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While not explicitly a dungeon feature, the ceiling is a part of the game where certain monsters or traps can be located. Most instances mentioning the ceiling are flavor text; the player rarely interacts with the ceiling. Some special levels (such as some Quest home levels or the Plane of Air) do not have one since they are considered outside.


Currently, there are only five monsters that use the ceiling.

Piercers and lurkers above hide on the ceiling until something stumbles onto their square. A hard helm will protect the player from a piercer's damage, but beware that pets will be instakilled by lurkers. Because wumpuses' feet stick to the ceiling, they can move over water tiles without drowning.

Prior to 3.6.0, the game considered t trappers to hide on the ceiling. This was bug C342-51 in NetHack 3.4.3.


When stepping on a falling rock trap, the game states that a rock falls from a trapdoor on the ceiling (even if the ceiling is air.)


A drum of earthquake, when improvised, will unhide any monsters hidden on the ceiling.

Applying a mirror up will produce the message "You reflect the ceiling."

Quaffing a cursed potion of gain level causes you to "rise up, through the ceiling" unless you are on dungeon level 1 without the amulet, the endgame levels, Sokoban, the top floors of the Wizard's and Vlad's tower, the top floor of the Quest, and Fort Ludios.

Quaffing a cursed potion of levitation produces the message "You bump your head on the ceiling" and damages you.

Reading a scroll of earth produces the message "The ceiling rumbles around you!" and creates several boulders.

Zapping a wand of digging or the dig spell upwards will cause a rock to fall on your head, but attempting to dig by any other means has no effect since you are unable to reach the ceiling.


There is a 14 chance that you may trigger a special type of trap door when kicking a throne. The message when this happens is, "The floor opens up under you!" followed by "The hole in the ceiling above you closes up." This is the only method of triggering this trap.



No new traps are present in SLASH'EM, but rust traps will become fountains when untrapped. It is not clear if they are still considered ceiling traps.


SporkHack introduces ceiling collapse traps, which drop several boulders onto the player.


In xNetHack, some levels (including most quest levels) are flagged as "outdoors". Scrolls of earth do not work on outdoor levels, and ceiling traps such as rust and falling rock traps won't generate. Throwing an object upwards will also not be shown as hitting a ceiling.

This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-360}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.