The Monk FAQ: How to Play Them, What to Wish For, What to Eat,
and Other Considerations
By Kate Nepveu, email@example.com
Version 1.2; last change *** (updated for 3.4.1).
One common question on rec.games.roguelike.nethack is "I'm
playing a Monk, what do I wish for?" Other Monk questions, such as
"How do I get Monks to survive?" and "What can I eat?" are also
asked fairly often.
This document is an attempt at answering these questions. By its
nature, it therefore includes SPOILERS (though
mostly in the last two sections). It is also quite long. Read at
your own risk.
Please note that this spoiler only covers vanilla NetHack 3.3.1, 3.4.0, and 3.4.1; monks are apparently quite different in SLASH'EM.
Corrections, clarifications, and comments are always
When it comes to playing Monks, there are some optional
restrictions, for varying degrees of "optional."
The least-optional restriction is quite simple: a monk wearing body armor receives a -20 penalty to
the chance to hit in direct combat ("Your armor is rather
cumbersome..."). It's possible to wear body armor, particularly at
high experience levels, and still hit things ; see the weapons spoiler for
information. It is not recommended for low-level
characters. For purposes of this FAQ, it will be assumed that the
character does not wear body armor (because if you're far enough in
the game that it's possible for you to wear it, you probably don't
need this FAQ).
Body armor is, well, stuff you wear on your body, but does not
include T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, or any kind of cloak or robe.
Anything under "suits" or "dragon suits" in the armor spoiler is body armor.
 In fact, someone on
rec.games.roguelike.nethack ascended a Monk wearing body armor; see
Seth Scott's ascension post for more details.
Note that there are two other ways that armor affects Monks'
Monks without body armor (or a shield, in 3.4.1) receive a to-hit bonus: 2 +
(experience level / 3).
- Monks have a chance of dealing their opponent a staggering
blow ("The [monster] staggers from your powerful strike!"), in
which the monster is stunned for a turn and also staggers back one
space, if it can. The following conditions must be met: Monks must
not be wearing body armor or shields; they must directly attacking
in melee combat; they must not be wielding a weapon; the hit must
be doing more than 1 HP of damage; and the character must be in
natural (non-polymorphed) form. The chance is 1% for each level of
skill beyond unskilled. (This ability is not unique to Monks, as it
applies any character with Basic skill in unarmed combat; Monks are
simply in the best position to make use of it.)
Big monsters (LARGE, HUGE, or GIGANTIC) and thick-skinned
monsters are immune to staggering blows. Consult the Monster
Manual to see what size an individual monster is; I am unaware
of a spoiler that lists monsters by size. According to the weapons spoiler, "Thick- skinned
creatures include: gargoyle, winged gargoyle, all mimics, mumak,
titanothere, baluchitherium, mastodon, all baby and adult dragons
(D), earth elemental, all baby and adult nagas (N), xorn, skeleton,
gold golem, wood golem, clay golem, stone golem, glass golem, iron
golem, horned devil, barbed devil, crocodile, salamander, Chromatic
Dragon, and Ixoth."
Optional restrictions are largely a matter of roleplaying. On
one end of the spectrum are players who never break weaponless and
vegan #conducts; on the other are players who wield whatever
weapons come their way and eat corpses whenever they choose. Where
you fall on this spectrum is a matter of personal preference. (Some
players even choose to fast. This challenge is beyond the author's
present knowledge. Note that in 3.4.1, Monks exercise wisdom by fasting.)
However, do note that eating non-vegetarian
food gives a penalty of -1 to alignment. Early characters in
particular should be wary of harming their alignment too greatly,
as it may affect their ability to pray to get out of tight spots.
To make mostly-vegetarian conduct easier, Monks start out with a
lot of food and gain intrinsics like clockwork as they gain levels;
see Playing Tips.
Monks also start out restricted in all wielded weapons but
quarterstaff (they are also unrestricted in spear, javelin,
crossbow, and shuriken).
If you choose to adhere to weaponless ("You never hit with a
wielded weapon"), vegan, or vegetarian conduct, here's what's
- Never wield and hit with any of the following: 1) anything in
the "weapons" category in your inventory; 2) a pickaxe; 3) a
unicorn horn; 4) a grappling hook (applying it is okay).
- In 3.4.0 or later, do not apply polearms or lances.
- Hitting with anything else (a lamp you just #rubbed and forgot
to unwield, for instance, or a cockatrice corpse) does not
break weaponless conduct.
Vegetarian and vegan
Being a vegetarian or a vegan is theoretically simple: Don't eat
anything that's not vegetarian or vegan. However, the devil is in
the details . . .
To maintain conduct, you must eat both the proper monsters and
the proper items. Monsters are treated first.
may eat ONLY the following monsters:
- all b; all j; all F; and
- all v, all y, all E except stalkers, all ' except flesh golems
and leather golems, and all ghosts including shades (via digest
attack; see below).
may eat any vegan monster, and may also eat all P except black
- Eating any other kind of monster breaks conduct.
- The following counts as "eating" a monster:
- Eating its corpse or its tinned corpse.
- Digesting it when polymorphed into a monster with a digest
attack (lurker above, trapper, purple worm).
- Eating its brains when polymorphed into a mind flayer or master
mind flayer. If you want to keep vegetarian/vegan conduct and you
accidentally polymorph into a (master) mind flayer, the safest
thing to do is not attack anything directly, as you automatically
will try to suck out the monster's brains in direct combat (unless
you happen to kill it with the first blow). For the sake of
completeness, it is safe—even for vegans—to attack any
vegetarian monster or any headless monster as a (master)
mind flayer; headless monsters are Juiblex, air/earth/fire/water
elementals, and all b, e, j, m, t, v, y, F, and P. (Yes, the
categories overlap. Precision counts.)
may NOT eat:
- Tripe, meatballs, meat sticks, meat rings, and huge chunks of
meat (except for tripe, these only occur if you cast
- Anything made of leather, bone, or dragon hide (scales or scale
mail). Gelatinous cubes eat leather; at present, nothing in the
game eats bone or dragon hide.
may NOT eat the following, in addition to the prior list:
- Candles when polymorphed into a gelatinous cube (yes, there are
tallow candles in the game, which aren't vegetarian let alone
vegan, but the code currently assumes all candles are wax for
- Eggs, pancakes, fortune cookies, candy bars, cream pies, or royal
- Items other than those listed (metal items eaten while
polymorphed into a metallivore, for instance) do not break
Food Items Safe for Vegans
- Food rations, lembas wafers, C-rations, K-rations, cram
- Fruits and vegetables: kelp fronds, eucalyptus leaves, cloves
of garlic, sprigs of wolfsbane, apples, carrots, pears, bananas,
oranges, melons, slime molds [or whatever the user calls this
fruit, even "meat"], tin of spinach.
There was a bug in 3.3.1 that did not update your conduct when
you ate non-food objects or rotten food; however, this was fixed in
Many players' usual first wish is dragon scale mail or an
artifact weapon. Body armor is not an option for monks, and many
players chose not to wish for an artifact weapon (either to
preserve weaponless conduct or because they do not like wishing for
artifacts). Thus, "What should my Monk wish for?" is an oft-heard
Many of the traditional recommendations for wishes apply, and
their particular advantages and disadvantages for Monks are
discussed below. In addition, items particularly useful to Monks
are mentioned. This is not meant to be a comprehensive wishing
one already exists. In particular, if you're wondering what
quantity or enchantment to wish for, consult this file.
Some players chose not to wish for artifacts or to polymorph
piles of objects ("polypiling"). Read the following advice with the
implicit disclaimer of "If you are not opposed to..."
Finally, there may be some overlap between this section and
"Playing Tips." The author has simply exercised her best judgment;
organizational suggestions are always welcome.
- First and foremost, if your wish is from a wand, and you have
not identified a charging scroll, wish for 2 (or 3) blessed
charging scrolls. If you have identified the scroll but don't
have one at present, wish for a magic
- Speaking of magic markers, these are popular wishes, though you
should consider what useful scrolls you have identified (if it is
early in the game, you may not have identified many) and whether
other items would more directly contribute to your survival at that
point in the game.
- If you have not yet done Sokoban,
you may want to defer wishing for reflection or a bag of holding.
Note that an amulet of reflection is the best way for a Monk to
gain reflection, as a shield of reflection greatly inhibits
spellcasting and silver dragon scale mail is not an option.
fireproof +2 (or +3) speed boots are particularly useful for
Monks, since they tend to have poorer AC and fewer hitpoints than
many other fighter classes. The ability to run away is
always a good idea and make this, in my opinion,
an excellent early wish.
rustproof +2 gauntlets of power -or- dexterity: Gauntlets of power
give combat bonuses but interfere with spellcasting; gauntlets of
dexterity enhance spellcasting. Personally, I prefer gauntlets of
power, as in my experience the spellcasting interference is not
significant; vegetarian monks also have a difficult time gaining
greased rustproof +2 helm of brilliance. Improves spellcasting. I usually
don't bother with this, preferring to go for the greater AC of an
elven leather helm, but you might consider it if you have
higher-level spells you need to cast reliably.
greased fireproof +2 cloak of magic resistance. While the Monk Quest
Artifact, the Eyes of the Overworld, provides magic resistance when
carried, some people recommend a cloak of magic resistance for two
reasons. First, the Quest Nemesis, Master Kaen, can cast clerical
spells (he can confuse you, blind you, etc.), which a cloak of
magic resistance will protect against. Second, the Wizard of Yendor
will try to steal your Quest Artifact; without a backup source of
magic resistance, you will be vulnerable to touch of death and
other such magical effects. This decision depends largely on your
tolerance for risks, together with the fact that removing your robe
will decrease your spellcasting ability. (Note: in versions prior
to 3.3.1, Master Kaen could use touch of death, making this a much
All the armor above can be also obtained via polypiling; note
that your chances of getting magical armor from polypiling
non-magical armor is extremely small (0.6%, to be specific). There
is a magical
items spoiler that may help you polypile. Of course, if you
really need a specific item, or you haven't collected enough
polypile fodder, just wish for the item itself.
- People often recommend that a player wish for [insert popular
spellbook of your choice]. This is not necessarily a bad idea, but
note two things: First, spellbooks can be gained by prayer
(preferably at an altar), and second, spare spellbooks can also be
polypiled (be sure only to polypile spellbooks you won't need to
re-read). Thus, consider praying and/or wishing for a blessed wand
of polymorph before wishing for a spellbook.
In particular, a spellbook of magic
mapping is commonly recommended for mapping Gehennom; however,
the Eyes of the Overworld
provide "astral vision," which is effectively X-ray vision for a
range of spaces around you. The effect is of a lamp and
clairvoyance put together (you can also see objects and monsters
through walls); this, in my experience, reduces the need for magic
mapping considerably, making it a low-priority wish at most.
Note that in 3.4.0 or later, Monks will receive a spellbook of restore
ability upon crowning, as long as they are neither wielding an
artifact nor already carrying a spellbook of restore ability.
artifacts. Because Monks cannot wear body armor, they tend to
have a poorer AC than other classes; thus, an artifact that
provides half physical damage is a good idea. Neutral Monks should
wish for the blessed Orb of
Fate; chaotic monks should wish for the blessed Master Key of Thievery. (Lawful
monks are out of luck on this count.)
NOTE: Your chance of receiving a wished-for artifact depends on
the number of artifacts already existing in the game. (The
invocation artifacts do not count for this purpose.) Take this into
consideration before attempting to wish for an artifact.
ARTIFACTS 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 n
CHANCE 100% 100% 2/3 2/4 2/5 2/6 2/7 2/n+1
- The blessed fireproof +2 Staff of Aesculapius.
Neutral Monks who are not adhering to weaponless conduct might
consider this artifact weapon. Monks can reach Basic skill in staff
without divine intervention. When wielded, it provides double
damage and drains levels from monsters; it also conveys hungerless
regeneration. Invoked, it heals half of your hitpoint loss, cures
sickness, unblinds and unslimes.
- The blessed Eye of the Aethiopica. The
Eye confers magic resistance and is a handy escape mechanism, but
is particularly useful for spellcasters because it confers faster
- Monks who are adhering to vegetarian/vegan conduct will likely
find a ring of slow digestion
useful—particularly if they are also spellcasting frequently.
Again, this can be obtained by polypiling.
- If you really have wishes to burn, are keeping
vegetarian conduct, and don't have any pets that eat corpses, a tinning kit is useful for
getting rid of trolls. It's also handy for getting rid of
cockatrice corpses that you don't plan to use and don't want to
pick up yourself, since some monsters will pick them up and wield
them against you (an increased problem from 3.4.0 on). (You might also
tin some j, F, or P in hopes of regaining intrinsics that gremlins
equipment. See the
wishing spoiler for more ideas suited to all character classes.
Scrolls of genocide, amulets of life saving, and wands of death are always
popular. See "Playing Tips" for monsters that Monks in particular
might want to genocide.
— Now with an extended section on The Quest
and Master Kaen! —
- Please see the Absolute
Beginner's Guide to Nethack for general tips on surviving early
in the game. The Guide is also posted regularly to rec.games.roguelike.nethack.
- Work with your strengths. Monks
start out with the following intrinsics: speed, sleep resistance,
and see invisible. They also have equal probabilities of starting
with spellbooks of sleep, healing, or protection. Thus, because
they are likely to be faster than most early monsters, they can run
away and heal themselves or temporarily lower their AC, and they
can zap sleep spells with abandon and not worry about putting
themselves to sleep. (Sleep is extremely useful. Consider it an
offensive spell and use it accordingly.)
- Monks also gain one intrinsic
per each odd level, up to level 17. Take these into consideration
in your playing style.
XL 3 : Poison resistance
XL 5 : Stealth
XL 7 : Warning
XL 9 : Searching
XL 11: Fire resistance
XL 13: Cold resistance
XL 15: Shock resistance
XL 17: Teleport control
The only significant resistance Monks do not automatically
receive is disintegration resistance. Vegetarians can counter
disintegration blasts with reflection. Alternatively, genocide
[Note: reflection does not protect against wide-angle
disintegration beams, which a god will throw when really, really
angry. Only disintegration resistance protects against these; the
solution for vegetarians is not to annoy the gods that badly!]
- If you chose to wield a weapon, Basic skill is perfectly
adequate for the better artifact weapons, particularly if you have
high luck. See the Addendum on Artifact
Weapons for more information, rather technical, on choosing
between artifacts and martial arts based on damage.
- Donate to
lower your AC: give all the money you can find to a priest (in
chunks of 400 * your experience level). Be sure to see if the
portal to Fort Ludios exists in your game. You may also receive
protection from your god from praying; this is useful since you'll
probably be praying for spellbooks too.
- If you're willing to give up the staggering blows, a small
shield is a good way to decrease your AC without seriously
interfering with your spellcasting.
The Quest and Master Kaen
- Master Kaen, the Monk Quest Nemesis, has a well-deserved
reputation for being very tough. Here's the basic information on him: his status line
SPECIES LEV SPD AC MR RESISTS ATTACKS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~
@ Master Kaen 25 12 -10 10 P* 16d2 16d2 M0d0+ 1d4-
The M indicates that he is a spellcaster. Master Kaen casts the
clerical spells: open wounds (his most frequent spell); cure self;
confusion; paralyze; blind; create insects/sticks to snakes; curse
items; lightning; fire pillar; and geyser. Only create insects and
cure self will be cast from a distance. As the rest shows, he just
plain hits hard. He also has the lowest natural AC in the game
(tied with disenchanters). His only resistance is poison, however,
so sleep and other ranged attacks are often used against him. (Note that in 3.4.1, all Quest Nemeses are stoning-resistant (the *).)
- When you enter Master Kaen's level, he will be meditating and asleep, the Eyes at his feet. Note that since he's not wearing the Eyes,
he's not necessarily magic-protected when you enter the
level. In 3.3.1, he's definitely not; in 3.4.0 or later, there's a 1/11
chance he's generated wearing a cloak of magic resistance (the
other 10/11 of the time, he will have a robe).
The meditation will wear off as soon as he gets a turn and you're
in his line-of-sight.
In 3.3.1 and 3.4.0, Master Kaen was on a direct line with the stairs. Hence, you could get a jump on him if you understood how the speed system works, using a free move to zap him with something when you came down the stairs. ****
You may want to take
advantage of this for a couple of reasons: first, wands of
death/finger of death will only work if he's not magic-protected;
second, making sure he's still meditating will give you an
opportunity to zap him with a sleep spell, or to engrave Elbereth
against the X's and E's, or whatever your preferred strategy is.
To take advantage of Master Kaen's meditation, you should be
very fast and understand how the speed
system works. A quick summary for people familiar with the
system already: When you are very fast, you get what are
effectively free moves, where monsters cannot act. If you time it
properly, you can use your free move to zap Master Kaen immediately
after coming down the stairs, when he's still meditating and
A more exhaustive explanation: A turn is a tick of the time
counter ("T:number" on the status line), and a move is the ability
to do something—search once, for instance. When you are very
fast, you will often be able to move twice in one turn. There isn't
a set pattern for when you get free moves, but a free move will
occur after two turns in which you only got one move. Try it in
wizard mode: wish for speed boots, put them on, and type "s" slowly
enough that you can see the time counter move. If you hit "s" twice
and increment the time counter each time, the next time you will be
able to hit "s" twice and only increment the counter once: you have
a free move. Moreover, monsters cannot act during that free move;
they have to wait until the next turn.
Accordingly, when you are standing on the stairs down to (what
might be) Master Kaen's level, watch the time counter as you press
"s". When the time counter has moved two times for two keypresses,
go down on your next move: you should have one more free move in
that turn, in which Master Kaen is still meditating and helpless,
and you can do as you like.
- If you are planning to zap Master
Kaen, a spell is more likely to hit than a wand, if you are at
Basic or higher in the skill and your dexterity is better than 14.
In addition, if your experience level is greater than 14 (which it
should be, before you go on the Monk Quest), Master Kaen is less
likely to resist the effects of a spell than a wand.
- Note also that it is very easy to get
surrounded on the Quest, both because of the phasing ability
of Earth Elementals and Xorns (your Quest monsters), and
particularly because the last level is a large open room. Don't
forget that you can teleport things out of your way on any level;
you can also teleport yourself on all of the Quest levels but the
first. Better yet, engrave Elbereth (see the Elbereth FAQ); Master Kaen doesn't
respect it, but the Xorns & Earth Elementals will, giving you a
break from other things while you deal with Master Kaen. Some
people will stand on the up stairs and teleport things out of the
way until Master Kaen wakes up, and then go upstairs with him
following, so that they can polish him off uninterrupted; however,
since Master Kaen really does hit hard, caution is
- A neat way to avoid getting surrounded is to use the lava on Master Kaen's level. If you
can levitate over the lava (or if you are fire resistant and have
fireproof water walking boots), go over the lava until you are
surrounded by it on all sides. The Earth Elementals and Xorns will
leave you alone, and Master Kaen won't be able to hit you or cast
damaging spells, since he only casts cure self and create insect at
a distance. You can then employ your choice of ranged attack (such
as a sleep spell).
(If you're planning to use a ring of levitation, be aware that
Master Kaen can cast lightning spells, and thus you run the risk of
having your ring exploded.)
- As a general matter, because the Quest is so tough, Monks
should usually do the Castle, fill out their ascension kit, and use
whatever mean they allow themselves to increase their hit points
and spell points, all before attempting
- In 3.3.1, the staircases on the Quest locate
level could have been generated in two small, inaccessible
rooms; this was fixed in 3.4.0. (For maps of the Quest levels, see
Dylan O'Donnell's Gazetteer.)
- Players wielding weapons often chose a silver weapon for
Gehennom, because of the silver damage to demons, vampires, and
were-creatures. Weaponless Monks can achieve the same effect by
wearing a silver ring
and no gloves, if they are lucky enough to have silver rings
be something useful in that game. (Note that two rings do not
increase the silver bonus. Also, you must wear the
ring, not wield it.) If you are going weaponless but are not
willing to sacrifice gloves, wear blessed gloves: they provide a
smaller damage bonus against undead or demons.
N.B.: If you chose to play barehanded for silver damage, watch
out for chickatrices and cockatrices!
- If you need to use a blindfold to avoid a gaze attack, go
ahead; the Eyes still provide magic
resistance when carried. (The author forgot this once, and
went into fits trying to deal with an Archon in 3.3.1; the Eyes
prevent the stunning attack of Archons' radiant gaze in
3.4.0 and subsequent versions.)
- When you attack a monster with martial arts, you receive
certain bonuses to your chance to hit the monster and the damage
you do to the monster. These bonuses also apply to kicking a
monster; thus, if you are playing barehanded and are wearing
footwear, you could kick the cockatrice to death, if necessary.
Kicking also exercises your skill in martial arts.
- Weaponless Monks might also consider looking for rings of
increase damage, since martial arts does less damage than the
better artifact weapons. If of the proper material, rings of
increase damage may also be eaten; see the ring spoiler for more
- Monks can become Expert in healing spells, Skilled in clerical
spells, and Basic in every other category. Do not
neglect your spellcasting: even lower-level spells can be very
useful. For instance, a Monk can use magic missile to quite good
effect, and charm/confuse monster are excellent first defenses if
you find yourself surrounded. Monks can also cast higher-level
spells with low failure rates, with sufficiently high experience
levels and spell-friendly armor (robe, helm of brilliance, no metal
- As a corollary, spellcasting Monks should note that charging
scrolls can be used on themselves as well as on items.
This can be particularly handy if you are saving those potions of gain energy to
create full healing potions via alchemy (which I also
Good luck and have fun!
I plundered liberally from the following:
- Dion Nicolaas's voluntary challenges FAQ;
- Jason Short's work on vegetarian/vegan challenges;
- nyra's explanation of the speed system;
- Roar Lauritzsen's experiments with lava;
- Dylan O'Donnell's answers to many questions and his spoiler page;
- The comments of the good denizens of
rec.games.roguelike.nethack, in particular Brent Ross, Darshan
Shaligram, Seth Scott, Shaman, and Matthew K. Lahut.
Addendum on Artifact
The following section is quoted from a post to rec.games.roguelike.nethack
by Jason Short, <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
discussing the question of which artifact weapons are "good enough"
that a Monk with Basic skill would prefer them over martial arts
(if not trying to keep weaponless conduct).
Additions and corrections were made by nyra <email@example.com>.
An interesting question. The following is intended to apply only
to monks. I can make no assurances of it's correctness.
Martial arts base damage: 2.5
bonus for "Grand Master": +9
average damage : 11.5 (excluding strength bonus or increase
. . . characters who reach Grand Master skill in martial arts
(granting a +9 damage bonus) will on roughly every fourth hit only
do one hitpoint damage plus any applicable strength or ring
. . . The base damage roll for martial arts is 1d4, and the +9
damage bonus is only applied when the base roll is higher than one.
. . . The result is that Martial Arts at Grand Master skill doesn't
do 1d4+9 hitpoints damage  (averaging at 11.5) but rather
1;11;12;13 with equal probabilities, averaging 9.25
hitpoints of damage.
 before taking damage boni from strength or rings [or blessed
gloves against undead, or silver rings against silver-hating
creatures] into account
average damage with selected artifacts at "basic skill":
(again exluding strength bonus or increase damage)
(average damage to small/large monsters)
+7 Grayswandir: 23/23 (plus 10.5 of silver damage)
+7 * Brand: 23/27 (less against * resistant monsters)
+7 Staff of Aes.: 21/21 (PLUS level drain)
+7 Mjollnir: 23/22 (much less against shock-resistant monsters)
+7 Excalibur: 17/19
+7 Snickersnee: 17/18
+7 Stormbringer: 13.5/13 (PLUS level drain)
+7 Vorpal Blade: 12.5/14.5 (plus beheading chance)
+7 Magicbane: 13.4/12.9 (less against MR monsters)
+2 Magicbane: ~9.5 (less against MR monsters)
+0 Magicbane: ~7.8 (less against MR monsters)
+0 Mjollnir: 16/15 (MUCH less against shock-resistant monster)
+0 Grayswandir: 9/9 (plus silver damage)
+0 * Brand: 9/13 (less against * resistant monsters)
+0 Cleaver: 10.5/12
+0 Stormbringer: 6.5/6 (plus level drain)
+0 Vorpal blade: 5.5/7.5 (plus beheading chance)
Conclusion: at +7, even Stormbringer is significantly better
than martial arts. At +0, though, the only worthwhile weapon is
Mjollnir. Note that many of these weapons will give you intrinsics
or other bonuses in addition to what is listed above.
[Based on the correct calcuation of Grand Master damage,] Monks
going weaponless afflict less damage than they'd do wielding a +5
long sword or the +0 Excalibur at basic skill.
[Note that Excalibur can be obtained fairly easily by lawful
Two-weaponing a +7 silver saber with the one-handed artifact of
your choice above will give you an extra 11.5 points of damage from
the weapon, but will cost you 6 points of damage since you get a -3
with each weapon (monks are restricted in two-weapon). Thus, you'll
do an extra 5.5 points of damage per attack - plus silver damage.
(Example: two-weaponing grayswandir and a silver saber you'll do an
average of 28.5 damage, plus 21 points of extra silver damage.) A
long sword, katana, or crysknife will do minimally more damage but
without the silver bonus. IIRC, the effects of any rings of
increase damage are applied to both weapons, but your strength
bonus only applies to the first weapon.
[Editor's note: from 3.4.0 on, Monks (like other classes restricted
in #twoweapon) are unable to two-weapon at all.]
Note that I have ignored the strength bonus to damage. This can
be as much as +6 (strength 18/** or above), but I believe it is
applied equally in all situations. It should therefore not be a
factor in choosing a weapon. Also note that I have ignored the
chance to hit; this will be a problem at low levels for +0 weapons,
whereas a martial arts grand master gets a large bonus.
Information above taken from Dylan O'Donnell's artifact and
weapons spoilers, and from the source.
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