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I was playing Nethack last night, and mind you, I'm a beginner. In a desperate attempt to get some food in me, I mashed the e button and hit a random key. Unfortunately, I downed a rotten newt corpse, became poisoned, and as a result, died from said food poisoning. I decided to read over my attributes when I noticed I had Poison Resistance. Yet, here I was, dead from food *poison*ing.

I asked about this in the Nethack IRC chat room. They stated that food poisoning wasn't the poison I thought it was, which would be a substance on a weapon or a trap. I brought it up with my friend, who reiterated the above points, even saying that poison would be something like eating even a fresh Water Moccasin corpse.

I understand that, within the context of Nethack, the developers may consider these two different methods of poison, and that poison resistance only works against one method over the other. However, being someone interested in Biology, I am intuitively using the real-world definition of poison in my approach to the game.

A poison is a substance that becomes harmful when ingested or inhaled or absorbed. Venom is a substance that becomes harmful when injected directly into the skin. People use these words interchangeably in an informal context. You might hear someone say "Don't get close that to that snake! It's poisonous." but the correct biological definition is that it's venomous. The same goes for incorrect usages of the words venom and venomous.

I accept that food poisoning is a different kind of poisoning in Nethack, of which is not insured against by my poison resistance. But, to someone who approaches this game understanding the difference, this could be confusing, as the terms are used incorrectly to the real-world definitions.

So, my question here is, do you guys agree that Nethack uses these terms incorrectly to the real-world definitions, and that they have their own redefinition of the terms to exclude food poisoning from being combated by poison resistance? That's all I need to prove my case, that the definitions in Nethack are not the same as they are in real-life, and that I am not necessarily in the wrong for intuitively assuming food poisoning would be resisted.

As a suggestion, I think Nethack would benefit from renaming Food Poisoning to Food Sickness or the general words "Sickness" or "Illness".

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closed as not constructive by Arda Xi, Mana, sjohnston, Oak Feb 10 '11 at 23:02

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

NetHack is a world full of magic and legend, not a highly scientific simulation. In any case, voting to close this question as it is essentially a poll. – sjohnston Feb 10 '11 at 22:54
"Do you guys agree" is not really a question suitable for the stackexchange platform. It's the very definition of a subjective and argumentative question. – sepp2k Feb 10 '11 at 23:01
@Rauta Yet below you say "I realize that Nethack's Poison Resistance only works against some forms of poison. I just need some acknowledgement..." That doesn't sound like a question to me. – user56 Feb 10 '11 at 23:02
As you are asking for opinion rather than a solution to a problem, a game-related strategy or game information, this doesn't belong here, but rather in a discussion forum. – Oak Feb 10 '11 at 23:02
@Rauta you want people to agree (or disagree) with you about something. You were very clear that this is the question here. This kind of discussion does not belong here. Please see the FAQ, it pretty explicitly forbids this: you should not ask a question where there is no actual problem to be solved: "I'm curious if other people feel like I do." – Oak Feb 10 '11 at 23:13

"Food poisoning" is the generally accepted natural-language term for becoming ill due to eating spoiled food.

Even in the natural-language sense, it is recognized as quite different to being "poisoned" due to animal venom or some other poisonous compound.

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Poison resistance only works for poisonous enemies and poisonous arrows/darts/etc. Obviously it will not protect you from food poisoning because the substance(s) in some of the enemies and on some of the projectiles is not the same substance(s) as what you would ingest from bad food that gives you food poisoning.

If you had food poisoning resistance on the other hand you would have been fine. Food poisoning and poison are two entirely different status ailments as you can see here:

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I realize this. I realize that Nethack's Poison Resistance only works against some forms of poison. I just need some acknowledgement that I am not necessarily in the wrong, as a beginner, for assuming that my poison resistance covered all forms of poison. Thus far, I only know that it doesn't cover food poisoning, so perhaps renaming it to "food sickness" or "food ilness" would be more appropriate. – user7008 Feb 10 '11 at 22:52
Also, it doesn't matter if the substance(s) differ. They are poisons not because of their make-up, but because of the resulting toxicity after inhalation, ingestion, or absorption. So, they are one in the same by the real-world definition, which leads me again to assume Poison Resistance should cover that. – user7008 Feb 10 '11 at 23:01
Poison resistance works on poison and poison only. It prevents you from being poisoned upon eating the corpse of a poisonous monster. Food poisoning resistance doesn't exist and you would know that if you had checked the NetHack Wiki first. – I take Drukqs Feb 10 '11 at 23:02
@Rauta: Becoming ill from spoiled food is usually caused by microbial infection, not a toxin. – Anon. Feb 10 '11 at 23:02
@Anon. Its caused by the toxin that the microbes produce while they eat the food. Its definitely poison, hence the name! Just its unexpected poison from bacterial toxin production rather than toxins naturally occurring in the food. This means you could kill someone with Poison Resistance by adding bacterial toxins to their food, as then it would count as food poisoning rather than normal poising! (Net hack is wrong) – Nick Aug 23 '12 at 10:59