Amulet of strangulation

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" Circular amulet.png
Name amulet of strangulation
Appearance random
Base price 150 zm
Weight 20

An amulet of strangulation is a type of amulet that appears in NetHack.


13.5% of randomly-generated amulets will be an amulet of strangulation. The amulet is generated cursed 90.5% of the time, uncursed 9% of the time, and blessed 0.5% of the time.

An amulet of strangulation is always generated in a chest on the middle floor of Vlad's Tower outside of bones files.


When worn, the amulet immediately begins constricting your throat, beginning a delayed instadeath and auto-identifying the amulet: Unless you are in a form that either lacks a head or is both breathless and mindless, you will be killed by strangulation in six turns.[1][2] While being strangled, your strength is abused, and you cannot perform several actions: you are unable to quaff, operate whistles or other similar instruments, read scrolls if you are currently blind, or cast spells.[3][4][5]

Removing the amulet aborts strangulation. The timer for strangulation is paused during the three turns of invulnerability granted by successful prayer.[6] Praying while wearing an amulet of strangulation is considered a major trouble, and successfully praying will destroy the amulet. In wizard mode, choosing not to die when killed by the amulet will cause it to vanish.[7]

Eating the amulet has a 1920 chance of choking you to death immediately unless you are breathless. Rust monsters will avoid eating an amulet of strangulation.[8]


The amulet of strangulation is a dangerous item and one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, that a player should avoid putting on unidentified amulets, especially without at least determining their beatitude. While removing the amulet is enough to save you, most amulets of strangulation are generated cursed.

Most methods of curse removal that do not rely on spells (e.g. remove curse) or reading scrolls blind can uncurse an amulet and allow you to remove it. A wand of cancellation is close to a last resort in this regard - if you have turns to spare and no other means of uncursing the amulet, you can drop everything else that you do not want cancelled, then zap yourself with the wand and safely remove it. Any worn amulet of strangulation can be removed by safely praying as well.


The amulet of strangulation first appears in NetHack 3.0.0. From this version to NetHack 3.4.3, including some variants based on those versions, the amulet can strangle you regardless of your current form, though having breathlessness will save you from choking while eating the amulet.

The inability to cast spells while wearing an amulet of strangulation is introduced in NetHack 3.6.1.


You are being strangled.
You are being strangled by wearing an amulet of strangulation, as viewed via enlightenment.

Turns to live

The messages below correspond to the amount of turns you have left to live in the Alt. message column occur when you are breathless, and 150 of the time otherwise.[9]

Message Alt. message Turns left to live
"It constricts your throat!" "It constricts your throat!" 5
"You find it hard to breathe." "Your neck is becoming constricted." 4
"You're gasping for air." "Your blood is having trouble reaching your brain." 3
"You can no longer breathe." "The pressure on your neck increases." 2
"You're turning blue." "Your consciousness is fading." 1
"You suffocate." "You suffocate." 0



In SLASH'EM, a cursed amulet of strangulation named life saving is generated in The Chamber of Junk within the Lawful Quest at level creation.

Gaining invulnerability from a potion of invulnerability does not prevent death from an amulet of strangulation.


In dNetHack, incantifiers can "eat" an amulet of strangulation without consequence, since they are incorporeal and absorbing the magic from the amulet rather than physically consuming it. Eating the amulet in any other form will not instantly kill you, but instead causes temporary strangulation for six turns - due to dNetHack's breath timer mechanic, this means that you will die if your current timer is six turns or lower, unless the property is removed. Successfully praying can cure strangulation from choking this way, while obtaining the breathless property (e.g. via an unbreathing polyform) ignores strangulation and allows it to time out harmlessly.

The Wizard of Yendor has a unique spell that forces an amulet of strangulation onto your neck, transforming any currently worn amulet into one if possible. If you are wearing an amulet, the spell can be prevented with magic resistance.


In SlashTHEM, in addition to SLASH'EM details, an amulet of strangulation is generated at one of six particular squares on the locate level of the Geek quest.