Terminology used on rec.games.roguelike.nethack
The Usenet newsgroup rec.games.roguelike.nethack is very helpful and
informative for Nethack players, but some of the terminology can be
confusing for the uninitiated. This glossary aims to define cryptic
terms such as the "protection racket" which are
bandied about on the newsgroup. If you have any comments, additions
or corrections, please feel free to email me. For abbreviations and
acronyms such as YAAP (Yet Another Ascension Post) and AoLS (Amulet of
Life Saving) please see Dylan
O'Donnell's helpful list.
Note that this document contains spoilers and that many of the
strategies described herein are controversial.
Glossary of terms
- Ascension kit
- The ascension kit is the equipment which Nethackers consider
indispensable for winning the game. Players will generally use the
Castle wand of wishing to fill any holes in their ascension kit.
Ascension kits normally include sources of magic resistance and
reflection, speed boots and a blessed bag of holding.
- Castle dive / dive for victory
- Heading for the castle as quickly as possible (perhaps by digging
or level teleportation) so as to get the wand of wishing early. This
strategy is most useful to reasonably tough characters who have magic
resistance but lack some useful items.
- Credit cloning
- An efficient way of cleaning out shops. First build up credit by
dropping your gold in the shop and having your pet steal it back.
Then convert the credit into cash (at less than 100% efficiency) by
repeatedly buying the shopkeeper's items from your credit, starting
with the most expensive, and selling them back for cash. Repeat as
needed until you own all the shopkeeper's money and goods. Kent Paul
Dolan has posted a much more detailed description of how
to credit clone.
- Nurse dancing
- Nurse dancing is allowing a nurse to hit you while you are naked
and weaponless, which will heal you and may increase your maximum HP.
One way to maximise the benefits is to reverse genocide nurses in a
locked room on a no-teleport level (nurses teleport away after healing
- Protection racket
- Reaching Minetown with as low an experience level as possible
(ideally while still at level 1) so that you can buy protection
cheaply. This is a highly risky strategy which, even in the hands of
an expert, kills about 20% of the characters who attempt it. It works
best for Gnomish Healers because they start with a lot of money and
the dwarves and gnomes in the Mines will be peaceful to them. This
thread has more
discussion of how to do the protection racket.
- Pudding farming
- Puddings will split in two when hit with an iron weapon. Pudding
farming is a way to exploit this by hitting puddings with a wimpy iron
weapon (or non-weapon such as an orcish helm). It involves killing
some of the puddings for their corpses (which can be eaten or
sacrificed) and their randomly generated "death drops", while leaving
others alive to continue the process. This thread has more
information on pudding farming.
Many Nethackers consider pudding farming to be abusive and believe
that the game should impose limitations on it.
- Rerolling means that if you don't like the stats or items that
your character starts with, you immediately quit and start a new
character. Although this is a legitimate part of some other games
(such as Angband), it is generally considered to be abusive in
Nethack. It is also an ineffective way to learn the game, as keeping
weak characters alive is an important part of being a skilled
- Wraith luring
- Wraith luring is the practice of leading wraiths off levels with
graveyards to increase the chance that they will leave corpses. It is
less useful now than it used to be because the Castle is now
classified as a graveyard level.