I just got into NetHack (using Vulture's for a GUI), and I've been reading up on a bunch of things so I can be ever so slightly prepared for what awaits me.

One of the things I've read is that as long as the game considers you a beginner, you can't identify potions, spells and scrolls via their usual unique messages. Once you reach 2000 score points (or 1000 when playing as a wizard, which I do), the beginner status is lifted. The question is: how do I know when I actually reach that goal?

I've only been able to find three possibilities:

  1. Save scumming
  2. Saving the game, then opening the save game in a hex editor and finding the value
  3. Using the showscore option.

I don't quite like those options, though:

  1. Save scumming feels too much like cheating
  2. Figuring out what value to look at is cumbersome, and I still have to quit the game in order to do this, which wastes time
  3. showscore is not compiled in by default, and I can't do a recompile because building Vulture's is currently broken on Windows (nor have I been able to build plain NetHack).

Are there any options I'm missing? Maybe an easy way to guarantee non-beginnerness early in the game?

  • 3
    It should be noted, that being a beginner only makes it difficult to identify scrolls and potions when they have no effect at all. Everything which a beginner does mask will be properly identified if it has an effect, even as a beginner.
    – Grace Note
    Commented Nov 17, 2010 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


You gain four points for each experience point you gain from killing monsters. Once you reach 500XP (250XP for a wizard), you can be certain that you've left beginner status, assuming you haven't gained or lost XP or levels by methods other than killing monsters (consulting the oracle, quaffing a potion of gain level, etc).

Once you've reached level 7 (level 6 for a wizard) you will have almost certainly gained enough XP to reach 2000 score points (1000 score points for a wizard).

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