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The Tourist is one of the roles in NetHack. Since the Tourist can only reach Expert in three weapons and has poor starting intelligence for spellcasting, running a Tourist is quite the challenge. Tourists are always neutral humans.

The Tourist is inspired by Terry Pratchett's Discworld books; Twoflower, the tourist from these books, stars as the Quest guide for the Tourist role.

The guidebook has this to say about tourists:

         Tourists start out with lots of gold (suitable for  shopping with),
         a credit card, lots of food, some maps, and an expensive camera.
         Most monsters don't like being photographed.


Shopkeepers recognize tourists below experience level 15 as suckers and charge them an extra 1/3 markup when buying and only offer 1/3 the base price of sold items. (The same problem will be experienced by other roles when wearing a visible shirt and/or dunce cap.)

Starting EquipmentEdit

Rank titlesEdit

The status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1-2: Rambler
  • XL 3-5: Sightseer
  • XL 6-9: Excursionist
  • XL 10-13: Peregrinator/Peregrinatrix
  • XL 14-17: Traveler
  • XL 18-21: Journeyer
  • XL 22-25: Voyager
  • XL 26-29: Explorer
  • XL 30: Adventurer

Strategy guideEdit

A Tourist character starts with very weak weapons and armor. It is imperative for a Tourist character to find better weapons and armor as soon as possible. Tourists should use their starting pet to test whether weapons and armor items are cursed prior to wielding or wearing them. (Of course, pet testing is useful for all characters, but it is especially important for Tourists, since other characters start out with better gear, whereas Tourists need to rely heavily on items that they find.)

The most useful starting item for a Tourist is the expensive camera. The camera, when [a]pplied, will blind any monster standing in the way of the flash. This tactic contributes greatly to early survival, since the character can run away while the monster is blinded. Tourists can also flash themselves for temporary blindness if they lack a towel or blindfold in order to use telepathy or avoid a gaze attack.

Another excellent survival tool for the early Tourist is repeatedly writing "Elbereth" in the dust. This will scare most monsters away and your pet can kill them while you stay still on your Elbereth square. Keep in mind that monsters blinded by your expensive camera will not respond to Elbereth!

The credit card is useful for opening locks and chests without having to resort to forceful means.

Tourists tend to start with good stats for cavorting with demons, but not everything that comes out of a sink has eyes so they might consider settling for heavy petting. Female Tourists have a 2 to 1 cavorting advantage in the quest, but Tourists lose few abilities from being polymorphed into a demon so this can be overcome.

Once a suitable attack wand is found, a tourist might consider being undressed for success by kicking sinks. Female tourists will find that the quest offers a slightly more rewarding experience, but the controlled ability to become a demon of a different gender remains the best policy.

Weapon selectionEdit

Compensating somewhat for the Tourist's poor starting equipment is the fact that a Tourist can advance to basic skill in every type of weapon except clubs. Therefore, a Tourist can make use of almost any weapon without restriction. However, at low experience levels, it is difficult to hit anything while using a weapon in which you are unskilled, since unskilled usage confers a -4 to-hit penalty, resulting in a net to-hit penalty of -6 (for a +0 weapon) versus your starting +2 darts. Hence, unless you find a high-damage weapon such as a dwarvish mattock or two-handed sword very early in the game, or find a highly enchanted weapon via (say) price identification or are facing really wimpy harmless monsters (Lichens and Mimics come to mind), it is usually better to kill things by throwing your darts in the early stages of the game. By the time you reach experience level 5 or thereabouts, you will have found a better weapon (such as a dwarvish mattock, two-handed sword, battle axe, silver saber, unicorn horn etc.), which you can start using in place of the darts since at this point your experience level is high enough to partly offset the unskilled to-hit penalty. Of course, your weapon will not stay unskilled for long; you should advance it to at least basic as quickly as possible.

Even after you find a better weapon, it's a good idea to keep the darts for use in attacking monsters from long range.

In the intermediate stages of the game, the best weapon for a Tourist is a unicorn horn. Even though the unicorn horn does slightly less damage per hit than an equivalent dwarvish mattock, the unicorn horn has a better chance to actually hit, since you can advance unicorn horn to skilled, whereas mattocks can only be advanced to basic. Also, dwarvish mattocks are quite heavy and encumber the character a lot, whereas a unicorn horn is something that you will need to have anyway for the healing properties. Typically, a Tourist with a well enchanted unicorn horn should have no problem completing the Quest and Castle levels.

In the advanced stages of the game, a Tourist should have several artifact weapons available from which to choose. Because Tourists have no weapon restrictions to speak of, any artifact weapon which is good in general is good for the Tourist. Thus, Tourists do not usually need to be too discriminating in choosing an artifact weapon. However, if one has a choice, the following weapons are especially desirable and are worth pursuing if your character has the opportunity (e.g., via a wish):

  • Grayswandir - Tourists can advance sabers to skilled. In most cases it must be obtained from a wish, since Tourists start out neutral.
  • Magicbane - Tourists can advance daggers to expert.
  • Mjollnir - Unless the enemy is shock resistant, this weapon inflicts the most damage out of all the aligned weapons that a Tourist can obtain by #offering.

Tourists can become skilled in two-weapon combat, but this is not so useful in the early game since most of the best weapons in the early game require both hands in order to wield. Later in the game, when good weapons are available, and the Tourist has reached a high experience level, it is better to use two weapons unless the character requires a shield for reflection. The most powerful melee weapon combination for a Tourist in the endgame is probably Grayswandir combined with another silver saber in two weapon combat. Highly enchanted thrown daggers or a crysknife also work well, since Tourists can get to expert skill in daggers, and skilled in knife.

In Sporkhack Orcish tourists start with potions of sickness and are immune to extra damage from tossed back poisoned darts.

Armor selectionEdit

In general, Tourists should seek out the same types of armor that a warrior-type character such as a Valkyrie or Barbarian would use. In most cases, it is not worth avoiding metal armor to improve spell casting rates, because Tourists suffer enormous spell casting penalties from even one peripheral piece of metal armor, and it is not practical to avoid metal armor entirely. Typical armor for a well off low level Tourist would be a mithril-coat, iron shoes, a dwarvish iron helm or orcish helm, and an elven cloak or dwarvish cloak. It is worth noting that in the early game the most common source of magical armor items is an armor shop, and Tourists start out with enough gold to be able to buy most of the good items in the shop.

As always, heavier armor items such as plate mail or splint mail encumber the character so heavily that they are detrimental to survival despite their higher levels of armor class protection. This phenomenon is especially severe for Tourists because Tourists tend to start out with low Strength.

In the endgame, a Tourist is no different from any other role and should follow the same guidelines as any other character in terms of assembling the various pieces of armor that form a typical ascension kit.


Main article: Tourist quest

The Quest artifact for the Tourist is the Platinum Yendorian Express Card. This artifact is so useful that in most cases a Tourist should try to complete the Quest as soon as possible. The most important intrinsic to have for the Quest is reflection, because the Quest locate and Quest goal levels contain several large rooms filled with soldiers armed with attack wands. The Master of Thieves, the Tourist Quest nemesis, is not particularly difficult by the standards of Quest nemeses, and any character capable of dispatching the soldiers should have no special trouble with the Quest nemesis.

Post-Quest strategyEdit

The main function of the Platinum Yendorian Express Card is that it can be #invoked to charge wands and tools like a scroll of charging. Properly exploited, this function gives the Tourist the equivalent of a blessed scroll of charging every few hundred turns, a feat which is not possible with any other character type. This makes the Tourist role one of the easiest to ascend once the Quest has been completed.

Wands have a higher and higher chance of exploding each time they are charged, so a post-Quest Tourist will usually want to keep several of each type of wand on hand so as to maximize the number of recharging opportunities that are available. For rare wands, such as wands of death, a small number of such wands will last an entire game if properly managed. For common wands, such as wands of digging or magic missile, it is a good idea to maintain a rotating stock of such wands, discarding the ones which have been charged many times and replacing them with newer ones.

The Platinum Yendorian Express Card can also be used to charge tools. This is especially useful in light of the fact that tools, unlike wands, can be recharged infinitely many times (with the exception of magic markers, of course). For example, a horn of plenty combined with the Platinum Yendorian Express Card means that a Tourist can get by with carrying very little food. A bag of tricks can be used to create monsters indefinitely with repeated recharging. Other useful chargeable tools include brass lanterns, crystal balls, tinning kits, magic harps, magic flutes, fire horns, frost horns, the Bell of Opening, and even the expensive camera that comes in the character's initial inventory.

Because the game will not display the number of charges and recharges extant on an unidentified item, a spellbook of identify is an especially valuable item for a Tourist, above and beyond its already high value for other character types. Tourists can reach basic skill in Divination spells, which is more than enough to cast identify.


Sporkhack offers a wider selection of races for various roles. An orc tourist is an interesting choice that offers an instant kill attack from the second move.

Encyclopedia entryEdit

The road from Ankh-Morpork to Chrim is high, white and
winding, a thirty-league stretch of potholes and half-buried
rocks that spirals around mountains and dips into cool green
valleys of citrus trees, crosses liana-webbed gorges on
creaking rope bridges and is generally more picturesque than
Picturesque. That was a new word to Rincewind the wizard
(BMgc, Unseen University [failed]). It was one of a number
he had picked up since leaving the charred ruins of
Ankh-Morpork. Quaint was another one. Picturesque meant --
he decided after careful observation of the scenery that
inspired Twoflower to use the word -- that the landscape was
horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the
occasional village through which they passed, meant fever-
ridden and tumbledown.
Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the discworld.
Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant "idiot".

[ The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett ]

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