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The Executioner, @, is a unique monster that appears in UnNetHack. He is incredibly deadly, possessing two extremely strong weapon attacks that can each hit for a maximum of 50 base damage, and has resistances to cold, fire, poison, and stoning.


The Executioner only appears in the lowest level of Sheol, and awaits the player on the throne within his dwelling, opposite of the stair case. He will always be generated with a cloak of magic resistance and the artifact battle-axe Cleaver, which is replaced with a normal battle-axe if Cleaver is already generated in that game; the battle-axe will always be rustproofed in either case.


Between his base AC of -2 and 18 speed and his two powerful attacks, the Executioner can wipe out even ascension-ready players in a couple of turns, and is assisted by various other monsters on the same floor, including blue slimes that can freeze you in ice. In addition to immunity to footrice corpses, his starting cloak nullifies the wand of death and, combined with a decent MR score of 60, dampens or outright negates most spell-based approaches. Carelessly approaching him in melee without proper protection can spell instant death even if you have an amulet of life saving, due to his speed and multiple attacks per turn.

However, the Executioner does not resist sleep magic or shock damage, which an attentive player can exploit; he is also just as vulnerable to paralysis as every other monster. If you can survive a round or two in melee and have sleep resistance and/or a ring of free action, you can hit him with a potion of sleeping or paralysis to immobilize him long enough for you to freely swing your best highly-enchanted artifact weapon at him.

The half physical damage attribute may save your life several times over, especially if you can come into the fight unencumbered and wearing speed boots; you can also use a wand of teleportation against him to give yourself some breathing room (as teleporting yourself will not work on the no-teleport level). This can give you valuable turns to retreat and/or use any means of healing you have available. If you only want the hoard of items he guards (including the crystal pick and magic marker that are both guaranteed), you can run past him or teleport him away to get at the chest furthest from the stairs; you can then level teleport out safely, as levelporting ignores no-teleport levels.

The Executioner's threat can be greatly reduced if you are able to disarm him, e.g. with a bullwhip, though his unarmed melee attacks are still dangerous. Despite resisting some forms of ranged assault, the Executioner can still be picked off at a distance due to lacking any ranged attack; you can block his path using boulders from a scroll of earth or any traps that may appear in the room, and then unleash a storm of your best projectiles to bring him down. Spider webs and bear traps can also temporarily pin the Executioner in place.

Polymorphing into a black dragon allows you to dispatch the Executioner with ease, as he does not resist disintegration, and two blasts of breath is enough to destroy his cloak and then disintegrate him. Note that this will potentially destroy his weapon as well, requiring that you disarm him if you wish to obtain it; Cleaver will only resist disintegration 50% of the time.

One player was able to successfully hit him with a spell of sleep and take him out with a well-enchanted Magicbane; this led to the suggested T-shirt message "I knocked off the Executioner and all I got was this lousy crystal pick".[1]


An executioner, also known as a hangman or headsman, is an official who executes a sentence of capital punishment on a legally condemned person, with a warrant authorizing or ordering them to execute the sentence in order to protect the executioner from murder charges. The Executioner is based in particular on the common stereotype of a hooded medieval or absolutist axe-wielding headsman; real-life executioners, whether employed in an official capacity or a symbolic capacity, were not robed in all black, and only used hoods if their identity and anonymity were meant to be preserved from the public.

Many executioners were professional specialists who traveled a circuit or region performing their duty, as executions tended to be very uncommon. In Western Europe and its colonies, executioners were also often shunned by their neighbours, as reflected in fiction set within those locations (usually within the medieval eras).

Encyclopedia entry

Executioners like to immediately execute adventurers who get trapped in their icy lairs. Challenging them in direct hand-to-hand combat would be headlessly stupid.
'Executioners execute!' [ Adeon ]