Part I
NetHack IAP Class, Session 1

1  What is NetHack?

NetHack is a game where you are the at sign and you push j to move south and then get killed by a newt.

–Pete Elmore

NetHack is a Roguelike dungeon crawling game. What that actually means is up for debate on Usenet, but NetHack, like most roguelikes, has the following qualities:

This last bit is, to me, the most interesting. While NetHack and most roguelikes are designed with the idea that they be theoretically finishable without source access or spoilers, they are also designed to be difficult and engaging even with source access and spoilers. This class assumes that you want to win the game, so by the end of the class, we'll be going through a pretty large selection of spoilers, but hopefully we will ease you into them, as the fun of discovering things — from spoilers or otherwise — is part of the point.

1.1  Class Schedule

Today we'll be talking about the history and community of NetHack, going over the basics of control and movement, and then just playing around with the game for a bit. In the next three classes, we'll be covering:

1.2  NetHack history is the best resource. Some salient talking points:

1.3  NetHack Culture

Talking points:

2  OK so I want to play already dude.

Great! You haven't left yet!

2.1  What the characters on the screen are

Check out Also, use the / and ; commands. But here are the basics:

Everything else you can either pick up or kill.

2.2  Controls

Use the handy handout! I will hand it to you. Redhanded. (

2.3  What should I play?

Valkyries are burly. Barbarians don't starve. Wizards have lots of toys. Rangers have ranged combat. Choose the one that appeals to you. (Not starving will sound way more appealing after a few games; don't worry if that sounds lame right now.) Some general tips for each:

2.4  I died!!!

Yes you did! You will die many many times. If you're lucky, you'll even die many times today. If you're really lucky and you put your corpses under your pillow, I'll even tell you what you could have done differently.

3  Puzzles contains some I've written. There are more later in the thread.

This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.