|Welcome to Eva's Nethack page! I noticed on the newsgroup rec.games.roguelike.nethack that several false rumours about the game frequently circulated and had to be debunked. I decided to create a web page dedicated to these myths about Nethack and the facts behind them. The information on this page has all been checked by source-diving and/or wizard-mode experimentation in Nethack 3.3.0 or later versions, and I believe that it is also correct for Slash'Em. Many thanks go to Dylan O'Donnell for the information on converting yourself that inspired me to create this web page in the first place, and for several corrections including alignment penalties for killing peaceful monsters. If you find anything wrong please email me.|
FACT: Simply remove the helm and you will be allowed on the quest again. A helm of opposite alignment only causes a temporary alignment change which is reversed when the helm is removed. (Since it takes away all divine protection, it's still not a good idea to wear one.)
If you convert yourself permanently (by sacrificing on a non-coaligned altar), then you will render your game unwinnable. You cannot convert back, and your quest leader will not be fooled by your wearing a helm of opposite alignment.
Under what circumstances will you convert yourself permanently? There is a myth about this too, and I am greatly indebted to Dylan O'Donnell for sorting me out.
MYTH: If your god is angry with you when you attempt to convert an altar, you will be converted to the altar's god instead.
FACT: If your god is angry but your alignment is positive, you can still convert altars. Your god will still be angry, but you can use the newly coaligned altar to mollify him.
You will convert yourself if you try to convert an altar when your alignment is negative, or if you sacrifice a unicorn of your own alignment on another god's altar.
MYTH: Unaligned altars (altars to Moloch) can't be converted; it is harmful to even try.
FACT: Unaligned altars in Gehennom cannot be converted. Unaligned altars outside of Gehennom, such as those on some quests, can be converted normally. It is, however, wholly impossible to convert oneself to Moloch.
MYTH: Killing your pet will anger your god.
FACT: This depends on how you kill it. If you kill it in an ordinary way (e.g. in combat), you will ``hear the rumble of distant thunder''. The penalty will be -15 to alignment and -1 to Luck, but your god will not become angry.
If you kill it by displacing it into a trap or water, you will probably (75% chance) ``feel guilty about losing your pet like this''. If you do, then your god will become angry and you will also lose 15 points of alignment.
If you drown it by quaffing or dipping at a fountain or kill it with a scroll of genocide, there is no penalty.
The penalty for killing a peaceful monster is one or more of loss of protection, loss of telepathy, reduced luck and reduced alignment, depending on the type of peaceful monster killed.
Quest friendlies cause you to lose vast amounts of alignment, coaligned priests carry a penalty of only -2 but should probably not be killed because of the loss of protection, cross-aligned priests carry a small alignment bonus, and priests of Moloch carry a large alignment bonus. If the monster is still peaceful when it dies (as mentioned above, this is unlikely), there is an additional penalty of -5, unless it was a quest leader or guardian or a priest.
FACT: Prayer timeout behaves exactly the same way for all alignments. The myth derives from a bug in Nethack 3.1.3 which caused it to be longer for crowned chaotics.
MYTH: Lawful characters must not rob shops / attack peaceful monsters / eat while satiated / ....
FACT: There are assorted actions (such as robbing shops) for which lawfuls receive a -1 alignment penalty and chaotics receive a +1 alignment bonus. There are other actions (such as eating while satiated) for which only Knights or Samurai are penalised. These class/alignment specific penalties are very minor and can usually be safely ignored. The alignment penalty for killing peaceful monsters is more severe, but applies to all characters. For details of all actions which affect your alignment, see the Appendix to Matthew Lahut's Praying Spoiler.
FACT: The watchmen will still warn you and then get angry if they notice you doing it. Usually they don't, because unlocking a door with a key normally only takes one turn, while a lock pick or credit card takes longer.
FACT: Falling will only turn you to stone if you are actually wielding the corpse. For details on all the ways in which cockatrices and their corpses can petrify you, see David Corbett's cockatrice spoiler.
By the way, altars and priests are ``coaligned'' if they are of the same alignment as you, ``non-coaligned'' or ``cross-aligned'' if they are of a different alignment, ``aligned'' if they are lawful, neutral or chaotic, and ``unaligned'' if they are of Moloch. Unaligned altars do not appear in the main dungeon, only in Gehennom and some quests.
FACT: Your pet's apport, or willingness to fetch, can be improved by feeding it personally. However, only treats will work for this purpose, and corpses aren't treats. Tripe rations and meatballs are treats for a dog. Apples and carrots are treats for a horse.
Your pet's tameness, or resistance to going wild, increases whenever it eats, whether you've touched the food or not.
FACT: This is only applicable to steeds. Invisibility has no effect on monster-vs-monster combat, but if your steed is invisible, monsters will attack you rather than it more often. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on how strong you are and how much you care about keeping your steed alive.
FACT: Although Nethack has nymphs "seduce" males and "charm" females, the difference in the messages is purely cosmetic and your gender has no effect on your vulnerability to nymphs.
FACT: New moons have no effect on your base luck. The only effect they have is that cockatrices are slightly more dangerous. There is a one-point luck penalty for starting or restoring a game on Friday the 13th, and a one-point luck bonus for starting or restoring during a full moon (these can cancel each other out). Boudewijn Waijers and Dylan O'Donnell have written a spoiler giving full details of the effects of time and date on the game.
FACT: When you eat a monster which can grant multiple intrinsics, first the intrinsic it will try to grant is chosen at random without reference to your current intrinsics, and then it is determined whether or not it will be granted. Of course, it can only be granted if you don't already have it.
FACT: Eating rings or amulets does not normally increase food consumption (unlike wearing them). The exception is that gaining intrinsic regeneration, conflict or hunger by eating a ring will raise your food consumption by one point every two turns (normal food consumption is one point per turn).
On the subject of rings and food consumption, there is no point in constantly wearing two rings of slow digestion. With one, your food consumption is reduced to 1 point every 20 turns, but with two, it is 1 point every 10 turns, because both rings are causing their "ring hunger" effect. Because of the details of when ring hunger is checked for, it is possible to reduce your food consumption to zero by wearing two rings of slow digestion most of the time but removing each one just before it would cause its hunger effect and replacing it afterwards.
Dylan O'Donnell has written a spoiler on food which includes a list of all factors which affect food consumption.
FACT: Any lawful character of level 5 or higher has exactly the same chance of getting Excalibur by dipping. Excalibur used to blast non-Knights in version 3.3.1, but this bug was fixed in 3.4.0.
MYTH: Excalibur is the Knight's first gift from sacrificing.
FACT: Actually, it cannot be obtained by sacrificing at all, nor can it be generated randomly.
FACT: No matter what class you are, Intelligence affects your chance of learning spells and Wisdom does not. The spellcasting stat applies to the chance of casting spells successfully.
FACT: It's true that forgotten spells can stun you, but you can simply apply your unicorn horn and try again until you are confused but not stunned. Also, being stunned prevents teleport control from working but does not affect the results of reading any scroll apart from teleportation.
FACT: The Vibrating Square will never move and cannot be destroyed. Also, it cannot be generated inside a wall or on a trap, although it can be generated under an object. You will feel a strange vibration under your feet whenever you move onto it. This happens whether you walked onto it normally or (level-)teleported there. Even if you are levitating, flying or riding, you will still feel the vibration.
FACT: The upper limit on the difficulty level of randomly generated monsters is normally the average of your experience level and your current dungeon level. Once you have the Amulet of Yendor, however, the upper limit increases to the average of your experience level and the dungeon level of Moloch's Sanctum. (There is also a lower limit, but this depends only on the depth of Moloch's Sanctum, not on your XL.) Moloch's Sanctum can never appear above DL:45, and a post-quest character will have at least XL 14 unless they have deliberately level-drained themselves.
The randomly-occurring monster with the highest difficulty level is the arch-lich, at 29. To avoid meeting them, one would need to have XL 12 or less (assuming the shallowest possible depth for Moloch's Sanctum). Most people avoid them by genociding them instead. The second most difficult monster is the Archon, at difficulty level 26, and one would need XL 6 or less to avoid them.
Although the rules for generating monsters of a fixed class are different (monsters of more than twice your XL are less likely to be generated but can still appear), the only place this is likely to cause trouble on the ascension run is the Astral Plane, and then only if master liches and arch-liches have not been genocided.
FACT: He can reappear on any of the Elemental Planes after being killed on the Plane of Earth, but he cannot appear on the Astral Plane.