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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NETHACK(6)                                             NETHACK(6)

       nethack - Exploring The Mazes of Menace

       nethack [ -d directory ] [ -n ] [ -p profession (role) ] [
       -r race ] [ -[DX] ] [ -u playername ] [ -dec ] [ -ibm ]

       nethack [ -d directory ] -s [ -v ] [ -p profession (role)
       ] [ -r race ] [ playernames ]

       NetHack  is  a  display  oriented Dungeons & Dragons(tm) -
       like game.  The standard tty display and command structure
       resemble rogue.

       Other,  more  graphical  display  options exist if you are
       using either a PC, or an X11 interface.

       To get started you really only need to know two  commands.
       The  command ?  will give you a list of the available com-
       mands (as well as other information)  and  the  command  /
       will identify the things you see on the screen.

       To  win  the  game  (as  opposed to merely playing to beat
       other people's high scores) you must locate the Amulet  of
       Yendor which is somewhere below the 20th level of the dun-
       geon and get it out.  Nobody has achieved this  yet;  any-
       body  who  does will probably go down in history as a hero
       among heros.

       When the game ends, whether by your  dying,  quitting,  or
       escaping from the caves, NetHack will give you (a fragment
       of) the list of top scorers.  The scoring is based on many
       aspects of your behavior, but a rough estimate is obtained
       by taking the amount of gold you've found in the cave plus
       four times your (real) experience.  Precious stones may be
       worth a lot of gold when brought to the exit.  There is  a
       10% penalty for getting yourself killed.

       The  environment  variable  NETHACKOPTIONS  can be used to
       initialize many run-time options.  The ? command  provides
       a  description of these options and syntax.  (The -dec and
       -ibm command line options are equivalent to the  decgraph-
       ics  and ibmgraphics run-time options described there, and
       are provided purely for convenience on systems  supporting
       multiple types of terminals.)

       Because  the  option  list  can be very long (particularly
       when specifying graphics characters), options may also  be
       included  in a configuration file.  The default is located
       in your home directory and named .nethackrc on  Unix  sys-
       tems.   On  other  systems,  the default may be different,
       usually NetHack.cnf.  On  DOS  or  Windows,  the  name  is
       defaults.nh, while on the Macintosh or BeOS, it is NetHack
       Defaults.  The configuration file's location may be speci-
       fied  by  setting NETHACKOPTIONS to a string consisting of
       an @ character followed by the filename.

       The -u playername option supplies the answer to the  ques-
       tion  "Who  are  you?".   It  overrides  any name from the
       options or configuration file, USER,  LOGNAME,  or  getlo-
       gin(), which will otherwise be tried in order.  If none of
       these provides a useful name, the player will be asked for
       one.   Player names (in conjunction with uids) are used to
       identify save files, so you can have several  saved  games
       under  different  names.   Conversely,  you  must  use the
       appropriate player name to restore a saved game.

       A playername suffix can be used to specify the profession,
       race,  alignment and/or gender of the character.  The full
       syntax of the playername that includes a suffix is  "name-
       ppp-rrr-aaa-ggg".  "ppp" are at least the first three let-
       ters of the profession (this can also be specified using a
       separate  -p  profession  option).  "rrr" are at least the
       first three letters of the character's race (this can also
       be  specified using a separate -r race option).  "aaa" are
       at last the first three letters of the character's  align-
       ment,  and  "ggg"  are at least the first three letters of
       the character's gender.  Any of the parts  of  the  suffix
       may be left out.

       -p profession can be used to determine the character role.
       You can specify either the male or  female  name  for  the
       character  role, or the first three characters of the role
       as an abbreviation.  -p @ has been retained to  explicitly
       request  that  a random role be chosen.  It may need to be
       quoted with a backslash (\@) if @ is the "kill"  character
       (see  "stty")  for  the  terminal, in order to prevent the
       current input line from being cleared.

       Likewise, -r race can be used to explicitly request that a
       race be chosen.

       Leaving  out  any  of these characteristics will result in
       you being prompted during the game startup for the  infor-

       The -s option alone will print out the list of your scores
       on the  current  version.   An  immediately  following  -v
       reports on all versions present in the score file.  The -s
       may also be followed by arguments -p and -r to  print  the
       scores of particular roles and races only.  It may also be
       followed by one or more player names to print  the  scores
       of  the  players  mentioned,  by  'all'  to  print out all
       scores, or by a number to print that many top scores.

       The -n option suppresses printing of  any  news  from  the
       game administrator.

       The  -D or -X option will start the game in a special non-
       scoring discovery mode.  -D will, if  the  player  is  the
       game  administrator,  start  in  debugging  (wizard)  mode

       The -d option, which must be  the  first  argument  if  it
       appears,  supplies  a  directory  which is to serve as the
       playground.  It overrides the value from NETHACKDIR, HACK-
       DIR,  or the directory specified by the game administrator
       during  compilation  (usually  /usr/games/lib/nethackdir).
       This option is usually only useful to the game administra-
       tor.  The playground must contain several auxiliary  files
       such  as help files, the list of top scorers, and a subdi-
       rectory save where games are saved.

       Jay Fenlason (+ Kenny Woodland, Mike Thome and Jon  Payne)
       wrote the original hack, very much like rogue (but full of

       Andries Brouwer continuously deformed their  sources  into
       an entirely different game.

       Mike  Stephenson  has continued the perversion of sources,
       adding various warped character classes and sadistic traps
       with  the  help  of many strange people who reside in that
       place between the worlds, the Usenet Zone.   A  number  of
       these  miscreants  are immortalized in the historical roll
       of dishonor and various other places.

       The resulting mess is now called NetHack,  to  denote  its
       development  by the Usenet.  Andries Brouwer has made this
       request for the distinction, as he may eventually  release
       a new version of his own.

       All    files    are    in    the    playground,   normally
       /usr/games/lib/nethackdir.  If DLB was defined during  the
       compile,  the data files and special levels will be inside
       a larger file, normally nhdat, instead of  being  separate
       nethack                     The program itself.
       data, oracles, rumors       Data files used by NetHack.
       options, quest.dat          More data files.
       help, hh                    Help data files.
       cmdhelp, opthelp, wizhelp   More help data files.
       *.lev                       Predefined special levels.
       dungeon                     Control  file for special lev-
       history                     A short history of NetHack.
       license                     Rules  governing   redistribu-
       record                      The list of top scorers.
       logfile                     An extended list of games
       xlock.nnn                   Description   of   a   dungeon
       perm                        Lock file for xlock.dd.
       bonesDD.nn                  Descriptions of the ghost and
                                   belongings of a deceased
       save                        A subdirectory containing the
                                   saved games.

       USER or LOGNAME      Your login name.
       HOME                 Your home directory.
       SHELL                Your shell.
       TERM                 The type of your terminal.
       HACKPAGER or PAGER   Replacement for default pager.
       MAIL                 Mailbox file.
       MAILREADER           Replacement for default reader
                            (probably        /bin/mail         or
       NETHACKDIR           Playground.
       NETHACKOPTIONS       String predefining several NetHack

       In  addition, SHOPTYPE is used in debugging (wizard) mode.

       dgn_comp(6), lev_comp(6), recover(6)

       Probably infinite.

       Dungeons & Dragons is a Trademark of TSR Inc.

                          12 March 2002                NETHACK(6)