slashem — Exploring The Mazes of Menace


slashem [ -d directory ] [ -n ] [ -p profession (role) ] [ -r race ] [ -g gender ] [ -a alignment ] [ -[DX] ] [ -u playername ] [ -dec ] [ -ibm ]

slashem [ -d directory ] -s [ -v ] [ -p profession (role) ] [ -r race ] [ -g gender ] [ -a alignment ] [ maxrank ] [ playernames ]


SLASH'EM is a display oriented Dungeons & Dragons(tm) - like game. The standard tty display and command structure resemble rogue. It is an extension of SLASH which is an extension of NetHack.

Other, more graphical display options exist if you are using either a PC, or an X11 interface.

To get started you really only need to know two commands. The command ? will give you a list of the available commands (as well as other information) and the command / will identify the things you see on the screen.

To win the game (as opposed to merely playing to beat other people's high scores) you must locate the Amulet of Yendor which is somewhere below the 20th level of the dungeon and get it out. Nobody has achieved this yet; anybody who does will probably go down in history as a hero among heros.

When the game ends, whether by your dying, quitting, or escaping from the caves, SLASH'EM will give you (a fragment of) the list of top scorers. The scoring is based on many aspects of your behavior, but a rough estimate is obtained by taking the amount of gold you've found in the cave plus four times your (real) experience. Precious stones may be worth a lot of gold when brought to the exit. There is a 10% penalty for getting yourself killed.

The environment variable SLASHEMOPTIONS can be used to initialize many run-time options. The ? command provides a description of these options and syntax. (The -dec and -ibm command line options are equivalent to the decgraphics and ibmgraphics run-time options described there, and are provided purely for convenience on systems supporting multiple types of terminals.)

Because the option list can be very long (particularly when specifying graphics characters), options may also be included in a configuration file. The default is located in your home directory and named .slashemrc on Unix systems. On other systems, the default may be different, usually SLASHEM.cnf. On DOS or Windows, the name is defaults.nh, while on the Macintosh or BeOS, it is SlashEM Defaults. The configuration file's location may be specified by setting SLASHEMOPTIONS to a string consisting of an @ character followed by the filename.

The -u playername option supplies the answer to the question "Who are you?". It overrides any name from the options or configuration file, USER, LOGNAME, or getlogin(), which will otherwise be tried in order. If none of these provides a useful name, the player will be asked for one. Player names (in conjunction with uids) are used to identify save files, so you can have several saved games under different names. Conversely, you must use the appropriate player name to restore a saved game.

A playername suffix can be used to specify the profession, race, alignment and/or gender of the character. The full syntax of the playername that includes a suffix is "name-ppp-rrr-aaa-ggg". "ppp" are at least the first three letters of the profession (this can also be specified using a separate -p profession option). "rrr" are at least the first three letters of the character's race (this can also be specified using a separate -r race option). "aaa" are at last the first three letters of the character's alignment, and "ggg" are at least the first three letters of the character's gender. Any of the parts of the suffix may be left out.

-p profession can be used to determine the character role. You can specify either the male or female name for the character role, or the first three characters of the role as an abbreviation. -p @ has been retained to explicitly request that a random role be chosen. It may need to be quoted with a backslash (\@) if @ is the "kill" character (see "stty") for the terminal, in order to prevent the current input line from being cleared.

Likewise, -r race can be used to explicitly request that a race be chosen, -g gender the gender of the chareacter and finally -a alignment to chose the alignment of the character.

Leaving out any of these characteristics will result in you being prompted during the game startup for the information.

Instead of chosing the above separately you can add them as suffixes to the playername: -u playername-race-gender-alignment

The -s option alone will print out the list of your scores on the current version. An immediately following -v reports on all versions present in the score file. The -s may be also be followed by player type arguments ( -p , -r , -g and -a ) to print the scores of particular types of players only. It may also be followed by one or more player names to print the scores of the players mentioned, by 'all' to print out all scores, or by a number to print that many top scores.

The -n option suppresses printing of any news from the game administrator.

The -D or -X option will start the game in a special non-scoring discovery mode. -D will, if the player is the game administrator, start in debugging (wizard) mode instead.

The -d option, which must be the first argument if it appears, supplies a directory which is to serve as the playground. It overrides the value from NETHACKDIR, HACKDIR, or the directory specified by the game administrator during compilation (usually /usr/local/slashemdir). This option is usually only useful to the game administrator. The playground must contain several auxiliary files such as help files, the list of top scorers, and a subdirectory save where games are saved.


Jay Fenlason (+ Kenny Woodland, Mike Thome and Jon Payne) wrote the original hack, very much like rogue (but full of bugs).

Andries Brouwer continuously deformed their sources into an entirely different game.

Mike Stephenson has continued the perversion of sources, adding various warped character classes and sadistic traps with the help of many strange people who reside in that place between the worlds, the Usenet Zone. A number of these miscreants are immortalized in the historical roll of dishonor and various other places.

The resulting mess is now called NetHack, to denote its development by the Usenet. Andries Brouwer has made this request for the distinction, as he may eventually release a new version of his own.

Tom Proudfoot took NetHack and rendered it into SLASH - SuperLotsaAddedStuffHack, adding more character classes, levels monsters and all manner of changes.

Warren Cheung took SLASH and rendered it into SLASHEM - SuperLotsaAddedStuffHack - Extended Magic, with more improvements to the bloated behemoth.


All files are in the playground, normally /usr/local/slashemdir. If DLB was defined during the compile, the data files and special levels will be inside a larger file, normally nhdat, instead of being separate files.
slashem                     The program itself.

data, oracles, rumors      Data files used by SLASH'EM.

options, quest.dat         More data files.

help, hh                   Help data files.

cmdhelp, opthelp, wizhelp  More help data files.

*.lev                      Predefined special levels.

dungeon                    Control file for special levels.

history                    A short history of SLASH'EM.

license                    Rules governing redistribution.

record                     The list of top scorers.

logfile                    An extended list of games


xlock.nnn                  Description of a dungeon level.

perm                       Lock file for xlock.dd.

bonesDD.nn                 Descriptions of the ghost and

                           belongings of a deceased


save                       A subdirectory containing the

                           saved games.


USER or LOGNAME      Your login name.

HOME                Your home directory.

SHELL               Your shell.

TERM                The type of your terminal.

HACKPAGER or PAGER  Replacement for default pager.

MAIL                Mailbox file.

MAILREADER          Replacement for default reader

                    (probably /bin/mail or /usr/ucb/mail).

NETHACKDIR          Playground.

SLASHEMOPTIONS      String predefining several SLASH'EM


In addition, SHOPTYPE is used in debugging (wizard) mode.


Probably infinite.

Dungeons & Dragons is a Trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc.