So I'm still here playing Nethack, trying to unlock Wizard Mode, and I get to my inevitable death early on in the game.

The twist? Everything I had equipped has become a Glorkum.

Google has nothing for me, referring only to "gorkums".

So, what I'm asking here is, what on God's green earth is a Glorkum, and why have my items turned into them?

1 Answer 1


glorkum is part of a debug message used for an object of unknown type in xname, the function Nethack uses to figure out what an object should be called. If you see it, you've encountered a bug.

  • 2
    The source-code is documented almost line-by-line in a wiki!? Jesus, that is a maintenance nightmare. Nov 25, 2016 at 15:59
  • 3
    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft they've had many years to get all that information catalogged, it would not be surprising if the tooling behind it was sophisticated enough to not be a nightmare.
    – Seiyria
    Nov 25, 2016 at 16:58
  • @Seiyria: If you look at the history, it looks like there is no tooling, it was all done by hand. Nov 25, 2016 at 18:08
  • 7
    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft: NetHack went twelve years without a new release up until a year ago. At the time the wiki contributors added those comments, the problem of maintenance must have been purely hypothetical.
    – jwodder
    Nov 25, 2016 at 20:36
  • 1
    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft the pace of development has always been rather slow, and has only gotten slower in the new millennium — an average of one release per year in the past 30 years, and only six since 2000. There aren't a million patch revisions to annotate :)
    – hobbs
    Nov 26, 2016 at 6:45

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