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For calling an object (class), see name.

In NetHack, you can call (or name) a monster by pressing shift + c.


Calling or naming a monster will change most messages regarding that monster to use only the monster's name (i.e. "Bob hits!", rather than "The goblin hits!"). Using farlook on a called monster will describe it as "<monster> called <name>". Killing or petrifying a called monster will leave a statue or corpse with that name if possible; conversely, reviving a named corpse or casting stone to flesh on a named statue (e.g. Perseus) will produce a monster called by that name.

When prompted to enter a name for a monster, simply pressing enter without giving a name will cancel the calling attempt, but entering a name consisting only of blank spaces will "clear" its name.


Ghosts are a special case: a named ghost will be described as "<name>'s ghost" rather than simply "<name>". All ghosts start with a name, the set of possible names depending on where and how the ghost is generated, but they can be renamed like any other monster. Clearing a ghost's name will cause the game to simply refer to it as "the ghost", similar to any other unnamed monster.


  • Unique monsters will resist the naming attempt (this was the basis of the Astral call bug).[1]
    • Prior to NetHack 3.6.1, this could be worked around by petrifying the unique monster, naming the statue, and un-petrifying it. This was fixed in commit 9b4d5239, which prevented revived unique monsters from taking the player-assigned name of their statue or corpse. Amusingly, the monster will still resist further attempts at calling it, including attempts to remove its new name.
      • You can rename a shapeshifted Vlad the Impaler because his shapeshifted form doesn't count as unique, but he will not accept any new names (or attempts to remove his new name) when he reverts to base form.
  • Monsters whose names display as something other than their base type – notably, shopkeepers, aligned priests and minions – cannot usefully be called anything different: messages regarding them will not change if you try. However, petrifying them will still produce a statue with your chosen name.


While calling is most common for pets, it is actually possible to do so with most monsters in the game. These are a few reasons to name a monster:

  • Roleplay (renaming your pet)
  • Reminders (naming a monster you know is permanently blind, etc.)
  • Allows you to differentiate same-race monsters in a group (to remember which one is carrying the wand of fire, etc.)
  • In 3.4.3 and some derived variants, allows you to abuse the Astral call bug (though this is fixed in most variants and on
  • When trying to tame a magic-resistant monster like a master mind flayer, you might get large quantities of pets - name these so you don't accidentally sacrifice one.
  • Leave a funny death message, such as "Killed by a soldier ant called Go Team Ants" or "Killed by a goblin called Bob (with the Amulet)"
  • Liven up the dungeon a bit with some strange messages, such as "You miss going outside" or "'You are an extremely poor conversationalist', the gnome grunts."
  • Let the MSGTYPE option filter away pet battle messages.

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