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The Many Ways To Die in Nethack

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i'll-just-take-a-sip-and-... dept.

132

The GameSetWatch column '@Play' deals with the storied history of Rogue-like text adventures. This week, author John Harris discusses the many ways to die in Nethack. From the article: "The lowly cockatrice is perhaps the most dangerous monster in the game. There are plenty of monsters with more hit points, who do more damage, who have special attacks, and are just bigger, but cockatrices instantly kill anyone who touches them with their bare skin, and are thus very likely to kill players unwise in their dealings with them. Even Death up on Astral Plane has to succeed in an attack against a player to deliver an instakill, but a cockatrice can kill by being attacked. If the player attempts to fight a cockatrice without a weapon or wearing gloves and hits, he turns to stone. If he attempts to pick up a dead one with his bare hands, that will also turn him to stone. (It can also be wielded, however. Applications for a wielded cockatrice corpse are left for you to imagine, but I will say that it can be, hm, useful.)"

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132 comments

Missing option (0)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645373)

I searched the text but found no mention of the obvious option:

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Re:Missing option (0)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645411)

ok, ok its not from nethack (showing my amateurism)

Re:Missing option (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645513)

I was going to say, Grues were from Zork. Also, handily enough, they make a great excuse for a lack of a costume at holloween parties.

Host: What's your costume suposed to be?
Me: I'm a Grue.
Host: What's that?
Me: We eat people in the pitch dark.
Host: What's it look like?
Me: No one knows, they only attack in the dark.

-Rick

PS: The worse part is, one of the party hosts knew what a Grue was.

Re:Missing option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645693)

Host: What's it look like?
Me: No one knows, they only attack in the dark.

I found out what a grue looks like!! They look like giant construction zone cranes: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=Grue&btnG= Search+Images [google.com]

Re:Missing option (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647125)

Grues are in NetHack. Sort of. They're one of the monsters you can see while hallucinating.

Re:Missing option (1)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649577)

That is the best part of nethack - the number of different combinations. My favourite is "the attorney jingles".

Although, being killed after eating a green slime wasn't fun, especially after getting down to the ghost-town level with all the shades and skeletons.

Re:Missing option (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645617)

That line shows up in Zork, not Nethack. As far as I can recall, the only occurrance of grues in nethack is while hallucinating.

Re:Missing option (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646605)

The original occurance of a Grue was in The Collosal Adventure (/usr/games/adventure in bsd-games package) and all the others are just "ports".

Re:Missing option (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647205)

I thought the bsd-games packages was in portage, by nature of its very origin...

Re:Missing option (1)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652229)

You must mean "ports", as we're talking BSD, not Gentoo here. The BSD games moved to the ports collection quite recently (IIRC, from 5.2 to 5.4). Before that, they were part of the base system.

Re:Missing option (1)

Noodlenose (537591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645643)

Isn't that a quote from ADOM [www.adom.de] (which of course is vastly superior)?

Re:Missing option (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645765)

No. It is not.

Please hand in your geek license. You have no use for it now.

Re:Missing option (1)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646957)

Actually, that quote /is/ in ADOM, though obviously as tribute. (To see it, become Doomed, then walk into a dark room.)

Re:Missing option (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648323)

In Soviet Russia, grue is likely to be eaten by YOU!

um... (0)

empee (219598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645377)

Uh... what?

Nethack is a great game (1)

Anxarcule (884937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645383)

Nethack is a great game and is still very playable today. It makes a great time-waster in case any of you need one. You can either download and run it locally, or play via telnet at a site such as nethack.alt.org. My favorite way to die would be...crushed to death by a falling drawbridge. I hate those drawbridges.

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645773)

Nethack is so... mid 90's. It hasn't really evolved much over the years. I gave it up years ago in favor of ToME (angband variant). I think ToME is pretty much the state of the art of Rogue-likes these days.

Then again Nethack is kinda nice because it is relatively simple (and you get a free pet!).

-matthew

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646239)

There's an isometric graphical version out there on the *almost* latest edition. It's called Falcon's Eye http://users.tkk.fi/~jtpelto2/nethack.html [users.tkk.fi] . If the ASCII graphics are turning you off, you can try that.

I've been playing NetHack since the late 80's (1988 to be exact) and still have it installed on several computers (including the PocketPC version for my phone). It is a great time waster that has had me hooked for almost 20 years.

Layne

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646501)

If SLASH'EM is your favorite Rogue-like, google Vulture's Claw or Vulture's Eye for a 3d version.

Jaysyn

Re:Nethack is a great game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647187)

Don't forget noeGNUd, the fully 3D nethack client. It's been going slowly of late since Clive has taken over Falcon's Eye too, but there was even work on adding animated 3D models.

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647529)

There's an isometric graphical version out there on the *almost* latest edition.


By "state of the art" I mean gameplay and variety of experience... not graphics. I've tried the isometric frontends to Nethack and they are awful. They are difficult to play because you can't see very much of the map on the screen at any given time. Very hard to plan moves or make escapes. Also, ascii letters are a great way to visually identify/classify monsters. ToME is actually still ASCII.. the way any self respecting Rogue-like should be.

I've been playing NetHack since the late 80's (1988 to be exact) and still have it installed on several computers (including the PocketPC version for my phone). It is a great time waster that has had me hooked for almost 20 years.


I also played Rogue/Nethack on and off for at least a decade. But then I discovered ToME. You should give http://www.t-o-m-e.net/ [t-o-m-e.net] a try. It offers the same style of gaming with a LOT more depth and variety. Nethack is a narrow tunnel in comparison.

-matthew

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651431)

If you like ascii, but want more than your standard text mode version, get to the "Rogue" level in Vulture's Eye/Claw (which, I should add, is the replacement for the dead Falcon's Eye project). The monsters there are isometric representations of 3d models of huge stone letters.

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

hyc (241590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649879)

Gawd. Hack 1.0.2 was one of the first programs I dissected when I was learning C. I contributed a bunch of bug fixes and enhancements that went into Hack 1.0.3 and 1.0.4. This was 1985 or 1986... I remember struggling with getting the executable to fit into 640K on a PC, and being so relieved to have my 1MB Atari 1040 ST to play it on.

One of the things I worked on was splitting the UI into a separate module, with a simple protocol in between. So you could run the main game as a server and connect with curses or graphical UIs depending on preference. Unfortunately having worked on so much of the code started to take the fun out of playing it for me; I knew all the secrets already. Haven't thought about it much in recent years.

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

Jesterboy (106813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650301)

Actually, I think the real state of the art ASCII game is Dwarf Fortress [bay12games.com] ; it's even in alpha! All kidding aside, Dwarf Fortress keeps true ASCII graphics, and has quite a few unique features, such as it's massive, uniquely generated, persistent world. Or a sort of "Sim Fortress" in which you command a legion of ASCII dwarves carving a fortress into a mountain. In my opinion, this portion trumps the rogue-like aspect of it, but that play mode is enjoyable as well. Want to go visit the fortress you've abandoned? Go right ahead.

I think the next evolution of Rogue-like games is the MMORPG. You can quote me on this: we will see a Rogue-like MMORPG before the decade is done. Not a MUD, mind you, a real Rogue/NetHack-ish MMORPG, possibly with PvP. Take that, WoW!

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650527)

I think the next evolution of Rogue-like games is the MMORPG. You can quote me on this: we will see a Rogue-like MMORPG before the decade is done. Not a MUD, mind you, a real Rogue/NetHack-ish MMORPG, possibly with PvP. Take that, WoW!

That reminds me (vaguely) of EQ's Dungeons of Norrath expansion. One idea that would've been very decent was if the EQ team had managed to construct a "building block" style dungeon engine. As you moved from level to level you could get an entirely randomly generated dungeon level with appropriate level monsters. (Functioning similar to how Moria/Angband generates levels.)

Things going too rough? Find a stairs leading up... Loot not good enough? Find a stairs going downward...

It would be the sort of dungeon where you round up a party and go crawling for an hour or two at your own pace. No downloaded maps, random surprises around every corner (no knowing that there are 3 mobs in the next room on a 18.32 minute timer), and you'll always be exploring new layouts.

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651477)

I think the next evolution of Rogue-like games is the MMORPG. You can quote me on this: we will see a Rogue-like MMORPG before the decade is done. Not a MUD, mind you, a real Rogue/NetHack-ish MMORPG, possibly with PvP. Take that, WoW!


Actually, there is already a multiplayer version of ToME: http://www.t-o-m-e.net/main.php?tome_current=1 [t-o-m-e.net] Unfortunately Rogue-like games don't really work well in multiplayer mode because the game style is strategy, not action. In other words, you don't play in real time. You are meant to pause and plan out moves. And when you pause, the game pauses. It is very difficult to synchronize multiple players when each one is taking turns at their own pace. For example, lets say you have two players in a room. One player is doing careful, turn by turn battle with a monster and one player is just passing through. How do you resolve the different turn rates?

I had the "OMG! Multiplayer Nethack would be so awesome!" bug like ten years ago. I've given it lots of thought. It just wouldn't work well.

-matthew

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

Jesterboy (106813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651695)

I had the "OMG! Multiplayer Nethack would be so awesome!" bug like ten years ago. I've given it lots of thought. It just wouldn't work well.

While you do raise some valid points, I think you're jumping the gun in saying it "wouldn't work well", especially if you haven't checked out Dwarf Fortress, which does run in a pretty much "real time" during Fortress Mode. Of course, since your job is to plan out and design a fortress, you go through the usual pause/plan/unpause cycle you mentioned, but I think that's because you're controlling several dwarves instead of a single one. Perhaps saying "Rogue-like MMORPG" is overstating it on my part since, as you point out, the Rogue style of gameplay would need to be modified to accomodate situations like you mentioned.

What really got me thinking that it could work is Dwarf Fortress. In fortress mode, you watch all these dwarves, animals, and monsters which you have limited control over run around doing their jobs, eating, sleeping, and drinking in a cycle that reminds me of an NPC in an RPG. Perhaps I should modify my claim to say that we will see a Dwarf Fortress-like MMORPG. I would never have thought a ASCII FMV sequence would work either, but DF also manages to do this quite well.

Re:Nethack is a great game (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652273)

While you do raise some valid points, I think you're jumping the gun in saying it "wouldn't work well", especially if you haven't checked out Dwarf Fortress, which does run in a pretty much "real time" during Fortress Mode.


Maybe Dwarf Fortress would work in multiplayer mode, but it doesn't sounds very "rogue-like" at all other than being ASCII graphics based.

Of course, since your job is to plan out and design a fortress, you go through the usual pause/plan/unpause cycle you mentioned, but I think that's because you're controlling several dwarves instead of a single one. Perhaps saying "Rogue-like MMORPG" is overstating it on my part since, as you point out, the Rogue style of gameplay would need to be modified to accomodate situations like you mentioned.


My point is that the style gameplay is one of the primary features that makes a rogue-like rogue-like. Take that away and all you have is an ASCII graphics MUD. And that is just wierd.

-matthew

I can't get it to run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646865)

I am running SuSE 10.0 with nothing tricked-out or fancy. I checked the box to include nethack in the install. It seemed to go fine.

When I tried to play it though, it gave me an error. I can't remember the error message and I am at work now (I know, slashdot at work is evil).

Just curious...anyone else have this happen? Figured out a way to fix it?

--AC

Re:I can't get it to run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647673)

'make uninstall' (or similar) is the only reasonable way to fix any install problems of NetHack.

Quit while you still can! This game will consume you.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645385)

I AM A FISH!

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645393)

Forget insightful comment, here's my PIN number: 3772

Re:First post (0, Offtopic)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647475)

Hey, that's the combination on my luggage!

DeathRobin (1)

HanClinto (621615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645427)

As many may know, one can play Nethack on a publicly-viewable server at nethack.alt.org [alt.org] . There is also a group project to play through and obtain as many unique deaths in Nethack as possible on a shared account called DeathRobin [alt.org] . For the curious, one can check on his progress here [katron.org] . The character was started as one of several shared accounts on the IRC channel #nethack on the Freenode network.

Late-breaking news... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645487)

Any word on when this new "nethack" game will be released?

Even more ways to die (1)

Iwanowitch (993961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645583)

Spoilerish... (outdated version, though) http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~eva/nethack/ways_to _die.html [cam.ac.uk] Also, thinking about my own stuff, I especially liked 'killed by elementary chemistry'. Never add water to acid, people, always the other way around...

Re:Even more ways to die (1)

14CharUsername (972311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645901)

Is it also possible to die from looking directly at a horrible shade of yellow?

My favorite ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645675)

Wearing gloves while wielding a cockatrice corpse (safe and useful!), but falling down the stairs because you are carrying too much stuff or your legs have been pricked by a xan, and landing on top of the corpse. *Poof*, you're stone.

Damn.

Re:My favorite ... (1)

G_Biloba (519320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648133)

Or falling into a pit.

And I was doing so well....

My favorite (1)

DotWarner (56614) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645709)

Dot-Bar-Hum-Fem-Neu, Killed by kicking a hallucinogen-distorted mumak.

Re:My favorite (1)

LordEvan (830939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646157)

I had a friend back in college that played Nethack. He named his dog "Screaming Orgasm in the Night". Made for on helluva funny entry when he failed to feed the dog and it killed him...

Re:My favorite (2, Funny)

Scooter (8281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651795)

The one I always remember from my Nethack playing days at uni was also pet related. I had 3 pet dragons (Huey, Duey and Luey (sp?)) I also had a ring of teleport control (had eaten several leprechauns) and a magic whiste (to teleport my private fire breathing army).

My usual room clearance mode was teleport in, teleport the dragons in with the whistle, teleport out. I didn't do the last bit, the dragons attacked some nearby demons with fire, I got caught in the crossfire and the several tonnes of potions and scrolls I was carrying also went up, causing death by.... "thermonuclear explosion". :D

Another one that sticks in the mind even though it wasn't technically part of the game and was from the earlier plain "Hack" version, was my mate Dave, who edited his save file and was very pleased with himself for giving himself 32768 hit points. Until that is, he killed a bugbear, went up a level, gained 4 hp and died with -32764 hp. Killed by a signed integer :D

What I want to know... (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645715)

Is how you die by touching the universe.

Kick the edge of one of the planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646055)

Keep kicking the edge of a plane (in the end game) until you die. I think it's 1 hp per kick or something like that.

Re:Kick the edge of one of the planes (1)

Sartak (589317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646219)

I tried this, on Earth, Air, and Fire, but all I got was "killed by kicking a wall"

Rumor is it's not possible in vanilla 3.4.3.

-- Eidolos

Can also get Doom as a roguelike (1)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645785)

Nethack was good fun, but I don't play it so often now for fear of losing months of my life. DoomRL [chaosforge.org] (Wiki [wikipedia.org] ) is fun to play for a short while - a "coffee break" game, as they call it.

rec.games.roguelike.nethack (2, Informative)

curecollector (957211) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645829)

For plenty of Nethack fatalities, check out rec.games.roguelike.nethack, and search for either YASD (Yet Another Stupid Death) or YAAD (Yet Another Annoying Death).

Also, check out the Top Deaths List [alt.org] at alt.org.

Choking on a cup of STFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646755)

Cause of death:
3940 1 0.000 choked on a cup of STFU

Re:rec.games.roguelike.nethack (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650805)


For plenty of Nethack fatalities, check out rec.games.roguelike.nethack, and search for either YASD (Yet Another Stupid Death) or YAAD (Yet Another Annoying Death).

For added geekiness, check the rec.games.roguelike.nethack posts by "Raisse the Thaumaturge" (a.k.a Irina Rempt).
She ends her posts by a pseudo-sig "Raisse, killed by ..." where the reason is an actual Nethack death message chosen to be somewhat relevant to the post.

Re:rec.games.roguelike.nethack (1)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651533)

I hear about Irina occasionally. How has she been? I haven't heard from her in, well, years.

My best character meets her demise (3, Funny)

edschurr (999028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645899)

So I was at a friend's house, and we were on seperate computers playing different games. My game was Nethack. I had been playing for maybe a month or two at a decent rate but had never gotten very far.

But this time was different; I was lucky. My Valkyrie found Excalibur, Mjollnir, Grey Dragon Scale Mail, was easily destroying everything in her path, and I finally got to go on my quest for the first time.

I entered the quest level, and ran straight into the lava.

Re:My best character meets her demise (1)

davido42 (956948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646027)

You DID copy the saved game file didn't you?? I wasted many an hour on nethack in my day. I have intentionally not learned to play any of the "modern" RPGs, lest I become a WoW statistic. Now I just waste my days reading /.

http://www.bitworksmusic.com/ [bitworksmusic.com]

Re:My best character meets her demise (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646207)

You do know that copying the saved game to prevent it's deletion is frowned upon and is referred to as savescumming, right?

Re:My best character meets her demise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646731)

Yeah. Save-scumming is like re-arranging the other guy's pieces on the chess-board to get yourself out of check. It's a good way to say "I suck at this and probably always will."

savescummer in chief (1)

davido42 (956948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647369)

Yes, I know it's frowned upon, but hey, when you suck otherwise, what's a nethacker to do? Please don't call the authorities! They will repeatedly type jjjjjjj in my general direction!

http://www.bitworksmusic.com/ [bitworksmusic.com]

Re:My best character meets her demise (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648759)

Hell... i even wrote an app at one time to do save game management :-P

Re:My best character meets her demise (1)

nosredna (672587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649463)

But... it has 'hack' right in the name!

Re:My best character meets her demise (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650763)

I'm glad that people in the open source community don't mind if you do whatever you want with the software you download.

Re:My best character meets her demise (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646767)

The Valkyrie was my favorite character. Combine Mjollnir and the Gauntlets of Power (can throw Mjollnir and have it return every time), get all the immunities from corpses, and you were basically unstoppable (except by stupidity, of course).

If you prayed enough at the right times and sacrificed enough monsters, Mjollnir was pretty much guaranteed. ANd I didn't have trouble finding the GoP either.

-matthew

Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (4, Interesting)

tehshen (794722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646017)

This is going to sound a bit weird at first, especially if you're new to the game, but really... NetHack isn't that hard. After a few years of playing, NetHack is "normal" difficulty, and most other games come under "easy". Redefining terms to suit myself? Yes, but once you get going, losing a game due to bad luck or lack of knowledge becomes less and less believable.

I haven't ascended yet. I've come close twice: I once made it to the VS without the candles [:(] and once had a very promising character blow up Lord Surtur's drawbridge while trying to clear a boulder out the way. Neither of these were my own bad luck, well, not much; the problem was my own stupidity and not paying attention.

Is there a lot to learn? Not really, no. It might take you a few plays of random characters to get to know all the items or monsters, and (if you're not spoiled) some time to get acquainted with them, but from that you can deduce most deaths. Once you've learned that touching or handling a cockatrice (or its corpse) in any way stones you, you know not to take its corpse, feel it while blind, kick one, help one out of a pit, or all those other things. The game still needs to know all these, which is why the list of footrice-related deaths is so long.

The best way to die is to not pay attention. Playing late at night or while tired, playing when you have better things to worry about, or playing too fast are all ways to get you killed quickly. Thought that purple h was a dwarf king? Too bad, you should have checked. Wielding a c corpse while burdened? Should have looked at the status line. I've often died, surrounded by monsters, with (identified!) wands and scrolls of teleportation in my inventory. Woe is me.

On the nethack.alt.org server, the record for ascension streak is IIRC 23 straight ascensions, some with conducts. So although luck plays a part in all games, it's not as big as you think, and ascending with 95% certainty can be done, just as long as you keep paying attention.

Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn)

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

Sartak (589317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646293)

NetHack isn't that hard. [...] I haven't ascended yet. I've come close twice

Err, right..

On the nethack.alt.org server, the record for ascension streak is IIRC 23 straight ascensions, some with conducts. So although luck plays a part in all games, it's not as big as you think, and ascending with 95% certainty can be done, just as long as you keep paying attention.

Marvin is really in a class of his own. http://alt.org/nethack/ascstreak.html [alt.org] lists ascension streaks. Note that it drops off very quickly.

--Eidolos

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646545)

I've ascended nethack. I'm going to have the screenshot engraved on my tombstone.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (4, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646743)

This is going to sound a bit weird at first, especially if you're new to the game, but really... NetHack isn't that hard. After a few years of playing, NetHack is "normal" difficulty, and most other games come under "easy". Redefining terms to suit myself? Yes, but once you get going, losing a game due to bad luck or lack of knowledge becomes less and less believable.

I've ascended a couple times, and I still think the game is hard. Once you've got a bag of holding full of wands, scrolls, and potions for every occasion and are sporting a good number of pieces of your Ascension Kit(tm), then sure it's not terribly hard and mostly a matter of paying attention -- because even fully decked out, one slip up can mean YASD.

Before that, though, the game is very difficult and the random number generator can be very cruel to you. For example, if you haven't found some form of magic resistance (I prefer the grey dragon mail) before reaching roughly the castle level, then you're in danger of being on the reciving end of a Touch of Death that ends your game instantly. Or just because you know not to handle a cockatrice corpse doesn't keep you from getting blinded, confused, and then stumbling into a pit which contains a cockatrice corpse. Or you could encounter my nemesis before finding sufficient armor to stave them off: the soldier ant.

On the other hand, there are so many ways to deal with problems that many things that seem bad are survivable. If you're surrounded by monsters, and don't actually have any scrolls of teleportation, you might have a wand of digging to dig yourself an escape hole down to the next level.

In the end, I'd say nethack is hard, but not cheap. Games like Diablo II achieve "hard" by being "cheap" (Multiple shot - fire - lightning enchant anyone?), where you can be killed instantly by random chance, or games where the RoF/damage/hit-points of enemies scales ridiculously until you can't possibly evade them. I think this is part of what sets nethack apart.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16648693)

Before that, though, the game is very difficult and the random number generator can be very cruel to you. For example, if you haven't found some form of magic resistance (I prefer the grey dragon mail) before reaching roughly the castle level

It doesn't take that long to get into a basically "unwinnable" situation. Example: run into anything which has a wand of sleep and you're not sleep resistant.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647063)

I haven't ascended yet. I've come close twice: I once made it to the VS without the candles [:(] and once had a very promising character blow up Lord Surtur's drawbridge while trying to clear a boulder out the way. Neither of these were my own bad luck, well, not much; the problem was my own stupidity and not paying attention.


Oh, that isn't close. Close is dying while wading through hordes of summoned monsters on the astral plane trying to find the right altar. Been there once. That was enough for me. I considered that a win and gave up Nethack. ;-)

-matthew

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647639)

I'm going to have to agree with another poster and say Nethack is still hard(TM). I've ascended seven characters over the years (none recently) but my ratio of winning to failure is so pathetic listing it could make me cry. There have been countless times that characters have been going well, building their ascension kit only to meet their demise due to an unfortunate set of circumstances.

For those just starting, play a Valkryie. Most easy class by far to ascend as Odin likes to hang out Mjollnir like it was candy.

I've tried at least 100 games with a Tourist and only made it past the castle a few times.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647965)

I just ascended a tourist. I started playing monk now, and realize now how freaking hard tourist was.

I'm going for a weaponless, illiterate, wishless, genocideless, vegan monk. If I can do that, I figure I can give the game up permanently.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648145)

I'm going for a weaponless, illiterate, wishless, genocideless, vegan monk. If I can do that, I figure I can give the game up permanently.

That's not that hard... ascend a weaponless, illiterate, wishless, genocideless, vegan tourist and I'd say you've 'won' the game completely. :)

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648371)

Nah.. I've got to say that completely is the athiest foodless ascentions I've seen... That's just wrong.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648421)

Whoa, that is wrong... I can't even figure out how you'd do that... Pray (not in game) for a wand of polymorph/ring of poly control to turn into an undead before you starve?

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16648473)

I believe it's done by starting with a ring of slow digestion, ascending as quickly as possible, and using dying/amulet of life saving to "reset" your hunger status...

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649019)

Also, using poly control and wand of polymorph to become a "new man". This will change your stats around, and reset your hunger status.

PYEC and blessed horn of plenty I hear are handy also, for the unlimited fruit juice.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650885)

Tack on "pacifist" and you've got a real challenge.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

illuvata (677144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651207)

Every 20 turns, rings of the left hand lower nutrition on turn 4, rings of the right on turn 12. So, with two Rings of Slow Digestion, you can keep taking one off on the important turn and not use any food.
Also, Potions of Fruit Juice raise nutrition, but don't count as food, so you can compensate for missed turns and the Amulet of Yendor.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648847)

What gets me about this is not the insane difficulty.... but.... WHY IN THE HELL would an ATHEIST care to ASCEND?

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (1)

qa'lth (216840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648817)

Everyone knows the hardedst ascension is a pacifist gnome healer.

Re:Attention demands 27096 gold pieces. Pay? (yn) (4, Funny)

slaker (53818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649925)

I ascended a wishless tourist once.
I consider it more of an accomplishment than my bachelor's degree.

My favorite death of all time... (3, Funny)

psxman (925240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646035)

nethacker, choked on a kitten
Names altered to protect the innocent, plus I forgot.

Easily a preventable death... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646763)

*sob*

People need to learn the dangers of kitten huffing!!

So the moral of that story is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647525)

becareful how you eat pussy :-P

Remember -- Int'l Nethack Tournament starts 10/31 (1)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646345)

The now-venerable annual International Nethack Tournament starts on 10/31 as always at http://nethack.devnull.net [devnull.net] . These guys are the original online NH tourney, accept no imitations :-)

If you click over there you can volunteer to run a game server, which is kind of fun. Nethack probably has the highest ratio of player brain resources to server CPU resources of any current computer game -- I ran a game server a few years in a row and was always bemused to find that 20 people were playing nethack on my [random ancient piece of hardware] without noticeably impacting its load average or even clogging up my DSL line.

NetHack isn't that cruel (2, Informative)

hweimer (709734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646905)

Actually, NetHack isn't as cruel as pointed out in the article. Instadeaths are extremely rare and almost all can be prevented by following the advice from this spoiler [steelypips.org] . Cockatrices are pretty harmless once you know how to handle them. For example, soldier ants are much worse because they a) tend to come in groups and b) appear at dungeon depths where a character is usually not fully equipped.

--
Ascensions: ABKPSVW

Cockatrices! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646945)

Cockatrices are the coolest! I was once in the Valley of the Dead, when Juiblex was summoned. He summoned Orcus, and together they summoned Demogorgon. I was wielding my trusty cockatrice corpse.

Juiblex: *pwned*
Orcus: *pwned*
Demogorgon: *pwned*

Re:Cockatrices! (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648021)

I had a very similar thing happen (although, I think you mean Orcus summoned Jubilex.) However, I had no cocatrice corpse. I had to beat them all to death with magicbane. The fight went all the way to the top of sokoban.

Death by famine. (1)

fluffywuffy (844881) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646967)

Ate the corpse of Famine. Just wanted to see what happened. Well, I died. hehehe. Also on some games, I'd call my character GOD. When I died, any players finding my bones file would be attacked by GOD's ghost. Well it was philosophically interesting :-)

Playable on anything! (2, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647427)

Nethack has been one of my favorite games throughout the years, though I've come to realize that I've had more fun getting it to work on obscure hardware than playing the actual game (in the 18 years I've played it, I've only ascended once).

Nethack is one interesting in that they don't provide a config file that presumably would make compiling simple (and less of a challenge), so when building it on anything, you have to figure out what features your flavor of Unix has and set the #defines in the .h file appropriately.

In the 18 years, I've compiled it on an original NeXT cube, a Playstation2 running Linux, a Vax running Ultrix (didn't like the BSD flavor, nor the SYS V..was weird blend), a Cray2 and a Convex something-or-other.

The only problem was that the Convex used an accounting system to track usage, and between compiling and playing, I ended up being "charged" around $1000 in cpu time.

Good times.

beyond ASCII? (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647911)

Could anyone tell me if there is a interface for nethack that shows sprites or whatever on Linux? I used to play the windows one but I'm unsure if Ubuntu has it's own version..

Online servers.. anyone know a newbie friendly one with a nice IRC channel?

Finally! Is there any way to use said interface with an online nethack server?

Re:beyond ASCII? (1)

Deoxyribose (997674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648181)

The standard Ubuntu repositories(Dapper, Edgy too, probably) have gtk and qt graphical interface versions of nethack. They are easily avaliable through the Add/Remove Programs interface or apt-get.

Re:beyond ASCII? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650949)

Take a look at Falcon's Eye [users.tkk.fi] . Being a geek, I prefer the text interface over any other.

Ascending (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648087)

It took about two years after I first downloaded it from the BBS' in the mid-80's before I ascended. And I did it without spoilers or even internet access :) When I did finally get on the 'net at Johns Hopkins APL, I snarfed the source and compiled it so I had the most up to date version and got involved in the usenet group. Ultimately I participated in a small way in the coding for which my name is in the credits. Now my daughter plays it.

[John]

Pet Names (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648197)

I haven't found all the ways to die yet, not for want of trying ..... the developers have thought of enough of them ..... in fact I'm off to try to find a few more (or maybe not).

Meanwhile, has anybody else set default pet names in their .nethackrc? My dog's name is Piggy (named after a wonderful old lady of a bull terrier, who passed away earlier this year -- imagine the dog in Snatch [imdb.com] , but all white and with one ear up and one ear down, /\__/>) and my cat's name is Chico (after my ginger tabby kitten, who has been helping me type this. If pressing keys to give me things to backspace out counts as helping).

wow, (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16648863)

Me and my girlfriend have got into playing nethack quite a bit lately; I'm sure she'll ascend before I do at this rate. We always play (partly because of my insistence) in the ASCII with standard black and white, I think that colour is a little... "showy".

One of my main problems with it is that I can't be bothered to play a really long game, so I often play for about 20mins running right through down to about level 7 or 8, usually past the gnomish mines, and then get killed because I hold down "h" and run into something and die really quickly, or I get blinded and then get killed by "it". Still, I enjoy it and I'm not that bothered if I never ascend

Re:wow, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650337)

Use the g and G commands to help when you have to move a long way - quite a life saver.

Re:wow, (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650923)

Try using shift+movementkey or ctrl+movementkey.

I've got a good one (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649417)

The power running out on my laptop! And recovery not being compiled in!

Luckily, I decided to do the taboo thing and savescum some time before, just this once, just in case something catastrophically bad happened outside of the game, like this.

I wasn't going to use it if I died legit. Honest. Maybe I'd keep it for posterity. I mean, it was the first time I made it past the Big Room (cone of cold FTW)! I wanted a keepsake, damnit!

And then I was able to get the save off my laptop's hard drive before it died in turn.

Worst and best causes of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649621)

Worst "cause of death" on your tombstone is "Killed by a kitten". It's embaressing, and happens far t often (those kittens are surprisingly tough!).

A far more respectible cause of death is "Choked on a dragon".

God I love Nethack (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651325)

I blew tons of time playing Nethack back in the 80's in college, and every few years since I've rediscovered it. Besides the old Bolo game for the Macintosh, Nethack has been the most replayable game of all time for me.

I just telnetted into that nethack.alt.org server... you can WATCH OTHER PLAYERS! I spent ten minutes watching someone, and it's actually kind of fun. I'll be sucked back in tonight, looks like.

Obvious answer (1)

Antarius (542615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651507)

You Die. Die? (yn)
y

How I died.... (3, Informative)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652197)

I won the game; killed everything, found everything, grabbed the amulet.

As I ascended the dungeon on my way out, I picked up all the jewels I could find, leaving heavy things like weapons and armor behind. I'd heard that you could turn lowly gems into diamonds with a wand of transformation (or polymorph, or whatever they are called). On level three, I dropped all my gems into a pile and zapped them with the wand.

But I mis-typed.

The wand of death ricocheted around the room, striking all four walls before finding me again.

I never played it seriously again.

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