nethack - Exploring The Mazes of Menace
[ -d directory
] [ -n
] [ -p
] [ -r race
] [ -[DX]
] [ -u
] [ -dec
] [ -ibm
[ -d directory
] [ -r race
] [ playernames
is a display oriented Dungeons & Dragons(tm) - like game. The
standard tty display and command structure resemble rogue.
Other, more graphical display options exist for most platforms.
To get started you really only need to know two commands. The command ?
will give you a list of the available commands (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 dungeon and get it out. Few people achieve this; most never do.
Those who have go down in history as heros among heroes - and then they find
ways of making the game even harder. See the Guidebook
Conduct if this game has gotten too easy for you.
When the game ends, whether by your dying, quitting, or escaping from the caves,
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.
command line options are equivalent to the
run-time options described there,
and are provided purely for convenience on systems supporting multiple types
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 systems. On
Debian systems, use .nethackrc.gnome for the Gnome windowing port, use
.nethackrc.x11 for the X11 windowing port, and use .nethackrc.qt for the QT
windowing port. You can use .nethackrc.tty for the non-graphical version. The
configuration file's location may be specified by setting NETHACKOPTIONS to a
string consisting of an @ character followed by the filename.
The -u playername
option supplies the answer to the question
"Who are you?". It overrides any name from the options or
configuration file, USER, LOGNAME, or getlogin(), 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.
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 letters of the profession (this can also be
specified using a separate -p profession
"rrr" are at least the first three letters of the character's race
(this can also be specified using a separate -r race
"aaa" are at last the first three letters of the character's
alignment, 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.
can be used to determine the character profession,
also known as the 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.
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
Leaving out any of these characteristics will result in you being prompted
during the game startup for the information.
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
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
option suppresses printing of any news from the game
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 instead.
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, HACKDIR, or the directory specified by the game administrator
during compilation (usually /usr/lib/games/nethack). This option is usually
only useful to the game administrator. The playground must contain several
auxiliary files such as help files, the list of top scorers, and a
where games are saved.
Jay Fenlason (+ Kenny Woodland, Mike Thome and Jon Payne) wrote the original
hack, very much like rogue (but full of bugs).
Andries Brouwer continuously deformed their sources into an entirely different
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
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/lib/games/nethack. 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 files.
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 levels.
history A short history of NetHack.
license Rules governing redistribution.
record The list of top scorers.
logfile An extended list of games
xlock.nnn Description of a dungeon level.
perm Lock file for xlock.dd.
bonesDD.nn Descriptions of the ghost and
belongings of a deceased
save A subdirectory containing the
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
NETHACKOPTIONS String predefining several NetHack
In addition, SHOPTYPE is used in debugging (wizard) mode.
dgn_comp(6), lev_comp(6), recover(6)
Dungeons & Dragons is a Trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc.