#twoweapon is an extended command used to wield two weapons simultaneously in order to perform additional damage at the cost of overall accuracy, skill points, and time spent in training the ability. Twoweaponing is not available to all roles.

Beginning two-weapon combat[]

To begin two-weapon combat, you must have your main-hand weapon wielded and your off-hand weapon in your secondary weapon slot. The easiest way to achieve this is usually to wield w your off-hand weapon, use x to swap your weapons, and then wield w your main-hand weapon. Finally, type #twoweapon to bring your intended off-hand weapon into your off-hand and start dual-wielding.

Restrictions and prerequisites[]

Two weapon combat
Max Role

If you are not polymorphed, your role must be one that can reach at least Basic in the two weapon combat skill. If you are polymorphed, it must be into a form that can fight with two weapons.

The two items you try to wield must both be weapons or weapon-tools, and they must both be one-handed. You cannot wield two weapons while wearing a shield.

If your secondary weapon is cursed or you have greasy hands, it will slip to the floor when you try to dual-wield. If your secondary weapon becomes cursed while you are dual-wielding it, it will slip from your hand instead of being welded to it.

If you wield an artifact weapon as a secondary weapon and attempt to #twoweapon, you will not be able to engage in two-weapon combat. A message will appear saying “Your <artifact weapon> resists being held second to another weapon!” SLASH'EM removes this restriction.

Two-weapon combat while polymorphed[]

You can twoweapon while polymorphed only if your polymorphed form has two weapon attacks.[1] Most monsters with this property are not valid polymorphable forms. The complete list of polymorphable monsters that can twoweapon is:

and in SLASH'EM:

Fighting with two weapons[]

To-hit bonus
Skill level One weapon Two weapons
Unskilled -4 -9
Basic 0 -7
Skilled +2 -5
Expert +3 -3
Damage bonus
Skill level One weapon Two weapons
Unskilled -2 -3
Basic 0 -1
Skilled +1 0
Expert +2 +1

The skill used by twoweapon is the lesser of the twoweapon and primary weapon skills. While twoweaponing, only your twoweapon skill is trained, not the skills of your primary or secondary weapons.

If the first weapon hits, the second weapon is guaranteed to hit. The second weapon has no effect on the to-hit calculation; any skill points in the second weapon's skill or enchantment on the weapon itself contribute only to its damage.

Weapon damage bonuses are calculated separately for each of the two weapons. The skill that is used is the lesser of the skill in currently hitting weapon and the twoweaponing skill.[2]

Note that twoweaponing skill bonuses for both to-hit and damage differ from single-weaponing skill bonuses (See Skills for details).

Two weapon combat skill[]

Two weapon combat
Max Role

When fighting with two weapons, your effective skill level for each hand is the lesser of your two weapon combat skill and the relevant weapon skill.

The two weapon combat skill is a non-weapon skill, so advancing it to Basic and Skilled costs one skill slot each, and advancing to Expert costs an additional two skill slots.

Only roles able to reach at least Basic can engage in two weapon combat.

Skill strategy[]

Because to-hit and damage calculations always use the lesser of the two weapon combat skill and the appropriate weapon skill, there is no point raising your two weapon skill higher than those of the weapons you actually intend to use. In particular, Rogues should not advance to Expert if they intend to use long swords or sabers, and Tourists should consider not advancing to Skilled if they intend to use long swords.

Similarly, there is little benefit in raising your weapon skills higher than your two weapon skill if you intend to dual-wield. Knights and Valkyries can reach Expert in long swords, for example, but only Samurai can actually dual-wield them at that skill level.

When wielding two weapons, to-hit calculations are only performed for the main-hand weapon. This means that off-hand skill is only used to determine the damage inflicted by your off-hand weapon. Raising your secondary weapon's skill to Basic gives you +2 damage for one skill slot, but spending another two slots to reach Skilled's further +1 damage is often not worthwhile.


As a general rule, most roles capable of two-weapon combat should switch to it eventually. Only Rogues benefit from wielding a single one-handed weapon, and even they often prefer dual-wielding over backstab damage. Unlike two-handed weapons, a cursed off-hand weapon will slip from your hand instead of being welded to it.

Choosing a secondary weapon[]

When fighting with two weapons, an obvious choice for the first weapon is your favorite artifact weapon. For the second weapon, popular choices include:

Weapon Class Damage (Small/Large) Comment
Silver saber
  • Expert: Archeologist
  • Skilled: Knight, Rogue, Tourist
  • Basic: Barbarian, Valkyrie
  • 1d8+(1d20)
  • 1d8+(1d20)
Very useful for fighting demons in Gehennom
Silver spear
  • Expert: Caveman
  • Skilled: Barbarian, Knight, Valkyrie
  • Basic: Rogue, Samurai, Tourist
  • 1d6+(1d20)
  • 1d8+(1d20)
Very useful for fighting demons in Gehennom
  • Expert: None
  • Skilled: Barbarian
  • Basic: Knight, Tourist, Valkyrie
  • 1d6+1
  • 3d4
High damage versus large monsters
  • Expert: Rogue
  • Skilled: Samurai, Tourist
  • Basic: Archeologist, Knight
  • 1d10
  • 1d10
Good damage and a to-hit bonus
(Long sword)
  • Expert: Knight, Samurai, Valkyrie
  • Skilled: Barbarian, Rogue
  • Basic: Tourist
  • 1d10
  • 1d12
High damage, and uses the long sword skill
Elven broadsword
  • Expert: None
  • Skilled: Barbarian, Rogue, Samurai, Knight, Valkyrie
  • Basic: Tourist
  • 1d6+1d4
  • 1d6+1
Easy to find and hits small monsters hard


For SLASH'EM players, the commands to activate the two-handed combat skill are #twoweapon or #2weapon. In SLASH'EM, artifacts do not refuse to be two weaponed in a secondary position, and two artifacts can be wielded at once. This introduces some interesting weapon combinations.

Only certain roles and certain races can fight two-handed. Of the game's many races, only humans, elves and dwarves can twoweapon. Annoyingly, other races might still see "two-handed combat" in their #enhance screen even though they cannot use it. Attempting to activate two-handed combat produces the message, "<Your race> <Your role> aren't able to use two weapons at once."[3]

SLASH'EM roles that can twoweapon, in addition to those in vanilla NetHack, are Flame Mage, Ice Mage, and Yeoman. All can reach Skilled proficiency.


In SporkHack, there are a number of significant changes to two-weapon fighting. First, Rangers and Cavemen can fight two-handed, albeit only at basic skill. Second, and more significantly, there are restrictions on what weapons can be wielded in the off hand, based on the player's #twoweapon skill. At basic, you can use daggers, knives and other weapons that weigh 10 or less. At skilled, you can use maces, short swords, spears and others weighing 20 or less, and at expert, long swords, broadswords and sabers become available. Several weapons have had their weights adjusted to fit into this scheme.

Wielding a too-heavy weapon in your off hand leads to heavy to-hit penalties, on the order of -20. This is much more significant than it would be in vanilla Nethack since Spork has altered the to-hit mechanics and given late-game monsters better armor class.

This seriously alters weapon selection, especially for classes like Archaeologists and Barbarians. Particularly, Rogues and Samurai will now be the only roles likely to wield an off-hand silver saber, which was formerly among the strongest off-hand choices. To compensate somewhat, a few new weapons including the silver short sword have been added.