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Certain monsters in Nethack can be bribed. Bribery always requires that the gold to be used is in open inventory; gold in containers cannot be accessed during the transaction.

Temple priests sell protection. This isn't normally called bribing.

Bribing in Gehennom

Demon princes will ask you for a bribe when they first notice you, if you have gold in open inventory; refusing to bribe them will turn them hostile and they will never ask for a bribe again, whereas bribing them will prompt them to disappear for good, along with their entire inventory (except the invocation items).[1][2]

  • The amount asked is normally 21-100% of your visible gold. If the demon is not in hell, or if it is a chameleon in a form of demon, it will instead ask only 1-80% of your visible gold. If your alignment is the same as demon's, the amount will be half of this. The amount is always rounded down.
  • If you have no gold in open inventory, or have so little that the amount above is zero, the demon prince will be hostile and will not ask for a bribe.
  • If you are polymorphed into a demon, the demon prince will remain peaceful without requiring a bribe[3] and will attempt to teleport away.
  • If the prince is carrying the Amulet of Yendor, they will ask for more gold than you have, thus ensuring they will not disappear from the game with the Amulet.[4][5]
  • If you are carrying the Amulet of Yendor at creation time, the demon cannot be bribed. Carrying the amulet at the time you meet the demon has no effect.
  • Wielding Excalibur at demon creation time or near the demon prevents bribing.[6][7]
  • You cannot bribe a demon if you are deaf.
  • Chaotic demons cannot be bribed. Orcus is the only one waiting in a lair.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Wielding Demonbane now prevents you from bribing demons as Excalibur does.

Bribing the Yendorian Army

Soldiers can be bribed by by throwing a suitable amount of gold at them, turning them peaceful. On the Castle level, it is occasionally helpful to bribe a soldier to block a corridor for you, as hostile monsters will not route past peaceful ones.[8] The required amount is:

X + \frac{G + 1d5 \times {\mathit XL}}{{\mathit Cha}}

G here represents the amount of gold you have in your open inventory; X is 150 for soldiers, 250 for sergeants, 500 for lieutenants, and 750 for captains. They only have a two in three chance of accepting the offer.[9]

If you can't bag or drop your extra gold, the optimal amount to throw is:

\frac{(Cha \times X) + {\mathit (4 \times XL) + G}}{{1 + Cha}} + Cha

The Watch cannot be pacified by bribing in this manner despite being mercenaries, although you can pacify them by other means (see the section below in particular).

Bribing shopkeepers

Angry shopkeepers will also accept bribes via the #chat command, or by throwing the necessary amount of gold at them. If you can afford the asking price, the shopkeeper will become peaceful again.[10][11]

  • Pacifying a shopkeeper this way will also pacify any watchmen or watch captains on the level (usually Minetown, but also some variants' shopping mall).
  • Beware of throwing gold at peaceful shopkeepers: they have a chance of becoming hostile, as with any other peaceful monster pelted with money.


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.