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Amon, the Shadow Before the Altar is a spirit that appears in dNetHack and notdNetHack.

Ritual, seal and taboo

Amon can be contacted from anywhere as long as there is no altar on the level: if one is present, the contract is immediately broken, draining a level and setting the spirit timeout. An Illithanachronounbinder begins the game with knowledge of Amon's seal.

To remain bound to Amon, you also cannot pray or donate to aligned priests - other religious actions are permitted.


A character that has Amon bound will grow a large pair of horns. This mark can easily be seen from a distance, and can be disguised by wearing a metallic helm, which the horns will merge with.


While bound, Amon confers cold resistance, and grants skill in clerical spells.

Amon's active powers are as follows:

  • Fire Breath: You breathe a ray of fire, much like a red dragon. The ray rolls for to-hit and deals 5 dice of fire damage to all monsters it hits.

Amon's passive powers are as follows:

  • Horns: Your horns grant you an extra 1d9 headbutt attack.
  • See in Darkness: You can see perfectly in darkness - if playing as a drow (who already has darkvision), you can instead see perfectly in light.

As a monster

In notdNetHack, Amon, q, also appears as a monster that can be summoned by an Illithanachronounbinder. He is a strong, thick-skinned and giant-sized herbivorous quadruped that can be seen via infravision.

Amon has a headbutt attack and a bite attack, and possesses fire resistance and cold resistance.

Like many summoned spirits, Amon cannot be tamed.


Amon is first generated when summoned from his seal by an Illithanachronounbinder. He is always created hostile, and is not a valid form for normal polymorph.

Upon death, Amon will drop a frost horn with a high chance of a non-standard object material. He does not leave a corpse.


Below this point, there are major spoilers for the Illithanachronounbinder role. They can be accessed by selecting the "Role spoiler" tab.

Amon moves faster than an unhasted and unburdened character, and is a very difficult fight early on due to hitting fast and hard. It is typically necessary to draw the seal, escape downstairs to obtain the necessary equipment and gain a level, then come back to fight him proper. The frost horn Amon drops may be useful in creating the conditions required to summon Balam.

If Amon is killed after being summoned, he can be encountered again in the Void, a branch accessed by opening the high altar of Ilsensine the Fallen as an Illithanachronounbinder using the invoke effect of The Elder Cerebral Fluid. Amon is generated along with many other spirits of the near void on the first floor of the branch, and is generated with the "whispers" template, which makes him nonliving.

Encyclopedia entry

"You shall have no other gods before Me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

[ Deuteronomy 5:6-21 ]