NetHack 2.3e is the fourth public release of NetHack and the last before the founding of the DevTeam. Mike Stephenson published it to the Usenet newsgroup (an unmoderated group, unlike in April 1988.

Availability Edit

NetHack 2.3e first appears as a patch against NetHack 2.2a. Google Groups has the patch at:

There are thirteen parts, but the subject lines incorrectly say that there are twelve.

UUNet did not archive, but has nonetheless provided a complete distribution of NetHack 2.3e at [1].

Ali Harlow[2] has a NetHack 2.3e distribution at [3]; this is also available on Wikihack for browsing and annotation: NetHack 2.3e source code.

Significant changes Edit

The adventurer Edit

The player may choose from these roles:

All classes permit male and female adventurers, except the Valkyrie which must be female.

The adventurer has experience, hit points, magical energy, armor class, and strength. He may advance to experience level 14.

The initial pet is a little dog.

Dungeon features Edit

The dungeon in NetHack 2.3e has no branches; there is one way up and one way down. The first 25 levels or so consist of rooms, and beyond that, the adventurer encounters mazes. The deepest dungeon level is 60.

Medusa appears as '8' on the down-stairs of the last level with rooms. She does not have a special level, and is thus a snare for the unwary adventurer.

Dungeon level 30 and deeper are designated as "Hell". Entering hell without fire resistance, or losing it once there, is an instadeath. This may happen by taking off one's ring of fire resistance or losing one's polymorph and not being otherwise fire resistant, or by being hit by a gremlin. These levels have only up-stairs, and the only way to enter is by level teleportation.

Special rooms are throne rooms, swamps, vaults, beehives, crypts, treasure zoos, barracks, and shops. Special features are pools, fountains, thrones, and sinks.

Traps are:

The Amulet of Yendor is found in the posession of the wizard of Yendor in a maze level. He is in a small room in the center of the maze, surrounded by water and accompanied by a hell hound.

Fake Wizard rooms contain a demon instead of the Wizard and a fake Amulet.

Other maze levels have wands of wishing tucked under a boulder in a dead-end square. There can be more than one, but it's much less likely than before; but one is guaranteed in the level immediately after Medusa. Since NetHack 3.1.0, one version of Medusa's lair has a random wand in a similar spot, commemorating the former location of the wand of wishing.

Bestiary Edit

New monsters are indicated in boldface.

The following monsters may be encountered:

acid bloba 
demon lord&if HARD defined at compile time
demon prince&if HARD defined at compile time
electric eel;Formerly giant eel
grey dragonD 
red dragonDNot truly new; the 2.2a dragon breathes fire
orange dragonD 
white dragonD 
black dragonDDisintegration blast is an instadeath
blue dragonD 
green dragonD 
yellow dragonD 
floating eyeE 
fog cloudf 
freezing sphereF 
gelatinous cubeg 
giant antA 
giant beetleb 
hell hounddDoes not have a breath weapon
killer beek 
large dogd 
little dogd 
lurker above' 
mail daemon2if MAIL defined at compile time
medusa8if RPH defined at compile time
purple wormP 
quivering blobq 
rust monsterRReduces enchantment rather than truly rusting
soldier3if SAC defined at compile time
umber hulkU 
violet fungiv"violet fungus" if KAA defined at compile time
wizard of Yendor1 
yellow lighty 
Moe@if STOOGES defined at compile time (default)
Larry@if STOOGES defined at compile time (default)
Curly@if STOOGES defined at compile time (default)
Keystone KopKif KOPS defined at compile time (default)
koboldKif KOPS not defined at compile time, or if KJSMODS is (KJSMODS is the default)
rock molerif ROCKMOLE defined at compile time (default)
giant ratrif ROCKMOLE not defined at compile time, or if KJSMODS is (KJSMODS is the default)
quantum mechanicQif KAA defined at compile time (default)
quasitQif KAA not defined at compile time
giant spidersif SPIDERS defined at compile time (default)
scorpionsif SPIDERS not defined at compile time
long wormwif NOWORM not defined at compile time (default)
wumpuswif NOWORM defined at compile time

The Three Stooges Edit


Screenshot of NetHack 2.3e showing the Three Stooges.

The Three Stooges were three monsters, appearing as @ and named Moe, Larry, and Curly. They appeared on a particular level in the upper dungeon. They occasionally killed monsters, but mostly they just whacked each other and said things associated with the Stooges on film.

The Stooges were a frequent cause of YASD, as a confused or hallucinating adventurer often hit one by mistake and had to fight him. Even if he prevailed, he incurred the penalty for murder, because the Stooge was a peaceful human.

The Stooges were removed in NetHack 3.0.0, but their passing is still noted in a false rumor:

The crowd was so tough, the Stooges won't play the Dungeon anymore, nyuk nyuk.

Objects Edit

New objects are indicated in boldface.

Artifacts Edit

NetHack 2.3e has four artifacts. Multiple copies of each may exist.

Any two handed sword may be named Orcrist and will do d10 extra points damage to orcs.

Excalibur is obtained in the modern fashion (save that there's no requirement to be lawful, as alignment is not yet implemented). It gets +5 to hit and does d10 extra damage to all monsters. Wielding Excalibur makes demons angry (previously they might ask for a bribe) and can call the attention of certain monsters. Excalibur may now be granted by crowning. The player cannot name any object "Excalibur."

Any katana may be named Snickersnee and will do d10 extra points damage to all monsters.

Sting is new to 2.3e. Any short sword or dagger may be named Sting and will do d5 extra damage to all monsters (not just orcs).

Amulets Edit

Only the Amulet of Yendor and the cheap plastic imitation exist in NetHack 2.3e.

Food Edit

Food items in NetHack 2.3e are:

The tin did not contain the remains of monsters, but rather a randomly-chosen food such as peaches or, if the adventurer is lucky, spinach.

The dead lizard is a found object rather than a corpse; live lizards do not exist in NetHack 2.3e. It otherwise has its modern properties in this version.

Weapons Edit

Weapons in NetHack 2.3e are:

Tools Edit

Tools in NetHack 2.3e are:

The ice box is the only container. Then as now, it preserved corpses, and was generally too heavy (and too rare) to be useful for inventory management.

The badge is dropped when a Keystone Kop is killed. The hero may wear it, and shopkeepers will call him "Officer" and react to theft with YAFM[1], but it is otherwise a junk item. The badge appears only in NetHack 2.3e.

Armor Edit

Armor items in NetHack 2.3e are:

Potions Edit

Potions in NetHack 2.3e are:

Scrolls Edit

Scrolls in NetHack 2.3e are:

The scroll of damage weapon acts as the modern scroll of enchant weapon does when cursed. The scroll of genocide acts, in all cases, as the modern blessed scroll; but most symbols refer to only one monster anyway.

Wands Edit

Wands in NetHack 2.3e are:

Spellbooks Edit

Spellbooks in NetHack 2.3e are:

Rings Edit

Rings in NetHack 2.3e are:

Because charisma does not exist in NetHack 2.3e, the ring of adornment is a useless item.

Gems Edit

Gems in NetHack 2.3e are:

and worthless pieces of white, blue, red, yellowish brown (formerly yellow), and green glass.

The tourmaline, agate, and onyx stones are removed.

Other items Edit

Other items not appearing in the above categories are:

It is not possible to pick up an iron chain, nor can they be generated from iron golems, because these do not exist in NetHack 2.3e.


  1. NetHack 2.3e/shk.c#line938
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