Arqade is a question and answer site for passionate videogamers on all platforms. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The top question on this website is about nethack so being a total baller I downloaded the game. I got the visual version for windows. I want to play a wizard but I died on my first attempt. I wonder if it had something to do with me not being able to use spells. I have no idea how to play this game so I wonder what are some useful commands. (i learned that D lets you drop things) and how to generally play each class.

It doesnt need to get into the specifics I just want to learn the basics so i dont keep dying (although tricks are appreciated as well)

share|improve this question
Use Z (that's shift-z) to cast spells. – badp Nov 15 '12 at 13:28
I look forward to your future YASDs. (That's "Yet Another Stupid Death." There are a lot of those. Plus a tiny, tiny fraction of YAVP - Yet Another Victory Post.) – Paul Marshall Nov 15 '12 at 19:06
up vote 5 down vote accepted
  • Read the ingame help with ?, especially ?a, to get acquainted with the very basics.
  • If that was too dry, also check out the longer form Nethack Guidebook.
  • Decide if you want a spoiler-free experience, or if you'd rather have all games mechanics and messages explained to you through, e.g., the Nethack Wiki

Oh, by the way. You are going to keep dying. A lot. The only alternative to death is (spoiler alert!) victory and only 1.43% of all games played on public server result in victory (source: 1, 2), so get used to it :)

share|improve this answer
There's another alternative - climbing out of the dungeon without the Amulet. Gets you about a 10% higher score than dying. – Brilliand Mar 5 '14 at 22:09

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.