Potion of polymorph

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! Pink potion.png
Name polymorph
Appearance random
Base price 200 zm
Weight 20
Monster use May be used by monsters as misc items.

A potion of polymorph is a type of potion that appears in NetHack.


Randomly generated monsters with a monster difficulty of 5 or less have a 130 chance of receiving a potion of polymorph as a miscellaneous item, with a 56 chance of one appearing in a monster's starting inventory if a polymorph item is chosen.[1]

Wizards may be given a potion of polymorph as one of the three random potions in their starting inventory, though they will never start with the potion and a ring of polymorph control simultaneously.[2][3][4]


The potion has various effects depending on its use, and can polymorph items, monsters or the player. Potions of polymorph cannot be polymorphed themselves.

Quaffing, throwing and wielding

Main article: Polymorph

Quaffing this potion will cause you to polymorph unless you have unchanging, auto-identifying. Monsters can also quaff this potion - mercifully, this will not generate out-of-depth monsters.[5] Throwing this potion at a monster will cause it to polymorph, as will wielding the potion and smashing it on them. Inhaling the vapors from a potion of polymorph abuses constitution.

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

Quaffing a blessed potion of polymorph will give you a controlled polymorph.


Main article: polypiling

Dipping an item into this potion may polymorph the item - this cannot polymorph invocation items, the Amulet of Yendor, a spellbook of polymorph, wand of polymorph, or another potion(s) of polymorph. Artifacts have a 1920 chance of resisting, while other items have a 120 chance of resisting.[6] The usual checks for golem creation, items vanishing, artifacts resisting, etc. are skipped, but large stacks will still merge to small ones.[7] Dipping this potion into another, non-water potion will similarly polymorph the other potion, rather than resulting in random alchemy.

Items that resist polymorphing will not use up the potion or break polypileless conduct - however, an item may accidentally polymorph into itself, which uses up the potion and breaks polypileless. In both cases, the potion of polymorph is not auto-identified.


Wielding the potion and hitting a monster is not advised because if by an unlucky chance that monster becomes a footrice, you will be petrified.


Most players can easily identify the potion by dipping an item into it, especially as quaffing may destroy some of your armor. Some conduct players prefer price identification or other means of identifying 200zm potions to avoid breaking polyselfless or polypileless conducts. Here are a few other methods that do not require magical identification:

  • Dipping a resistant item, such as a wand of polymorph or the Bell of Opening, is always safe and doesn’t use up the tested potions.
    • A non-resistant item that polymorphs into itself will use up the potion, but also confirms its identity to name later, since the message for this is different from the one given when nothing actually happens after dipping an item in a potion.[8]
  • Quaffing while wearing an amulet of unchanging uses up the potion, but prevents it from taking effect; fortunately, all the other 200 zm potions are safe to drink as well (although you may want to bless them first).
  • Monsters with a difficulty of 5 or less are occasionally generated with one as their miscellaneous item, and watching one drink the potion will identify it. You could also try leaving 200 zm potions in the path of intelligent monsters.
  • If you are not observing polypileless conduct, then dip-testing with a unicorn horn is a suitable method, provided you are not using your only unicorn horn - this will usually yield another magical tool unless the horn was regrown from a revived unicorn.

Smoky potions

A potion of polymorph with the randomized appearance of a smoky potion can be quite the inconvenience to any wish-hunters, as it will require unchanging to quaff safely - polymorph control can also prevent the polymorph from breaking or dropping armor, though it can still end up lowering your level or shuffling your attributes.


The potion of polymorph first appears in NetHack-- 3.0.10, and makes its vanilla debut in NetHack 3.3.0.



In SLASH'EM, the Chamber of Junk in the Lawful Quest has two separate 25 chances to contain a cursed potion of polymorph.


In EvilHack, monsters may throw a potion of polymorph rather than quaff it, polymorphing any monster that it hits (including you) unless they have magic resistance or unchanging; if a monster's attempt to polymorph you has no effect, they will refrain from attempting to polymorph you further.


In SlashTHEM, in addition to SLASH'EM details, the Undertaker quest has two separate 25 chances to contain a cursed potion of polymorph on the goal level, which is a copy of the Lawful Quest.


In Hack'EM, in addition to SLASH'EM details, doppelgangers start the game with knowledge of items that can polymorph monsters, including the potion of polymorph.

Monsters may throw potions of polymorph rather than quaff them, with the same behavior as in EvilHack. Monsters cannot be created with a potion of polymorph and a ring of polymorph control simultaneously, which is mostly relevant for generating wizard player monsters.