) Aklys
Name aklys
Appearance thonged club
Damage vs. small 1d6
Damage vs. large 1d3
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill club
Size one-handed
Cost 4 zm
Weight 15
Material iron

An aklys, known as a thonged club when unidentified, is a kind of weapon commonly used by gnomes and is hence frequent junk in the Gnomish Mines. It is lighter than the standard club at only 15 weight units compared to the club’s 30. Also unlike the standard club, the aklys is made of iron rather than wood. It is relatively worthless, having a base cost of only 4 zorkmids. The aklys does 1d6 damage (average of 3.5) to small creatures, and 1d3 damage (average of 2) to large creatures, identical with the standard club.


In D&D, the aklys appears in Unearthed Arcana (by Gary Gygax, co-creator of D&D) as well as Dragon Magazine Vol. 7, No. 2 (August 1982). It was described as "a weighted, shortish club with a stout thong (leather strap) attached to the butt. While it can be used as a hand-held striking weapon, its principal employment is as a missile. Once hurled, the aklys be retrieved by its thong."[1] It weighed the same as 35 gold pieces, and it's damage was identical to that of NetHack.

In NetHack, the aklys first appeared in NetHack 1.3d, where it had a relative probability of 1 in 99[2], a "rarity" it shared with many objects, including even the katana, and weighed three units (the heaviest weapon at the time, the two handed sword, weighed four units; a dragon corpse weighed 150) As of 3.4.3, the damage remains unchanged.


  • For early game cavemen not saving their skill slots, the Gnomish Mines can be a great way to get a slight upgrade to their starting weapon, the club, if a better weapon cannot be found. Their light weight encourages hording of all aklys found, which can then be beatitude tested on the altar in Minetown. A blessed aklys, even unenchanted, at least provides an added 1d4 damage against undead (however puny early game undead may be), while being slightly lighter.
    • Their abundance furthermore makes them a disposable weapon, should they become damaged (such as through a rust monster).

Encyclopedia entryEdit

A short studded or spiked club attached to a cord allowing
it to be drawn back to the wielder after having been thrown.
It should not be confused with the atlatl, which is a device
used to throw spears for longer distances.

  1. Dragon Magazine Vol. 7 No. 2, Page Six
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