Oracle (monster)

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The Oracle is a unique monster that appears in NetHack. She resides on a special level called "The Oracle Level" (or Delphi) and can provide a consultation for a fee, which is one of the main ways an unspoiled player can learn about the game.


Location Level 5–9 of the
Dungeons of Doom
Bones Yes
Mappable Yes
Teleportable Yes
Diggable floor Yes
Diggable walls Yes

The Oracle Level is located between level 5 and 9 inclusive in the Dungeons of Doom. It is eligible to leave bones, and monster creation is biased towards neutral monsters. The level immediately below will always have the entrance to Sokoban.

The Oracle's room, with fountains and centaur statues.

There are five rooms to the sides of the above area, with two separate rooms containing the stairs. Five random monsters, three random traps, and six random items are placed around the level, and the rooms are linked to each other and to the above room by corridors. Each room has one trap, except the rooms with two objects or the up stairs. The Oracle is at the center of the three-by-three room (called Delphi), amid the fountains; there is a random empty doorway in one wall. There are two random monsters generated in the area surrounding Delphi. The marked statues are:

If any of the centaur flavors are genocided or extinct, those statues will be replaced with statues of random creatures.

The statues are considered historic, and thus yield an alignment penalty if they are broken by an Archeologist. The statues also have a chance of containing a random spellbook.


The Oracle, @, is a human that is completely sessile, and always generates peaceful.

While she has no active attacks of her own, attacking her in melee causes a spray of magic missiles to hit you;[1] the passive magic missile attack is not implemented for inter-monster combat. Due to the magic missile attack, the Oracle has magic resistance and is thus immune to magic missiles and rays from a wand of death or the finger of death spell.


The Oracle offers two services, both of which cost money. Minor consultations are simply true rumors, much like you can get from a blessed fortune cookie. A major consultation is an extended description of some aspect of the game, for example:

Behold the cockatrice, whose diminutive stature belies its hidden might.  The  
cockatrice can petrify any ordinary being it contacts--save those wise  
adventurers who eat a dead lizard or blob of acid when they feel themselves  
slowly turning to stone.

The first major and the first minor consultation you buy each increases your score[2] and gives experience points.[3] Buying a consultation of a type you've already bought gives neither experience nor score. If you take a major consultation, but do not have enough money to pay for it, the Oracle will take all your money and give a special oracularity which refers to Oracle machines; this will "use up" the experience points gain for major consultations.

If the Oracle is killed by any means, you will not have access to consultations for the rest of that game. If angered, she will not give consultations ("The Oracle is no mood for consultations"), but she can be pacified, after which she will give consultations normally.

First consultation bought Type Cost Score Experience points Cost/Score Cost/XP
Minor Minor 50 21 5 2.38 10
Major 500 + (50 × XL) 90 + (9 × XL) 20 + (2 × XL) 5.56 25
Major Major 500 + (50 × XL) 210 + (21 × XL) 50 + (5 × XL) 2.38 10
Minor 50 9 2 5.56 25

Lists of consultations

The Oracle's consultations are stored in plain text in the source code:


The presence of naga hatchlings and baby dragons on a level typically indicates that you have found the Oracle level.

Those looking to dispose of the Oracle for whatever reason (e.g. extinctionist conduct) can kill her with ranged attacks without any retaliation, but this will incur murder penalties for non-chaotic characters. Due to the fact her magic missile passive does not apply to monsters, any pet at level 11 or higher can attack the Oracle and may kill her.

Be mindful of having enough for a major consultation when leveling a pacifist character - additionally, if you have obtained a powerful pet early on, be sure to keep it well away from the Oracle for the above reasons if you have not yet obtained any consultations.


The Oracle first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


The Oracle is primarily based on the Pythia, the priestess who presided over the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi; the NetHack Oracle will welcome you to "Delphi" when she spots you arriving at her abode.

The Oracle-level sound effects reference several different oracles - the "strange wind" alludes to the Oracle of Jupiter at Dodona; "conclusive ravings" refers to the Oracle of Apollo; and "snoring snakes" is derived from the Oracle of Aesculapius at Epidaurus. The two additional hallucination sounds both reference the Internet Oracle from, which first appeared in 1989, particularly the taboo question "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" The Oracle was added to NetHack the same year.


You hear a strange wind.
You hear convulsive ravings.
You hear snoring snakes.
The Oracle is present on the level.
You hear someone say "No more woodchucks!"
You hear a loud ZOT!
As above, while hallucinating.


Many variants enable the Oracle's passive attack to be used against other monsters.


In SLASH'EM, the Oracle is able to use her passive attack on other monsters. If a woodchuck attacks the Oracle, the message associated with the attack is "ZOT!"[4]

Be careful with pets around the Oracle: her passive attack is disproportionately strong for her level, meaning most pets that attack her will die in the process. Lawful characters may actually find this useful: they can receive minions such as movanic devas which may carry a shield of reflection, and even if they don't are guaranteed to have an erodeproof long sword and large shield. Bringing said minions to the Oracle is a good way to obtain their equipment without incurring any penalties for directly killing a pet.


In UnNetHack, woodchucks will attack the Oracle on sight as part of Nephi's grudge patch, and the Oracle is able to use her passive attack on other monsters.

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, the Oracle can grant enlightenment at a price equal to 20 times your experience level in gold.


In FIQhack, the Oracle provides enlightenment similar to Fourk.


xNetHack adds two other variations of the room in the center of the Oracle level. In both of them, the Oracle sits amid a ring of pools instead of a smaller room. One variant has many trees and only three fountains; the other has statues of snakes, nagas, sea monsters and elementals. The Oracle herself has many new consultations, and also a 23 chance of generating with a potion of hallucination - this is another allusion to the shrine at Delphi, which had chemical vapors emitting from a spring-made cleft that is speculated to have induced "prophetic" trances.

Like UnNetHack, woodchucks and the Oracle attack each other on sight.


In EvilHack, the Oracle can use her passive attack on other monsters. Additionally, she holds an artifact tool known as the Magic 8-Ball, which divulges rumors based on its beatitude and is implied to be the source of her knowledge.[5]

The Oracle's consultations are one of the many possible sources of Elbereth for a character. Her magic missile passive attack no longer has its damage negated via magic resistance; half spell damage still reduces its damage output, and reflection will only partially reduce its damage.


SpliceHack adds the new Delphi variations from xNetHack, but the pools have a small chance of being replaced with lava[6][7]. The original Delphi variation from vanilla NetHack is changed to have different statues[8]:


dNetHack includes more options for consultations for the Oracle, including enlightenment (costing 200+20*level) and so-called "glimpses of things to come" (costing 150) hints as to some randomized aspects of the dungeon.

Sightings of the eladrin nobility -- tells you which Eladrin Caste there are

Tulani Caste Oracle
Tulani Eladrin "They say radiant spheres roam the land."
Gae Eladrin "They say (aestival/vernal/hibernal/autumnal) spirits roam the land."
Brighid "They say the deep nobility has emerged to roam the land."
Uiscerre "They say the deep nobility has surfaced to roam the land."
Caillea "They say the winter witches have come down from the mountains.")

Talk of the castle in the air -- is Bahamut's Tower in the Law Quest

Has Bahamut's tower been generated Oracle
Yes "They say Bahamut's palace has been sighted from afar."
No "Rumors of Bahamut's palace have been greatly exaggerated."

The location of the primordial ones -- tells you the Eladrin Precursor race, if any

Precursor Type Oracle
Dracae "They say the ancient eladrin mothers have been seen once again."
Polyp "There's been rumors of invisible shapeshifters in the (deserts/forests)"
otherwise "I've been considering expanding my statue collection. I hear Oona has quite the variety...

Knowledge of those who came before -- which chaos quest variant

Chaos Quest Variant Oracle
Final Fantasy "Some adventurer came through here the other day, all dressed in blue and muttering about 'Materia'?"
Mithardir "Some adventurer came through here the other day, wearing the oddest white headscarf."
Mordor "A pair of short adventurers came through here just the other day... there was an odd wretched creature following them though."
Mordor (alternate) "A pair of short adventurers came through here the other day, apparently in search of a volcano?" -- Mordor

Impressions of the Queen of the Fae -- which Oona

Oona's Elemental Type Oracle
Fire "They say Oona has a bit of a fiery personality..."
Cold "They say Oona can be a bit cold at first...")
Electric "They say meeting Oona can be a bit of a shock..."

Encyclopedia entry

Delphi under towering Parnassus, where Apollo's oracle was,
plays an important part in mythology. Castalia was its
sacred spring; Cephissus its river. It was held to be the
center of the world, so many pilgrims came to it, from
foreign countries as well as Greece. No other shrine rivaled
it. The answers to the questions asked by the anxious
seekers for Truth were delivered by a priestess who went into
a trance before she spoke.

[ Mythology, by Edith Hamilton ]


This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

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