even mentioned that the one who
          finds  the  amulet  will be granted immortality by the gods.  The
          amulet is rumored to be somewhere beyond the Valley of  Gehennom,
          deep  within  the Mazes of Menace.  Upon hearing the legends, you
          immediately realize that there is some profound and  undiscovered
          reason that you are to descend into the caverns and seek out that
          amulet of which they spoke.  Even if the rumors of  the  amulet's
          powers are untrue, you decide that you should at least be able to
          sell the tales of your adventures to the local  minstrels  for  a
          tidy  sum,  especially if you encounter any of the terrifying and
          magical creatures of your dreams along the way.   You  spend  one
          last  night  fortifying  yourself at the local inn, becoming more
          and more depressed as you watch the odds of  your  success  being
          posted on the inn's walls getting lower and lower.

                 In the morning you awake, collect your belongings, and set
          off for the dungeon.  After several days  of  uneventful  travel,
          you  see the ancient ruins that mark the entrance to the Mazes of
          Menace.  It is late at night, so you make camp  at  the  entrance
          and  spend the night sleeping under the open skies.  In the morn-
          ing, you gather your gear, eat what may be your  last  meal  out-
          side, and enter the dungeon...

          2.  What is going on here?

               You have just begun a game of NetHack.  Your goal is to grab
          as much treasure as you can, retrieve the Amulet of  Yendor,  and
          escape the Mazes of Menace alive.

               Your abilities and strengths for dealing with the hazards of
          adventure will vary with your background and training:

               Archeologists understand dungeons pretty well; this  enables
          them  to  move  quickly  and sneak up on the local nasties.  They
          start equipped with the tools for a proper scientific expedition.

               Barbarians  are  warriors out of the hinterland, hardened to
          battle.   They  begin  their  quests  with  naught  but  uncommon
          strength, a trusty hauberk, and a great two-handed sword.

               Cavemen  and  Cavewomen start with exceptional strength but,
          unfortunately, with neolithic weapons.

               Healers are wise in medicine and apothecary.  They know  the
          herbs  and  simples  that  can restore vitality, ease pain, anes-
          thetize, and neutralize poisons; and with their instruments, they
          can  divine a being's state of health or sickness.  Their medical
          practice earns them quite reasonable amounts of money, with which
          they enter the dungeon.

               Knights  are  distinguished  from  the  common skirmisher by
          their devotion to the ideals of chivalry and  by  the  surpassing
          excellence of their armor.

               Monks are ascetics, who by rigorous practice of physical and
          mental disciplines have become capable of fighting as effectively
          without  weapons  as with.  They wear no armor but make up for it
          with increased mobility.

               Priests and Priestesses are clerics militant, crusaders  ad-
          vancing  the  cause  of  righteousness with arms, armor, and arts
          thaumaturgic.  Their ability to commune with deities  via  prayer
          occasionally extricates them from peril, but can also put them in

               Rangers are most at home in the woods, and some say slightly
          out of place in a dungeon.  They are, however, experts in archery
          as well as tracking and stealthy movement.

               Rogues are agile and stealthy  thieves,  with  knowledge  of
          locks,  traps,  and  poisons.   Their advantage lies in surprise,
          which they employ to great advantage.

               Samurai are the elite warriors of feudal Nippon.   They  are
          lightly  armored  and  quick, and wear the dai-sho, two swords of
          the deadliest keenness.

               Tourists start out with lots of gold (suitable for  shopping
          with),  a  credit card, lots of food, some maps, and an expensive
          camera.  Most monsters don't like being photographed.

               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.

               Wizards start out with a knowledge of magic, a selection  of
          magical  items,  and a particular affinity for dweomercraft.  Al-
          though seemingly weak and easy to overcome at first sight, an ex-
          perienced Wizard is a deadly foe.

               You may also choose the race of your character:

               Dwarves are smaller than humans or elves, but are stocky and
          solid individuals.  Dwarves' most notable trait  is  their  great
          expertise  in mining and metalwork.  Dwarvish armor is said to be
          second in quality not even to the mithril armor of the Elves.

               Elves are agile, quick, and perceptive; very little of  what
          goes  on  will escape an Elf.  The quality of Elven craftsmanship
          often gives them an advantage in arms and armor.

               Gnomes are smaller than but generally  similar  to  dwarves.
          Gnomes  are known to be expert miners, and it is known that a se-
          cret underground mine complex built by this  race  exists  within
          the Mazes of Menace, filled with both riches and danger.

               Humans are by far the most common race of the surface world,
          and are thus the norm by which other races  are  often  compared.
          Although  they have no special abilities, they can succeed in any

               Orcs are a cruel and barbaric race that  hate  every  living
          thing  (including other orcs).  Above all others, Orcs hate Elves
          with a passion unequalled, and will go out of their way  to  kill
          one  at  any opportunity.  The armor and weapons fashioned by the
          Orcs are typically of inferior quality.

          3.  What do all those things on the screen mean?

               On the screen is kept a map of where you have been and  what
          you  have  seen on the current dungeon level; as you explore more
          of the level, it appears on the screen in front of you.

               When NetHack's ancestor rogue  first  appeared,  its  screen
          orientation  was  almost  unique  among  computer  fantasy games.
          Since then, screen orientation has become the  norm  rather  than
          the  exception;  NetHack  continues  this fine tradition.  Unlike
          text adventure games that accept commands in pseudo-English  sen-
          tences and explain the results in words, NetHack commands are all
          one or two keystrokes and the results are  displayed  graphically
          on  the  screen.  A minimum screen size of 24 lines by 80 columns
          is recommended; if the screen is larger,  only  a  21x80  section
          will be used for the map.

               NetHack can even be played by blind players, with the assis-
          tance of Braille readers or  speech  synthesisers.   Instructions
          for  configuring NetHack for the blind are included later in this

               NetHack generates a new dungeon every time you play it; even
          the  authors  still find it an entertaining and exciting game de-
          spite having won several times.

               NetHack offers a variety of display  options.   The  options
          available  to  you  will vary from port to port, depending on the
          capabilities of your hardware and software, and  whether  various
          compile-time options were enabled when your executable was creat-
          ed.  The three possible display options are: a monochrome charac-
          ter  interface,  a color character interface, and a graphical in-
          terface using small pictures called tiles.  The two character in-
          terfaces allow fonts with other characters to be substituted, but
          the default assignments use standard ASCII characters  to  repre-
          sent everything.  There is no difference between the various dis-
          play options with respect to game play.  Because we cannot repro-
          duce the tiles or colors in the Guidebook, and because it is com-
          mon to all ports, we will use the default ASCII  characters  from
          the  monochrome  character  display  when referring to things you
          might see on the screen during your game.

               In order to understand what is going on  in  NetHack,  first
          you  must  understand what NetHack is doing with the screen.  The
          NetHack screen replaces the ``You see ...'' descriptions of  text
          adventure  games.   Figure 1 is a sample of what a NetHack screen
          might look like.  The way the screen looks  for  you  depends  on
          your platform.

           The bat bites!

               |....|    ----------
               |....-#   |...B....+
               |....|    |.d......|
               ------    -------|--

           Player the Rambler     St:12 Dx:7 Co:18 In:11 Wi:9 Ch:15  Neutral
           Dlvl:1 $:0  HP:9(12) Pw:3(3) AC:10 Exp:1/19 T:257 Weak

                                      Figure 1

          3.1.  The status lines (bottom)

               The  bottom  two lines of the screen contain several cryptic
          pieces of information describing your current status.  If  either
          status  line  becomes  longer  than  the width of the screen, you
          might not see all of it.  Here are explanations of what the vari-
          ous status items mean (though your configuration may not have all
          the status items listed below):

               Your character's name and professional ranking (based on the
               experience level, see below).

               A  measure of your character's strength; one of your six ba-
               sic attributes.  A human character's  attributes  can  range
               from  3  to 18 inclusive; non-humans may exceed these limits
               (occasionally you may get super-strengths of the form 18/xx,
               and  magic  can  also  cause attributes to exceed the normal
               limits).  The higher your strength, the  stronger  you  are.
               Strength  affects  how  successfully  you  perform  physical
               tasks, how much damage you do in combat, and how  much  loot
               you can carry.

               Dexterity  affects  your  chances to hit in combat, to avoid
               traps, and do other tasks requiring agility or  manipulation
               of objects.

               Constitution  affects  your ability to recover from injuries
               and other strains on your stamina.

               Intelligence affects your ability to cast  spells  and  read

               Wisdom comes from your practical experience (especially when
               dealing with magic).  It affects your magical energy.

               Charisma affects how certain creatures react toward you.  In
               particular,  it can affect the prices shopkeepers offer you.

               Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic.  Often, Lawful is taken as good
               and Chaotic as evil, but legal and ethical do not always co-
               incide.  Your alignment influences how other monsters  react
               toward you.  Monsters of a like alignment are more likely to
               be non-aggressive, while those of an opposing alignment  are
               more likely to be seriously offended at your presence.

          Dungeon Level
               How deep you are in the dungeon.  You start at level one and
               the number increases as you  go  deeper  into  the  dungeon.
               Some  levels  are  special, and are identified by a name and
               not a number.  The Amulet of Yendor is reputed to  be  some-
               where beneath the twentieth level.

               The  number  of  gold  pieces you are openly carrying.  Gold
               which you have concealed in containers is not counted.

          Hit Points
               Your current and maximum hit points.   Hit  points  indicate
               how  much  damage you can take before you die.  The more you
               get hit in a fight, the lower they get.  You can regain  hit
               points  by  resting,  or  by  using certain magical items or
               spells.  The number in parentheses  is  the  maximum  number
               your hit points can reach.

               Spell  points.  This tells you how much mystic energy (mana)
               you have available for spell casting.  Again,  resting  will
               regenerate the amount available.

          Armor Class
               A measure of how effectively your armor stops blows from un-
               friendly creatures.  The lower this number is, the more  ef-
               fective the armor; it is quite possible to have negative ar-
               mor class.

               Your current experience level and experience points.  As you
               adventure,  you  gain experience points.  At certain experi-
               ence point totals, you gain an experience level.   The  more
               experienced you are, the better you fight and withstand mag-
               ical attacks.  Many dungeons show only your experience level

               The  number  of  turns elapsed so far, displayed if you have
               the time option set.

          Hunger status
               Your current hunger status, ranging from  Satiated  down  to
               Fainting.   If  your hunger status is normal, it is not dis-

               Additional status flags may appear after the hunger  status:
          Conf  when you're confused, FoodPois or Ill when sick, Blind when
          you can't see, Stun when stunned, and Hallu when hallucinating.

          3.2.  The message line (top)

               The top line of the screen is reserved for messages that de-
          scribe  things that are impossible to represent visually.  If you
          see a ``--More--'' on the top line, this means that  NetHack  has
          another  message  to  display on the screen, but it wants to make
          certain that you've read the one that is there  first.   To  read
          the next message, just press the space bar.

          3.3.  The map (rest of the screen)

               The  rest  of the screen is the map of the level as you have
          explored it so far.  Each symbol on the screen  represents  some-
          thing.   You  can  set various graphics options to change some of
          the symbols the game uses; otherwise, the game will  use  default
          symbols.  Here is a list of what the default symbols mean:

          - and |
               The walls of a room, or an open door.  Or a grave (|).

          .    The floor of a room, ice, or a doorless doorway.

          #    A  corridor,  or iron bars, or a tree, or possibly a kitchen
               sink (if your dungeon has sinks), or a drawbridge.

          >    Stairs down: a way to the next level.

          <    Stairs up: a way to the previous level.

          +    A closed door, or a spellbook containing a spell you may  be
               able to learn.

          @    Your character or a human.

          $    A pile of gold.

          ^    A trap (once you have detected it).

          )    A weapon.

          [    A suit or piece of armor.

          %    Something edible (not necessarily healthy).

          ?    A scroll.

          /    A wand.

          =    A ring.

          !    A potion.

          (    A useful item (pick-axe, key, lamp...).

          "    An amulet or a spider web.

          *    A gem or rock (possibly valuable, possibly worthless).

          `    A boulder or statue.

          0    An iron ball.

          _    An altar, or an iron chain.

          {    A fountain.

          }    A pool of water or moat or a pool of lava.

          \    An opulent throne.

          a-zA-Z and other symbols
               Letters  and certain other symbols represent the various in-
               habitants of the Mazes of Menace.  Watch out,  they  can  be
               nasty and vicious.  Sometimes, however, they can be helpful.

          I    This marks the last known location of an invisible or other-
               wise  unseen  monster.   Note  that  the  monster could have
               moved.  The 'F' and 'm' commands may be useful here.

               You need not memorize all these symbols;  you  can  ask  the
          game  what  any  symbol  represents with the `/' command (see the
          next section for more info).

          4.  Commands

               Commands are initiated by  typing  one  or  two  characters.
          Some  commands, like ``search'', do not require that any more in-
          formation be collected by NetHack.  Other commands might  require
          additional  information, for example a direction, or an object to
          be used.  For those commands that require additional information,
          NetHack  will present you with either a menu of choices or with a
          command line prompt requesting information.  Which you  are  pre-
          sented with will depend chiefly on how you have set the menustyle

               For example, a common question, in the form  ``What  do  you
          want  to use? [a-zA-Z ?*]'', asks you to choose an object you are
          carrying.  Here, ``a-zA-Z'' are the  inventory  letters  of  your
          possible  choices.   Typing  `?'  gives  you an inventory list of
          these items, so you can see what each letter refers to.  In  this
          example,  there  is  also a `*' indicating that you may choose an
          object not on the list, if you wanted to use something  unexpect-
          ed.  Typing a `*' lists your entire inventory, so you can see the

          inventory letters of every object you're carrying.   Finally,  if
          you change your mind and decide you don't want to do this command
          after all, you can press the ESC key to abort the command.

               You can put a number before some  commands  to  repeat  them
          that  many times; for example, ``10s'' will search ten times.  If
          you have the number_pad option set, you must type `n' to prefix a
          count,  so  the  example  above  would be typed ``n10s'' instead.
          Commands for which counts make no sense ignore  them.   In  addi-
          tion,  movement commands can be prefixed for greater control (see
          below).  To cancel a count or a prefix, press the ESC key.

               The list of commands is rather long, but it can be  read  at
          any  time during the game through the `?' command, which accesses
          a menu of helpful texts.  Here are the commands for  your  refer-

          ?    Help menu:  display one of several help texts available.

          /    Tell  what a symbol represents.  You may choose to specify a
               location or type a symbol (or even a whole word) to explain.
               Specifying a location is done by moving the cursor to a par-
               ticular spot on the map and then pressing one of  `.',  `,',
               `;',  or `:'.  `.' will explain the symbol at the chosen lo-
               cation, conditionally check for ``More info?'' depending up-
               on whether the help option is on, and then you will be asked
               to pick another location; `,' will explain  the  symbol  but
               skip  any  additional  information; `;' will skip additional
               info and also not bother asking you to choose another  loca-
               tion  to  examine;  `:'  will  show additional info, if any,
               without asking for confirmation.  When picking  a  location,
               pressing  the ESC key will terminate this command, or press-
               ing `?'  will give a brief reminder about how it works.

               Specifying a name rather than a location  always  gives  any
          additional information available about that name.

          &    Tell what a command does.

          <    Go  up  to  the previous level (if you are on a staircase or

          >    Go down to the next level (if you are on a staircase or lad-

               Go  one  step in the direction indicated (see Figure 2).  If
               you sense or remember a monster there, you  will  fight  the
               monster  instead.   Only  these  one-step  movement commands
               cause  you  to  fight  monsters;  the  others  (below)   are

                                    y  k  u          7  8  9
                                     \ | /            \ | /
                                    h- . -l          4- . -6
                                     / | \            / | \
                                    b  j  n          1  2  3
                                              (if number_pad is set)

                                         Figure 2

               Go  in that direction until you hit a wall or run into some-

               Prefix:  move without picking up objects or  fighting  (even
               if you remember a monster there)

               Prefix:   fight  a  monster  (even  if you only guess one is

               Prefix:  move far, no pickup.

               Prefix:  move until something interesting is found.

          G[yuhjklbn] or <CONTROL->[yuhjklbn]
               Prefix:  same as `g', but forking of corridors is  not  con-
               sidered interesting.

          _    Travel  to  a  map  location  via a shortest-path algorithm.
               Stops on most of the same  conditions  as  the  `G'  command
               does.  For ports with mouse support, the command is also in-
               voked when a mouse-click takes place on a  location  further
               than 1 cell away from the current position.

          .    Rest, do nothing for one turn.

          a    Apply (use) a tool (pick-axe, key, lamp...).

          A    Remove one or more worn items, such as armor.  Use `T' (take
               off) to take off only one piece of armor or `R' (remove)  to
               take off only one accessory.

          ^A   Redo the previous command.

          c    Close a door.

          C    Call (name) an individual monster.

          ^C   Panic button.  Quit the game.

          d    Drop  something.   Ex. ``d7a'' means drop seven items of ob-
               ject a.

          D    Drop several things.  In answer to the question ``What kinds
               of  things do you want to drop? [!%= aium]'' you should type
               zero or more object symbols possibly followed by `a'  and/or
               `i' and/or `u' and/or `m'.

                    Da  - drop all objects, without asking for confirmation.
                    Di  - examine your inventory before dropping anything.
                    Du  - drop only unpaid objects (when in a shop).
                    Dm  - use a menu to pick which object(s) to drop.
                    D%u - drop only unpaid food.

          ^D   Kick something (usually a door).

          e    Eat food.

          E    Engrave  a  message  on the floor.  Engraving the word ``El-
               bereth'' will cause most monsters to not attack you hand-to-
               hand (but if you attack, you will rub it out); this is often
               useful to give yourself a breather.  (This  feature  may  be
               compiled  out  of  the  game, so your version might not have

                    E- - write in the dust with your fingers.

          f    Fire one of the objects placed in your quiver.  You may  se-
               lect ammunition with a previous `Q' command, or let the com-
               puter pick something appropriate if autoquiver is true.

          i    List your inventory (everything you're carrying).

          I    List selected parts of your inventory.

                    I* - list all gems in inventory;
                    Iu - list all unpaid items;
                    Ix - list all used up items that are on your shopping bill;
                    I$ - count your money.

          o    Open a door.

          O    Set options.  A menu showing the current option values  will
               be  displayed.  You can change most values simply by select-
               ing the menu entry for the given option (ie, by  typing  its
               letter  or  clicking  upon it, depending on your user inter-
               face).  For the  non-boolean  choices,  a  further  menu  or
               prompt will appear once you've closed this menu.  The avail-
               able options are listed later in  this  Guidebook.   Options
               are  usually  set  before  the game rather than with the `O'
               command; see the section on options below.

          p    Pay your shopping bill.

          P    Put on a ring or other accessory (amulet, blindfold).

          ^P   Repeat previous message (subsequent ^P's repeat earlier mes-

          q    Quaff (drink) a potion.

          Q    Select  an  object for your quiver.  You can then throw this
               using the `f' command.  (In versions prior to 3.3  this  was
               the  command  to  quit the game, which has now been moved to

          r    Read a scroll or spellbook.

          R    Remove an accessory (ring, amulet, etc).

          ^R   Redraw the screen.

          s    Search for secret doors and traps around  you.   It  usually
               takes several tries to find something.

          S    Save  (and suspend) the game.  The game will be restored au-
               tomatically the next time you play.

          t    Throw an object or shoot a projectile.

          T    Take off armor.

          ^T   Teleport, if you have the ability.

          v    Display version number.

          V    Display the game history.

          w    Wield weapon.

                    w- - wield nothing, use your bare hands.

          W    Wear armor.

          x    Exchange your wielded weapon with the item in your secondary
               weapon  slot.   The  latter is used as your second weapon in
               two-weapon combat.  Note that if one of these slots is  emp-
               ty, the exchange still takes place.

          X    Enter explore (discovery) mode, explained in its own section

          ^X   Display your name, role, race, gender, and alignment as well
               as the various deities in your game.

          z    Zap  a wand.  To aim at yourself, use `.' for the direction.

          Z    Zap (cast) a spell.  To cast at yourself, use  `.'  for  the

          ^Z   Suspend the game (UNIX(R) versions with job control only).

          :    Look at what is here.

          ;    Show what type of thing a visible symbol corresponds to.

          ,    Pick up some things.

          @    Toggle the autopickup option on and off.

          ^    Ask for the type of a trap you found earlier.

          )    Tell what weapon you are wielding.

          [    Tell what armor you are wearing.

          =    Tell what rings you are wearing.

          "    Tell what amulet you are wearing.

          (    Tell what tools you are using.

          *    Tell  what  equipment  you are using; combines the preceding
               five type-specific commands into one.

          $    Count your gold pieces.

          +    List the spells you know.  Using this command, you can  also
               rearrange  the  order in which your spells are listed.  They
               are shown via a menu, and if you  select  a  spell  in  that
               menu, you'll be re-prompted for another spell to swap places
               with it, and then  have  opportunity  to  make  further  ex-

          \    Show what types of objects have been discovered.

          !    Escape to a shell.

          #    Perform an extended command.  As you can see, the authors of
               NetHack used up all the letters, so this is a way to  intro-
               duce  the less frequently used commands.  What extended com-
               mands are available depends on what features  the  game  was
               compiled with.

               Adjust inventory letters (most useful when the fixinv option
               is ``on'').

               Talk to someone.

               List which challenges you have adhered to.  See the  section
               below entitled ``Conduct'' for details.

          #dip Dip an object into something.

               Advance or check weapons and spell skills.

               Force a lock.

               Invoke an object's special powers.

               Jump to another location.

               Loot  a  box  or bag on the floor beneath you, or the saddle
               from a horse standing next to you.

               Use a monster's special ability (when polymorphed into  mon-
               ster form).

               Name an item or type of object.

               Offer a sacrifice to the gods.

               Pray to the gods for help.

               Quit the program without saving your game.

               Ride (or stop riding) a monster.

          #rub Rub a lamp or a stone.

          #sit Sit down.

               Turn undead.

               Toggle  two-weapon combat on or off.  Note that you must use
               suitable weapons for this type of  combat,  or  it  will  be

               automatically turned off.

               Untrap something (trap, door, or chest).

               Print compile time options for this version of NetHack.

               Wipe off your face.

          #?   Help menu:  get the list of available extended commands.

               If your keyboard has a meta key (which, when pressed in com-
          bination with another key, modifies  it  by  setting  the  `meta'
          [8th,  or  `high'] bit), you can invoke many extended commands by
          meta-ing the first letter of the command.  In NT,  OS/2,  and  PC
          NetHack, the `Alt' key can be used in this fashion.

          M-?  #? (not supported by all platforms)

          M-2  #twoweapon (unless the number_pad option is enabled)

          M-a  #adjust

          M-c  #chat

          M-d  #dip

          M-e  #enhance

          M-f  #force

          M-i  #invoke

          M-j  #jump

          M-l  #loot

          M-m  #monster

          M-n  #name

          M-o  #offer

          M-p  #pray

          M-q  #quit

          M-r  #rub

          M-s  #sit

          M-t  #turn

          M-u  #untrap

          M-v  #version

          M-w  #wipe

               If  the number_pad option is on, some additional letter com-
          mands are available:

          h    Help menu:  display one of  several  help  texts  available,
               like ``?''.

          j    Jump to another location.  Same as ``#jump'' or ``M-j''.

          k    Kick something (usually a door).  Same as `^D'.

          l    Loot  a  box  or bag on the floor beneath you, or the saddle
               from a horse standing next to you.   Same  as  ``#loot''  or

          N    Name  an  item or type of object.  Same as ``#name'' or ``M-

          u    Untrap a trap, door, or chest.  Same as ``#untrap'' or  ``M-

          5.  Rooms and corridors

               Rooms  and  corridors in the dungeon are either lit or dark.
          Any lit areas within your line of sight will be  displayed;  dark
          areas  are  only  displayed  if they are within one space of you.
          Walls and corridors remain on the map as you explore them.

               Secret corridors are hidden.  You can find them with the `s'
          (search) command.

          5.1.  Doorways

               Doorways connect rooms and corridors.  Some doorways have no
          doors; you can walk right through.  Others have  doors  in  them,
          which may be open, closed, or locked.  To open a closed door, use
          the `o' (open) command; to close it again, use  the  `c'  (close)

               You  can  get  through a locked door by using a tool to pick
          the lock with the `a' (apply) command, or by kicking it open with
          the `^D' (kick) command.

               Open  doors  cannot be entered diagonally; you must approach
          them straight on, horizontally or vertically.   Doorways  without
          doors are not restricted in this fashion.

               Doors  can  be  useful for shutting out monsters.  Most mon-
          sters cannot open doors, although a few don't need to (ex. ghosts
          can walk through doors).

               Secret  doors  are  hidden.   You can find them with the `s'
          (search) command.  Once found they are in all ways equivalent  to
          normal doors.

          5.2.  Traps (`^')

               There  are  traps throughout the dungeon to snare the unwary
          delver.  For example, you may suddenly fall into  a  pit  and  be
          stuck for a few turns trying to climb out.  Traps don't appear on
          your map until you see one triggered by moving onto it, see some-
          thing fall into it, or you discover it with the `s' (search) com-
          mand.  Monsters can fall prey to traps, too, which can be a  very
          useful defensive strategy.

               There is a special pre-mapped branch of the dungeon based on
          the classic computer game ``Sokoban.''  The goal is to  push  the
          boulders  into  the pits or holes.  With careful foresight, it is
          possible to complete all of the levels according  to  the  tradi-
          tional  rules  of Sokoban.  Some allowances are permitted in case
          the player gets stuck; however, they will lower your luck.

          5.3.  Stairs (`<', `>')

               In general, each level in the dungeon will have a  staircase
          going up (`<') to the previous level and another going down (`>')
          to the next level.  There are some exceptions  though.   For  in-
          stance,  fairly  early  in the dungeon you will find a level with
          two down staircases, one continuing into the dungeon and the oth-
          er  branching  into  an  area  known as the Gnomish Mines.  Those
          mines eventually hit a dead end, so after exploring them (if  you
          choose  to  do so), you'll need to climb back up to the main dun-

               When you traverse a set of stairs, or trigger a  trap  which
          sends  you to another level, the level you're leaving will be de-
          activated and stored in a file on disk.  If you're  moving  to  a
          previously visited level, it will be loaded from its file on disk
          and reactivated.  If you're moving to a level which has  not  yet
          been  visited,  it  will be created (from scratch for most random
          levels, from a template for some ``special''  levels,  or  loaded
          from  the  remains  of  an  earlier game for a ``bones'' level as
          briefly described below).  Monsters are only active on  the  cur-
          rent  level;  those  on  other levels are essentially placed into

               Ordinarily when you climb a set of stairs, you  will  arrive
          on  the  corresponding  staircase  at your destination.  However,
          pets (see below) and some other monsters  will  follow  along  if
          they're close enough when you travel up or down stairs, and occa-
          sionally one of these creatures  will  displace  you  during  the

          climb.  When that occurs, the pet or other monster will arrive on
          the staircase and you will end up nearby.

          5.4.  Ladders (`<', `>')

               Ladders serve the same purpose as staircases,  and  the  two
          types  of  inter-level  connections  are nearly indistinguishable
          during game play.

          6.  Monsters

               Monsters you cannot see are not  displayed  on  the  screen.
          Beware!   You  may  suddenly come upon one in a dark place.  Some
          magic items can help you  locate  them  before  they  locate  you
          (which some monsters can do very well).

               The  commands  `/' and `;' may be used to obtain information
          about those monsters who are displayed on the screen.   The  com-
          mand  `C'  allows you to assign a name to a monster, which may be
          useful to help distinguish one from another  when  multiple  mon-
          sters  are  present.  Assigning a name which is just a space will
          remove any prior name.

               The extended command ``#chat'' can be used to interact  with
          an  adjacent monster.  There is no actual dialog (in other words,
          you don't get to choose what you'll say), but chatting with  some
          monsters such as a shopkeeper or the Oracle of Delphi can produce
          useful results.

          6.1.  Fighting

               If you see a monster and you wish to fight it, just  attempt
          to  walk  into  it.   Many  monsters you find will mind their own
          business unless you attack them.  Some of them are very dangerous
          when angered.  Remember:  discretion is the better part of valor.

               If you can't see a monster (if it is invisible,  or  if  you
          are  blinded), the symbol `I' will be shown when you learn of its
          presence.  If you attempt to walk into it, you will try to  fight
          it  just  like a monster that you can see; of course, if the mon-
          ster has moved, you will attack empty air.  If you guess that the
          monster  has  moved  and you don't wish to fight, you can use the
          `m' command to move without fighting; likewise, if you don't  re-
          member a monster but want to try fighting anyway, you can use the
          `F' command.

          6.2.  Your pet

               You start the game with a little dog (`d'),  cat  (`f'),  or
          pony  (`u'),  which follows you about the dungeon and fights mon-
          sters with you.  Like you, your pet needs food  to  survive.   It
          usually feeds itself on fresh carrion and other meats.  If you're
          worried about it or want to train it, you can feed  it,  too,  by

          throwing  it food.  A properly trained pet can be very useful un-
          der certain circumstances.

               Your pet also gains experience from  killing  monsters,  and
          can  grow  over  time,  gaining hit points and doing more damage.
          Initially, your pet may even be better  at  killing  things  than
          you, which makes pets useful for low-level characters.

               Your  pet  will  follow  you up and down staircases if it is
          next to you when you move.  Otherwise your pet will  be  stranded
          and  may  become wild.  Similarly, when you trigger certain types
          of traps which alter your location (for  instance,  a  trap  door
          which  drops you to a lower dungeon level), any adjacent pet will
          accompany you and any non-adjacent pet will be left behind.  Your
          pet  may trigger such traps itself; you will not be carried along
          with it even if adjacent at the time.

          6.3.  Steeds

               Some types of creatures in the dungeon can actually be  rid-
          den if you have the right equipment and skill.  Convincing a wild
          beast to let you saddle it up is  difficult  to  say  the  least.
          Many  a dungeoneer has had to resort to magic and wizardry in or-
          der to forge the alliance.  Once you do have the beast under your
          control  however,  you  can easily climb in and out of the saddle
          with the `#ride' command.  Lead the beast around the dungeon when
          riding, in the same manner as you would move yourself.  It is the
          beast that you will see displayed on the map.

               Riding skill is managed by the `#enhance' command.  See  the
          section on Weapon proficiency for more information about that.

          6.4.  Bones levels

               You  may encounter the shades and corpses of other adventur-
          ers (or even former incarnations of yourself!) and their personal
          effects.   Ghosts  are  hard  to  kill,  but easy to avoid, since
          they're slow and do little damage.  You can plunder the  deceased
          adventurer's  possessions; however, they are likely to be cursed.
          Beware of whatever killed the former player; it is probably still
          lurking around, gloating over its last victory.

          7.  Objects

               When you find something in the dungeon, it is common to want
          to pick it up.  In NetHack, this is accomplished automatically by
          walking  over  the object (unless you turn off the autopickup op-
          tion (see below), or move with the `m' prefix  (see  above)),  or
          manually by using the `,' command.

               If  you're carrying too many items, NetHack will tell you so
          and you won't be able to pick up anything  more.   Otherwise,  it
          will  add  the  object(s) to your pack and tell you what you just

          picked up.

               As you add items to your inventory, you also add the  weight
          of  that  object to your load.  The amount that you can carry de-
          pends on your strength and your constitution.  The  stronger  you
          are, the less the additional load will affect you.  There comes a
          point, though, when the weight of all of that stuff you are  car-
          rying  around  with  you  through  the dungeon will encumber you.
          Your reactions will get slower and you'll burn  calories  faster,
          requiring  food  more  frequently  to  cope with it.  Eventually,
          you'll be so overloaded that you'll either have to  discard  some
          of what you're carrying or collapse under its weight.

               NetHack  will  tell  you how badly you have loaded yourself.
          The symbols `Burdened', `Stressed', `Strained',  `Overtaxed'  and
          `Overloaded' are displayed on the bottom line display to indicate
          your condition.

               When you pick up an object, it is assigned an inventory let-
          ter.   Many commands that operate on objects must ask you to find
          out which object you want to  use.   When  NetHack  asks  you  to
          choose a particular object you are carrying, you are usually pre-
          sented with a list of inventory letters to choose from (see  Com-
          mands, above).

               Some  objects,  such  as weapons, are easily differentiated.
          Others, like scrolls and potions, are  given  descriptions  which
          vary  according to type.  During a game, any two objects with the
          same description are the same type.   However,  the  descriptions
          will vary from game to game.

               When you use one of these objects, if its effect is obvious,
          NetHack will remember what it is for you.  If  its  effect  isn't
          extremely  obvious,  you will be asked what you want to call this
          type of object so you will recognize it later.  You can also  use
          the  ``#name''  command for the same purpose at any time, to name
          all objects of a particular type or just  an  individual  object.
          When you use ``#name'' on an object which has already been named,
          specifying a space as the value will remove the  prior  name  in-
          stead of assigning a new one.

          7.1.  Curses and Blessings

               Any  object  that you find may be cursed, even if the object
          is otherwise helpful.  The most common effect of a curse is being
          stuck  with (and to) the item.  Cursed weapons weld themselves to
          your hand when wielded, so you cannot unwield them.   Any  cursed
          item  you  wear is not removable by ordinary means.  In addition,
          cursed arms and armor usually, but not always, bear negative  en-
          chantments that make them less effective in combat.  Other cursed
          objects may act poorly or detrimentally in other ways.

               Objects can also be blessed.   Blessed  items  usually  work
          better  or  more  beneficially  than  normal uncursed items.  For

          example, a blessed weapon will do more damage against demons.

               There are magical means of bestowing or removing curses upon
          objects,  so  even  if you are stuck with one, you can still have
          the curse lifted and the item removed.  Priests  and  Priestesses
          have  an  innate  sensitivity  to this property in any object, so
          they can more easily avoid cursed objects  than  other  character

               An  item with unknown status will be reported in your inven-
          tory with no prefix.  An item which you know the state of will be
          distinguished  in  your  inventory  by  the  presence of the word
          ``cursed'', ``uncursed'' or ``blessed'' in the description of the

          7.2.  Weapons (`)')

               Given  a  chance,  most monsters in the Mazes of Menace will
          gratuitously try to kill you.  You need weapons for  self-defense
          (killing  them  first).   Without  a  weapon, you do only 1-2 hit
          points of damage (plus bonuses, if any).  Monk characters are  an
          exception; they normally do much more damage with bare hands than
          they do with weapons.

               There are wielded weapons, like maces and swords, and thrown
          weapons,  like arrows and spears.  To hit monsters with a weapon,
          you must wield it and attack them, or throw it at them.  You  can
          simply  elect  to  throw  a spear.  To shoot an arrow, you should
          first wield a bow, then throw the arrow.  Crossbows shoot  cross-
          bow bolts.  Slings hurl rocks and (other) stones (like gems).

               Enchanted weapons have a ``plus'' (or ``to hit enhancement''
          which can be either positive  or  negative)  that  adds  to  your
          chance  to  hit and the damage you do to a monster.  The only way
          to determine a weapon's enchantment is to have it magically iden-
          tified  somehow.  Most weapons are subject to some type of damage
          like rust.  Such ``erosion'' damage can be repaired.

               The chance that an attack will successfully hit  a  monster,
          and  the  amount  of damage such a hit will do, depends upon many
          factors.  Among them are: type of weapon, quality of weapon  (en-
          chantment and/or erosion), experience level, strength, dexterity,
          encumbrance, and proficiency (see below).   The  monster's  armor
          class  - a general defense rating, not necessarily due to wearing
          of armor - is a factor too; also, some monsters are  particularly
          vulnerable to certain types of weapons.

               Many  weapons  can be wielded in one hand; some require both
          hands.  When wielding a two-handed weapon, you  can  not  wear  a
          shield,  and  vice versa.  When wielding a one-handed weapon, you
          can have another weapon ready to use by setting  things  up  with
          the  `x'  command,  which  exchanges  your primary (the one being
          wielded) and secondary weapons.  And if you have  proficiency  in
          the  ``two  weapon combat'' skill, you may wield both primary and

          secondary weapons simultaneously; use the  `#twoweapon'  extended
          command  to engage or disengage that.  Only some types of charac-
          ters (barbarians, for instance) have the necessary  skill  avail-
          able.   Even  with that skill, using two weapons at once incurs a
          penalty in the chance to hit your target compared to  using  just
          one weapon at a time.

               There  might be times when you'd rather not wield any weapon
          at all.  To accomplish that, wield `-', or else use the `A'  com-
          mand  which  allows you to unwield the current weapon in addition
          to taking off other worn items.

               Those of you in the audience who are AD&D players, be  aware
          that each weapon which existed in AD&D does roughly the same dam-
          age to monsters in NetHack.  Some of  the  more  obscure  weapons
          (such as the aklys, lucern hammer, and bec-de-corbin) are defined
          in an appendix to Unearthed Arcana, an AD&D supplement.

               The commands to use weapons are `w'  (wield),  `t'  (throw),
          `f'  (fire,  an  alternative  way of throwing), `Q' (quiver), `x'
          (exchange), `#twoweapon', and `#enhance' (see below).

          7.2.1.  Throwing and shooting

               You can throw just about anything via the `t'  command.   It
          will  prompt  for the item to throw; picking `?' will list things
          in your inventory which are considered likely to  be  thrown,  or
          picking `*' will list your entire inventory.  After you've chosen
          what to throw, you will be prompted for a direction  rather  than
          for  a specific target.  The distance something can be thrown de-
          pends mainly on the type of object and your strength.  Arrows can
          be  thrown  by  hand,  but can be thrown much farther and will be
          more likely to hit when thrown while you are wielding a bow.

               You can simplify the throwing operation  by  using  the  `Q'
          command  to select your preferred ``missile'', then using the `f'
          command to throw it.  You'll  be  prompted  for  a  direction  as
          above,  but  you  don't  have to specify which item to throw each
          time you use `f'.  There is also an option, autoquiver, which has
          NetHack  choose  another  item  to automatically fill your quiver
          when the inventory slot used for `Q' runs out.

               Some characters have the ability to fire a volley of  multi-
          ple  items  in a single turn.  Knowing how to load several rounds
          of ammunition at once -- or hold several missiles in your hand --
          and  still  hit  a target is not an easy task.  Rangers are among
          those who are adept at this task, as are those with a high  level
          of  proficiency  in  the  relevant  weapon skill (in bow skill if
          you're wielding one to shoot arrows, in crossbow skill if  you're
          wielding one to shoot bolts, or in sling skill if you're wielding
          one to shoot stones).  The number of items that the character has
          a  chance  to  fire varies from turn to turn.  You can explicitly
          limit the number of shots by using a numeric  prefix  before  the
          `t'  or  `f'  command.   For example, ``2f'' (or ``n2f'' if using

          number_pad mode) would ensure that at most 2 arrows are shot even
          if  you  could have fired 3.  If you specify a larger number than
          would have been shot (``4f'' in this example), you'll just end up
          shooting the same number (3, here) as if no limit had been speci-
          fied.  Once the volley is in motion, all of the items will travel
          in the same direction; if the first ones kill a monster, the oth-
          ers can still continue beyond that spot.

          7.2.2.  Weapon proficiency

               You will have varying degrees of skill in the weapons avail-
          able.   Weapon proficiency, or weapon skills, affect how well you
          can use particular types of weapons, and you'll be  able  to  im-
          prove  your  skills  as you progress through a game, depending on
          your role, your experience level, and use of the weapons.

               For the purposes of proficiency, weapons have  been  divided
          up   into  various  groups  such  as  daggers,  broadswords,  and
          polearms.  Each role has a limit on what level of  proficiency  a
          character  can achieve for each group.  For instance, wizards can
          become highly skilled in daggers or staves but not in  swords  or

               The  `#enhance'  extended  command is used to review current
          weapons proficiency (also spell proficiency) and to choose  which
          skill(s) to improve when you've used one or more skills enough to
          become eligible to do so.  The skill rankings are ``none'' (some-
          times  also  referred  to as ``restricted'', because you won't be
          able to  advance),  ``unskilled'',  ``basic'',  ``skilled'',  and
          ``expert''.  Restricted skills simply will not appear in the list
          shown by `#enhance'.  (Divine  intervention  might  unrestrict  a
          particular skill, in which case it will start at unskilled and be
          limited to basic.)  Some characters can enhance their  barehanded
          combat  or  martial  arts  skill  beyond  expert to ``master'' or
          ``grand master''.

               Use of a weapon in which you're restricted or unskilled will
          incur a modest penalty in the chance to hit a monster and also in
          the amount of damage done when you do hit; at basic level,  there
          is  no  penalty  or bonus; at skilled level, you receive a modest
          bonus in the chance to hit and amount of damage done;  at  expert
          level,  the  bonus  is  higher.  A successful hit has a chance to
          boost your training towards the next skill level  (unless  you've
          already  reached  the  limit for this skill).  Once such training
          reaches the threshold for that next level, you'll  be  told  that
          you  feel  more  confident in your skills.  At that point you can
          use `#enhance' to increase one or more skills.  Such  skills  are
          not  increased automatically because there is a limit to your to-
          tal overall skills, so you need to actively choose  which  skills
          to enhance and which to ignore.

          7.3.  Armor (`[')

               Lots of unfriendly things lurk about; you need armor to pro-
          tect yourself from their blows.  Some types of armor offer better
          protection  than  others.   Your armor class is a measure of this
          protection.  Armor class (AC) is measured as in AD&D, with 10 be-
          ing  the equivalent of no armor, and lower numbers meaning better
          armor.  Each suit of armor which exists in AD&D  gives  the  same
          protection in NetHack.  Here is an (incomplete) list of the armor
          classes provided by various suits of armor:

                             dragon scale mail         1
                             plate mail                3
                             crystal plate mail        3
                             bronze plate mail         4
                             splint mail               4
                             banded mail               4
                             dwarvish mithril-coat     4
                             elven mithril-coat        5
                             chain mail                5
                             orcish chain mail         6
                             scale mail                6
                             studded leather armor     7
                             ring mail                 7
                             orcish ring mail          8
                             leather armor             8
                             leather jacket            9
                             no armor                 10

               You can also wear other pieces of armor (ex. helmets, boots,
          shields,  cloaks) to lower your armor class even further, but you
          can only wear one item of each category (one suit of  armor,  one
          cloak, one helmet, one shield, and so on) at a time.

               If  a piece of armor is enchanted, its armor protection will
          be better (or worse) than normal, and  its  ``plus''  (or  minus)
          will  subtract  from  your  armor class.  For example, a +1 chain
          mail would give you better protection  than  normal  chain  mail,
          lowering your armor class one unit further to 4.  When you put on
          a piece of armor, you immediately find out the  armor  class  and
          any ``plusses'' it provides.  Cursed pieces of armor usually have
          negative enchantments (minuses) in addition to being unremovable.

               Many  types of armor are subject to some kind of damage like
          rust.  Such damage can be repaired.  Some types of armor may  in-
          hibit spell casting.

               The commands to use armor are `W' (wear) and `T' (take off).
          The `A' command can also be used to take off  armor  as  well  as
          other worn items.

          7.4.  Food (`%')

               Food  is  necessary  to survive.  If you go too long without
          eating you will faint, and eventually die  of  starvation.   Some
          types  of  food  will  spoil, and become unhealthy to eat, if not
          protected.  Food stored in ice boxes or tins (``cans'') will usu-
          ally  stay  fresh, but ice boxes are heavy, and tins take a while
          to open.

               When you kill monsters, they usually leave corpses which are
          also ``food.''  Many, but not all, of these are edible; some also
          give you special powers when you eat them.  A good rule of  thumb
          is ``you are what you eat.''

               Some character roles and some monsters are vegetarian.  Veg-
          etarian monsters will typically never eat animal  corpses,  while
          vegetarian  players can, but with some rather unpleasant side-ef-

               You can name one food item after something you like  to  eat
          with the fruit option.

               The command to eat food is `e'.

          7.5.  Scrolls (`?')

               Scrolls  are labeled with various titles, probably chosen by
          ancient wizards for their amusement value (ex.  ``READ  ME,''  or
          ``THANX MAUD'' backwards).  Scrolls disappear after you read them
          (except for blank ones, without magic spells on them).

               One of the most useful of these is the scroll  of  identify,
          which can be used to determine what another object is, whether it
          is cursed or blessed, and how many uses it has  left.   Some  ob-
          jects  of  subtle  enchantment  are difficult to identify without

               A mail daemon may run up and deliver mail to you as a scroll
          of  mail  (on  versions compiled with this feature).  To use this
          feature on versions where NetHack mail delivery is  triggered  by
          electronic  mail  appearing  in your system mailbox, you must let
          NetHack know where to look for new mail by setting  the  ``MAIL''
          environment  variable  to the file name of your mailbox.  You may
          also want to set the ``MAILREADER'' environment variable  to  the
          file  name  of  your  favorite reader, so NetHack can shell to it
          when you read the scroll.  On versions of NetHack where  mail  is
          randomly  generated internal to the game, these environment vari-
          ables are ignored.  You can disable the mail  daemon  by  turning
          off the mail option.

               The command to read a scroll is `r'.

          7.6.  Potions (`!')

               Potions  are distinguished by the color of the liquid inside
          the flask.  They disappear after you quaff them.

               Clear potions are potions of  water.   Sometimes  these  are
          blessed or cursed, resulting in holy or unholy water.  Holy water
          is the bane of the undead, so potions  of  holy  water  are  good
          things  to throw (`t') at them.  It is also sometimes very useful
          to dip (``#dip'') an object into a potion.

               The command to drink a potion is `q' (quaff).

          7.7.  Wands (`/')

               Magic wands usually have  multiple  magical  charges.   Some
          wands  are directional--you must give a direction in which to zap
          them.  You can also zap them at yourself (just give a `.' or  `s'
          for the direction). Be warned, however, for this is often unwise.
          Other wands are nondirectional--they don't require  a  direction.
          The  number  of  charges in a wand is random and decreases by one
          whenever you use it.

               When the number of charges left in a wand becomes zero,  at-
          tempts  to use the wand will usually result in nothing happening.
          Occasionally, however, it may be possible to squeeze the last few
          mana  points  from  an otherwise spent wand, destroying it in the
          process.  A wand may be recharged by using  suitable  magic,  but
          doing  so runs the risk of causing it to explode.  The chance for
          such an explosion starts out very small and increases  each  time
          the wand is recharged.

               In a truly desperate situation, when your back is up against
          the wall, you might decide to go for broke and break  your  wand.
          This  is  not  for the faint of heart.  Doing so will almost cer-
          tainly cause a catastrophic release of magical energies.

               When you have fully identified a particular wand,  inventory
          display  will  include additional information in parentheses: the
          number of times it has been recharged followed  by  a  colon  and
          then by its current number of charges.  A current charge count of
          -1 is a special case indicating that the wand has been cancelled.

               The  command  to use a wand is `z' (zap).  To break one, use
          the `a' (apply) command.

          7.8.  Rings (`=')

               Rings are very useful items, since they are relatively  per-
          manent  magic,  unlike  the  usually fleeting effects of potions,
          scrolls, and wands.

               Putting on a ring activates its magic.  You  can  wear  only
          two rings, one on each ring finger.

               Most  rings  also cause you to grow hungry more rapidly, the
          rate varying with the type of ring.

               The commands to use rings are `P' (put on) and `R' (remove).

          7.9.  Spellbooks (`+')

               Spellbooks are tomes of mighty magic.  When studied with the
          `r' (read) command, they transfer to the reader the knowledge  of
          a  spell  (and  therefore eventually become unreadable) -- unless
          the attempt backfires.  Reading a cursed spellbook  or  one  with
          mystic runes beyond your ken can be harmful to your health!

               A  spell (even when learned) can also backfire when you cast
          it.  If you attempt to cast a spell well  above  your  experience
          level,  or  if  you  have little skill with the appropriate spell
          type, or cast it at a time when your luck  is  particularly  bad,
          you  can  end up wasting both the energy and the time required in

               Casting a spell calls forth  magical  energies  and  focuses
          them  with  your naked mind.  Some of the magical energy released
          comes from within you, and casting several spells in  a  row  may
          tire  you.  Casting of spells also requires practice.  With prac-
          tice, your skill in each category of spell casting will  improve.
          Over  time,  however, your memory of each spell will dim, and you
          will need to relearn it.

               Some spells are directional--you must give  a  direction  in
          which  to  cast  them.   You can also cast them at yourself (just
          give a `.' or `s' for the direction).  Be  warned,  however,  for
          this  is  often  unwise.   Other  spells are nondirectional--they
          don't require a direction.

               Just as weapons are divided into groups in which a character
          can  become proficient (to varying degrees), spells are similarly
          grouped.  Successfully casting a spell exercises the skill group;
          sufficient skill may increase the potency of the spell and reduce
          the risk of spell failure.  Skill slots are shared  with  weapons
          skills.  (See also the section on ``Weapon proficiency''.)

               Casting a spell also requires flexible movement, and wearing
          various types of armor may interfere with that.

               The command to read a spellbook is the same as for  scrolls,
          `r'  (read).   The  `+'  command lists your current spells, their
          levels, categories, and chances for failure.  The `Z' (cast) com-
          mand casts a spell.

          7.10.  Tools (`(')

               Tools are miscellaneous objects with various purposes.  Some
          tools have a limited number of uses, akin to wand  charges.   For
          example,   lamps  burn  out  after  a  while.   Other  tools  are

          containers, which objects can be placed into or taken out of.

               The command to use tools is `a' (apply).

          7.10.1.  Containers

               You may encounter bags, boxes, and chests in  your  travels.
          A  tool  of  this  sort can be opened with the ``#loot'' extended
          command when you are standing on top of it (that is, on the  same
          floor  spot), or with the `a' (apply) command when you are carry-
          ing it.  However, chests are often locked, and are  in  any  case
          unwieldy  objects.   You must set one down before unlocking it by
          using a key or lock-picking tool with the `a' (apply) command, by
          kicking  it  with the `^D' command, or by using a weapon to force
          the lock with the ``#force'' extended command.

               Some chests are trapped, causing nasty things to happen when
          you unlock or open them.  You can check for and try to deactivate
          traps with the ``#untrap'' extended command.

          7.11.  Amulets (`"')

               Amulets are very similar to rings, and often more  powerful.
          Like rings, amulets have various magical properties, some benefi-
          cial, some harmful, which are activated by putting them on.

               Only one amulet may be worn at a time, around your neck.

               The commands to use amulets are the same as for  rings,  `P'
          (put on) and `R' (remove).

          7.12.  Gems (`*')

               Some  gems  are valuable, and can be sold for a lot of gold.
          They are also a far more efficient way of carrying  your  riches.
          Valuable gems increase your score if you bring them with you when
          you exit.

               Other small rocks are also categorized as gems, but they are
          much  less  valuable.  All rocks, however, can be used as projec-
          tile weapons (if you have a sling).  In  the  most  desperate  of
          cases, you can still throw them by hand.

          7.13.  Large rocks (``')

               Statues  and  boulders  are not particularly useful, and are
          generally heavy.  It is rumored that some statues  are  not  what
          they seem.

               Very  large humanoids (giants and their ilk) have been known
          to use boulders as weapons.

          7.14.  Gold (`$')

               Gold adds to your score, and you can  buy  things  in  shops
          with  it.  There are a number of monsters in the dungeon that may
          be influenced by the amount of gold you are carrying (shopkeepers

          8.  Conduct

               As  if  winning  NetHack  were not difficult enough, certain
          players seek to challenge themselves by imposing restrictions  on
          the  way  they play the game.  The game automatically tracks some
          of these challenges, which can be checked at any  time  with  the
          #conduct  command or at the end of the game.  When you perform an
          action which breaks a challenge, it will  no  longer  be  listed.
          This gives players extra ``bragging rights'' for winning the game
          with these challenges.  Note that it is perfectly  acceptable  to
          win  the game without resorting to these restrictions and that it
          is unusual for players to adhere to  challenges  the  first  time
          they win the game.

               Several  of  the  challenges are related to eating behavior.
          The most difficult of these is the foodless challenge.   Although
          creatures can survive long periods of time without food, there is
          a physiological need for water; thus there is no  restriction  on
          drinking  beverages,  even  if they provide some minor food bene-
          fits.  Calling upon your god for help with  starvation  does  not
          violate any food challenges either.

               A  strict  vegan  diet  is one which avoids any food derived
          from animals.  The primary source of nutrition is fruits and veg-
          etables.  The corpses and tins of blobs (`b'), jellies (`j'), and
          fungi (`F') are also considered to be vegetable matter.   Certain
          human  food  is  prepared without animal products; namely, lembas
          wafers, cram rations, food rations (gunyoki), K-rations,  and  C-
          rations.   Metal  or another normally indigestible material eaten
          while polymorphed into a creature that can digest it is also con-
          sidered  vegan  food.   Note however that eating such items still
          counts against foodless conduct.

               Vegetarians do not eat animals; however, they are  less  se-
          lective  about eating animal byproducts than vegans.  In addition
          to the vegan items listed above, they may eat any kind of pudding
          (`P') other than the black puddings, eggs and food made from eggs
          (fortune cookies and pancakes), food made with milk  (cream  pies
          and candy bars), and lumps of royal jelly.  Monks are expected to
          observe a vegetarian diet.

               Eating any kind of meat violates the vegetarian, vegan,  and
          foodless  conducts.   This includes tripe rations, the corpses or
          tins of any monsters not mentioned above, and the  various  other
          chunks  of meat found in the dungeon.  Swallowing and digesting a
          monster while polymorphed is treated as if you ate the creature's

          corpse.   Eating  leather, dragon hide, or bone items while poly-
          morphed into a creature that can digest  it,  or  eating  monster
          brains  while polymorphed into a (master) mind flayer, is consid-
          ered eating an animal, although wax is only an animal  byproduct.

               Regardless  of  conduct,  there will be some items which are
          indigestible, and others which are hazardous  to  eat.   Using  a
          swallow-and-digest attack against a monster is equivalent to eat-
          ing the monster's corpse.  Please note that the term ``vegan'' is
          used  here  only  in  the context of diet.  You are still free to
          choose not to use  or  wear  items  derived  from  animals  (e.g.
          leather,  dragon hide, bone, horns, coral), but the game will not
          keep track of this for you.  Also note that ``milky'' potions may
          be a translucent white, but they do not contain milk, so they are
          compatible with a vegan  diet.   Slime  molds  or  player-defined
          ``fruits'',  although they could be anything from ``cherries'' to
          ``pork chops'', are also assumed to be vegan.

               An atheist is one who rejects religion.  This means that you
          cannot  #pray,  #offer  sacrifices  to  any god, #turn undead, or
          #chat with a priest.  Particularly selective  readers  may  argue
          that  playing  Monk or Priest characters should violate this con-
          duct; that is a choice left to the player.  Offering  the  Amulet
          of  Yendor  to  your  god is necessary to win the game and is not
          counted against this conduct.  You are also not penalized for be-
          ing  spoken  to  by an angry god, priest(ess), or other religious
          figure; a true atheist would hear the words but attach no special
          meaning to them.

               Most  players  fight with a wielded weapon (or tool intended
          to be wielded as a weapon).  Another challenge is to win the game
          without  using such a wielded weapon.  You are still permitted to
          throw, fire, and kick weapons; use a wand, spell, or  other  type
          of item; or fight with your hands and feet.

               In  NetHack,  a  pacifist  refuses to cause the death of any
          other monster (i.e. if you would get experience for  the  death).
          This  is a particularly difficult challenge, although it is still
          possible to gain experience by other means.

               An illiterate character cannot read or write.  This includes
          reading  a scroll, spellbook, fortune cookie message, or t-shirt;
          writing a scroll; or making an engraving of anything other than a
          single ``x'' (the traditional signature of an illiterate person).
          Reading an engraving, or any item that is absolutely necessary to
          win  the game, is not counted against this conduct.  The identity
          of scrolls and spellbooks  (and  knowledge  of  spells)  in  your
          starting  inventory  is  assumed to be learned from your teachers
          prior to the start of the game and isn't counted.

               There are several other minor challenges.  It is possible to
          eliminate a species of monsters by genocide; playing without this
          feature is considered a challenge.  You can change  the  form  of
          any  object into another object of the same type (``polypiling'')

          or the form of your own body into another creature (``polyself'')
          by  wand,  spell,  or potion of polymorph; avoiding these effects
          are each considered challenges.  Finally, you may  sometimes  re-
          ceive  wishes; a game without an attempt to wish for an object is
          a challenge, as is a game without wishing for an  artifact  (even
          if the artifact immediately disappears).

          9.  Options

               Due  to variations in personal tastes and conceptions of how
          NetHack should do things, there are options you can set to change
          how NetHack behaves.

          9.1.  Setting the options

               Options  may  be  set in a number of ways.  Within the game,
          the `O' command allows you to view all options and change most of
          them.   You can also set options automatically by placing them in
          the NETHACKOPTIONS environment variable  or  in  a  configuration
          file.  Some versions of NetHack also have front-end programs that
          allow you to set options before starting the game.

          9.2.  Using the NETHACKOPTIONS environment variable

               The NETHACKOPTIONS variable is  a  comma-separated  list  of
          initial  values for the various options.  Some can only be turned
          on or off.  You turn one of these on by adding the  name  of  the
          option to the list, and turn it off by typing a `!' or ``no'' be-
          fore the name.  Others take a character string as a  value.   You
          can  set  string  options  by  typing the option name, a colon or
          equals sign, and then the value of the string.  The value is ter-
          minated by the next comma or the end of string.

               For example, to set up an environment variable so that ``au-
          toquiver'' is on, ``autopickup'' is  off,  the  name  is  set  to
          ``Blue  Meanie'',  and  the fruit is set to ``papaya'', you would
          enter the command

               % setenv NETHACKOPTIONS "autoquiver,\!autopickup,name:Blue Meanie,fruit:papaya"

          in csh (note the need to escape the ! since it's special  to  the
          shell), or

               $ NETHACKOPTIONS="autoquiver,!autopickup,name:Blue Meanie,fruit:papaya"
               $ export NETHACKOPTIONS

          in sh or ksh.

          9.3.  Using a configuration file

               Any  line  in  the  configuration  file  starting with ``OP-
          TIONS='' may be filled out with options in the same syntax as  in
          NETHACKOPTIONS.     Any    line   starting   with   ``DUNGEON='',

          ``EFFECTS='', ``MONSTERS='', ``OBJECTS='', ``TRAPS='', or ``BOUL-
          DER=''  is  taken as defining the corresponding dungeon, effects,
          monsters, objects traps or boulder option in a different  syntax,
          a  sequence  of  decimal numbers giving the character position in
          the current font to be used in displaying each entry.  Such a se-
          quence can be continued to multiple lines by putting a `\' at the
          end of each line to be continued.  Any line starting with `#'  is
          treated as a comment.

               The default name of the configuration file varies on differ-
          ent operating systems, but NETHACKOPTIONS can also be set to  the
          full  name  of  a  file  you want to use (possibly preceded by an

          9.4.  Customization options

               Here are explanations of what the various options do.  Char-
          acter  strings  that  are too long may be truncated.  Some of the
          options listed may be inactive in your dungeon.

               Your starting  alignment  (align:lawful,  align:neutral,  or
               align:chaotic).  You may specify just the first letter.  The
               default is to randomly pick an appropriate alignment.   Can-
               not be set with the `O' command.

               Automatically  dig  if  you  are wielding a digging tool and
               moving into a place that can be dug (default false).

               Automatically pick up things onto which  you  move  (default

               This  option  controls what happens when you attempt the `f'
               (fire) command with an empty quiver.  When true, the comput-
               er  will  fill  your quiver with some suitable weapon.  Note
               that it will not take into account the  blessed/cursed  sta-
               tus,  enchantment, damage, or quality of the weapon; you are
               free to manually fill your quiver with the `Q'  command  in-
               stead.   If  no  weapon is found or the option is false, the
               `t' (throw) command is executed instead.  (default false)

               Use BIOS calls to update the screen display quickly  and  to
               read  the  keyboard (allowing the use of arrow keys to move)
               on machines with an IBM PC compatible BIOS ROM (default off,
               OS/2, PC, and ST NetHack only).

               Set  the character used to display boulders (default is rock
               class symbol).

               Name your starting cat (ex. ``catname:Morris'').  Cannot  be
               set with the `O' command.

               Pick  your  type of character (ex. ``character:Monk''); syn-
               onym for ``role''.  See ``name'' for an alternate method  of
               specifying your role.  Normally only the first letter of the
               value is examined; the string ``random'' is an exception.

               Save game state after each level change, for possible recov-
               ery after program crash (default on).

               Check  free disk space before writing files to disk (default
               on).  You may have to turn this off if you have more than  2
               GB  free space on the partition used for your save and level
               files.  Only applies when MFLOPPY was defined during  compi-

               Have  user  confirm  attacks on pets, shopkeepers, and other
               peaceable creatures (default on).

               Use a predefined selection of characters from  the  DEC  VT-
               xxx/DEC  Rainbow/ANSI  line-drawing character set to display
               the dungeon/effects/traps instead of having to define a full
               graphics  set yourself (default off).  This option also sets
               up proper handling of graphics characters  for  such  termi-
               nals,  so you should specify it when appropriate even if you
               override the selections with your own graphics strings.

               Controls options for disclosing various information when the
               game  ends  (defaults to all possibilities being disclosed).
               The possibilities are:

                    i - disclose your inventory.
                    a - disclose your attributes.
                    v - summarize monsters that have been vanquished.
                    g - list monster species that have been genocided.
                    c - display your conduct.

               Each disclosure possibility can optionally be preceded by  a
               prefix  which  let  you  refine how it behaves. Here are the
               valid prefixes:

                    y - prompt you and default to yes on the prompt.
                    n - prompt you and default to no on the prompt.
                    + - disclose it without prompting.
                    - - do not disclose it and do not prompt.

               (ex. ``disclose:yi na +v -g -c'') The example sets inventory
               to  prompt  and default to yes, attributes to prompt and de-
               fault to no, vanquished to disclose without prompting, geno-
               cided to not disclose and not to prompt, conduct to not dis-
               close and not to prompt.  Note that the vanquished  monsters
               list includes all monsters killed by traps and each other as
               well as by you.

               Name your starting dog (ex.  ``dogname:Fang'').   Cannot  be
               set with the `O' command.

               Set the graphics symbols for displaying the dungeon (default
               `` |--------||.-|++##.##<><>_|\\#{}.}..## #}'').   The  dun-
               geon  option  should be followed by a string of 1-41 charac-
               ters to be used instead of the default  map-drawing  charac-
               ters.   The  dungeon map will use the characters you specify
               instead of the default symbols, and default symbols for  any
               you  do  not  specify.  Remember that you may need to escape
               some of these characters on a command line if they are  spe-
               cial to your shell.

               Note  that  NetHack  escape-processes  this option string in
               conventional C fashion.  This means that `\' is a prefix  to
               take  the  following character literally.  Thus `\' needs to
               be represented  as  `\\'.   The  special  escape  form  `\m'
               switches on the meta bit in the following character, and the
               `^' prefix causes the following character to be treated as a
               control character.

               The  order  of  the  symbols is:  solid rock, vertical wall,
               horizontal wall, upper left corner, upper right corner, low-
               er  left  corner,  lower  right corner, cross wall, upward T
               wall, downward T wall, leftward T wall, rightward T wall, no
               door,  vertical  open  door,  horizontal open door, vertical
               closed door, horizontal closed door, iron bars, tree,  floor
               of  a  room,  dark corridor, lit corridor, stairs up, stairs
               down, ladder up, ladder down, altar, grave, throne,  kitchen
               sink,  fountain,  pool  or moat, ice, lava, vertical lowered
               drawbridge, horizontal lowered drawbridge,  vertical  raised
               drawbridge,  horizontal raised drawbridge, air, cloud, under

               You might want to use `+' for the corners and T walls for  a
               more  aesthetic,  boxier display.  Note that in the next re-
               lease, new symbols may be added, or the present  ones  rear-

               Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Set the graphics symbols for displaying special effects (de-
               fault ``|-\\/*!)(0#@*/-\\||\\-//-\\| |\\-/'').  The  effects

               option  should be followed by a string of 1-29 characters to
               be used instead of the default  special-effects  characters.
               This  string is subjected to the same processing as the dun-
               geon option.

               The order of the  symbols  is:   vertical  beam,  horizontal
               beam,  left  slant,  right slant, digging beam, camera flash
               beam, left boomerang, right boomerang,  four  glyphs  giving
               the  sequence  for magic resistance displays, the eight sur-
               rounding glyphs for swallowed display, nine glyphs  for  ex-
               plosions.  An explosion consists of three rows (top, middle,
               and bottom) of three characters.  The explosion is  centered
               in the center of this 3 by 3 array.

               Note  that in the next release, new symbols may be added, or
               the present ones rearranged.

               Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Changes the extended commands interface to pop-up a menu  of
               available  commands.   It  is  keystroke compatible with the
               traditional interface except that it does not  require  that
               you  hit  Enter. It is implemented only by the tty port (de-
               fault off), when the game has been compiled to  support  tty

               An  obsolete  synonym  for ``gender:female''.  Cannot be set
               with the `O' command.

               An object's inventory letter sticks to it when it's  dropped
               (default on).  If this is off, dropping an object shifts all
               the remaining inventory letters.

               Name  a  fruit  after  something  you  enjoy   eating   (ex.
               ``fruit:mango'') (default ``slime mold'').  Basically a nos-
               talgic whimsy that NetHack uses  from  time  to  time.   You
               should  set  this to something you find more appetizing than
               slime mold.  Apples, oranges, pears, bananas, and melons al-
               ready exist in NetHack, so don't use those.

               Your  starting  gender  (gender:male or gender:female).  You
               may specify just the first letter.  Although you  can  still
               denote  your  gender  using  the ``male'' and ``female'' op-
               tions, the ``gender'' option will take precedence.  The  de-
               fault  is to randomly pick an appropriate gender.  Cannot be
               set with the `O' command.

          help If more information is available for  an  object  looked  at
               with  the  `/'  command,  ask if you want to see it (default

               on). Turning help off makes just looking at  things  faster,
               since you aren't interrupted with the ``More info?'' prompt,
               but it also means  that  you  might  miss  some  interesting
               and/or important information.

               Name  your starting horse (ex. ``horsename:Trigger'').  Can-
               not be set with the `O' command.

               Use a predefined selection of IBM extended ASCII  characters
               to  display  the  dungeon/effects/traps instead of having to
               define a full graphics set yourself (default off).  This op-
               tion also sets up proper handling of graphics characters for
               such terminals, so you should specify  it  when  appropriate
               even  if  you override the selections with your own graphics

               Ignore interrupt signals, including breaks (default off).

               Display an introductory message when starting the game  (de-
               fault on).

               Show corridor squares seen by night vision or a light source
               held by your character as lit (default off).

               Enable mail delivery during the game (default on).

               An obsolete synonym for ``gender:male''.  Cannot be set with
               the `O' command.

               Controls  the interface used when you need to choose various
               objects (in response to the  Drop  command,  for  instance).
               The value specified should be the first letter of one of the
               following:   traditional,  combination,  partial,  or  full.
               Traditional  was  the  only  interface available for earlier
               versions; it consists of a prompt for object  class  charac-
               ters,  followed  by an object-by-object prompt for all items
               matching the selected object class(es).  Combination  starts
               with  a  prompt  for  object class(es) of interest, but then
               displays a menu of matching objects  rather  than  prompting
               one-by-one.   Partial  skips  the object class filtering and
               immediately displays a menu of all objects.  Full displays a
               menu  of  object classes rather than a character prompt, and
               then a menu of matching objects for selection.

               Menu character accelerator to deselect all items in a  menu.

               Implemented  by  the Amiga, Gem, X11 and tty ports.  Default

               Menu character accelerator deselect all items on  this  page
               of  a  menu.   Implemented  by the Amiga, Gem and tty ports.
               Default '\'.

               Menu character accelerator to jump to the first  page  in  a
               menu.  Implemented by the Amiga, Gem and tty ports.  Default

               Menu character accelerator to invert all items  in  a  menu.
               Implemented  by  the Amiga, Gem, X11 and tty ports.  Default

               Menu character accelerator to invert all items on this  page
               of  a  menu.   Implemented  by the Amiga, Gem and tty ports.
               Default '~'.

               Menu character accelerator to jump to the  last  page  in  a
               menu.  Implemented by the Amiga, Gem and tty ports.  Default

               Menu character accelerator to goto the next menu page.   Im-
               plemented by the Amiga, Gem and tty ports.  Default '>'.

               Menu  character  accelerator to goto the previous menu page.
               Implemented by the Amiga, Gem and tty ports.  Default '<'.

               Menu character accelerator to search for a menu  item.   Im-
               plemented by the Amiga, Gem and X11 ports.  Default ':'.

               Menu  character  accelerator  to select all items in a menu.
               Implemented by the Amiga, Gem, X11 and tty  ports.   Default

               Menu  character accelerator to select all items on this page
               of a menu.  Implemented by the Amiga,  Gem  and  tty  ports.
               Default ','.

               Set  the characters used to display monster classes (default
               VWXYZ@ '&;:~]'').   This  string  is  subjected  to the same

               processing as the dungeon option.  The order of the  symbols
               is  ant  or other insect, blob, cockatrice, dog or other ca-
               nine, eye or sphere, feline, gremlin, humanoid, imp or minor
               demon,   jelly,   kobold,  leprechaun,  mimic,  nymph,  orc,
               piercer, quadruped, rodent, spider, trapper or lurker above,
               horse  or  unicorn, vortex, worm, xan or other mythical/fan-
               tastic insect, light, zruty, angelic  being,  bat  or  bird,
               centaur, dragon, elemental, fungus or mold, gnome, giant hu-
               manoid, invisible monster, jabberwock, Keystone  Kop,  lich,
               mummy,  naga,  ogre, pudding or ooze, quantum mechanic, rust
               monster, snake, troll, umber hulk,  vampire,  wraith,  xorn,
               yeti  or  ape  or  other  large beast, zombie, human, ghost,
               golem, demon, sea monster, lizard, long worm tail, and  mim-
               ic.  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               The number of top line messages to save (and recall with ^P)
               (default 20).  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Use a screen-size window to show the previous messages  with
               ^P instead of showing them one at a time.  (Currently imple-
               mented for tty only.)

               Set your character's name (defaults to your user name).  You
               can  also  set your character's role by appending a dash and
               one or more letters of the role (that is, by  suffixing  one
               of -A -B -C -H -K -M -P -Ra -Ro -S -T -V -W).  If -@ is used
               for the role, then a random one will be  automatically  cho-
               sen.  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Read  the NetHack news file, if present (default on).  Since
               the news is shown at the beginning of the game,  there's  no
               point in setting this with the `O' command.

               Send padding nulls to the terminal (default off).

               Use  the  number keys to move instead of [yuhjklbn] (default

               Set the characters used to display object  classes  (default
               ``])[="(%!?+/$*`0_.'').   This  string  is  subjected to the
               same processing as the dungeon option.   The  order  of  the
               symbols  is  illegal-object  (should never be seen), weapon,
               armor, ring, amulet, tool, food, potion, scroll,  spellbook,
               wand,  gold,  gem  or  rock,  boulder  or statue, iron ball,
               chain, and venom.  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Specify  the  order  to  list  object  types   in   (default
               ``")[%?+!=/(*`0_'').   The  value of this option should be a
               string containing the symbols for the various object  types.
               Any omitted types are filled in at the end from the previous

               If true, always display your current inventory in a  window.
               This  only  makes sense for windowing system interfaces that
               implement this feature.

               Specify the type of your initial pet, if you are  playing  a
               character  class that uses multiple types of pets; or choose
               to have no initial pet at all.  Possible values are ``cat'',
               ``dog'' and ``none''.  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               When  you pick up an item that would exceed this encumbrance
               level (Unburdened, Burdened, streSsed, straiNed,  overTaxed,
               or  overLoaded),  you will be asked if you want to continue.
               (Default `S').

               Specify the object types to be picked up when autopickup  is
               on.  Default is all types.

               Prompt for confirmation before praying (default on).

               Using  the  `w'  (wield) command when already wielding some-
               thing pushes the old item into your  secondary  weapon  slot
               (default off).

          race Selects your race (for example, ``race:human'').  Default is
               random.  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Force raw (non-cbreak) mode for faster output and more  bul-
               letproof  input  (MS-DOS  sometimes treats `^P' as a printer
               toggle without it) (default off).  Note:  DEC Rainbows  hang
               if this is turned on.  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Make the space bar a synonym for the `.' (rest) command (de-
               fault off).

               Pick your type of character (ex. ``role:Samurai'');  synonym
               for  ``character''.  See ``name'' for an alternate method of
               specifying your role.  Normally only the first letter of the
               value  is  examined;  `r'  is  an  exception with ``Rogue'',

               ``Ranger'', and ``random'' values.

               Prevent you from (knowingly) attacking  your  pets  (default

               Control  what  parts  of the score list you are shown at the
               end  (ex.   ``scores:5  top  scores/4  around  my  score/own
               scores'').   Only  the  first  letter of each category (`t',
               `a', or `o') is necessary.

               Show your accumulated experience points on bottom line  (de-
               fault off).

               Show  your approximate accumulated score on bottom line (de-
               fault off).

               Suppress terminal beeps (default on).

               Sort the pack contents by  type  when  displaying  inventory
               (default on).

               Display a sparkly effect when a monster (including yourself)
               is hit by an attack to which it is resistant (default on).

               Boldface monsters and ``--More--'' (default off).

               This option may be set to a NetHack version  level  to  sup-
               press  alert notification messages about feature changes for
               that and prior versions (ex. ``suppress_alert:3.3.1'').

               Show the elapsed game time in turns on bottom line  (default

               When  pausing  momentarily  for display effect, such as with
               explosions and moving objects, use a timer rather than send-
               ing extra characters to the screen.  (Applies to ``tty'' in-
               terface only; ``X11'' interface always uses  a  timer  based
               delay.  The default is on if configured into the program.)

               Draw a tombstone graphic upon your death (default on).

               Put  the  ending  display  in a NetHack window instead of on
               stdout (default off).  Setting this option makes  the  score
               list  visible when a windowing version of NetHack is started
               without a parent window, but it no longer leaves  the  score
               list  around  after game end on a terminal or emulating win-

               Set the  graphics  symbols  for  displaying  traps  (default
               ``^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^"^^^^'').   The  traps  option  should be
               followed by a string of 1-22 characters to be  used  instead
               of  the  default traps characters.  This string is subjected
               to the same processing as the dungeon option.

               The order of the symbols is: arrow trap, dart trap,  falling
               rock  trap,  squeaky  board,  bear  trap, land mine, rolling
               boulder trap, sleeping gas trap, rust trap, fire trap,  pit,
               spiked pit, hole, trap door, teleportation trap, level tele-
               porter, magic portal, web, statue trap,  magic  trap,  anti-
               magic field, polymorph trap.

               Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Provide more commentary during the game (default on).

               Set the color palette for PC systems using NO_TERMS (default
               4-2-6-1-5-3-15-12-10-14-9-13-11).  The order  of  colors  is
               red,   green,  brown,  blue,  magenta,  cyan,  bright.white,
     ,, yellow,, bright.magen-
               ta, and bright.cyan.  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               Set  the  intensity level of the three gray scales available
               (default dark normal light, PC NetHack only).  If  the  game
               display is difficult to read, try adjusting these scales; if
               this does not correct the problem, try  !color.   Cannot  be
               set with the `O' command.

               Select  which  windowing  system  to use, such as ``tty'' or
               ``X11'' (default depends on version).  Cannot  be  set  with
               the `O' command.

          9.5.  Window Port Customization options

               Here  are  explanations of the various options that are used
          to customize and change the  characteristics  of  the  windowtype
          that you have chosen.  Character strings that are too long may be
          truncated.  Not all window ports will  adjust  for  all  settings
          listed  here.   You  can  safely add any of these options to your
          config file, and if the window port is capable  of  adjusting  to

          suit  your  preferences, it will attempt to do so. If it can't it
          will silently ignore it.  You can find out if an option  is  sup-
          ported  by the window port that you are currently using by check-
          ing to see if it shows up in the Options list.  Some options  are
          dynamic  and  can  be specified during the game with the `O' com-

               Where to align or place the  message  window  (top,  bottom,
               left, or right)

               Where  to  align  or  place  the status window (top, bottom,
               left, or right).

               NetHack should display an ascii character map if it can.

               NetHack should display color if it can  for  different  mon-
               sters, objects, and dungeon features

               NetHack should pass eight-bit character values (for example,
               specified with the traps option) straight  through  to  your
               terminal (default off).

               NetHack  should  use  a  font by the chosen name for the map

               NetHack should use a font by the chosen name for  menu  win-

               NetHack should use a font by the chosen name for the message

               NetHack should use a font by the chosen name for the  status

               NetHack  should  use a font by the chosen name for text win-

               NetHack should use this size font for the map window.

               NetHack should use this size font for menu windows.

               NetHack should use this size font for the message window.

               NetHack should use this size font for the status window.

               NetHack should use this size font for text windows.

               Visually distinguish  pets  from  similar  animals  (default
               off).   The  behavior  of this option depends on the type of
               windowing you use.  In text windowing, text highlighting  or
               inverse  video is often used; with tiles, generally displays
               a heart symbol near pets.

               NetHack should use a large font.

               NetHack should display the map in the manner specified.

               NetHack should pop up dialog boxes, or use prompts for char-
               acter selection.

               NetHack should pop up dialog boxes for input.

               NetHack  should  preload tiles into memory.  For example, in
               the protected mode MSDOS version, control whether tiles  get
               pre-loaded  into RAM at the start of the game.  Doing so en-
               hances performance of the tile graphics, but uses more memo-
               ry. (default on).  Cannot be set with the `O' command.

               NetHack should scroll the display when the hero or cursor is
               this number of cells away from the edge of the window.

               NetHack should display an  opening  splash  screen  when  it
               starts up (default yes).

               NetHack should display a tiled map if it can.

               Specify the name of an alternative tile file to override the

               Specify the preferred height of each tile in a tile  capable

               Specify  the  preferred width of each tile in a tile capable

               NetHack should display inverse when the game specifies it.

               NetHack should display this number of messages at a time  in
               the message window.

               NetHack  should  display  windows  with  the specified fore-
               ground/background colors if it can.

          9.6.  Configuring NetHack for Play by the Blind

               NetHack can be set up to use only standard ASCII  characters
          for  making  maps of the dungeons. This makes the MS-DOS versions
          of NetHack completely accessible to  the  blind  who  use  speech
          and/or  Braille access technologies.  Players will require a good
          working knowledge of their screen-reader's review  features,  and
          will  have  to  know  how to navigate horizontally and vertically
          character by character. They will also find the search  capabili-
          ties  of their screen-readers to be quite valuable. Be certain to
          examine this Guidebook before playing so you have  an  idea  what
          the  screen layout is like. You'll also need to be able to locate
          the PC cursor. It is always  where  your  character  is  located.
          Merely  searching for an @-sign will not always find your charac-
          ter since there are other humanoids represented by the same sign.
          Your  screen-reader  should  also have a function which gives you
          the row and column of your  review  cursor  and  the  PC  cursor.
          These  co-ordinates  are  often useful in giving players a better
          sense of the overall location of items on the screen.

               While it is not difficult for experienced users to edit  the
          defaults.nh  file  to accomplish this, novices may find this task
          somewhat daunting.  Included in  all  official  distributions  of
          NetHack is a file called NHAccess.nh.  Replacing defaults.nh with
          this file will cause the game to run in a  manner  accessible  to
          the  blind.  After  you have gained some experience with the game
          and with editing files, you may want to alter settings to  better
          suit your preferences. Instructions on how to do this are includ-
          ed in the NHAccess.nh file itself. The most crucial  settings  to
          make the game accessible are:

               Disable IBMgraphics by commenting out this option.

               This will assist in the interface to speech synthesizers.

               A lot of speech access programs use the number-pad to review

               the screen.  If this is the case, disable the number_pad op-
               tion and use the traditional Rogue-like commands.

          Character graphics
               Comment  out all character graphics sets found near the bot-
               tom  of  the  defaults.nh  file.   Most  of  these   replace
               NetHack's  default representation of the dungeon using stan-
               dard ASCII characters with fancier characters from  extended
               character  sets,  and  these  fancier  characters  can annoy

          10.  Scoring

               NetHack maintains a list of the top  scores  or  scorers  on
          your machine, depending on how it is set up.  In the latter case,
          each account on the machine can post only one  non-winning  score
          on  this  list.   If  you  score higher than someone else on this
          list, or better your previous score, you will be inserted in  the
          proper  place  under your current name.  How many scores are kept
          can also be set up when NetHack is compiled.

               Your score is chiefly based upon  how  much  experience  you
          gained, how much loot you accumulated, how deep you explored, and
          how the game ended.  If you quit the game, you escape with all of
          your  gold  intact.   If, however, you get killed in the Mazes of
          Menace, the guild will only hear about 90% of your gold when your
          corpse  is  discovered  (adventurers  have  been known to collect
          finder's fees).  So, consider whether you want to take  one  last
          hit  at  that  monster  and  possibly live, or quit and stop with
          whatever you have.  If you quit, you keep all your gold,  but  if
          you swing and live, you might find more.

               If  you  just want to see what the current top players/games
          list is, you can type nethack -s all on most versions.

          11.  Explore mode

               NetHack is an intricate and difficult game.   Novices  might
          falter in fear, aware of their ignorance of the means to survive.
          Well, fear not.  Your dungeon may come  equipped  with  an  ``ex-
          plore''  or  ``discovery'' mode that enables you to keep old save
          files and cheat death, at the paltry cost of not getting  on  the
          high score list.

               There  are  two  ways  of  enabling explore mode.  One is to
          start the game with the -X switch.  The other is to issue the `X'
          command  while  already  playing the game.  The other benefits of
          explore mode are left for the trepid reader to discover.

          12.  Credits

               The original hack game was  modeled  on  the  Berkeley  UNIX
          rogue  game.   Large  portions  of  this  paper  were shamelessly
          cribbed from A Guide to the Dungeons of Doom, by Michael  C.  Toy
          and  Kenneth  C.  R. C. Arnold.  Small portions were adapted from
          Further Exploration of the Dungeons of Doom, by Ken Arromdee.

               NetHack is the product of literally dozens of people's work.
          Main  events  in the course of the game development are described

               Jay Fenlason wrote the original Hack, with help  from  Kenny
          Woodland, Mike Thome and Jon Payne.

               Andries Brouwer did a major re-write, transforming Hack into
          a very different game, and published (at  least)  three  versions
          (1.0.1, 1.0.2, and 1.0.3) for UNIX machines to the Usenet.

               Don  G. Kneller ported Hack 1.0.3 to Microsoft C and MS-DOS,
          producing PC HACK 1.01e, added support for DEC  Rainbow  graphics
          in  version 1.03g, and went on to produce at least four more ver-
          sions (3.0, 3.2, 3.51, and 3.6).

               R. Black ported PC HACK 3.51 to  Lattice  C  and  the  Atari
          520/1040ST, producing ST Hack 1.03.

               Mike Stephenson merged these various versions back together,
          incorporating many of the added features,  and  produced  NetHack
          1.4.   He  then  coordinated a cast of thousands in enhancing and
          debugging NetHack 1.4 and released NetHack versions 2.2 and  2.3.

               Later, Mike coordinated a major rewrite of the game, heading
          a team which included Ken Arromdee, Jean-Christophe Collet, Steve
          Creps, Eric Hendrickson, Izchak Miller, John Rupley, Mike Threep-
          oint, and Janet Walz, to produce NetHack 3.0c.

               NetHack 3.0 was ported to the Atari by  Eric  R.  Smith,  to
          OS/2  by  Timo Hakulinen, and to VMS by David Gentzel.  The three
          of them and Kevin Darcy later joined the main development team to
          produce subsequent revisions of 3.0.

               Olaf  Seibert ported NetHack 2.3 and 3.0 to the Amiga.  Norm
          Meluch, Stephen Spackman and Pierre  Martineau  designed  overlay
          code  for  PC  NetHack 3.0.  Johnny Lee ported NetHack 3.0 to the
          Macintosh.  Along with various other Dungeoneers, they  continued
          to  enhance  the PC, Macintosh, and Amiga ports through the later
          revisions of 3.0.

               Headed by Mike Stephenson and coordinated by  Izchak  Miller
          and  Janet  Walz, the development team which now included Ken Ar-
          romdee, David Cohrs, Jean-Christophe Collet,  Kevin  Darcy,  Matt
          Day,  Timo Hakulinen, Steve Linhart, Dean Luick, Pat Rankin, Eric

          Raymond, and Eric Smith undertook  a  radical  revision  of  3.0.
          They re-structured the game's design, and re-wrote major parts of
          the code.  They added multiple dungeons, a new  display,  special
          individual  character  quests,  a  new endgame and many other new
          features, and produced NetHack 3.1.

               Ken Lorber, Gregg Wonderly and Greg Olson,  with  help  from
          Richard  Addison,  Mike  Passaretti,  and Olaf Seibert, developed
          NetHack 3.1 for the Amiga.

               Norm Meluch and Kevin Smolkowski, with help from Carl  Sche-
          lin, Stephen Spackman, Steve VanDevender, and Paul Winner, ported
          NetHack 3.1 to the PC.

               Jon W{tte and Hao-yang Wang, with help from Ross Brown, Mike
          Engber,  David  Hairston, Michael Hamel, Jonathan Handler, Johnny
          Lee, Tim Lennan, Rob Menke, and Andy Swanson,  developed  NetHack
          3.1 for the Macintosh, porting it for MPW.  Building on their de-
          velopment, Barton House added a Think C port.

               Timo Hakulinen ported NetHack 3.1 to OS/2.  Eric Smith port-
          ed  NetHack  3.1 to the Atari.  Pat Rankin, with help from Joshua
          Delahunty, was responsible for the VMS version  of  NetHack  3.1.
          Michael Allison ported NetHack 3.1 to Windows NT.

               Dean  Luick,  with  help from David Cohrs, developed NetHack
          3.1 for X11.  Warwick Allison wrote a tiled  version  of  NetHack
          for  the Atari; he later contributed the tiles to the DevTeam and
          tile support was then added to other platforms.

               The 3.2 development team, comprised of Michael Allison,  Ken
          Arromdee,  David  Cohrs, Jessie Collet, Steve Creps, Kevin Darcy,
          Timo Hakulinen, Steve  Linhart,  Dean  Luick,  Pat  Rankin,  Eric
          Smith,  Mike  Stephenson,  Janet  Walz, and Paul Winner, released
          version 3.2 in April of 1996.

               Version 3.2 marked the tenth anniversary of the formation of
          the  development team.  In a testament to their dedication to the
          game, all thirteen members of the original development  team  re-
          mained  on the team at the start of work on that release.  During
          the interval between the release of 3.1.3 and  3.2,  one  of  the
          founding  members of the development team, Dr. Izchak Miller, was
          diagnosed with cancer and passed away.  That release of the  game
          was dedicated to him by the development and porting teams.

               During the lifespan of NetHack 3.1 and 3.2, several enthusi-
          asts of the game added their own modifications to  the  game  and
          made these ``variants'' publicly available:

               Tom  Proudfoot  and  Yuval Oren created NetHack++, which was
          quickly renamed NetHack--.  Working independently, Stephen  White
          wrote  NetHack Plus.  Tom Proudfoot later merged NetHack Plus and
          his own NetHack-- to produce SLASH.  Larry Stewart-Zerba and War-
          wick  Allison  improved  the spell casting system with the Wizard

          Patch.  Warwick Allison also ported NetHack to use the Qt  inter-

               Warren  Cheung  combined SLASH with the Wizard Patch to pro-
          duce Slash'em, and with the help of Kevin Hugo, added  more  fea-
          tures.   Kevin later joined the DevTeam and incorporated the best
          of these ideas in NetHack 3.3.

               The final update to 3.2 was the bug fix release 3.2.3, which
          was  released  simultaneously with 3.3.0 in December 1999 just in
          time for the Year 2000.

               The 3.3 development team, consisting of Michael Allison, Ken
          Arromdee,  David  Cohrs, Jessie Collet, Steve Creps, Kevin Darcy,
          Timo Hakulinen, Kevin  Hugo,  Steve  Linhart,  Ken  Lorber,  Dean
          Luick,  Pat  Rankin, Eric Smith, Mike Stephenson, Janet Walz, and
          Paul Winner, released 3.3.0 in December 1999 and 3.3.1 in  August
          of 2000.

               Version 3.3 offered many firsts. It was the first version to
          separate race and profession. The Elf class was removed in  pref-
          erence to an elf race, and the races of dwarves, gnomes, and orcs
          made their first appearance in the game  alongside  the  familiar
          human  race.  Monk and Ranger roles joined Archeologists, Barbar-
          ians,  Cavemen,  Healers,  Knights,  Priests,  Rogues,   Samurai,
          Tourists,  Valkyries  and  of  course,  Wizards.  It was also the
          first version to allow you to ride a steed,  and  was  the  first
          version  to  have  a  publicly available web-site listing all the
          bugs that had been discovered.  Despite that  constantly  growing
          bug  list,  3.3 proved stable enough to last for more than a year
          and a half.

               The 3.4 development team initially consisted of Michael  Al-
          lison,  Ken Arromdee, David Cohrs, Jessie Collet, Kevin Hugo, Ken
          Lorber, Dean Luick, Pat Rankin, Mike Stephenson, Janet Walz,  and
          Paul  Winner,  with   Warwick Allison joining just before the re-
          lease of NetHack 3.4.0 in March 2002.

               As with version 3.3, various people contributed to the  game
          as a whole as well as supporting ports on the different platforms
          that NetHack runs on:

               Pat Rankin maintained 3.4 for VMS.

               Michael Allison maintained NetHack 3.4 for the MS-DOS  plat-
          form.  Paul Winner and Yitzhak Sapir provided encouragement.

               Dean  Luick, Mark Modrall, and Kevin Hugo maintained and en-
          hanced the Macintosh port of 3.4.

               Michael Allison, David Cohrs, Alex  Kompel,  Dion  Nicolaas,
          and  Yitzhak  Sapir maintained and enhanced 3.4 for the Microsoft
          Windows platform.  Alex Kompel contributed a new graphical inter-
          face for the Windows port.

               Ron Van Iwaarden maintained 3.4 for OS/2.

               Janne  Salmijarvi  and  Teemu Suikki maintained and enhanced
          the Amiga port of 3.4 after Janne Salmijarvi resurrected  it  for

               Christian  ``Marvin''  Bressler maintained 3.4 for the Atari
          after he resurrected it for 3.3.1.

               There is a NetHack web site  maintained  by  Ken  Lorber  at

                       - - - - - - - - - -

               From  time  to  time,  some depraved individual out there in
          netland sends a particularly intriguing modification to help  out
          with  the  game.   The Gods of the Dungeon sometimes make note of
          the names of the worst of these miscreants in this, the  list  of

                   Adam Aronow           Helge Hafting           Mike Engber
                   Alex Kompel       Irina Rempt-Drijfhout       Mike Gallop
                  Andreas Dorn           Izchak Miller         Mike Passaretti
                   Andy Church           J. Ali Harlow         Mike Stephenson
                  Andy Swanson             Janet Walz            Norm Meluch
                  Ari Huttunen          Janne Salmijarvi        Olaf Seibert
                  Barton House       Jean-Christophe Collet      Pat Rankin
               Benson I. Margulies       Jochen Erwied           Paul Winner
                    Bill Dyer             John Kallen         Pierre Martineau
                Boudewijn Waijers         John Rupley            Ralf Brown
                    Bruce Cox             John S. Bien         Richard Addison
                 Bruce Holloway            Johnny Lee          Richard Beigel
                 Bruce Mewborne            Jon W{tte          Richard P. Hughey
                  Carl Schelin          Jonathan Handler          Rob Menke
                   Chris Russo          Joshua Delahunty        Robin Johnson
                   David Cohrs           Keizo Yamamoto        Roland McGrath
                 David Damerell            Ken Arnold         Ron Van Iwaarden
                  David Gentzel           Ken Arromdee          Ronnen Miller
                 David Hairston            Ken Lorber            Ross Brown
                   Dean Luick            Ken Washikita         Sascha Wostmann
                    Del Lamb              Kevin Darcy           Scott Bigham
                  Deron Meranda            Kevin Hugo          Scott R. Turner
                  Dion Nicolaas           Kevin Sitze         Stephen Spackman
                 Dylan O'Donnell        Kevin Smolkowski        Stephen White
                   Eric Backus            Kevin Sweet            Steve Creps
                Eric Hendrickson          Lars Huttar           Steve Linhart
                  Eric R. Smith          Mark Gooderum        Steve VanDevender
                 Eric S. Raymond          Mark Modrall          Teemu Suikki
                  Erik Andersen         Marvin Bressler          Tim Lennan
                Frederick Roeber          Matthew Day          Timo Hakulinen
                   Gil Neiger             Merlyn LeRoy            Tom Almy
                   Greg Laskin          Michael Allison           Tom West
                   Greg Olson             Michael Feir          Warren Cheung
                 Gregg Wonderly          Michael Hamel         Warwick Allison
                  Hao-yang Wang         Michael Sokolov         Yitzhak Sapir

          Brand  and  product names are trademarks or registered trademarks
          of their respective holders.

          (R)UNIX is a registered trademark of AT&T.