Valkyries are based on the valkyries of Norse legend who would carry the spirits of fallen warriors to the afterlife.

All valkyries are female, except when polymorphed or an amulet of change becomes involved. Valkyries are the easiest role for a new player. The guidebook describes them like this:

Valkyries are hardy warrior women.  Their upbringing in  the
         harsh  Northlands  makes  them strong, inures them to extremes of
         cold, and instills in them stealth and cunning.

Valkyries can be a Neutral or Lawful Human or a Lawful Dwarf. A lawful dwarf is the best alignment/race for a valkyrie, as they have the advantages associated with a dwarf (more hp, peaceful mines) and can also #dip for Excalibur being lawful.

Starting inventory[]

Each valkyrie starts with the following:[1]


Valkyries gain intrinsics at these experience levels:[3]


Valkyrie skills
Max Skills

Valkyries use Wisdom as their spellcasting stat.


Main article: Valkyrie quest


Main article: Religion
  • Lawful: Tyr
  • Neutral: Odin
  • Chaotic: Loki

Rank titles[]

The status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1-2: Stripling
  • XL 3-5: Skirmisher
  • XL 6-9: Fighter
  • XL 10-13: (Wo)man-at-arms
  • XL 14-17: Warrior
  • XL 18-21: Swashbuckler
  • XL 22-25: Hero(ine)
  • XL 26-29: Champion
  • XL 30: Lady/Lord


  • Valkyries are powerful melee fighters and have substantially high HP growth; they are also able to #twoweapon. Under normal circumstances, the only strategy needed is to attack enemies directly.
  • Valkyries (especially dwarven) should go into the Gnomish Mines as quickly as possible, because this normally yields a dwarvish mithril-coat, iron shoes and a dwarvish iron helm, which will boost her AC dramatically.
  • It is still important, especially in the early stages of the game, to monitor hit points and not get in over your head. Be prepared to engrave Elbereth and lick your wounds for a while if you get into trouble. Find an escape item if you can and don't be afraid to use it.
  • Because valkyries start with long swords, if one is Lawful, it is exceptionally easy to get Excalibur from a fountain once the character is level 5. Be careful, because you may get a rusty longsword and a water demon for your trouble instead! Dipping for Excalibur only has a 1/6 chance of success per try, and fountains can both damage your sword and dry up from dipping, so it is a good idea to find several fountains before dipping. Fortunately, the Oracle level always has four of them--and if you've made it to the Oracle, you may be strong enough to risk the Water demon.
  • Valkyries can sacrifice at an altar to obtain Mjollnir since it is their guaranteed first gift; however this is not recommended (unless you are neutral) because of artifact wishing later on, the fact that the better weapon Excalibur is exceptionally easy to get (apart from neutrals) and that you cannot twoweapon artifacts.
  • Excalibur provides automatic searching and level-drain resistance, as well as its strong melee attack, so it is the only weapon you need for the entire game.
  • Valkyries can also become expert at daggers. The resultant shower of daggers can and should substitute for Mjollnir as a stand-off weapon without the downsides, if you want a ranged attack to complement the melee (this is not required).
  • The Valkyrie's Quest is a fairly easy Quest, with two exceptions: firstly the first level is mostly ice, and has randomly-placed fire traps. As a result, do not go on the ice without levitation. You may trigger a fire trap, which will melt the ice, and you will fall in the water. If you're burdened or surrounded, you'll drown; either way, scrolls and spellbooks not in a bag will be blanked. You'll likely see several quest friendlies die to this. Secondly, you must have reflection before going on the quest because one of the fire giants is likely to have a wand of death or other attack wand. Put scrolls and potions into a container as soon as you pick them up, to avoid losing them to the fire traps. Read up on drawbridges before attempting the quest, as there are two on the lowest level. They are not dangerous if you know how to handle them, but can be deadly to the unprepared. It has been observed that drawbridges may kill more Valkyries than Lord Surtur does. In general, the quest is so easy, and the Orb of Fate is so powerful, that a Valkyrie should probably go on the quest as soon as possible (if they have reflection). Fire resistance is the only really important intrinsic to have, and this can be obtained on the (easy) first level of the quest by eating corpses of fire giants or fire ants.
  • Valkyries are not at all good spellcasters, and wearing armor generally compromises their limited abilities. Feel free to experiment with spells if you like, but it is not unusual for a Valkyrie to ascend without ever casting a single spell. They can only reach Basic in attack and escape spells, and since they have easy artifact weapons (Mjollnir and Excalibur) attack spells are not so useful. It may be worth identifying any spellbooks you pick up as soon as possible in the early game, in an attempt to learn Escape spells. If you happen to get a few flasks of Holy Water early on, it may be worth blessing any books you find in the escape school and learning the spells before you can cast them- though this does require stash/spellbook management, and many Valkyries choose not to mess with it.

Strategy in SLASH'EM[]

While Valkyries are arguably the strongest class in Vanilla Nethack, in Slash'Em they are considerably more difficult to ascend. If you don't change your strategy you will die very quickly in the beginning.

  • Instead of a +1 long sword, Valkyries start with a +1 spear. This is partially balanced out by the 5 daggers they also start with, but overall it is a major disadvantage. Spears are considerably weaker than long swords, and you lose the advantage of an easily obtainable Excalibur if lawful. While the spear is still a decent melee weapon, against the tougher monsters in Slash'Em melee attacking everything is not going to cut it. You will want to attack from a distance as much as possible (your starting stack of 5 daggers will come in handy) and probably engrave Elbereth fairly often. Remember, most enemies' attacks are much stronger in Slash'Em, so you will need to be extra careful.
  • Since you will be throwing daggers so often, getting dagger to expert as quickly as possible is an extremely high priority. Use your weapon practice #technique while wielding daggers as much as possible until you reach expert.
  • Think about putting any skill points into spears, because as soon as you find a katana or long sword you will want to switch to that as your main melee weapon. If you have a really hard time finding a better weapon, it might be worth it to advance spears to skilled.
  • The weapon practice #technique can be used to discover a weapon's magical enchantment as well as building skill points. Note however that you will want to BUC test the item first, since you must wield a weapon to use this technique.
  • Since exploding wands have the same effects as breaking them in Slash'Em, Mjollnir becomes a much more dangerous weapon. Aside from one or two emergency wands like digging, and wands of lightning which are immune, don't carry ANY wands outside of containers if you're going to throw Mjollnir. It is also a good idea to avoid using it as a melee weapon against monsters that might be carrying wands, because the explosions will affect you if you are next to them.

Strategy in SporkHack[]

Valkyries in SporkHack are substantially similar to Valkyries in vanilla Nethack, but there are a few wrinkles players should be aware of.

  • SporkHack Valkyries can be of any race. Elven and orcish Valkyries are always neutral.
  • It is no longer possible to obtain Excalibur by dipping - this option is only available to Lawful Knights. Therefore, unless you find lawful Knight bones (unlikely) or get crowned (more likely), you won't be getting Excalibur.
  • Sacrificing is no longer guaranteed to yield artifacts - it may yield mundane weapons and armor instead. These will be highly enchanted, so it is a very valuable source of early game equipment. However, it's no longer nearly as easy to obtain Mjollnir. Combined with the lack of Excalibur, this can mean that sacrificing in hopes of getting Fire/Frost Brand, Vorpal Blade, Snickersnee or Grayswandir (depending on your alignment) is worthwhile.
  • With the two-weapon fighting changes in SporkHack, offhand long swords and sabers are no longer viable. Instead, consider a silver spear or silver short sword as an offhand weapon. Silver daggers, though weak, are useful as well, since Valkyries can reach expert in daggers, but are limited to Skilled in spears and short swords.
  • Racial armor bonuses make dwarven Valkyries even stronger than they might otherwise be - but be aware that dwarves aren't the only ones who get racial armor bonuses. In particular, if you're an orc, a simple orcish helm improves AC by 3, even before enchantment.

Encyclopedia entry[]

The Valkyries were the thirteen choosers of the slain, the
beautiful warrior-maids of Odin who rode through the air and
over the sea. They watched the progress of the battle and
selected the heroes who were to fall fighting. After they
were dead, the maidens rewarded the heroes by kissing them
and then led their souls to Valhalla, where the warriors
lived happily in an ideal existence, drinking and eating
without restraint and fighting over again the battles in
which they died and in which they had won their deathless

[ The Encyclopaedia of Myths and Legends of All Nations, by Herbert Robinson and Knox Wilson ]