_ Iron chain
Name iron chain
Appearance iron chain
Cost 0 zm
Weight 120

An iron chain is used to connect you to a heavy iron ball when you are punished. Depending on how you unpunish yourself, the chain may become a separate item. Iron chains are also left behind when an iron golem is killed.


Iron chains are generally considered the most useless items in NetHack since they perform no function as individual objects, have no value to sell to shopkeepers, aren't heavy enough to be a decent weapon, and will always polypile into another chain. Even the inventory command seems to disdain them, placing all your iron chains in a special inventory group called "chains." They aren't even listed among "tools" as a courtesy. Here are several somewhat trivial uses for these objects:

  • No creature including pets will pick up an iron chain, making them useful for keeping an Elbereth square activated.
    • Gelatinous cubes seem to pick up iron chains just fine. Consider genociding them if you use iron chains as markers or for activating Elbereth.
  • Throw or kick them as missiles.
  • Food for rock moles (a pet or polyself).
  • Leave them in the path of hostile metallivores as a distraction.
  • Polypile enough of them to make another iron golem. Turn it into your pet or polymorph it into a monster worthy of sacrificing.
  • Polypile enough of them to get another iron golem. Tame it and watch it get killed by a rust monster. Get an amusing message.
  • Use them to mark the vibrating square.
  • #name an iron chain to leave yourself a reminder message about something on a level, such as stashed items, then drop the chain at somewhere noticeable (e.g. next to a staircase).
  • Carry them in your main inventory to lower the chance that something "good" will be cursed/stolen. (Consider using lighter objects such as worthless gems instead.)
  • Leave a bones file that will annoy others (using ASCII): "Darn, that's not an altar."
  • Wield one to kill Vlad.

Encyclopedia entry Edit

"You are fettered, " said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"
"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I
made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my
own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its
pattern strange to you?"
Scrooge trembled more and more.
"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and
length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as
heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You
have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"

[ A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens ]

See also Edit

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