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rec.games.roguelike.nethack Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]


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Posted-By: auto-faq 3.3.1 (Perl 5.005)
Archive-name: games/roguelike/nethack/rgrn-FAQ
Posting-Frequency: twice monthly
URL: http://www.spod-central.org/~psmith/nh/rgrn-FAQ.txt

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for the newsgroup
rec.games.roguelike.nethack.
(FAQ version 1.7n, last changed: 2008-02-01 (added 2.1)

Corrections and suggestions for new sections or new questions are
appreciated; email me at <psmith@spod-central.org>.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Table of Contents:

1: NetHack: The game, the legend...
    1.1: What is NetHack?
    1.2: That sounds pretty good, where can I get it? How much does
            it cost?
    1.3: What computer is it playable on?
    1.4: I installed and ran NetHack, now what do all these symbols
            and stuff mean?
    1.5: All these letters and things confuse me! Is there a version
            of NetHack with graphics instead?
    1.6: Is there a multiplayer version of NetHack?
    1.7: Why is it called "Net"Hack if you can't play it online
            against other people?

2: rec.games.roguelike.nethack
    2.1: What is rec.games.roguelike.nethack?
    2.2: What's with the posts labeled "YAAP" or "YASD"?
    2.3: What's a "spoiler"?
    2.4: What's a "source diver"?
    2.5: I'm having trouble with my game, can I post my saved game
            file so someone can help me out?
    2.6: What's this "netiquette" that other posters keep
            mentioning?
    2.7: What topics should I be careful about discussing?
    2.8: Anything else I shouldn't post?
    2.9: I've won! I've won!

3: Gameplay and Spoilers
    3.1: This game is really hard! Does anyone win? How?
    3.2: How much damage does <weapon> do? What good is an <item>?
            How can I fix my <armor> when it gets damaged?
    3.3: Why are there TWO stairs leading down (or up)?
    3.4: I'm stuck! There doesn't seem to be ANY way down/up from
            the level I'm on!
    3.5: Why can't I successfully cast any spells? Why are all my 
            failure rates 100%?
    3.6: Someone just told me to retrieve an artifact; where do I
            go now?
    3.7: I'm on a maze level with a sealed-off area in the middle.
            I've searched and searched, but can't find a secret
            door. I can't dig or teleport through the walls, how do
            I get in there?
    3.8: I'm trying to fight a monster that keeps teleporting away.
            How do I get it to stop doing that so I can kill it?
    3.9: I blocked up the trapdoors in this back corridor, and now I
            can't get down!
    3.10: There's a monster stuck behind a boulder I particularly
            want to push somewhere. How do I get rid of it?

4: Miscellaneous
    4.1: Did you guys know you can copy your save games and restore
            them after you die? This makes the game a LOT easier!
    4.2: How do I get into explore or wizard mode?
    4.3: What can I do in wizard mode that I can't do in a normal
            game?
    4.4: My game crashed and I lost my character! Is there anything
            I can do?
    4.5: I found a YAFMC! I found a bell on top of a grave and the
            headstone said "Saved by the bell." Quite a coincidence,
            huh?
    4.6: Who's Schroedinger, and why did this quantum mechanic have
            his cat in a box?
    4.7: Why are elves chaotic? The elves in "The Lord of the Rings"
            seem to be lawful.
    4.8: I think I found a bug in the game! What should I do?
    4.9: Has anyone ever written a program to play NetHack
            automatically (a NetHack "bot")?
    4.10: What is SLASH'EM?
    4.11: What is SporkHack?
    4.12: What are patches, and how do I apply them?
    4.13: I killed a shopkeeper named Izchak, why is everyone so mad
            at me?
    4.14: What websites have general information about NetHack?

5: Copyright info and acknowledgements

------------------------------------------------------------------------

1: NetHack: The game, the legend...

1.1Q:   What is NetHack?

1.1A: 

"NetHack is a single player dungeon exploration game that runs on a
wide variety of computer systems, with a variety of graphical and text
interfaces all using the same game engine. Unlike many other Dungeons
& Dragons-inspired games, the emphasis in NetHack is on discovering
the detail of the dungeon and not simply killing everything in sight -
in fact, killing everything in sight is a good way to die
quickly. Each game presents a different landscape - the random number
generator provides an essentially unlimited number of variations of
the dungeon and its denizens to be discovered by the player in one of
a number of characters: you can pick your race, your role, and your
gender." [From <http://www.nethack.org/>.]

"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 sentences and explain the
results in words, NetHack commands are all one or two keystrokes
and the results are displayed graphically on the screen."
[From the NetHack Guidebook.]


1.2Q:   That sounds pretty good, where can I get it? How much does it
        cost?

1.2A:

NetHack is free software. That's right, FREE. Not shareware.
Available to you at the price of $0, under a license that permits you
to freely modify and distribute it. (Note, however, that NetHack is NOT
in the public domain; see the file 'license' or 'license.txt' that comes
with NetHack for details.)

<http://www.nethack.org/> always has the latest version available
(currently 3.4.3). Alternatively, you can download it via FTP from
<ftp://ftp.sourceforge.net/pub/sourceforge/n/ne/nethack>.


1.3Q:   What computer is it playable on?

1.3A: 

There are official binary releases for Amiga, Atari, Linux, Macintosh,
MS-DOS, OS/2, and 32-bit Windows systems. The source code (written in
C) is available as well, which should compile and run on just about
every system imaginable (or at least every system that can run a C
compiler). There are limitations, however; for example, no-one has yet
succeeded in overcoming the difficulty of porting NetHack to the Palm,
though other PDA implementations have been managed.


1.4Q:   I installed and ran NetHack, now what do all these symbols
        and stuff mean?

1.4A:

Consult the file "Guidebook.txt" (or something similar) that came with
NetHack. It's the NetHack Guidebook, and should be able to answer any
questions you have about the game display or controls. If you didn't
get a copy of Guidebook.txt (or other documentation), download one
from <http://www.nethack.org/common/info.html#Docs>. You can also gain
information about symbols onscreen using the "/" or ";" commands.


1.5Q:   All these letters and things confuse me! Is there a
        version of NetHack with graphics instead? 

1.5A: 

Depending on the system you are playing it on, yes. There are
graphical (or "tiled") versions of NetHack that use graphics in place
of the ASCII characters. Consult the readme file specific to your
system for details. If there's no mention of a tiled version, your
system probably does not support tiles.

There are also several "unofficial" versions of NetHack (meaning only
that they were not released by the DevTeam) that use enhanced graphical
interfaces, among which the more popular are:

           Vulture's (development of Jaakko Peltonen's "Falcon's Eye")
                    <http://www.darkarts.co.za/project/vultures/>
           noeGNUd (supports a wide range of 2D and 3D character- and
           tile-based views and game playback)
                    <http://www.darkarts.co.za/project/noegnud/>


1.6Q:   Is there a multiplayer version of NetHack?

1.6A:

No. Nor is there likely to be, according to the DevTeam. "We think you
can't do that playably without compromising the basic idea of being
able to think as long as you want about what you're doing." [From
<http://www.nethack.org/>.] The only player interaction in NetHack
is that of bones files and the score list on a multiplayer system.


1.7Q:   Why is it called "Net"Hack if you can't play it online against
        other people?

1.7A:

"The 'Net' in NetHack refers to the way the developers, many of whom
have never met in person, organize the work on the program." 
[From <http://www.nethack.org/>.]

You can play NetHack online, just not directly against other people.
<http://www.nicolaas.net/erebus/index.php?scat=04servers> lists
several public servers you could try. Try doing a search for "NetHack
Servers" in your favorite search engine, and connect to one of the
many available.

There are also ways to add the "bones files" of other adventures to
your local copy of NetHack, such as with the "Hearse" program
<http://hearse.krollmark.com/>. Hearse currently supports the official
DOS and Windows binary versions, the official Linux non-Qt binary
version and compatibly-compiled Unix installations, as well as the
unofficial Psion port, the latest SLASH'EM stable and (currently)
development versions, and Philipp Lucas' distribution of PatchHack 5.0
(with and without the Hell Patch enabled). Support for other versions
may be added if sufficient demand exists.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

2: rec.games.roguelike.nethack

2.1Q:    What is rec.games.roguelike.nethack?

2.1A:

rec.games.roguelike.nethack, often abbreviated to "rgrn", is a Usenet
newsgroup "concerned with NetHack and related games" (from the group
charter). It's the successor to the groups net.games.hack and
rec.games.hack, and lives in the rec.games.roguelike.* hierarchy,
where roguelike games other than NetHack and its variants either have
their own groups or fall by default into rec.games.roguelike.misc.
Readers of rgrn may also want to read rec.games.roguelike.announce,
a moderated group where postings of significant general interest for
roguelike players are made.


2.2Q:   What's with the posts labeled "YAAP" or "YASD"?

2.2A:

rgrn uses some terminology that can be confusing to the
uninitiated. For a fairly complete list, please see
<http://www.spod-central.org/~psmith/nh/abbr-343.txt>, but here is a
list of the more common abbreviations:


    YAAP: Yet Another Ascension Post
    YAFAP: Yet Another First Ascension Post.
        Someone has completed a game of NetHack (possibly for the
        first time) and wants to brag/show off. Finishing NetHack is
        not a trivial accomplishment, so some bragging is probably
        called for (see 2.9).

    YASD: Yet Another Stupid Death.
    YAAD: Yet Another Annoying Death.
        Get used to this phenomenon if you're going to play
        NetHack. Someone has died in a particularly amusing or
        annoying way, and wants pity for his or her stupidity or a
        shoulder to cry on.

    YAFM: Yet Another Funny Message.
    YAFMC: Yet Another Funny Message Combination
    YAFP: Yet Another Funny Prompt
        Sometimes, the messages NetHack gives you are amusing, or have
        a strange juxtaposition of several messages or an odd mix of
        inventory letters. Someone has found a message or combination
        that they liked.

    YANI: Yet Another New (Nifty) Idea (Item).
        Someone has an idea for an improvement or addition to
        the game.

    DYWYPI?: Do You Want Your Possessions Identified?
        The first question NetHack asks you if you are killed.
        Many posters use it as shorthand for "And then the
        <monster/trap/stupid move/typo> killed me."

    The DevTeam:
        The DevTeam is the group of programmers responsible for
        the maintenance and development of NetHack.
        Remember: The DevTeam Think of Everything! (TDTTOE!)

    The RNG: Random Number Generator -or- Random NetHack God.
       Every game of NetHack is different, thanks to the
       effects of the random numbers used in the creation of
       the dungeon. Sometimes it seems like the random numbers
       have a malicious will of their own and are therefore
       personified, as in "The RNG was especially cruel to me
       today."

As well as abbreviations, rgrn (like any community) has developed its own
jargon for frequently-discussed concepts and strategies, for example
"pudding farming" and the "protection racket"; Eva Myers has a discussion
of these at <http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~eva/nethack/rgrnterms.html>.


2.3Q:   What's a "spoiler"?

2.3A:

A "spoiler" is an explanation of something in the game. That
explanation may spoil the fun of discovering that something for
yourself. Since some people would rather figure things out for
themselves, they don't want the answer blurted out. For this reason,
if you do post a spoiler, you may wish to buffer it with some blank
space (20 lines or so, or a formfeed character) so no one reads it
accidentally. Alternatively, and (given the wide variety of newsreader
displays) preferably, you can ROT13 encipher the spoiler (a simple
cipher where a->n, b->o, ... z->m; see <http://www.rot13.com/> if your
newsreader doesn't support it natively). If you're starting a
spoilersome thread, consider putting "(spoilers)" in the Subject
header.

However, if you read this newsgroup you should accept that you're
probably going to come across spoilers whether you want to or not.


2.4Q:   What's a "source diver"?

2.4A:

The computer code for NetHack is publicly available, unlike that for
most games. Someone with programming skill can look through the code
(or "source") to get the answers to questions about how the game
works. This is called "source diving". For the curious, NetHack is
written in C.


2.5Q:   I'm having trouble with my game, can I post my saved game
        file so someone can help me out?

2.5A: 

No. The posting of binaries (this includes screenshots) to non-binary
newsgroups such as rgrn is frowned upon. If you feel you need a map
to explain your problem, use an ASCII "screenshot" instead.  Besides,
saved games won't work across platforms, and depending on the
variables set when the game was compiled, may not even work if they
are from the same platform. Describe your situation/problem as best
you can, and we'll help you out as best we can.


2.5Q:   What's this "netiquette" that other posters keep
        mentioning?

2.5A:

"Netiquette" refers to InterNET etIQUETTE, or the polite way of doing
things online.  Following these conventions is not only polite, but
will make your articles much easier to read, and therefore more people
are likely to read them. With specific regard to the newsgroup
rgrn, there are a few things you should keep in mind when posting:

    Top posting: 
        "Top posting" refers to putting your response before the
        quoted material you are responding to. When you respond to an
        article, put your response below the text you quote. (If
        you're responding to several separate points in the same
        article, put your response below each individually.) This
        ensures that the later responses stay in proper chronological
        order, making reading both easier and more logical.
        Unfortunately, top posting is the default for some newsreaders
        (notably Microsoft Outlook Express). This doesn't make it
        correct. (A longer article on good Usenet quoting style can be
        found at <http://web.presby.edu/~nnqadmin/nnq/nquote.html>.)

    Quoting:
        Quote appropriate context. Usenet is an asynchronous medium,
        and you can't be sure that everyone's received, read, or
        remembered the article you're responding to, so your message
        should make sense in isolation. Only quote the relevant parts
        of the article, and cut the rest (including signatures). This
        keeps articles relatively short, and easy to read. In the same
        vein, don't cut so much that it's hard to determine who or
        what you are responding to. Pay particular attention to the
        attributions, which indicate who said what; if you quote
        someone's text, attribute it, otherwise remove their
        attribution. (Again, see the article referred to in the
        previous paragraph.)

    Line lengths:
        Set your newsreader for line lengths around 70 characters to
        avoid other newsreaders mangling your post when displayed or
        quoted.

    Signatures:
        Signatures should only be a few lines long; the "standard"
        maximum is 4 lines of 80 characters. Make sure that your
        signature, if you have one, is preceded by a proper sig
        separator: i.e.  "-- ", two hyphens and a space, with nothing
        else on the line.

    Subject headers:
        Make your subject specific ("Are kobolds poisonous?" is much
        better than "Question" or "Help") without trying to stuff your
        entire article into it. Even if the question you're asking or
        point you're making is in your subject header, repeat it in
        the body of the message; and ensure that the article is
        comprehensible without depending on the subject for crucial
        context. Many newsreaders' displays make reading subject
        headers in direct conjunction with article text awkward, and
        having all the relevant content in the body will make quoting
        for response easier.

    HTML:
        Usenet is a text medium, and as such many newsreaders render
        HTML messages as practically unreadable gibberish. Plain text
        only, please.

    Binaries:
        rgrn is a non-binary newsgroup. If you have a binary file
        that you feel the group would like access to, upload it
        somewhere and provide a URL.

    Personal attacks and flames:
        Personal attacks have no place in a public forum; if you feel
        you must flame someone, take it to email.

Your best bet, as with most newsgroups, is to read the newsgroup for a
while and get a feeling for the place before you post.


2.7Q:   What topics should I be careful about discussing?

2.7A:

Apart from obviously "controversial" things which wouldn't generally
be on-topic for rgrn anyway, there are several subjects which you should
be cautious about raising. These fall into three main categories:

    Holy wars
        People are unlikely to change their minds on these; argument
        just tends to lead to bickering and flaming. A by no means
        comprehensive list:        

        vi-keys (hjkl) versus number_pad.
        ASCII versus tiles.
        Arguments from realism versus "NetHack Is Not Real Life".
        The morality of savescumming (see 4.1) and rerolling
          starting characters.
        Whether NetHack's license is more or less "free" than
          some other program's license.

    Hardy perennials
        Fine in themselves, these subjects come up often enough
        that there's little new to say about them. Some examples:

        What background music to play NetHack to.
        What letters to assign inventory to.
        Age/location surveys.
        The succubi/chains/bullwhips/BDSM jokes.

    Cans of worms
        Some suggestions for new features or changes to gameplay are
        recurrently made, but open up large-scale problems of
        implementation feasibility or game balance; as a result,
        they're more or less at the status "show us a working patch
        that doesn't break the game, then we'll talk". A few examples:

        Potions leaving empty bottles when quaffed.
        Ettins wearing two helmets/amulets, mariliths six rings, etc.
        Facing.
        Arbitrary rather than straight-line targetting.
        Platform- or version-independent savefiles and bonesfiles.
       
Please research the archives (Google Groups should be handy here)
beforehand and only post on these subjects if you think you have
something particularly new to say; and try not to make it
inflammatory.


2.8Q:   Anything else I shouldn't post?

2.8A:

While in general people will be happy to answer genuine queries, it's
a good idea to do at least some basic reading before asking them,
checking they're not covered in the Guidebook (see 1.4) or this FAQ
first. Repeatedly asking questions that are easily answerable on your
own falls into the "somewhat annoying" category.

Posting misinformation is also generally considered a bad idea; while
it's not required that you have an in-depth knowledge of the game to
be able to post here, if you're answering questions or asserting facts
it's better to do so based on what you know or can test rather than
half-remembered hearsay. In particular, there are a number of common
misconceptions that you should be aware of and not perpetuate: Eva
Myers documents many of these at her "Myths and Facts about NetHack"
page, <http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~eva/nethack/>.


2.9Q:   I've won! I've won!

2.9A:

Congratulations! Feel free to tell us all about how it went; post a
YAAP or YAFAP (see 2.2) with a description of the game. (If you're
playing a modified version of the game, it's a good idea to make it
clear what modifications have been applied.)

It's conventional for these posts to include some of the information
from the endgame disclosure screens (though you'll want to be
selective about this: how many monsters you killed in total is
interesting, exactly how many giant beetles you killed usually isn't).
If you're playing with a text-based interface, you can copy and paste
the details from the terminal (under the Win32 tty interface,
Edit|Mark from the console's system menu); be careful to only use
straight ASCII for "screenshots", not IBMgraphics or DECgraphics.
Alternatively, there is a "dump" patch available (see 4.12 for how to
apply it, or for details on PatchHack which includes it), allowing you
to automatically write out the endgame information to a file,
available from Jukka Lahtinen's site:
<http://www.netsonic.fi/~walker/nethack.html#dump>

------------------------------------------------------------------------

3: Gameplay and Spoilers

3.1Q:   This game is really hard! Does anyone win? How?

3.1A:

Believe it or not, people can and do "win" NetHack! The main key to
winning and not dying is patience. Nothing happens in the game if you
don't hit a key; this lets you think each of your moves out
carefully. Each time your character meets a grisly or stupid demise,
use it as a learning experience, and try not to repeat your mistake
the next time you play.

"The Complete Beginner's Guide to NetHack" contains a great deal of
advice on playing NetHack. It's posted to the group frequently, or
find it online at <http://www.melankolia.net/nethack/nethack.guide.html>.
It does a good job of balancing advice against spoilers.


3.2Q:   How much damage does <weapon> do? What good is an <item>?
        How can I fix my armor when it gets rusty?

3.2A:

These questions (and many others like them) all fall under the heading
of spoilers, and as such are outside the bounds of this FAQ
list. There are numerous websites that will give you all the
information you could want about the details of NetHack. Some of the
recommended ones include:

        Yet Another NetHack Site (by Kate Nepveu):
                <http://www.steelypips.org/nethack/>
        Dylan O'Donnell's spoiler page:
                <http://www.spod-central.org/~psmith/nh/>
        Wikihack, a publicly-editable wiki:
                <http://nethack.wikia.com/>

Eva Myers has a useful overview index of available spoilers at:
<http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~eva/nethack/spoilerlist.html>
        
Of course, if you don't (or can't) find the answer you seek, post your
question and we'll do our best to answer it. (If your answer could be
considered a "spoiler", see question 2.3).


3.3Q:   Why are there TWO stairs leading down (or up)?

3.3A:

You've discovered a "branch" off the main dungeon. There are several
side trips you can make on your way to the bottom of the Dungeons of
Doom. Some of them aren't needed to finish the game, but can garner
you useful items and experience.


3.4Q:   I'm stuck! There doesn't seem to be any way down/up from
        the level I'm on!

3.4A:

There's always a way onwards. If you're in the main Dungeon, there
will be a way down, and a way to reach it; search every
wall for secret doors (especially where the walls are near blank areas
of the map). Check to make sure the stairs aren't hidden under an
item.  Move or smash any boulders or statues. If you're still stuck,
find (or dig) a hole or trap door and drop down to the next level.

If you're not in the main dungeon, you may have reached the end of the
current branch; time to retrace your steps and carry on by the other
route.


3.5Q:   Why can't I successfully cast any spells? Why are all my 
        failure rates 100%?

3.5A: 

"Casting a spell also requires flexible movement, and wearing various
types of armor may interfere with that." [From The NetHack Guidebook.]
Metal items in particular are very inflexible.


3.6Q:   Someone just told me to retrieve an artifact; where do I
        go now?

3.6A:

Downstairs from where you are. If you can't find the staircase, it's
probably behind a secret door. It's no use going back through the
magic portal to look for it, because that's not where it is.


3.7Q:   I'm on a maze level with a sealed-off area in the middle. I've
        searched and searched, but can't find a secret door. I can't dig
        or teleport through the walls, how do I get in there?

3.7A:

There is a way in, just not from the level you are on. Keep exploring,
and on some lower level you'll find a portal that will take you where
you want to go.


3.8Q:   I'm trying to fight a monster that keeps teleporting away. How
        do I get it to stop doing that so I can kill it?

3.8A:

Two types of monsters do this; lowish-level ones that teleport
randomly every so often (and it's just a case of trying to get the
kill in while they're in one spot for long enough) or after performing
their attack on you (try not to let them), and higher-level boss
monsters that teleport away to heal up. In the latter case, find out
where the monster goes (it's always the same spot), and get there
first. You may need to use teleport yourself to get ahead of it.


3.9Q:   I blocked up the trapdoors in this back corridor, and now I
        can't get down!

3.9A:

Those trapdoors were the only way down from that particular special
level, and once filled you can't dig through them again. However,
you can use level teleport to get to the level immediately beneath;
teleport control would be useful here.
 

3.10Q:   There's a monster stuck behind a boulder I particularly
         want to push somewhere. How do I get rid of it?

3.10A:

You can try to kill the monster: thrown or fired weapons will go past
the boulder, as will zapped wands or spells (though striking or force
bolt will break the boulder, which may not be what you want).
Dropping all (or nearly all) your inventory will allow you to squeeze
into the same space as the boulder and attack the monster directly;
but this leaves you mostly defenceless, probably bare-handed, and can
have other undesirable side-effects. Or you can teleport both away in
one zap, though you won't be able to control where they end up.
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------

4: Miscellaneous

4.1Q:   Did you guys know you can copy your save games and restore
        them after you die? This makes the game a LOT easier!

4.1A:

Yes, it does make it easier, but that's not the point. The game is
SUPPOSED to be hard. Diabolically hard, as a matter of fact. This
tactic is known as "savescumming" around these parts, and will garner
you no respect; indeed, the best you can hope for is polite scorn.

The DevTeam has added a mode to allow you to play without dying,
"explore mode" (see question 4.2), but the downside is that your score
won't be recorded. How you play is your decision, just don't come here
posting YAAP if you did it by savescumming. You should be aware,
however, that there is a general consensus that savescumming is
actually detrimental to the development of proper playing skills;
being able to circumvent the required caution and tough strategic
decisions of NetHack may mean never learning to handle them well.


4.2Q:   How do I get into explore or wizard mode?

4.2A:

To enter explore mode use the "-X" switch on the command line (ie,
type "nethack -X" on the command line) or use the "X" command in the
game. Be warned that once you switch to Explore mode, there is no
returning to a regular game. Starting explore mode from the command
line will also grant you a wand of wishing. If you die in explore
mode, you can easily revive and try again, but as noted above, your
score will not be recorded.

To enter wizard (or debug; no relation to the Wizard role) mode type
"nethack -uwizard -D" on the command line. If this doesn't work, then
you might have to enter a different name, be logged in as a different
user, or in your copy of the game wizard mode may be disabled. Ask the
person who compiled or installed the game about this.


4.3Q:   What can I do in wizard mode that I can't do in a normal
        game?

4.3A:

In addition to the ability to continue after death as in explore mode,
the following is a list of wizard mode-specific commands:
        
    CTRL-E: Detect secret doors and traps
    CTRL-F: Do magic mapping
    CTRL-G: Create monster
    CTRL-I: Identify items in pack
    CTRL-O: Tell locations of special levels
    CTRL-T: Do intra-level teleport
    CTRL-V: Do trans-level teleport
    CTRL-W: Make a wish
    CTRL-X: Show attributes including intrinsic abilities

There are also a number of additional extended (#) commands, most
producing highly technical state information only useful for
debugging purposes.


4.4Q:   My game crashed and I lost my character! Is there anything
        I can do?

4.4A:

Maybe. There is a program that comes with NetHack called "recover"
that may be able to restore a crashed game, depending on how NetHack
was compiled. Check for a file called "recover.txt" for an explanation.
On some platforms, "recover" may have been incorporated into the game
itself, and restarting the game using the same character name will
work (if the crash was recoverable from to start with).


4.5Q:   I found a YAFMC! I found a bell on top of a grave and the
        headstone said "Saved by the bell." Quite a coincidence, huh?

4.5A:

No, it's not. If the headstone generated for a grave reads "Saved by
the bell," then a bell is generated for the grave as well.


4.6Q:   Who's Schroedinger, and why did this quantum mechanic have
        his cat in a box?

4.6A: 

Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961) was a physicist who devised a famous
thought experiment to translate quantum superposition into the
macroscopic classical-mechanical world. It involved an impenetrable
box (and, in NetHack, the box shows as empty until it's opened)
containing a cat that would be killed by a 50/50 radioactive-decay
trigger; the resulting state of the cat, and how it is resolved when
the box is opened, depends on the particular school of quantum theory
you subscribe to, but one interpretation is that it is both alive and
dead until observed.
       

4.7Q:   Why are elves chaotic? The elves in "The Lord of the Rings"
        seem to be lawful.

4.7A:

NetHack draws on more than one source, and there are more elves than
Tolkien's (who weren't always as lawful as all that themselves, if you
read the "Silmarillion"). Consider, by way of example, Michael Moorcock's
Melniboneans (and remember that Stormbringer is also in the game), and
Steven Brust's Dragaerans. In addition to these, there's hundreds of
years of tradition of the land of Faerie being one where human
concepts of law simply do not apply (though it's sometimes divided
explicitly into a Seelie and Unseelie Court). For a modern treatment
of this concept, read Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions";
or Terry Pratchett's "Lords and Ladies", for that matter.


4.8Q:   I think I found a bug in the game! What should I do?

4.8A:

Quite possibly you have. If you're playing the latest version (3.4.3)
you may want to check the DevTeam's list of known bugs (available at
<http://www.nethack.org/v343/bugs.html>) to make sure it's a new
one. If it's not a new one, the DevTeam may suggest a workaround. If
it is a bug that hasn't been caught yet, please contact the DevTeam
about it at <http://www.nethack.org/common/contact.html>, or directly
by e-mail at <nethack-bugs@nethack.org>. They appreciate knowing about
bugs so they can fix them in the next release.

As well, please do post about it! Chances are, someone will put
together a patch pretty quickly if it's really serious. To help work
out where exactly the bug might lie, please give all the information
you can, including the exact text of any error messages the game
produced.


4.9Q:   Has anyone ever written a program to play NetHack
        automatically (a NetHack "bot")?

4.9A

Not successfully.  People have written "bots", or programs that will
play the game by themselves, for some other roguelikes. These bots
usually play pretty successfully.

However, no one has yet written a well-functioning one for NetHack,
and the commonly held opinion is that NetHack is too complex for a
"bot" that functions well to be currently practicable. If you're not
dissuaded by this, you might want to address your efforts to NetHack's
predecessor Hack first, as a rather simpler stepping-stone.


4.10Q:   What is SLASH'EM?

4.10A:

SLASH'EM (Super Lotsa Added Stuff Hack - Extended Magic) is a variant
of NetHack with more races, classes and generally just more stuff.
Learn more about it at <http://www.slashem.org/>. Please mark questions
about SLASH'EM in rgrn with an "[S]" or "[SLASH'EM]" in the subject line
(at the end is best, as some newsreaders strip initial square brackets),
so people who only play regular ("vanilla") NetHack can more easily
recognize or filter your article.


4.11Q:   What is SporkHack?

4.11A:

SporkHack is a variant of NetHack by Derek Ray with a number of
significant gameplay changes. Unlike SLASH'EM, its focus is less on
adding new stuff, and more on improving balance and providing
challenge and variety for experienced players. Learn more about it,
and play online, at <http://sporkhack.nineball.org/>. Please mark
questions about SporkHack in rgrn with a "[Spork] or "[SPORK]" in the
subject line (at the end is best, as some newsreaders strip initial
square brackets), so people who only play regular ("vanilla") NetHack
can more easily recognize or filter your article.
  

4.12Q:   What are patches, and how do I apply them?

4.12A:

There are many "patches" or code changes that people have written to
alter or fix something about how NetHack works. These aren't "official"
changes to the game, but may include such things as new magic items or
different levels for the "Hell" area of NH. Pasi Kallinen maintains a
database of published patches at <http://bilious.homelinux.org/>;
there is also <http://www.juiblex.co.uk/nethack/patches.html>, maintained
by Ali Harlow, which is no longer updated but contains some patches
Pasi's doesn't.

To use these patches, you need to be able to compile them into your
NetHack executable using a C compiler. First, you need to be able to
compile the basic game itself: download the source (see 1.3), read the
installation instructions for your platform in the appropriate sys/
subdirectory, acquire one of the C compilers those recommend if
necessary, and follow the steps for compilation and installation.

Once this is working, you need a patch utility to apply the patch to
the source. For DOS or Windows, you can use the patch program from the
djgpp distribution available at <http://www.delorie.com/>. Use this
utility to patch the base code and recompile the game.


4.13Q:   I killed a shopkeeper named Izchak, why is everyone so
         mad at me?

4.13A:

Izchak Miller, one of the founding members of the DevTeam, passed away
on April 1, 1994 from complications due to cancer. As he was
responsible for, among other things, much of the shopkeeper logic, the
owner of the lighting shop was named for him as a tribute. The DevTeam
dedicated version 3.2 of NetHack to the memory of Izchak Miller. Many
players who will happily slay everything else that moves will spare
Izchak's life as a sign of respect.

For a little more info, including a post from Izchak's
daughter, check out the following thread from 1996 in rgrn:
<http://tinyurl.com/r7l23>


4.14Q:   What websites have general information about NetHack?

4.14A:

In addition to the sites mentioned in section 3.2 above, there are
several excellent starting places for looking for NetHack web resources.

    The DevTeam's links page:
         <http://www.nethack.org/common/links.html>
    Dion Nicolaas' NetHack Index:
         <http://erebus.nicolaas.net/>
    Ali Harlow's NetHack Page (particularly good for SLASH'EM):
         <http://www.juiblex.co.uk/nethack.html>

Almost any NetHack webpage of value will be linked to by at least one
of these sites.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

5: Copyright info and acknowledgements

This document is Copyright 2000-2008 Stephen W. Churchill (original
FAQ) and Dylan O'Donnell (later revisions). Permission is hereby
given to copy, post, or otherwise distribute it, so long as it remains
intact (including this copyright information).

Please contact <psmith@spod-central.org> if you find any errors, or
feel something needs to be added.

Assembled, corrected and adjusted with the assistance of the rgrn
community. You know who you are!

------------------------------------------------------------------------
ml>
    Dion Nicolaas' NetHack Index:
         <http://www.nicolaas.net/erebus/>
    Ali Harlow's NetHack Page (particularly good for SLASH'EM):
         <http://www.juiblex.co.uk/nethack.html>

Almost any NetHack webpage of value will be linked to by at least one
of these sites.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

5: Copyright info and acknowledgements

This document is Copyright 2000-2010 Stephen W. Churchill (original
FAQ) and Dylan O'Donnell (later revisions). Permission is hereby
given to copy, post, or otherwise distribute it, so long as it remains
intact (including this copyright information).

Please contact <psmith@spod-central.org> if you find any errors, or
feel something needs to be added.

Assembled, corrected and adjusted with the assistance of the rgrn
community. You know who you are!

------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM