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% Corpse.png
Name foo corpse
Base price 5 zm
Nutrition (depends on monster)
Turns to eat (weight / 64) + 3
Weight (depends on monster)
Conduct (depends on monster)

A corpse, also referred to as a cadaver, is the body of a dead monster. It is a very common comestible. Some monsters never drop corpses, some monsters drop corpses occasionally, while others will always drop corpses except in special circumstances.


Most corpses can be revived with a wand of undead turning or spell of turn undead, and a few revive spontaneously.

Even though all corpses are classified as comestibles, that does not imply that they should all be eaten. Some corpses are acidic, poisonous or hallucinogenic, while others can give you a property that you may not want, and still others are deadly to eat. Normally, you should avoid those corpses unless you have the appropriate resistance or means of curing the condition that they cause.

One way to learn which corpses to avoid is to watch which ones your pet eats; for example, a pet will never eat a poisonous corpse (unless the pet is poison resistant). However, there are several corpses your pets can eat without adverse effects.

Corpse generation odds

Most monsters do not always leave a corpse when they die. Monsters that normally would leave a corpse will not if killed by stoning, disintegration, or digestion. Corpseless monsters such as ghosts or yellow lights will never leave a corpse. Lizards and any monster that is larger than size Medium are guaranteed to leave a corpse when killed by normal means unless they were produced by cloning, and player monsters and the Riders will always leave a corpse; in particular, this means that trolls, whose corpses can be very annoying, will normally always leave a corpse. Golems are guaranteed to leave their special death drops (if applicable) when killed. As of 3.6.1, shopkeepers also always leave a corpse.[1]

For all other monsters, there is a 1 in n chance that the monster will leave a corpse when killed, where n is generated as follows:[2]

  • n starts with a value of 2
  • Add 1 if the monster is size Tiny
  • Add 1 if the monster's generation frequency is "Very Rare", "Not randomly generated" or "Unique".

Monsters will never leave a corpse on the Rogue level. Undead on a graveyard level have 1/9 of the normal chance of leaving a corpse if killed by you, or 1/3 of the normal chance if killed by anything else, further reducing the above odds.

(In a similar vein, some monster types will get replaced when you bring them back to life, e. g. priest corpses become zombies.)

As of NetHack 3.6.0, monsters represented by P (gray ooze, brown and black pudding, green slime) leave globs instead of corpses. Globs can be eaten like corpses, but not sacrificed or revived. (This was changed due to pudding farming.) In earlier versions of NetHack, and variants based on earlier versions, these monsters leave corpses.

Special corpse behavior

  • Lizard and acidic corpses cure stoning.
  • Lizard and lichen corpses never rot away, and never cause food poisoning. (They do, however, get too old to sacrifice.)
  • Troll corpses (all T) come back to life 75% of the time.
  • The Riders' corpses have a chance of coming back to life starting 12 turns after their "death".
  • Acid blob corpses never cause food poisoning, they are safe (but damaging) to eat and are suitable for sacrifice until they rot away.


Corpses are generally most useful and safe when fresh, slowly rotting as the turns pass. In most cases, with increasing age corpses become unsuitable for sacrifice or for feeding your pet, and also become harmful or even deadly for you to eat, until finally they rot away to nothing.

Corpses do not age while stored in an ice box, and age at only half the normal rate while lying on ice. A tinning kit is also handy for preserving corpses for later consumption, by converting them into tins.

Any corpse dug up from a grave will already be old, aged 100 turns.[3] All mummies, zombies, vampires, and ghouls are undead—walking corpses already—so any corpse they leave will be the same age.[4]

Your god regards a corpse as "fresh" up to a maximum age of 50 and will accept its sacrifice on an altar.[5] If the corpse is too old, "Nothing happens." Even lizard and lichen corpses are subject to this limit, but acid blob corpses are an exception, suitable for sacrifice at any age.

Pets regard a corpse as "old" once its age reaches 50 turns.[6][7] Most pets will refuse to eat old corpses, except for lizard and lichen corpses; however, ghouls eat old corpses exclusively.

When you yourself eat a corpse, the effect of age is more complex, as the corpse progresses through several degrees of rottenness:

  • Lizard and lichen corpses are always safe for your consumption.[8][9]
  • For other corpses, rottenness is determined as age divided by random integer from 10 to 29, with a +2 bonus for being cursed or −2 for being blessed.[10]
  • If the rottenness is 6 or more, the corpse is considered "tainted" and will give you fatal food poisoning, causing you to die in 10–19 turns. The corpse then rots completely, without any further effects (no nutrition or intrinsics conferred, no damage from poisonous corpses, etc.)[11]
    • Acid blobs are never tainted.
    • Cockatrice, chickatrice, and Medusa corpses turn you to stone regardless of age. If you are petrification resistant, the corpses can be tainted and poison you as normal.
    • If you eat a tainted corpse while being immune to sickness, you will not become sick, but the corpse still rots completely, conferring no nutrition, intrinsics, etc.
    • If you were sick already, eating a tainted corpse re-rolls the number of turns you have left to live, compares it to the current number, and takes the lower of the two. Eating the corpse also takes 1 turn, so you will always be closer to death afterward.
  • Otherwise, if the rottenness is at least 4 ("old"), and you are not sickness resistant, there is a 20% chance that you "feel sick" and lose 1d8 HP. Dying from this will display the death message as "killed by a cadaver".
    • If the rottenness is 6 or more but the corpse is not tainted, the chance is 100%.
    • In addition to sickness resistance, you are completely protected from this damage if the corpse is poisonous or you receive acidic damage from it.
  • In the absence of other negative effects, unless the corpse is a lizard, lichen, or acidic, there is still a 17 chance of a corpse turning out to be rotten in the same sense as non-corpse comestibles, with the associated consequences.[12]
  • Otherwise, you receive the full benefit of eating a fresh corpse.

All unrevived corpses except lizards and lichens eventually disintegrate, quietly disappearing from the game. This happens at an age of approximately 250 turns, with some random variation.[13]

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.

You have a constitution in 100 chance of surviving food poisoning. If you do, you lose 1 point of constitution and abuse constitution.

Poisonous and acidic corpses

Every corpse of a poisonous monster has a 45 chance of being poisonous. If you eat a poisonous corpse while not poison resistant, you lose 1–4 points of strength and 1–15 hit points.[14]

Acidic monsters always leave acidic corpses. If you eat one while not acid resistant, you "have a very bad case of stomach acid" and lose 1–15 hit points.[15]

Corpse benefits and dangers

Acidic and poisonous corpses do 1d15 points of damage.[16] Old corpses sometimes do 1d8 damage. Corpses not said to have an effect in this article are neither beneficial nor harmful.

Gaining intrinsics

Most, though not all, corpse-eating effects are chances of gaining intrinsics. The chance of gaining an intrinsic from a intrinsic-providing corpse is based on the monster's base level and the amount of intrinsics it can provide. If a monster can provide multiple intrinsics, there is an equal chance of each being conferred, even if you already possess the intrinsic. Once one intrinsic is picked from the list, there is a level/15 chance that it will be conferred. Telepathy, teleportitis, and teleport control are exceptions; telepathy is guaranteed, teleportitis is level/10, and teleport control is level/12. Killer bee and scorpion corpses are also exceptions; their chance of conferring poison resistance is (level+5)/20.[17][18]

Purely beneficial corpses and globs

The following corpses are purely beneficial, save for the few which are acidic.

  • All elves confer sleep resistance.
    • Elf players suffer cannibalism from eating other elves, but they gain sleep resistance naturally.
  • Wraith corpses provide a guaranteed level up.
  • All giants, titans, the Cyclops, and Lord Surtur provide an increase in strength.
    • Fire giants and Lord Sultur also confer fire resistance.
    • Frost giants also confer cold resistance.
    • Storm giants also confer shock resistance.
  • Mind flayers and master mind flayers provide an increase in intelligence or confer telepathy.
  • Floating eyes always confer telepathy.
  • Blue, black, orange, red, and white dragons are all guaranteed to confer their associated resistance: shock for blue, disintegration for black, sleep for orange, fire for red (including Ixoth), and cold for white.
    • Gray, silver, and yellow dragons confer no intrinsics.
    • Green dragons and the Chromatic Dragon also confer intrinsics, but being poisonous do not belong to this section.
    • Baby dragons confer no intrinsics.
  • All nagas confer poison resistance, and are additionally safe to eat with the exception of acidic black nagas and poisonous guardian nagas. Red nagas also confer fire resistance.
    • Naga hatchling corpses have identical effects to their adult counterparts, but have a lower chance of doing so; guardian naga hatchlings are not poisonous to eat.
  • All puddings confer cold, shock, and poison resistance, and are acidic.
    • Black puddings are not vegetarian, while brown puddings are vegetarian but not vegan.
  • Brown and red molds confer poison resistance; the former additionally provides cold resistance, and the latter gives fire resistance.
  • Blue jellies confer poison and cold resistance.
  • Gelatinous cubes confer fire, cold, sleep, and shock resistance, and are acidic.
  • Gray oozes confer fire, cold, and poison resistance.
  • Quivering blobs confer poison resistance.
  • Electric eels confer shock resistance.
  • Lizards cure stoning, lowers stun and confusion to two rounds, and do not rot.
  • Unicorns confer poison resistance.
    • Killing unicorns of your own alignment massively lowers your Luck, but eating unicorns of the same alignment has no such effect.
  • Cave spiders confer poison resistance.
  • Centipedes confer poison resistance.
  • Fire ants confer fire resistance.
  • Pyrolisks confer fire and poison resistance.
  • Flesh golems confer fire, cold, shock, sleep, and poison resistance.
  • Hell hounds and their pups confer fire resistance.
  • Ice trolls confer cold resistance.
  • Winter wolves and their cubs confer cold resistance.
  • Yetis confer cold resistance.
  • Newts provide 1–3 energy, or increase maximum energy if already at max.
  • Quasits confer poison resistance.
  • Shriekers confer poison resistance.
  • Tengu confer both teleportitis and teleport control, as well as poison resistance.

As a general rule, monsters with a fiery attack (red molds, red dragons, etc.) tend to confer fire resistance and monsters with a cold attack (brown molds, white dragons, etc.) tend to confer cold resistance.

Corpses that are both beneficial and harmful

This section lists corpses which both provide benefit beyond nutrition value, and are harmful beyong being acidic, or cause an effect which may be both beneficial and harmful.

The following corpses are poisonous but also confer poison resistance:

Some poisonous monsters are beneficial in other ways:

Finally, there are non-poisonous corpses which are good or bad:

  • Eating a chameleon or doppelganger corpse will polymorph you. Doppelgangers are human, so beware of cannibalism.
  • Eating a disenchanter corpse is generally bad. One of the following intrinsics is randomly selected:[19][20] fire resistance, cold resistance, poison resistance, telepathy, invisibility, see invisible, speed, stealth, intrinsic protection, teleportitis, aggravate monsters. If you possess the chosen intrinsic, you lose it. Of these, only teleportitis, aggravate monsters, and invisibility could be detrimental.
  • Leprechauns and all nymphs confer teleportitis. This can be inconvenient if you lack teleport control.
  • Master Kaen confers poison resistance, but being human (and Monks' Quest Nemesis), he's likely to trigger cannibalism.
  • Nurses fully heal, and have a 73% chance of granting poison resistance. Nurses are human, so beware of cannibalism.
  • Cockatrice and chickatrice corpses kill you instantly by petrification, but if you are resistant or saved by amulet of life saving, you may become poison resistant.
  • Stalker corpses make you temporarily invisible for 50–149 turns. If you are already invisible, it will make you permanently invisible and grant see invisible. Eating one will also stun you for 60+ turns.
  • Violet fungi cause hallucination for 200+ turns, but may confer poison resistance.
  • The Wizard of Yendor confers one of: fire resistance, poison resistance, teleport control, and teleportitis. He is a human, so beware of cannibalism.
  • Giant zombies and mummies may increase your strength, but have a high risk of food poisoning that is best avoided by using a tinning kit.
  • Elf zombies and mummies may convey sleep resistance, but can cause food poisoning. As with undead giants, using a tinning kit is best.

Corpses that are only harmful

The following corpses cause harm without any beneficial effect except nutrition:

Acidic corpses and blobs

The following corpses and blobs are acidic without any other beneficial or harmful effects (nutrition value in parentheses):


Corpses have been present in the game since Hack 1.0 - Jay Fenlason's Hack also has the dead lizard, though this was a random food item rather than a corpse left by a killed monster. From Hack 1.0 to NetHack 3.0.0, a corpse was known as a dead foo.



In SLASH'EM, corpses that are left to rot long enough will sometimes have a fungus grow on it. This can be used to obtain additional permafood from lichens or resistances from killing and eating certain molds and fungi, especially for vegan players.


SlashTHEM retains the same behavior for corpses from SLASH'EM while expanding the amount of monsters in the fungus monster class that can generate from a moldy corpse.


In xNetHack, certain corpses left to rot long enough will also generate a fungus monster as in SLASH'EM, with the exact types of mold depending on the corpse in question (e.g. corpses with stoning or acidic properties can only produce green mold).

See also

  • Death drops: items that sometimes appear when a monster leaves a corpse
  • Glob: comestible left by some monsters instead of a corpse as of NetHack 3.6.0


External links

  • Eating Corpses for Food and Intrinsics - useful reference table of corpses, the intrinsics and effects they give when eaten, and other related information, for Nethack 3.4.3
  • HiSPeed's NetHack Helper - contains, among other, the corpse attribute database from Eating Corpses for Food and Intrinsics in interactive form.

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.