uses a conceal
ed system of nutrition points to keep track of how well (mal)nourish
ed you are. You begin the game with 900 nutrition points. The base consumption
rate is 1 point per turn, but this is modified by several things:
- Regeneration (unless granted by an artifact) consumes an additional 1 point per 2 turns
- Being "stressed" or more in terms of load consumes an additional 1 point per 2 turns
- If you are wearing a ring of conflict or have eaten one, you consume an additional 1 point per 2 turns
- Wearing any amulet consumes another 1 point per 20 turns
- Carrying the Amulet of Yendor (even if you aren't wearing it) consumes another 1 point per 20 turns
- Any worn ring charged beyond +0 consumes another 1 point per 20 turns
If you are wearing a ring of slow digestion
, the normal 1 point-per-turn loss is eliminated, but all the above modifier
s still apply. The same effect occurs if you polymorph
into a creature
that is neither a carnivore
nor an herbivore
, such as a xorn
or rock mole
Food usually costs about (nutrition_value/20)+5 zorkmids in shops. These prices can be modified by low or high Charisma. Addditionally, if you are hungry or starving to death, the shopkeeper will gleefully bilk you for twice that or more as he factors in the 200% "desperation tax".
The most nutritious non-corpse food items in NetHack are lembas wafers and food rations, at 800 nutrition points each. The cram ration is a close second at 600 nutrition points. Least nutritious are things like the clove of garlic or sprig of wolfsbane, for obvious reasons.
The major source of food in NetHack is the corpse, of corse. You can eat anything you kill, although eating some corpses can have undesirable effects, such as causing non-food poisoning or bestowing teleportitis. The larger the corpse, the more nutrition. Eating corpses that are older than around 100 turns causes food poisoning ("Ulch - that meat was tainted!"), which is rapidly fatal unless you can cure it. Certain corpses, such as acid blobs, lichens, and lizards never go bad.
To assure yourself of a good food supply, find or purchase a tinning kit as soon as you can. Tins are fairly nutritious and never go bad. The major disadvantage of tins is that they are time-consuming to open.
Nutrition used to be the sole criterion that the value of a sacrifice to your god was based on, but the DevTeam eliminated that after version 3.0, I think -- this oversight allowed you to sacrifice a food ration and immediately max out your alignment. This is now accounted for, so only corpses fresher than 50 turns can be offered.