@@You see here a blessed scroll of identify.@@
@@i - a blessed scroll of identify. r@@
@@What do you want to read? [ijklm or ?* ] i@@
@@As you read the scroll, it disappears. This is an identify scroll. --More-@@
@@[[DescribeTopicHere What would you like to identify first? nethack]]@@

'''[=NetHack=] is old.''' The first version came out in 1987.\\
'''[=NetHack=] is complex.''' It can take years of play to see it all.\\
'''[=NetHack=] is random.''' It is one of the three founding {{roguelike}}s and will sometimes generate levels that seem flatly impossible. But they never are.

''[=NetHack=]'' has been described as a puzzle game hiding inside a roguelike's skin. Whereas the archetypal ''VideoGame/{{Angband}}'' or ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'' hero is a KnightInShiningArmor who slays countless evil creatures and becomes powerful like unto God, the archetypal ''[=NetHack=]'' hero is a cunning trickster (or...''hacker'') who [[CombatPragmatist sets traps, fights in unconventional ways]] and [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty never,]] ''[[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty ever]]'' [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty plays fair]]. After the very first few levels, [[LevelGrinding killing monsters for XP]] becomes unprofitable (or even disadvantageous). Instead, power comes from [[KleptomaniacHero your ever expanding collection of items]] which can be wielded, worn, thrown, rubbed, dipped, engraved, snapped, pointed, combined, cast, eaten, read, or applied, singly or in [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything combination]].

The advantage of ''[=NetHack=]''`s focus on items is that it reduces the impact of luck. By carefully hoarding your resources, (almost) nothing is inescapably fatal. The downside of ''[=NetHack=]'''s focus on items is that it reduces the impact of luck. Once you've learned some effective tactics, multiple playthroughs can start to feel similar, or even repetitive.

Still, for a [[http://nethack.org free game]] (in the sense of both "free beer" and "free speech") that can take up to a decade to beat for the first time, you could do worse.

''[=NetHack=]'' is cross-platform; it's safe to bet that if you're using an operating system that's still being developed, there's a port for it. In fact, Linux distributions tend to feature ports of it in their software repositories, and anyone with the proper programming skills can make ports or modifications because it is free and open-source software, released under the terms of the ''[=NetHack=]'' General Public License.

You can play it online [[http://alt.org/nethack/ here]].

If ''[=NetHack=]'''s rather archaic graphics intimidate you, you can always try [[http://www.darkarts.co.za/vulture-for-nethack Vulture]], an isometric GUI that more or less takes the original and spits out detailed graphics, sounds, and all around allows for an easier experience when learning how to play. The site currently has builds for vanilla ''[=NetHack=]'', [[VideoGame/{{SLASHEM}} SLASH'EM]] and [=UnNetHack=], with the [=SporkHack=] variant coming soon. Additionally, the ''[=NetHack=]'' [[http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page Wiki]] has a list of other [[http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Tileset alternate graphical tilesets]].

----
@@There is a large box named "Tropes" here, loot it? [ynq] (q) y@@
@@You carefully open the large box...--More--@@
!!@@Examples@@
* AcronymAndAbbreviationOverload: The IRC channel for ''[=NetHack=]'' often combines this with the in-game symbols used to represent the various items; so a late-game Ascension kit might contain (among other things) [oMR, "oLS, a cursed !oGL and plenty of /oD.[[note]]Translation; Cloak of Magic Resistance, Amulet of Life Saving, cursed Potion of Gain Level and plenty of Wands of Death.[[/note]]
* AcquiredPoisonImmunity: And many other types of immunities besides.
* AdamSmithHatesYourGuts: Can become this if you're hungry, are a tourist, have really low charisma, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking or are wearing a Hawaiian shirt]].
** Inverted with characters who have very high charisma (even low level tourists wearing a Hawaiian Shirt). They get discounts.
* AllAnimalsAreDogs: The only way to tame most monsters is by reading a scroll of taming or casting charm monster (or in some cases by wishing for a figurine), but throwing food (especially treats) to an already-tamed monster will ''increase'' their tameness, regardless of what kind of animal it is (as long as it's food they'll eat).
** And if the monster is a domestic type, (cats, dogs, horses) you can throw food at the non tame ones to tame them. If you throw food that they don't eat (fruit to cats and dogs, meat to horses) then that will make them peaceful if they were hostile, and hostile if they were peaceful (due to them being irritated at you pelting them with food)
* AllCavemenWereNeanderthals
* AllThereInTheManual: The in game guide is a remarkable collection of quotes and information, not all of which is entirely accurate in describing game mechanics.
* AmplifierArtifact: The Magic Mirror of Merlin gives Knights (and Knights alone) double damage to most of their spells.
* AnachronismStew: Let's see... playable characters include an IndianaJones-inspired AdventurerArchaeologist, a ConanTheBarbarian-style BarbarianHero, a [[OneMillionBC caveman]], a [[EverythingsBetterWithSamurai Samurai]], and a HawaiianShirtedTourist complete with a credit card (used to pick locks). Items and enemies include traditional staples like [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dragons]], [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Demons]] and [[OurGiantsAreBigger Giants]], but also included are things like [[Film/{{Tron}} Grid Bugs]], [[GeniusBonus Quantum Mechanics]], and Jabberwocks. Finally, plastic, while fairly uncommon, isn't unknown either.
* AntiMagic: Magic resistance, a property given by a few rare items, has this effect. Since it neutralizes unintentional polymorphing, "pure magic" attacks (including Wands of Death), and many other nasty things, it's extremely useful.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: [[spoiler:What happens when you win.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: Namely, you. [[spoiler:[[TheManyDeathsOfYou Over and over and over and over and over and over and over.]]]]
* ArbitrarySkepticism: Invoked by players doing Atheist conduct--never pray or otherwise interact with gods--despite the goal of the game being to retrieve an amulet for your god [[spoiler:and become a demigod yourself]].
* ArtifactOfDeath: Try to use an artifact under the wrong circumstances (like being the wrong alignment) and it may "blast" you, possibly killing you. Also, though not really an artifact, weaponized cockatrice corpses can turn most enemies to stone with a single smack; but of course they can also turn ''you'' to stone if you're not extremely careful.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: The game's concept of "nutrition" is probably the wackiest thing of all; unless you find a Ring of Slow Digestion, you'll need to eat the equivalent of ''dozens of dragon corpses'' to complete the game without starving--even if you're a ''gnome''--but drinking is entirely optional and NobodyPoops. Specific tropes:
** AllAnimalsAreDogs: Tamed beasts all act like loyal canines: they follow you around, attack perceived threats to their master, can be put on a literal leash, and so on.
** DiurnalNocturnalAnimal: Animals only sleep in special circumstances that have nothing to do with time of day (even though the game ''does'' check the time of day for other reasons).
** {{Imprinting}}: If an egg hatches while you're carrying it and you are male.
** MisplacedVegetation: Minetown--a cave, inside a dungeon--sometimes has trees.
** MorePredatorsThanPrey: There are lots of carnivores, very few herbivores, almost no plants, and no sunlight. Animals generally don't need or want to eat anything unless you've tamed them.
** PsychoElectricEel: A major hazard of watery areas.
* AutoRevive: The amulet of life saving. Unless [[YetAnotherStupidDeath you genocide yourself]] or [[DeaderThanDead have your brain eaten by a mind flayer]]. And it doesn't do much to remove the source of the death, either...
* BanditMook: Leprechauns and nymphs are primarily interested in your gold and inventory items, respectively. They also like to teleport away after stealing something, which complicates retrieval. [[spoiler:Nymphs can even steal [[StuckItems cursed weapons/armor/etc. welded to you]] and can undo chains attached to you, which makes them useful for removing such items. Just remember to put away anything dangerous first....]]
* BareFistedMonk: Despite not being able to effectively use weapons, monk characters can become extremely powerful and deadly. (Sadly, a bug makes them deal 1 point of damage 25% of the time.)
* BearTrap: These can be encountered as a hidden trap, which do some damage, but more annoyingly hold you in place for a few turns until you pull free. You can also disarm them, lug them around and re-set them to be triggered by monsters.
* BerserkButton: Among the fanbase--''never'' kill Izchak the Shopkeeper. He's named in honor of the late Izchak Miller, a founding member of the ''[=NetHack=]'' dev team. Extinctionists will spare him from their [[OmnicidalManiac rampages]], and in some segments of the fanbase it's considered poor form (at best) to steal from his shop.
** This used to be the case, but modern players don't seem to care as much. (This is in keeping with the Hacker Ethic: the older generation, who are likely to have known Miller personally, hold to this, while to newer players it's an arbitrary rule with no reasonable justification and thus not worth respecting. Just don't tell anyone if you break it.)
* BlindfoldedVision: Possible with Telepathy, and invoked by Intrinsic Telepathy.
** In fact, blinding yourself while you have telepathy protects you from many forms of visual attacks. The downside is that it makes you more vulnerable to mind flayers, you can't see mindless creatures like undead, and traversing unexplored parts of the dungeon is more annoying.
* BlindingCameraFlash: Tourists can use this as a weapon. It's also one of the very few things that can make [[HorsemenOfTheApocalypse the Riders]] [[WeaksauceWeakness flee from you.]]
* BlockPuzzle: ''VideoGame/{{Sokoban}}'', a four-level puzzle in which you push boulders to plug holes in the floor. The game mechanics change somewhat, though: You can't push the boulders diagonally or fly over the holes in the floor, and trying to cheat (by creating/destroying boulders or trying to bypass the pits at the end of each level) nets you a Luck penalty.
* BoltOfDivineRetribution: Tick off your god enough, and you'll get struck by lightning.
** If you manage to survive that, the deity will then blast you with a [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill wide-angle]] [[WaveMotionGun disintegration beam]]. If you ''still'' manage to survive, the deity will exclaim in shock [[HilarityEnsues "I believe it not!"]]
** And if you're being digested by a monster at the time, then the lightning will hit the monster you're inside of, almost certainly killing it instead of you. If the monster survives the bolt, it gets hit by the disintegration beam too (although the only monster in Vanilla that engulfs and resists lightning also resists disintegration). You even get experience and break any Pacifist conduct for doing so.
* BonusBoss: Demogorgon is the strongest monster in the game, but you might not encounter him, since he can only be summoned by another demon prince. Even if you do, you might be able to run away, in which case you probably should.
* BottomlessBladder: The PC isn't required to sleep and recovers from wounds without having to rest. In fact, the only source of restful sleep is delivered by an amulet of restful sleep, which ''can'' be used to heal, but is mostly just there as [[EverythingTryingToKillYou a hazard]].
** Averted with [[VideoGame/{{SLASHEM}} SLASH'EM]]. There are toilets, but their use isn't obvious at first. If you're Satiated and sit on one, you "take a dump" and lose some nutrition, along with being cured of sickness. It is extremely likely someone will never use it anyway, but it's there.
* BreakableWeapons: A variant: you cannot break melee weapons through fighting with them (though you have a small chance of shattering your opponents' weapons, depending on your skill and what each of you is wielding), but using bladed weapons to force locks can break them. Missile weapons have a chance of being "lost" (i.e., disappearing from the game) when they are used.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Applying a stethoscope to listen to the very bottom of the screen gives, "''You hear a faint typing noise.''"
* BucketHelmet: A rare variant on standard metal helmets, prized for being slightly lighter than its equivalents.
* CannibalismSuperPower: The standard means of acquiring elemental resistances, poison immunity, teleportation, etc. is to eat the corpses of monsters that have these abilities.
* {{Cap}}: Several things are capped in ''[=NetHack=]''.
** The player's ability scores are capped at 25 (''after'' all bonuses are applied).
** The highest possible Luck score is 14 (13 if it isn't a full moon).
** The player's experience level is capped at 30.
** Monster hit dice (for "normal" monsters) are capped at 49.
** There are quite a few things that aren't directly capped, allowing them to go as high as [[PowersOfTwoMinusOne 2^8-1, 2^16-1, 2^31-1, or possibly even 2^63-1]] depending on the size of the variable they're stored in.
* CherryTapping: Typically "Vladsbane", named for one boss [[AntiClimaxBoss so wimpy]] he can be dispatched with a rusted tin opener or thrown magic marker.
* ChestMonster: Mimics lurking in stores are common killers of low-level characters.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Unicorns are color-coded by alignment: black = chaotic, grey = neutral, white = lawful. Many other monsters, particularly dragons, are coded by properties: monsters with fire attacks (pyrolisks, hell hounds, red dragons) are usually red, monsters with cold attacks (blue jellies, winter wolves, white dragons) are usually blue or white, etc.
* ColorCodedStones: The game plays this one dead straight, with a few exceptions--there's two possibilities each for turquoise and aquamarine (green or blue), and fluorite is randomly assigned either green, blue, white or violet. All gems are just " gem" until identified, so an unidentified "red gem" can't turn out to be sapphire, which is a blue gem.
* CombinatorialExplosion: Sometimes literally. No matter how funny it would be, never ever put a BagOfHolding inside another BagOfHolding.
** Well, if one BagOfHolding is put inside another ordinary bag first, there is a chance it will go into another BagOfHolding without them both disappearing in an explosion. And, that chance gets larger as more bags are used to nest it. So, it can be done, and is for players who are trying to finish the game with a ludicrous amount of stuff.
* CommonplaceRare: Two of the most useful items in the game are: a [[PunnyName magic marker]] and a can of grease. Both are disgustingly uncommon. [[labelnote:*]]The ''most'' useful item in the game is easily a Wand of Wishing. Which you will then use to [[MundaneUtility wish for grease and magic markers]].[[/labelnote]] Grease is mostly valuable because it is rare--its effects are important but mostly supersedable (armor can be made permanently damageproof and there's a cloak and a bag that are effectively permanently greased. You'll still have to avoid melee with mind flayers). Magic markers, however, let you write powerful and valuable magic scrolls on junk parchment (and are used up in the process), making them quite desirable.
** Another inexplicably uncommon item: shirts. T-shirts and {{Hawaiian shirt|edTourist}}s have no armor value in and of themselves, but can be enchanted to give a valuable extra few points of protection and worn under standard issue shining armor. ''If'' you can find one. Wishing or polymorphing may be necessary.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Mostly averted. You can stand next to lava with no ill effects but if you try even flying over it without fire resistance you're in for a world of pain. Water Walking boots will let you walk over lava, but if they aren't fireproof themselves the [[OhCrap lava will destroy them]], [[TooDumbToLive then you fall in and die as a result.]]
* CrazyPrepared: The ''player'', if they intend on being successful.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: Down to one HP? Go ahead and kick a wall. [[TooDumbToLive I dare you.]]
* Franchise/CthulhuMythos: Some variants such as ''[=UnNetHack=]'' include some of these characters; in these [[spoiler: Cthulhu himself guards the Amulet, and, unsurprisingly, is incredibly lethal even by ''NH'' standards.]]
* DangerousForbiddenTechnique: Wielding a "rubber chicken" (cockatrice corpse) allows you to [[TakenForGranite insta-petrify]] almost any enemy--even high-level demon lords. But as you might imagine, it's extremely easy to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard petrify yourself with it by mistake.]]
* DamageDiscrimination: Averted; if you're facing a mob of enemies, anyone between your character and a missile-user (up to and including dragons) stands a chance of getting hit. Also, if you wear a ring of conflict, any nearby creatures will start attacking each other.
* DeaderThanDead: The AutoRevive up there? It doesn't work if you genocide your own race or class, or get your brain eaten. Well, technically it does, but you just die ''again''.
* DeathByGluttony: If you eat while satiated you can choke to death.
* DeathBySex: The Succubus takes off your gloves. You [[TakenForGranite turn to stone]]. The Succubus takes off your [[WalkOnWater water-walking]] boots. You drown. Also, a level drain when you're at level 1 will end you.
* DeusSexMachina: With proper preparation (or, as many like to say, "protection"), seducing succubi and incubi can permanently raise your level or stats and is generally a great resource.
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: The {{Trope Namer|s}}. It even has its [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything/NetHack own page]].
** See also the [[http://nethack.org/v343/bugs.html bugs list]], for things the Dev Team [[AvertedTrope didn't think of]].
*** Becomes funny when you realize that most every bug listed seems to be a case of TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything. You can't rub a touchstone on gold? Why bother in the first place?
*** Another one might be: Lit potion may survive hero dying from splattered oil burning on the floor. Who the heck noticed that?
*** Also: Sunsword does not work as expected against shades. You aren't running into shades until you are well on your way to Ascending and someone actually took the time to figure that out.
*** A few do seem to be genuine mistakes, such as "candles are fireproof"... how in the world did that happen?
* DiagonalSpeedBoost: Naturally, as it's a Roguelike. The "grid bug conduct" challenge is for your player to ignore the diagonal speed boost, which makes the game a ''lot'' harder.
* DiscOneNuke: In a few ways, be it an early wish or polymorphing.
** [[BrokenBase Some players]] regard "Elbereth" as a disk one nuke. Writing Elbereth in the dust with their fingers will protect the player from almost all early monsters, and many later ones.
*** Magicbane takes this up to 11 because it always engraves successfully, in only one action, without using any charges. (In addition to protecting against most traps and hostile spells.) Wizards can get it very easily, but already start the game magic protected.
** Due to class special abilities, a Rogue on the very first turn can throw up to 2 daggers at a time. Developing the skill can increase that to up to 4 daggers at a time. Enchanting the daggers (or finding enchanted daggers), plus strength damage bonus, means a Rogue is almost guaranteed to be a long range killer by machine-gunning daggers. This is why Rogues start with a stack of daggers. The drawback is the Rogue Quest, which should make any Rogue a part time alchemist.
*** Some of the other classes can do the same, but have to find the daggers on their own, as well as develop the skill from scratch. Other than the Ranger they don't get the bonus toss and none of them can get a backstab bonus four times with one attack from nine squares away.
** {{Excalibur}} is a very powerful weapon that can be acquired as early as level 5, and without much effort (be Lawful, find a longsword, and dip it into a fountain a few times). This is especially easy to pull off if you're a Knight or a Valkyrie, both of which start the game with a longsword.
* DoNotDropYourWeapon: Averted; you can un-equip enemies with a [[WhipItGood bullwhip]]. One of the few useful applications for a bullwhip, since it is a pretty lousy weapon. Warning, though, enemies can do the same, so if Magicbane is your only source of Magic Resistance, and somebody with a touch of death is around....
** The player, however, can drop their weapon by eating greasy food without gloves on, and forgetting to use a towel or something to wipe off the grease, leading to YetAnotherStupidDeath.
* DoNotPassGo: The game displays the message "Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 zorkmids." if you [[EpicFail die on your first turn]].
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Frequent and possibly [[JustForPun literally]], if a monster happens to drop the drawbridge on your character.
* DualWielding: Blessed +7 Grayswandir and a blessed +7 silver saber, [[{{Munchkin}} yeah baby!]]
* DungeonBypass: Pick-axes can be used to tunnel around enemies and to dig a hole through the floor of one dungeon level down to the next, letting you bypass entire levels at a time (although you will have to deal with the bypassed levels on the way back up--unless you've got another cunning plan).
* DungeonShop: An important source of items, and (possibly even more importantly) clues as to what the items are (since their appearance is randomized for each game and use-testing can be a ''very'' Bad Idea).
* EasyModeMockery: Playing in Exploration Mode locks you out of the high scores.
* EasterEgg: "You pick up the trapper's tongue. But it's kind of slimy, so you put it back down."
** "That would be an interesting topological exercise." [[spoiler:Put a bag inside itself.]]
** Too many to list. Most actually overlap with TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything in that the player is trying to do something strange, but the game gives an appropriate response instead of simply giving a generic you-can't-do-this response.
* ElementalEmbodiment: Some show up as normal enemies; they can also be summoned, much to the chagrin of anyone messing around with sinks or fountains.
* ElementalPlane: The late game.
* EmpathicWeapon: Intelligent artifacts, which will actively attack potential users that they don't like and can "evade your grasp" if you are both the wrong class and the wrong alignment.
-->"You feel that the is ignoring you."
* EverythingsBetterWithSamurai: Not only can anyone get a {{katana|sAreJustBetter}}, but a bunch of items are renamed in [[GratuitousJapanese Japanese]] if you play the Samurai class.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: And the [[VideoGame/{{SLASHEM}} SLASH'EM]] variant is even worse.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: The RandomNumberGod may occasionally give a gnome a Wand of Death, but at least it draws the line at letting monsters use Scrolls of Genocide.
** Unless you're an orc or a caveman, cannibalism (or eating a dog or cat) gives you the aggravate monster intrinsic.
** Even the Chaotic gods, who reward you for ''sacrificing members of your own race,'' will get angry with you (along with everything else in the dungeon) for eating or offering the corpse of a dog or cat.
* EvilDetectingDog:
** Any non-undead pet has the innate ability to detect cursed items and will try its best never to step on them, or to do so only "reluctantly".
** Also, when you put a leash on them they will whine or act nervous whenever there's a trap nearby, although normally they wouldn't notice.
* FairWeatherMentor: The player, almost inevitably. You'll love your pet and give them easy kills and fresh corpses to help level them up, and they'll fight on your behalf... but when food starts getting scarce or you find yourself cornered by a level draining foe, it's every man for himself. There's no penalty for starving your pets to death or abandoning them when the going gets tough except the loss of the pet. Just don't EatTheDog unless you ''really'' have to.
* FakeDifficulty: Despite ''[=NetHack=]'''s awesomeness, it is hard not to admit that the game definitely has a share of it. Namely:
** TrialAndErrorGameplay. Described below in detail.
** GuideDangIt: It would be difficult-shading-into-impossible to win without reading spoilers on some of Nethack's more [[http://www.spod-central.org/~psmith/nh/ arcane]] [[http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~eva/nethack/spoilerlist.html mechanics]]. Like all good things, [[http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page they have their own wiki]]. Some of the variants, including Slash and [[VideoGame/{{SLASHEM}} SLASH'EM]], assume you have memorized the guide and up the difficulty to match.
** SelectiveMemory: The game provides almost no useful information about how various spells and items work, what dangers some special monsters present, etc. But how come? Does your character know absolutely nothing about Mazes of Menace? Even if so, why does he/she know nothing about items they bring with them? Well, their types and blessed/cursed status is revealed, but no information is provided about ''how they actually work''.
** RandomNumberGod. If he gets angry, you are [[UnwinnableByDesign screwed]]. Well, experienced players have demonstrated that most games are winnable, but you also have to be a very experienced player to agree with it.
** UnwinnableByDesign: Changing alignment before the Quest, killing the quest leader, or failing the quest's level/alignment test 7 times all make it impossible to [[spoiler:get the Bell of Opening (required to reach the Amulet of Yendor's level)]]. There's some cases of UnwinnableByMistake and UnwinnableByInsanity, too. [[spoiler:The Book of the Dead can be destroyed by jumping into lava without fire resistance but with an Amulet of Life Saving.]]
** InterfaceScrew: Most noticeable with the Hallucination effect, which makes it impossible to tell what objects or enemies really are. But some aspects of this are a permanent issue, such as the fact that in [=ASCII=] mode, dwarf kings (usually-peaceful, low-threat enemies) and mind flayers (horrendous {{Demonic Spider}}s) look exactly the same, and can only be distinguished by /-examining every purple "h" you see. As noted above, there are variants and alternate tile-sets available that eliminate this problem.
* FilkSong: Filk singer Rob Balder wrote a song about the game. You can listen to one version of it [[http://www.partiallyclips.com/filk/nethack/RobBalderDotCom_NetHack.mp3 here]].
* FinalDeath: ''All'' deaths are final, unless you have a certain rare item...
* FoeTossingCharge: The game has many instances when the player is surrounded by monsters and only needs to pass through. In such situations, this trope can be imagined very easily. Especially if you have a wand of teleport. Especially if you have an extra one, so you can break it in two and teleport anything within range.
* FlatEarthAtheist: The "atheist" conduct involves not using any of the religious elements of the game ([[spoiler:except for sacrificing the Amulet of Yendor, and even then, there's a patch to eliminate this, too]]), satisfying the technical specs of this trope. Of course, actually playing this way pretty much requires you to either know not to do these things, or die before you get to do them.
* ForgotToFeedTheMonster: While food (corpses) is very common and you usually don't have to actively feed your pets, it is possible for them to starve to death. Can also be reversed--when you're hungry, your pet might eat food before you can. Your pets will also go feral if you leave them on a different level for too long.
* FourthWallMailSlot: On some Unix systems, if you receive a new email while playing, the email is brought to you on a scroll in-game, delivered by the [[{{Pun}} mail daemon]].
* GenderBender: Wear unidentified amulets or mess around with polymorphing at your own risk.
* GenieInABottle: In magic lamps as well as (sometimes) actual bottles. Possible source of a wish, if handled correctly.
* GetBackHereBoss: Demon lords and the more powerful types of liches can teleport around at will, and will use this ability to run off and heal. Generally speaking, they always run off to the upstairs, meaning once they start that nonsense, you should be running that way, too.
* GodJob: Your reward for Ascending.
* GoneHorriblyRight: With work, it's possible to genocide a whole range of creatures, the ''weaker'' ones. Overdo the blessed scrolls of genocide and all that's left are the very toughest creatures, which aren't genocide-able. The final stages of the game become even more exciting, and frequently, much shorter, too.
* GratuitousJapanese: Playing a Samurai, the game feedback will call certain items by the Japanese name (helmet -> ''kabuto'') or a rough Japanese equivalent (booze -> ''sake''), even though they're literally ''the same item'' behind the scenes. The samurai Quest is particularly full of this.
** Not all of it is ''accurate'' Japanese, mind. "Shito" is probably just a misspelling of "shōtō"[[note]]小刀; used in ''[=NetHack=]'' for knife, actually means a short sword[[/note]], but no one seems to know what word the devs were going for with "gunyoki".
* GraveHumor: Any grave that wasn't generated by a player's death randomly generates a humorous message. nethack.alt.org [[http://www.alt.org/nethack/addmsgs/viewmsgs.php added a ton of them.]]
** One of which is [[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife "TV Tropes ruined my life"]]
* GraveRobbing: Allows you to find gold and items. Slightly less helpfully, lets you find mummies and zombies.
* GrievousHarmWithABody: You can wield corpses as weapons, but the only major use for this is wielding a cockatrice corpse (with gloves on, of course) to create a petrifying club.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy:
** If you tell a vault guard your name is Croesus, he will assume you are ''the'' Croesus, his boss, and (if the real Croesus is still alive) will let you get back to stealing all his gold. Even if you're the wrong gender and/or the wrong ''species'' to pass as Croesus. You can also deter the guard by being unable to speak (he leaves, saying "I'll be back when you're ready to speak to me!") or by eating a mimic corpse while hallucinating, which disguises you as an orange: [[RuleOfFunny "Hey! Who left that orange in here?"]].
** The numerous soldiers and monsters in the Castle will make no attempt to stop you as you stand outside messing around with a bugle, obviously trying to guess the [[SongsInTheKeyOfLock Song In The Key Of Lock]] that opens the drawbridge. Once you know the tune, you can play it to lower the bridge, play it again to raise the bridge and crush any mooks that were trying to cross, and repeat; they never catch on, and will continue marching to their doom until they've all been squashed.
* HailfirePeaks: The Valkyrie Quest has both lava and ice in the same map. Explained as the result of Fire Giants invading the naturally frosty Valkyrie homeland.
* HaveANiceDeath: Your tombstone tells you how you died; usually that just means which monster, but sometimes, it's [[http://alt.org/nethack/userdata/UltiMike/dumplog/1211469330.nh343.txt much more unique]].
** For those who don't know where to look for the cause of death... he died by ''kicking a wall''.
** Sometimes, figuring out just how to reproduce a specific death can be a non-trivial exercise in itself. ("turned to slime by a scroll of genocide", anyone?)
** It's even possible to have 'elementary chemistry' as a cause of death, if you're careless with acid.
** Tossing a dead cockatrice in the air and catching it on your head nets the epitaph "petrified by elementary physics". Tossing a heavy object in the same way will get you "killed by elementary physics" instead.
* HawaiianShirtedTourist: All Tourists start with a Hawaiian shirt, not to mention an expensive camera.
* HealingFactor: Trolls usually revive themselves at full health shortly after death. The only way to prevent this is to eat the corpse, though sometimes they revive mid-meal.
* HelpfulMook: Nurses are the Genuinely Gentle kind. If you disrobe and sheathe your weapon, they'll heal you with their attacks. Succubi can be the Accidentally Assisting kind if you play your cards right.
* HitPoints
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The easiest way to kill Medusa is with a mirror of some kind. This includes any item that provides [[AttackReflector reflection]]. This works similarly on Floating Eyes; using a mirror on one makes it freeze from its own gaze.
** Also applies to Croesus, who lives in Fort Ludios. Fort Ludios has two important choke points (the door out of the room you start in, and the door to the fort itself), presumably because they would help against a larger invading army. Unfortunately for him, he didn't count on lone adventurers using that choke point to kill off all his soldiers one by one.
** And anyone (character or monster) using a beam-weapon wand runs the risk of getting hit with a ricochet-blast off the nearest wall.
* HolidayMode: Date, time, and phase of the moon may all affect the game.
** On Friday the 13th, the start-up message says "Watch out! Bad things can happen on Friday the 13th", and your luck factor is reduced.
** On a full moon, the start-up message says, "You are lucky! Full moon tonight", and your luck is increased, but dogs may be less friendly, and werecreatures are usually in animal form, especially at night.
** During the new moon, cockatrices are more dangerous.
** Between 10 pm and 6 am, some creatures are slightly more dangerous.
** From midnight till 1 am, undead do twice as much damage, and you get a different message when entering graveyards.
* HorsemenOfTheApocalypse: Death, Pestilence, and Famine (referred to as The Riders) make an appearance as endbosses in the Astral Plane. War [[spoiler: is the player.]]
* HollywoodChameleon: Chameleons in ''[=NetHack=]'' can disguise themselves as other creatures, and even gain the abilities of whatever they mimic.
* IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon: The Keystone Kops will spawn in large numbers if you [[ShopliftAndDie rob a store]]. They are among the only monsters in the game that can never be rendered permanently extinct. No matter how many armies of them you defeat, there'll always be another pack ready to jump you NEXT time you step outta line.
* IfYouDieICallYourStuff: Thanks to bones files, you may find the remains of previous, unlucky heroes (usually a corpse and a restless shade, but sometimes [[TakenForGranite a statue]] or a slime), complete with their whole inventory. Fraught with some danger, though--each item has a random chance of being cursed.
* ImplacableMan: Subverted. Once you're high level and well-tooled for melee with AC in the negatives and a ring of regeneration, you can smite an entire room of trolls and dragons, taking blows and regenerating the damage faster than they can dish it out. Then in walks a gnome who puts you to sleep with his wand and [[CherryTapping beats you to death with his tiny crossbow.]]
* ImprovisedWeapon: Speaking of beating things to death, you can wield nearly any item and use it for the blunt-force trauma if nothing else.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: Grayswandir, a silver saber which deals double damage to all monsters (instead of just some like other artifacts), plus extra damage to silver-hating monsters.
** Although there are other far more powerful attacks in the game. Especially ranged attacks that can kill enemies before they get close enough to hurt your character. See [[http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Storm Storm Damage]].
** That doesn't include the attack spells. Some of which have an area effect repeated multiple times. Like fireball, which is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* InstrumentOfMurder: The Frost Horn, the Fire Horn and the Earthquake Drum. Yes, they're ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* InterfaceScrew: the ''VideoGame/{{Rogue}}'' level, a ShoutOut to the interface of ''[=NetHack=]'''s predecessor.
** The Rogue level is nothing compared to being confused, stunned, or most especially, hallucinating. When confused or stunned, moving takes you in the wrong direction most of the time. When hallucinating, every item and creature appears to be some other random thing (some of which aren't normally found in the game).
** Blinded can sometimes be worse. Being blinded in a shop will guarantee you YASD. The same with Temples and Towns.
* InventoryManagementPuzzle: You can carry a lot of swag, but eventually, you have to start caching, and if you want to be 100% certain of not losing a cache, you either have to bury it or put it in a locked chest, on a scroll of scare monster, on a dungeon tile which has had "Elbereth" etched into it. And even then, there's probably some way it can go wrong...
* InvisibilityCloak: Available as both a cloak and a ring, as well as intrinsic invisibility conferred by wand (permanent), and potion or spell (temporary). Note that it doesn't make you completely unfindable; monsters will try to guess your location and attack where they think you are. All of the above items can also be used by monsters, making the "See Invisible" intrinsic very important.
* JustAddWater: Several types:
** Dragon scales (dropped by dragons) + Scroll of Enchant Armor = Dragon Scale Mail (one of the best armor choices)
** Wielded Worm tooth + Scroll of Enchant Weapon = Crysknife (a ShoutOut to ''Literature/{{Dune}}'').
** Alchemy: mixing less-useful potions can generate more-useful potions (and vice versa).
** Once you know a scroll or spellbook, you can write more copies with a magic marker on a blank scroll or spellbook. On the other hand, magic markers are hard to come by and often have to be wished for.
* KatanasAreJustBetter: they get +1 to hit for no particular reason.
* KiAttacks: The Monk gets these in [[VideoGame/{{SLASHEM}} SLASH'EM]].
* KickTheDog: You can do this if you like, literally even. YouBastard. Seeing as your pet is your loving sidekick and in fact one of your more useful assets, this is usually an accident when it happens. On occasion, you do have to go so far as to ShootTheDog if it turns on you. Offering your pet on an altar gets your patron god angry at you, by the way. And if you eat the corpse of a dog or a cat, everything in the dungeon will be aggravated at you... well, even more so.
* TheLastStraw: If you're satiated, then eating anything--even an ''insubstantial wraith corpse''--has a chance of causing you to choke to death... and that wraith corpse doesn't give the player a warning beforehand. [[spoiler:Amulets of Magical Breathing prevent this, at least.]]
* KitchenSinkIncluded: With a surprisingly large number of gameplay uses.
* LethalJokeCharacter: Tourists have a hard time early on, but if they survive long enough, they get the ludicrously useful [[LethalJokeItem Platinum Yendorian Express Card]] and can beat the rest of the game relatively easily.
* LethalJokeItem: Quite a few examples. T-Shirts seem silly and useless, but they fill a unique equip slot and can be enchanted to provide several free armor points. Expensive Cameras blind and scare monsters--including some very high-level ones that are hard to fight by other means. Even Wands of Nothing (which [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin do nothing]]) are useful because they can be reliably polymorphed into much better wands.
* LevelGrinding: The "pudding farming" method allows you to collect massive amounts of hit points--as well as really good loot.
** Also contains AntiGrinding--leveling up too much before you find good equipment is a good way to get yourself into trouble.
* LevelScaling: Bases the level of enemies you'll face on the average of your character level, and the depth you've reached in the dungeon.
* LogicalWeakness: Tridents have a to-hit bonus against aquatic monsters. Axes do extra damage to Wood Golems. Clay Golems can be destroyed in one shot if you've read the original folk tale and [[spoiler: erase the runes on their foreheads]]. The list goes on...
* LuckBasedMission: Luck plays an important role in ''[=NetHack=]''; if the RandomNumberGod wants to kill you, it probably will, because, at any given moment, there are many things that can go wrong. Taking precautions that will let you ''survive'' its wrath is an important part of the game.
** Christian Bressler, aka 'Marvin the Paranoid Android' Ascended [[http://alt.org/nethack/ascstreak.html 23 times in a row]] over a three month span on the public server NAO, mostly to show that any individual game could be won. Including one of every class for the first 13, then he started doing conducts.
** Adeon, another NAO player, Ascended 29 times in a row over the course of just barely more than one month.
** ais523 [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9oMSPzChgk did prove]] that it's theoretically possible to die before you have control of your character, the very definition of an unavoidable death. [[spoiler:Grayswandir was generated on the upstairs, he picked it up due to autopickup, and it blasted him.]] He did some calculations and estimated a 1 in 3 million chance (roughly) of this occurring.
** One of the various traps that an adventurer can encounter is a pit. Sometimes, this pit has spikes. Sometimes, these spikes are poisoned. And sometimes, poison is instantly lethal. Therefore, characters who don't possess poison resistance could theoretically die at any given moment, should they wander into a trap such as this.
*** The truly paranoid will try to only step where they've seen other monsters step safely, or search when that's not possible.
* {{Macrogame}}: Bones files -- a good argument for playing on an online server.
* MagikarpPower / LethalJokeCharacter: The tourist character class. All the "weak" character classes have this to some extent - but it's most noticeable with the tourist, who might be the easiest role to win with if you survive past the Quest. But that's a ''big'' [[NintendoHard "if."]] The Tourist starts with a stack of throwing darts, a flashy camera, some money, a pile of food, two healing potions, and some scrolls that are useful only in the endgame. They does not start with any melee (or non-expendable) weapon, any spells, any armor, or decent combat stats in case he comes across either of the above, and shops will vastly overcharge him for the first half of the game. The throwing darts they do have are a ranged weapon, and can be upgraded with a poison, but they aren't very useful compared to other class' weapons. If a tourist survives to the quest, though, their reward is effectively an infinite-use blessed scroll of charging (which also grants magic resistance, super-telepathy, and half damage from enemy magic just by having it in your inventory), which means double or triple the duration of most wands, easy creation of +4 or +5 rings, and ''infinite'' uses of most tools (including a food generator, an enemy tamer, and some that mimic offensive wands). And to top it off, your useless starting shirt and scrolls become valuable in the endgame, and the stats that start the highest for him are the hardest ones to increase later on.
* MagicPants: Averted: if you change into a much larger form, then the armor you're wearing will be torn apart and destroyed.
** And if you turn into something exceptionally weak and puny, you'll be half-squashed by the same armor and unable to move.
** Actually, there are no pants in ''[=NetHack=]'' whatsoever. This still confuses newbies.
*** If you sit on a cockatrice corpse, you don't turn to stone, so you must be wearing pants. Since they don't tear apart or anything, they must be {{magic|Pants}}. So the pants are magic, but it's averted with the rest of your clothing.
* MailerDaemon: A literal one; it delivers messages from other users on the system.
** The daemon normally appears and disappears within one turn without giving a chance for the player to interact with it. However, a CrazyPrepared player [[LordBritishPostulate can kill it]], [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything preventing further messages from being delivered]]; to do this, the player needs to [[spoiler:stone-to-flesh a statue of a mail daemon, which is not something that occurs naturally but needs to be wished for, and to be prepared to kill the resulting daemon in one turn as it otherwise disappears with a cry of "I'm late!"]].
* MakeAWish: The most certain, and in some cases only, way of getting some desirable rare items. On the other hand, it may be much more useful to wish for an item with an important MundaneUtility.
* TheManyDeathsOfYou: There are many (many many) ways to die, leading to a lot of TrialAndErrorGameplay. Some can only realistically be obtained by deliberately setting out to collect them.
* {{Medusa}}: A boss.
* MiniGame:
** The ''VideoGame/{{Sokoban}}'' branch. Interestingly, the MiniGame is done with the same mechanics as the rest of the game, with only minimal changes (boulders can't be pushed diagonally, and you can't fly over holes in the floor).
*** And certain other things (i.e. using spells to get rid of boulders) will give you a luck penalty.
** One way to enter the Castle is by winning a game of ''TabletopGame/{{Mastermind}}''.
** In the endgame, wielding the Amulet of Yendor lets you play hot/cold to find the hidden portals to the next level.
** "Mother, May I?" with the Quest Leader.
** Minesweeper in the Ft. Ludios treasure room. (Although this may be more of a ShoutOut.)
* {{Metagame}}: Many sort-of-intentional deaths are caused on the first few levels by people repeatedly seeking some early advantage, such as quaffing from fountains (it's supplication to the RandomNumberGod for a wish, in case you're curious), or kicking sinks for a ring and then dying if a foocubus/black pudding comes up and they can't handle it (or don't want to waste time handling it). This is a form of startscumming, and not everyone thinks it's a-OK.
* MightyGlacier: Mūmakil. Their cousins baluchitheria, as well, to a degree, but those are slightly faster and, although tougher, less offensively strong.
* MiniDungeon: The game has a few side branches, such as the gnome mines and a couple of towers.
* MissionFromGod: The ExcusePlot.
* MoneyForNothing: There are things that are worth spending gold on, but the fact that you can kill almost anything you gave your gold to means that generally, once you're done with getting your protection, you're more or less done with money as well.
* MonstersEverywhere: Horses, bees, trolls, elves, snakes, demons--and everything in between--grows out of rock. Or perhaps they are spawned by the evil Wizard. But why then does he spawn a puny rat to defeat the hero that just killed five dragons without breaking a sweat? Maybe to maintain a certain ambiance? Kitten and Vampire Lord fights side by side!
* MookBouncer: The Quantum Mechanic has a "teleport" attack.
* {{Munchkin}}: ''Not'' playing this way is practically suicide.
* MushroomSamba: The hallucination effect. It's a temporary status effect obtained by drinking a certain type of potion, eating the corpses of some monsters (including several fungus monsters), or being hit by an exploding black light. It causes nearby monsters and items to appear as random other items or monsters that don't actually exist. It also gives alternate messages for most visual and audio messages.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: One of the things the [[RecurringBoss Wizard]] can do to make your life more difficult is steal the [[PlotCoupon Amulet of Yendor]]. And then leave fake ones. Do ''not'' try to enter the endgame without the real one...
** Quaffing a cursed Potion of Gain Level on dungeon level 1 is a failsafe way to exit the Dungeons of Doom. If the player's not carrying the Amulet of Yendor, he/she just "feels uneasy." If he does have the amulet, it's up and out. The Dev Team Really Does think of everything.
* NerfArm: Cream pies are surprisingly useful as weapons, and you can eat them.
* NintendoHard: To the point where there is no shame in dying on the second or third level if you're a new player. One can die in less than 50 turns if they don't know what they're doing, and it's not unheard of for players to die on their ''first turn'' (but you have to try fairly hard to do that).
* NonHumanUndead: Zombie and mummy giants, elves, dwarves, orcs, and gnomes along with the regular ol' human variant. You can also zap most corpses with wands of undead turning to bring monsters and animals back to life.
* NostalgiaLevel: The Rogue level, a reference to the original ''VideoGame/{{Rogue}}'', is presented in black and white, with different symbols for various features and objects, and even some changes to game mechanics (such as monsters not leaving corpses).
* TheNudifier: The scroll of destroy armor (and the destroy armor spell used by certain monsters).
* OhCrap: Many players have this reaction when they realize they will die in a fight or other bad things.
* OlympusMons: A high-ranking angelic being and an uber-powerful undead mage can both be your pets, despite possibly being powerful enough to destroy your character several times over. With a bit of work, even two of the horsemen of the apocalypse can be brought under your control.
* OneHitKill: Tons of em, on both sides.
** A Wand of Death, the Finger of Death spell, a bad roll on a poison check, doing anything that involves your bare skin and anything even tangentially related to a footrice including the contents of their eggs, hitting a Floating Eye in some cases, encountering a soldier ant/leocrotta/mūmak/minotaur when unprepared for melee, Medusa's gaze. A drowning attack is technically a two-hit kill but feels like a one-hit kill.
* OptionalSexualEncounter: Succubi and incubi again. The page image for that trope is from this game.
* OurWerebeastsAreDifferent: {{Werewolves}}, wererats, and werejackals.
* PacifistRun: It is possible for a very skilled player to win the game without personally killing anything.
* PetInterface: a surprising amount for tame monsters.
** The safe_pet and highlight pet options.
** Carrying pet treats in open inventory (tripe for dogs/cats, pears/apples for horses) means your pet will stay much closer to you.
*** Tossing your pet a treat reinforces its recent behavior. You can train your pet to steal from shops!
** A leash physically keeps your pet close to you, even when going up/down stairs or dropping through holes. (You can use multiple leashes, too.)
** A tin whistle will kind of call your pet to you. A magic whistle will teleport your pet(s) to your side if they're anywhere on the level.
** #chatting to your pet can tell you about their condition.
** Pets are reluctant to step on a square with a cursed item on it (unless there's food there they want.) This can identify cursed items. It can also be used to control a tame animal's movement.
** You can 'a'pply a bullwhip at a humanoid pet to take their weapon away. (For replacement with a better weapon.) You can also prepare and leave weapons, armor, and tools for your humanoid pets to pick up and use.
** Wand of probing tells what a monster (tame or otherwise) is carrying.
** A stethoscope tells an animal's basic HitPoints and its speed.
** Spells of healing and extra healing can be used to heal pets.
** Breaking a potion of regular, extra, or full healing can heal pets.
** Saddles permit horses, dragons, and some other monsters to be ridden.
* PlayerDataSharing: Bones files allow the corpses/graves of previous player characters to show up.
* PointOfNoReturn: Right before the elemental planes.
* PoirotSpeak: For the Samurai role some item names are translated into Japanese, and the quest dialogue is lightly peppered with miscellaneous Japanese words and expressions.
* PressStartToGameOver: If you're very unlucky with the RandomlyGeneratedLevels, it's possible to die on your first turn, and there's even a special HaveANiceDeath message for it.
* PsychicRadar: Telepaths can, when blinded in any manner, see the exact location of any monster on the current floor that can think.
* PublicDomainArtifact: Several of the one-of-a-kind artifacts, including [[KingArthur Excalibur]], [[NorseMythology Mjollnir]], and the ''tsurugi'' of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muramasa Muramasa]].
* {{Pun}}
** Levitating characters will sink if they float over a sink.
** Drinking a cursed potion of gain level causes a character to move up a dungeon level.
** Scrolls of mail, on UNIX systems, are delivered by a ''mail daemon''.
** If you try to identify a wand of ''striking'' by engraving something on the floor, you'll receive a message that it "unsuccessfully fights your attempt to write."
** The tourist's artifact, a credit card, lets you ''charge'' items.
* RandomNumberGod: The TropeNamer.
** RandomlyGeneratedLoot: He holds domain over the loot, like any good roguelike's RNG. Some items get blessed or cursed, a few items get fireproof or rustproof, and a few items get a numeric bonus, like a stack of +1 darts.
* RareCandy: Potions of gain level and wraith corpses give level-ups. Potions of gain ability (especially blessed) and the "gain ability" effect of magic fountains increase stats.
* RetGone: A scroll of genocide not only kills all monsters of a given type, it removes them from reality. If you genocide cockatrice and you were holding a cockatrice in your hand and three of their eggs in your backpack, they'll all vanish. If you had a tin filled with red dragon meat and you genocide red dragons, that tin mysteriously becomes empty. And you'll find yourself unable to polymorph into one now, even if you had already done so before. Also, if you genocide your own race/role while polymorphed, the game will say "you feel empty inside". Try to turn back and you will die. If you quit before dying, the game will read "[[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything quit while already on Charon's boat.]]"
* RequiredSecondaryPowers: Scrolls of fire and books of fireball can't burn, Wands and books of cancellation can't be canceled, wands, potions, and books of polymorph can't be polymorphed. The idea being that immunity to the effect they contain is necessary to contain it in the first place.
* ReviveKillsZombie: Pestilence (one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse) takes severe damage if you throw healing potions at him (However, his magic resistance is so high that he will always resist this effect unless you level-drain him first). Inverted for Death, who is healed by instadeath spells.
* ''VideoGame/{{Rogue}}'': ''[=NetHack=]'''s predecessor.
* RuleOfThree: There are three end game bosses to fight.
* SaveGameLimits: The game only allows one savefile per character. If you want to make backups to protect against crashes, you'll have to do that manually. Any other use of backups is considered [[SaveScumming very bad form.]]
* SaveScumming: Like just about any roguelike, ''[=NetHack=]'' erases your save upon death. Instead, some players will "start scum," repeatedly starting and quitting the game until one gets a favorable set of starting equipment or stats. This is usually done with wizards, due to the ridiculous magical items a lucky wizard can start the game with (pre-ID'd to boot). A little over 50% of all NAO games are turn-0 quits, a good portion of those wizards.
* SchizophrenicDifficulty: Despite dangers like arch-liches, mind flayers, and Rodney chasing you, the game gets much, ''much'' easier after the first dozen levels or so due to the necessity of being CrazyPrepared and to vastly overpowered early monsters like soldier ants, leocrottas, and chameleons.
* SchmuckBait: Played with. Most unidentified scrolls have gibberish names like "ZELGO MER" or "XIXAXA XOXAXA XUXAXA," but one of them is titled "READ ME." Whether it's actually Schmuck Bait depends on whether it turns out to be a helpful scroll or, say, a scroll of destroy armor (which [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin destroys some of your armor]]).
* SdrawkcabName: Yendor...
** The Wizard of Yendor is [[FanNickname affectionately referred to as]] Rodney as a consequence, [[CaptainObvious which is Yendor backwards.]]
* SealedRoomInTheMiddleOfNowhere: Where you end up if you teleport by accident into a vault. Sure, there's a guard who comes along to check it, but if you refuse to give up all your gold [[spoiler:or keep saying you're Croesus]], you're stuck inside until you starve to death.
* SelfImposedChallenge: Lots of them, and the game keeps track of which restrictions you've managed to not yet break. The players have invented some extra-ridiculous challenges like Zen, which requires you to blind yourself for the entire game.
* ShapeshifterModeLock: This will happen if you genocide your race/role while polymorphed. Try to change back and you will die. Also, Amulets of Unchanging can be worn for this effect.
* ShopliftAndDie: The trope was once named Izchak's Wrath, after the only non-random shopkeeper in ''[=NetHack=]''.
* ShoutOut: The ''VideoGame/{{Rogue}}'' level re-skins most of the game's graphics in the style of ''[=NetHack=]'''s famous ancestor.
** [[http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Hallucinatory_Monsters Fighting monsters while hallucinating generates a ton of them.]]
** The [[HawaiianShirtedTourist Tourist]] class is basically one big ShoutOut to ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''. The quest leader's name is even Twoflower!
** The [[AdventurerArchaeologist Archeologist]] class uses a leather jacket, a fedora and a bullwhip, just like [[Franchise/IndianaJones a certain other]] famous archaeologist.
** Many of the game mechanics are shout outs to [=CRPGs=] that were famous when ''[=NetHack=]'' first came out, but are obscure or even forgotten today. For instance:
*** 'K'icking walls to open secret doors is a shoutout to the early games in the ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}'' series.
*** The ritual of using a magical bell, book and candle to open the way to the endgame is straight out of ''VideoGame/{{Ultima 4}}'' (which, in turn, may have borrowed it from ''VideoGame/{{Zork}}''), which probably [[OlderThanTheyThink was inspired by]] an 8th-century [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell,_book,_and_candle excommunication ritual]].
*** The Wizard and Amulet of Yendor are named for the ultra-obscure... ''Amulet of Yendor''.
** As you might expect from a kitchen-sink fantasy game, there are numerous shout-outs to ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', including the magic inscription 'Elbereth', and the sword Orcrist and the dagger Sting.
** Many of the unique artifacts are shout-outs to various works of fiction, including: The Vorpal Sword (''Literature/AliceInWonderland''), Snickersnee (''Theatre/TheMikado''), Stormbringer (''TheElricSaga''), Greyswandir (''Literature/TheChroniclesOfAmber''), and The Eyes of The Overworld (''Literature/DyingEarth'').
** If you chose Barbarian as a class, and get a dog pet, its name will be "[[ComicBook/{{Asterix}} Idefix]]".
** The gold coins are called zorkmids. This was the standard unit of currency in ''VideoGame/{{Zork}}''.
** The species names for the coyote monster are based off of WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadRunner. If the coyote is cancelled, the name becomes its real-life nomenclature.
* {{Sidequest}}: the Gnomish Mines, Fort Ludios, and ''VideoGame/{{Sokoban}}'' can be skipped.
** It might actually be impossible to visit Fort Ludios in a given game.
* SilverHasMysticPowers: Vampires, werewolves, and a few other enemies take bonus damage when hit by anything made of silver (even if it isn't a weapon). Shades can ''only'' be harmed by silver.
* SkeletonKey: Any key found will unlock any door or chest (older versions had different kinds of keys that could only open corresponding types of locks).
* SongsInTheKeyOfLock: One way of getting into the Castle. A (possibly unintended) side effect allows you to easily kill off most of the monsters in the castle: [[spoiler:Playing the pass-tune again closes the drawbridge, and any monster on the drawbridge will be crushed to death when it closes. Wash, rinse, repeat. This also destroys any loot they're carrying, though.]]
* SpikesOfDoom: You fall into a pit! You land on a set of sharp iron spikes! [[spoiler:The spikes were poisoned! [[OneHitKill The poison was deadly...]]]]
* SillinessSwitch: Hallucinations, caused by magic or dodgy food. Non-hallucinating silliness includes kitchen sinks, tourists, cameras, Hawaiian shirts, and even the Keystone Kops.
* StatDeath: If your Intelligence drops below 3 (usually by mind flayer attack, although there are other ways to do this), you "die of brainlessness".
* StockAnimalDiet: Horses eat apples and carrots. Thus, a Knight starts the game with apples and carrots, to feed its pet pony. Horses can also eat other vegetarian food, such as lichen corpses.
* StuckItems: Cursed armor can't be removed, and cursed weapons can't be un-wielded. There are several ways of dealing with these problems, only one ("[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin remove curse]]") obvious.[[note]]For example, if it's made of stone, you can cast stone-to-flesh and eat it. Eating cursed food will make you sick, but at least the bigger problem is dealt with.[[/note]]
* StupidityInducingAttack: Mind Flayers have an attack that reduces intelligence.
* SufferTheSlings: An available weapon; although not particularly effective, at least the ammunition is easy to come by.
* SuperDrowningSkills: You can cross water by almost every conceivable method ''except'' swimming.
** Including, it should be noted, donning an amulet of magical breathing and ''[[WalkDontSwim walking along the bottom]]''.
** Thankfully, non-aquatic monsters have even ''worse'' SuperDrowningSkills.
* SuperWeaponAverageJoe: Humanoid monsters can find and use wands. This can lead to very weak monsters killing the player with ease. Fans refer to this happening as "gnome with a wand of death".
* SuperWeight: You start at [[ActionSurvivor zero]] or occasionally [[BadassNormal one]] on TVTropes' scale. Except for the [[LethalJokeCharacter Tourist]], who starts at [[MistakenForBadass negative one]]. You spend the game [[TookALevelInBadass climbing the scale]].
* SwallowedWhole: Can happen with some of the larger monsters. [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Don't panic]], [[NotQuiteDead you aren't dead yet...]]
* TakenForGranite: From the cockatrices, one of the game's many GoddamnedBats. If you manage to kill the 'trice, you can then wield its corpse, turning its power against your enemies. Make sure to wear gloves, though, and don't trip.
* TechnicalPacifist: See PacifistRun, above, and note that the requirement is that you don't ''personally'' kill anything. Leading an army of high-level pets through the dungeon and letting them slaughter everything you meet is just fine.
* TechPoints: You need both "skill slots" (gained through ExperiencePoints) and a certain number of successful uses of the item/spell in question to advance a skill.
* TeleporterAccident
* ThatCameOutWrong / InnocentInnuendo / AccidentalInnuendo: Nurse dancing, BDSM[[note]]Black dragonscale mail; see AcronymAndAbbreviationOverload[[/note]], techniques for the proper use of leashes...describing your most recent ''[=NetHack=]'' run can sound downright kinky.
* ThrowTheBookAtThem: Unusual move, but if it'll save your behind, you shouldn't discount it. Spellbooks can also be wielded.
* ToHellAndBack: The bottom (second) half of the game takes place in Gehennom. Earlier ''[=NetHack=]'' versions literally had Hell instead.
* TomatoInTheMirror: "Who do you think you are, [[spoiler:War]]?"
* TooAwesomeToUse: Averted with a vengeance, since you practically ''have'' to use powerful items early and often to survive at all. If you come in with the hoarding attitude, it can take a while to get used to the idea that it's OK to use two charges from your wand of fire on dungeon level three as long as you don't die.
** One clear example, the scroll of Scare Monster. You get one, maybe two uses before it crumbles to dust. Early on engraving Elbereth in the dust works almost as well, and is repeatable. Late game opponents aren't affected by the scroll.
*** Very useful if you get blinded, however.
* TotallyRadical: If you end up hallucinating, [[NewAgeRetroHippie man]].
* TouchOfDeath: A couple of high-level monsters can do this. Getting the proper preventative gear is a early-game priority.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: The player is supposed to make out most gameplay mechanics this way. In a game with an immense game world, permanent death, and most errors leading to said permanent death. No wonder that players doubt the possibility of Ascending without reading spoilers. The game does provide an Oracle, a special monster which gives valuable advice about the game, but it has great limitations on its consultations.
* TurnUndead: Available through a spell, a wand, and a class attribute. Due to liberal application of JustForPun, you can also use it to [[spoiler:revive corpses.]] Very useful when [[spoiler:your highly leveled-up pet gets killed. Although beware, it won't necessarily revive tame.]]
* UndergroundMonkey: The standard game is constructed entirely of ASCII characters, leading to a lot of creature-overlap. You definitely still don't want to confuse a dwarf king with a mind flayer (both are a purple [[color:purple:h]]). Or a mordor orc with a floating eye (one a dark blue 'o', one a dark blue 'e'.) Major variants contain MONSTERCOLOR option that allows player to change the interface, or alternate tilesets can be installed to supply more information.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: The Rogue Level, which is a level that resembles ''VideoGame/{{Rogue}}''.
* {{Unicorn}}s of varying alignment.
* UnicornsAreSacred: Killing a unicorn of your alignment incurs a sizable penalty to your Luck Stat. Sacrificing a unicorn of your alignment is generally a good way to suffer Yet Another Stupid Death, by way of invoking your god's wrath--and if it's on a cross-aligned altar, it'll change your CharacterAlignment, which is one of the easiest ways to render the game {{Unwinnable}}. Sacrificing a unicorn of any alignment on an altar of the same alignment will also invoke that god's wrath. On the other hand, sacrificing a cross-aligned unicorn on a co-aligned altar pleases your god.
* UnidentifiedItems: The TropeCodifier. It also has a spell (either by direct casting or by scroll) for the purpose of identifying unknown items, and a separate one for checking if it's cursed. Equipping an unknown amulet without checking either is a good way to end up with an Amulet of Strangulation that you can't un-equip in time.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Look at ShoutOut list above. Was this made in the 80s or what?
* UnusableEnemyEquipment: Averted. If a critter has it, you can kill him and use it. (An exception being said critter's body; you may or may not get a corpse.)
** Averted only if it's not used on or against you first... This is particularly frustrating with AutoRevive, as monsters can use it too. Or the Wand of Death. Or that potion of gain level. The monsters would love a chance to use their equipment. And they'll pick it up off the floor to hand it to you.
** Monsters have a starting inventory and also [[RandomDrop death drops]] ("That was my [[ImpossibleItemDrop prized wand of nothing]], YouBastard! I was saving that!" grunts the orc), though sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference if the monster dies without a chance to use the item.
* UselessUsefulSpell: The [[OneHitKill wand of death/finger of death spell]] is rare and ruinously expensive to cast, and many of the strongest enemies are undead (and therefore immune) or respawn quickly.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: Helping a monster out of a pit might make it peaceful, and you also might get an alignment boost if you're Lawful.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: Have a chat with the nurses. They're not mean! They'll go right on [[CherryTapping trying]] to get you to take off that armor and put away that weapon. They'll heal you! And they'll keep trying to heal you even as you chop them up and tin them with your tinning kit.
* VideogameCrueltyPunishment: Your patron god has very firm ideas on what is and is not right action. This doesn't mean you're supposed to be well-behaved. It means you're not supposed to be ''caught''.
** Or, in [[{{Munchkin}} some people's]] minds, it means surviving ''the very wrath of God''. Which is ''[[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome doable]]''. [[spoiler:You can survive the lightning bolt with an amulet of reflection, and the wide-angle disintegration beam by ''eating a black dragon's corpse''.]] And best of all? If you do, your god says "[[ThisCannotBe I believe it not!]]"
* WalkOnWater: Obtaining the appropriate magic item allows you to do this.
* WarpWhistle: The wizard's quest artifact, the Eye of Aethiopica. Invoking it lets you travel to any dungeon branch.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Medusa can be insta-killed by a mirror, or the Reflection property.
* WeBuyAnything: Averted. Most shops specialize and will only buy what they sell, and all shops have a limited amount of money with which to buy stuff from the PC, although shopkeepers will offer store credit instead when they can't pay you in cash anymore.
** Played straight in that any shop will ''sell'' the player anything that comes into the shopkeeper's possession. This can be useful for price identification.
* WeakButSkilled: Several classes. Also a good mindset for the player themselves, especially in the early game.
* WeaponizedOffspring: It's possible for a female character polymorphed into a monster to lay eggs. Cockatrice eggs can be thrown in order to [[TakenForGranite stone]] an enemy. Throwing eggs you laid results in a luck penalty though. Alternatively a character that finds an egg can carry it with them, and it may become a tame monster upon hatching.
* WeaponOfXSlaying: Orcrist and Sting (orcs); Ogresmasher, Giantslayer, Werebane, Demonbane, Dragonbane, and Trollsbane (ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin); Scepter of Might (non-coaligned monsters); Sunsword (undead); Vorpal Blade (jabberwocks - it ''always'' decapitates them, instead of the normal 5% chance per attack).
* AWinnerIsYou: If you fight, sneak, and fast-talk your way through 45 to 53 levels of EverythingTryingToKillYou, ''both ways'', plus 5 bonus endgame levels, over what can be weeks of playtime and hundreds of thousands of moves, you get this:
--> [[spoiler: An invisible choir sings, and you are bathed in radiance...--More-- \\
The voice of [your God] booms out: "Congratulations, mortal!"--More-- \\
"In return for thy service, I grant thee the gift of Immortality!"--More-- \\
You Ascend to the status of Demigod[dess]...--More-- \\
Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] _]]
* WithThisHerring: The Tourist class is the most obvious example, but several other classes qualify.
* WizardNeedsFoodBadly: In an exception to BottomlessBladder, the PC needs to eat, with the PC fainting if s/he gets hungry enough, and eventually dying of starvation. If your character class is a Wizard or Valkyrie, or your character race is Elf, the game will actually use this phrase, in one of the game's many [[ShoutOut Shouts Out]].
* YetAnotherStupidDeath: The TropeNamer.
* YouWillNotEvadeMe: Once you've found him and woken him up, The Wizard of Yendor will reappear periodically wherever you are, and taunt you for thinking you could elude him (if he was alive and on a different dungeon level). A slightly different taunt appears if he was killed instead (he revives after a while). Several high-level monsters, including the Wizard, will teleport to your location if you try to run away from the fight but are still on the same level. All of them combine this with GetBackHereBoss, for maximum annoyance.
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