Beholder (dNetHack)

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For other implementations of the monster, see Beholder.

A beholder, e, is a type of monster that appears in dNetHack and notdNetHack. The beholder is a large eye creature that is amphibious, capable of flight, has infravision, and can be seen via infravision.

A beholder has a passive gaze attack that paralyzes the attacker, as well as two active gaze attacks that use one of 16 random damage types: death magic, cancellation, paralysis, drain life, disenchantment, gradual stoning, luck-draining, confusion, slowing, stunning, blinding, fire, cold, shock, hallucination, and sleep - fire, cold and shock gazes each have a 219 chance of being selected per attack, while the other damage types each have a 119 chance of being selected. All of a beholder's gaze attacks are single-target. Beholders possess fire resistance, cold resistance and shock resistance.

Beholders are poisonous to consume, but eating a beholder's corpse or tin or quaffing its blood has a 15 chance of granting clairvoyance for 500–999 turns. Beholder corpses do not rot away or become tainted from age, and their blood can be used as a substitute for the potion of enlightenment in alchemy.


Randomly generated beholders are always created hostile, and are only randomly generated in Gehennom. They are not a valid form for polymorph.

Hostile beholders may be generated as minions of Ver'tas.

Beholders make up 110 of the monsters randomly generated on the Nightmare Temple levels of the Chaos Temple Quest. Four beholders are randomly placed on each of the two Nightmare temple floors at level creation.

Beholders randomly generated outside the Chaos Temple Quest are always accompanied by four gas spores.


Due to the chances of their active gaze attacks being immediately lethal, it is unwise to go near a beholder without reflection and a blindfold.


The beholder is a well-known creature from Dungeons & Dragons, and is one of the franchise's most iconic original creations. Beholders have spherical bodies with a single large eye, ten smaller eyes on stalks above it, and a mouth full of teeth. The smaller eyes are used for offense or defense; each one has a different magical ability. Beholders are typically hostile to other creatures, and often hostile to one another.

The quote in the encyclopedia entry is likely the genesis of the aphorism, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

Encyclopedia entry

"Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them."

[ Moral and Political, by David Hume ]