How to find out which weapon is better?
So I started playing Nethack. But I wonder: How can I see which weapon is better if equipped?
For armor, I can at least switch it and look how the "AC" indicator changes.
Comparing between similar types is usually fairly straightforward, I'll use daggers (1d4 to small) and short swords (1d6 to small) as an example.
Orcish equipment is usually weaker than its counterparts, doing 1 fewer max damage to small monsters. (1d3 for dagger, 1d5 for short sword.)
Elvish equipment is the opposite, dealing more damage to small monsters (1d5, 1d8.) Elvish equipment is also non-metal, except for the mithril coat. The weapons are wood.
Dwarvish equipment is similar to elvish, but metal. In general their armours helps one additional point, while their weapons range from slightly stronger (spear) to slightly weaker (short sword). They do not have a special dagger, but their shortsword deals 1d7 points to small monsters.
Silver weapons are identical to standard versions, but deal an extra 1d20 to certain creatures. (werewolves, shades, demons)
Comparing across types is more complicated, there isn't a great rule of thumb, and it is highly dependent on the weapon skills you have. Usually the weapon skills worth having or using, if available, are Long Sword(includes Katana), Dagger, Saber (Grayswandir or silver saber with twoweapon), and Mace (Scepter of Might). There are times when you will be using other skills, of course, but given two weapons that seem equal, one that trains/uses these skills will usually be superior to one that does not.