A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"Incorporate shopkeeper messages, e.g. "Asidonhopo complains business is bad." Add stuff like "Hello, Player! I was looking for Deadplayer.""

Shopkeepers tend shops. They are relatively tough for low level characters and therefore excel at preventing shoplifting.

Shopkeepers are generated with (1000 + 30*d100) zorkmids[1], a skeleton key, and some or all of a wand of striking, a potion of healing, a potion of extra healing, and a wand of magic missile (a d4 is rolled and that many items are generated starting from the beginning of that list)[2]. Jewelers (shopkeepers of ring stores) also get a touchstone[3].

Should a character die in the hands of a shopkeeper, or be killed while there's an angry shopkeeper around, any possible Bones files will be generated with the player's grave empty - the possessions are all transported to the store and inherited by the shopkeeper, who must be pacified in order to safely search the loot.

For chaotic human players shopkeepers have a strategic value in that they are one of the few sources of human corpses in the early levels, which can be used to automatically convert an altar for chaotic humans.

Ways to kill shopkeepers easilyEdit

There are some ways to kill shopkeepers very easily, even when you have only a low level character. By killing shopkeepers early in the game, you're able to get a lot of money.

One possibility is that you have a cloak of magic resistance (e.g. if you start as a wizard) or an amulet of reflection and get invisible inside the shop (by putting on a ring of invisibility, drinking a potion of invisibility or taking off mummy wrapping if you have permanent invisibility). The shopkeeper will not leave his position in front of the door while you're invisible. Now you're able to attack the shopkeeper easily by range attacks (e.g. spells, wands, launchers, darts etc.). Be aware that you might run out of projectiles or charges doing this, and if you are using spells, make sure to have sufficient food, particularly if you are low-level and/or using force bolt.

If you lack invisibility, you can also dig pits all around the shopkeeper. Shopkeepers won't move into pits and you can thus freely attack them at range. Note that this requires a bag to smuggle a pick-axe inside the shop, or bouncing a spell off a wall from outside the shop, since the shopkeeper will try to keep out of direct zapping range. (As an aside, shops sometimes do sell pick-axes and dwarvish mattocks. They are handled just like every other item, except that you cannot carry one into the shop outside a bag, you get a message when un-bagging it, and the shopkeeper will catch any ones you throw in.)

Also, using a scroll of stinking cloud can be very effective, if you can have the cloud cover most if not all of the store, and close the door to prevent retaliation. If you have telepathy you can do this from across the level, which should stop all retaliation. Note that cursed scrolls may not do enough damage to kill the shopkeeper.

An easy way to kill shopkeepers is to zap them with a wand of polymorph. Often they will polymorph into a weak creature that is unable to zap wands against you. However, they can also polymorph into something that is much, much tougher than a shopkeeper, so keep that in mind. Be aware that due to their intrinsic MR they will resist roughly 50% of the time. Also, a shopkeeper will never respect Elbereth, even while polymorphed into something that normally would. Note that should you kill a polymorphed shopkeeper, no insult to your diety will occur thus it is the preferred method for Lawful characters.

Shopkeepers are quite vulnerable to death rays, although be aware they can still occasionally miss. If you find a base-cost 500 wand in a shop, it is either a wand of death or a wand of wishing. A wand of wishing can be used to wish for a wand of death, so either provides a means to kill the shopkeeper. However, just zapping any 500-gold wand you come across could leave you with a "wand of wishing (0:0)" that you don't have the means to charge, so identification is recommended first.


The shopkeeper will greet you, and has a high tendency to chat with you :

Message Reason
"Greetings/hello, <playername>, Welcome to <shkname>'s <shoptype>" You are entering the shop for the first time.
"Greetings/hello, <playername>, Welcome again to <shkname>'s <shoptype>" You came for the second time (or more) inside the shop.
"Irasshaimase, <playername>! Welcome to <shkname>'s <shoptype>!" You are a samurai, entering the shop for the first time.
"Irasshaimase, <playername>! Welcome again to <shkname>'s <shoptype>!"

You came for the second time (or more) inside the shop, as a samurai.

"For you, most gracious lady; only <price> for this <object name>" You picked up an item, as a female.
"For you, esteemed sir; only <price> for this <object name>" You picked up an item, as a male.
"Thank you for shopping in <shkname>'s <shoptype>" You just bought an item.
"a/an <objectname>, price <price., an excellent choice/a real bargain/finest quality!" You #chatted above a single object.
"Fine goods for sale : " You chatted over multiple objects. The objects will be displayed in a list, with their individual price at the right.

"<shkname> complains about the problem of shoplifting."

"<shkname> complains that business is bad."

"<shkname> says that business is good."

You chatted to the shopkeeper. Bad business means the shopkeeper has less than 50 gold, good business means he/she has more than 4000.

Once you have killed the Wizard (or performed the Invocation Ritual), you get a more respectful greeting message.

Messages will appear if you die or #quit while you are inside a shop, or while you are on the same level as an angry shopkeeper. Substitute the name of your shopkeeper for Shkname.

Message Reason
"Shkname gratefully inherits all your possessions." This happens when (quoting a comment in the source code) "you die in the shop, the shopkeeper is peaceful, nothing stolen, nothing owed."
"Shkname (wakes up and) (comes and) takes the number zorkmid(s) you owed {him,her}." You owed the shopkeeper money but you are outside of the shop (you robbed the shopkeeper), but your purse contains enough gold pieces to compensate the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper takes the amount of the payment, but not anything else.
"Shkname (wakes up and) (comes and) takes all your posessions." Either the shopkeeper was angry at you, or you owed the shopkeeper more money than you have in your purse, or you owed the shopkeeper money and ended your game inside of that shopkeeper's shop.
"Shkname (wakes up,), looks at your corpse, (shakes {his,her} head,) and {disappears,sighs}." Another shopkeeper wanted to inherit your stuff, but the first shopkeeper already took everything. There is a 50% chance that the shopkeeper shakes his or her head. A shopkeeper "disappears" back to his or her shop, or "sighs" if he or she is already inside his or her own shop.

The text "wakes up and" appears in the message in the case of a paralysed or sleeping shopkeeper. The text "comes and" appears in the message if the shopkeeper is more than two squares away from you.

Izchak has a few lines of dialogue unique to him.

Shopkeeper namesEdit

Main article: Shknam.c

If you have telepathy, you can tell what type of items a shop sells by the name of its keeper. Some names available only on exotic platforms are missing from the tools shopkeeper list. The light shop in mine town is always run by Izchak.

Shop Type Possible Shopkeeper Names
Potions Njezjin, Tsjernigof, Ossipewsk, Gorlowka, Gomel, Konosja, Weliki Oestjoeg, Syktywkar, Sablja, Narodnaja, Kyzyl, Walbrzych, Swidnica, Klodzko, Raciborz, Gliwice, Brzeg, Krnov, Hradec Kralove, Leuk, Brig, Brienz, Thun, Sarnen, Burglen, Elm, Flims, Vals, Schuls, Zum Loch
Spellbooks Skibbereen, Kanturk, Rath Luirc, Ennistymon, Lahinch, Kinnegad, Lugnaquillia, Enniscorthy, Gweebarra, Kittamagh, Nenagh, Sneem, Ballingeary, Kilgarvan, Cahersiveen,Glenbeigh, Kilmihil, Kiltamagh, Droichead Atha, Inniscrone, Clonegal, Lisnaskea, Culdaff, Dunfanaghy, Inishbofin, Kesh
ArmorDemirci, Kalecik, Boyabai, Yildizeli, Gaziantep, Siirt, Akhalataki, Tirebolu, Aksaray, Ermenak, Iskenderun, Kadirli, Siverek, Pervari, Malasgirt, Bayburt, Ayancik, Zonguldak, Balya, Tefenni, Artvin, Kars, Makharadze, Malazgirt, Midyat, Birecik, Kirikkale, Alaca, Polatli, Nallihan
WandsYr Wyddgrug, Trallwng, Mallwyd, Pontarfynach, Rhaeader, Llandrindod, Llanfair-ym-muallt, Y-Fenni, Maesteg, Rhydaman, Beddgelert, Curig, Llanrwst, Llanerchymedd, Caergybi, Nairn, Turriff, Inverurie, Braemar, Lochnagar, Kerloch, Beinn a Ghlo, Drumnadrochit, Morven, Uist, Storr, Sgurr na Ciche, Cannich, Gairloch, Kyleakin, Dunvegan
RingsFeyfer, Flugi, Gheel, Havic, Haynin, Hoboken, Imbyze, Juyn, Kinsky, Massis, Matray, Moy, Olycan, Sadelin, Svaving, Tapper, Terwen, Wirix, Ypey, Rastegaisa, Varjag Njarga, Kautekeino, Abisko, Enontekis, Rovaniemi, Avasaksa, Haparanda, Lulea, Gellivare, Oeloe, Kajaani, Fauske
FoodDjasinga, Tjibarusa, Tjiwidej, Pengalengan, Bandjar, Parbalingga, Bojolali, Sarangan, Ngebel, Djombang, Ardjawinangun, Berbek, Papar, Baliga, Tjisolok, Siboga, Banjoewangi, Trenggalek, Karangkobar, Njalindoeng, Pasawahan, Pameunpeuk, Patjitan, Kediri, Pemboeang, Tringanoe, Makin, Tipor, Semai, Berhala, Tegal, Samoe
WeaponsVoulgezac, Rouffiac, Lerignac, Touverac, Guizengeard, Melac, Neuvicq, Vanzac, Picq, Urignac, Corignac, Fleac, Lonzac, Vergt, Queyssac, Liorac, Echourgnac, Cazelon, Eypau, Carignan, Monbazillac, Jonzac, Pons, Jumilhac, Fenouilledes, Laguiolet, Saujon, Eymoutiers, Eygurande, Eauze, Labouheyre
ToolsYmla, Eed-morra, Cubask, Nieb, Bnowr Falr, Telloc Cyaj, Sperc, Noskcirdneh, Yawolloh, Hyeghu, Niskal, Trahnil, Htargcm, Enrobwem, Kachzi Rellim, Regien, Donmyar, Yelpur, Nosnehpets, Stewe, Renrut, _Zlaw, Nosalnef, Rewuorb, Rellenk, Yad, Cire Htims, Y-crad, Nenilukah, Corsh, Aned, Lechaim, Lexa, Niod
Light (SLASHEM mall only)Zarnesti, Slanic, Nehoiasu, Ludus, Sighisoara, Nisipitu, Razboieni, Bicaz, Dorohoi, Vaslui, Fetesti, Tirgu Neamt, Babadag, Zimnicea, Zlatna, Jiu, Eforie, Mamaia, Silistra, Tulovo, Panagyuritshte, Smolyan, Kirklareli, Pernik, Lom, Haskovo, Dobrinishte, Varvara, Oryahovo, Troyan, Lovech, Sliven
GeneralHebiwerie, Possogroenoe, Asidonhopo, Manlobbi, Adjama, Pakka Pakka, Kabalebo, Wonotobo, Akalapi, Sipaliwini, Annootok, Upernavik, Angmagssalik, Aklavik, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, Chicoutimi, Ouiatchouane, Chibougamau, Matagami, Kipawa, Kinojevis, Abitibi, Maganasipi, Akureyri, Kopasker, Budereyri, Akranes, Bordeyri, Holmavik


In SLASH'EM shopkeepers also provide very useful services, although they come at a hefty cost. These are identify, uncurse, appraise, weapon-works, armor-works and charge. Additionally, they have been made far more formidable adversaries. Their base level has been raised to 24, their AC lowered to -6, and they are always generated with a shotgun, shells, a wand of teleportation, and a knife. Note that this makes it quite difficult to make pets attack them; in particular, no domestic animal can be easily raised to a high enough level.

Encyclopedia entryEdit

See the encyclopedia entry for human.

In culture Edit

The shopkeeper within NetHack named Manlobbi, who minds the general store, inspired a book written about the shopkeeper's life titled Manlobbi's Descent, using the same character. Written in early modern English, Manlobbi's background and excellent business acumen is described by the author.[4]


  • All of the possible names for spellbook shopkeepers are names of Irish towns.
  • Similarly, the wand shopkeeper names are all Welsh towns.
  • Potion shopkeepers are mostly Polish (natch).
  • Armor shops are Turkish.
  • Ring vendors seem to be concentrated around Belgium and Finland.
  • Tool shopkeepers are names of developers with shuffled letters, for example Niod is Dion Nicolaas


  1. shknam.c#line414
  2. makemon.c#line561
  3. shknam.c#line416
This page is a stub. You could probably expand this page should you wish to do so.

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"More about the ESHK extended monster structure, which demonstrates the unique behavior of shopkeepers?"

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.