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% Corpse.png
Name foo corpse
Base price 5 zm
Nutrition (depends on monster)
Turns to eat (weight / 64) + 3
Weight (depends on monster)
Conduct (depends on monster)

A corpse is the body of a dead monster. It is a very common comestible. Some monsters never drop corpses, some monsters drop corpses occasionally, while others will always drop corpses except in special circumstances.

Even though all corpses are classified as comestibles, that does not imply that they should all be eaten. Some corpses are acidic, poisonous or hallucinogenic; some corpses will give you a property that you may not want; even worse, some corpses are deadly to eat. Normally, you should avoid those corpses unless you have the appropriate resistance or means of curing the condition that they cause. One way to learn which corpses to avoid is to watch which ones your pet eats; for example, a pet will never eat a poisonous corpse (unless the pet is poison resistant). However, there are exceptions to this rule; for example, domestic pets may eat corpses of cats, dogs, bats, violet fungi, leprechauns, nymphs, stalkers, tengu, and your race without adverse effects, and you do not want to eat those corpses unless you have a way of dealing with their negative effects.

Most corpses can be revived with a wand or spell of undead turning, and a few revive spontaneously.

Corpse generation odds

Most monsters do not always leave a corpse when they die. Monsters that normally would leave a corpse will never if killed by stoning, disintegration, or digestion. Corpseless monsters such as ghosts or yellow lights will never leave a corpse. Lizards and any monster that is larger than size Medium are guaranteed to leave a corpse when killed by normal means unless they were produced by cloning, and player monsters and the Riders will always leave a corpse; in particular, this means that trolls, whose corpses can be very annoying, will normally always leave a corpse. Golems are guaranteed to leave their special death drops (if applicable) when killed.

For all other monsters, there is a 1 in n chance that the monster will leave a corpse when killed, where n is generated as follows:[1]

  • n starts with a value of 2
  • Add 1 if the monster is size Tiny
  • Add 1 if the monster's generation frequency is "Very Rare", "Not randomly generated" or "Unique".

Monsters will never leave a corpse on the Rogue level. Undead on a graveyard level have 1/9 of the normal chance of leaving a corpse if killed by you, or 1/3 of the normal chance if killed by anything else, further reducing the above odds.

(In a similar vein, some monster types will get replaced when you bring them back to life, e. g. priest corpses become zombies.)

As of NetHack 3.6.0, monsters represented by P (gray ooze, brown and black pudding, green slime) leave globs instead of corpses. Globs can be eaten like corpses, but not sacrificed or revived. In earlier versions of NetHack, and variants based on earlier versions, these monsters leave corpses.

Special corpse behavior

  • Lizard and acidic corpses cure stoning.
  • Lizard and lichen corpses never rot away, and never cause food poisoning.
  • Troll corpses (all T) come back to life 75% of the time.
  • The Riders' corpses have a chance of coming back to life starting 12 turns after their "death".
  • Acid blob corpses never cause food poisoning, they are safe (but damaging) to eat and are suitable for sacrifice until they rot away.


Corpses are generally most useful and safe when fresh, slowly rotting as the turns pass. In most cases, with increasing age corpses become unsuitable for sacrifice or for feeding your pet and become harmful, even deadly, for you to eat, until finally they rot away to nothing.

Corpses do not age while stored in an ice box, and age at only half the normal rate while lying on ice. A tinning kit is also handy for preserving corpses for later consumption, by converting them into tins.

Any corpse dug up from a grave will already be old, aged 100 turns.[2] All mummies, zombies,vampires, and ghoul are undead—walking corpses already—so any corpse they leave will be the same age.[3]

Your god regards a corpse as "fresh" up to a maximum age of 50 and will accept its sacrifice on an altar.[4] If the corpse is too old, "Nothing happens." Even lizard and lichen corpses are subject to this limit, but acid blob corpses are an exception, suitable for sacrifice at any age.

Pets regard a corpse as "old" once its age reaches 50 turns.[5][6] Most pets will refuse to eat old corpses, except for lizard and lichen corpses; however, ghouls eat old corpses exclusively.

When you yourself eat a corpse, the effect of age is more complex, as the corpse progresses through several degrees of rottenness:

  • Lizard and lichen corpses are always safe for your consumption.[7][8]
  • For other corpses, rottenness is determined as age divided by random integer from 10 to 29, with a +2 bonus for being cursed or -2 for being blessed.[9]
  • If a rottenness is 6 or more, the corpse is considered "tainted" and will give you fatal food poisoning, expecting you to die in 10-19 steps. The corpse then rots completely, without any further effects (no nutrition or intrinsics conferred, no damages from poisonous corpses etc.)[10]
    • Acid blobs are never tainted.
    • Cockatrice, chickatrice, medusa corpses are never tainted, unless you are petrification resistant. They petrify, not food poison, you.
    • If you eat a tainted corpse while being immune to sickness, you will not become sick, but the corpse still rots completely, conferring no nutrition, intrinsics, etc.
    • If you were sick already, and the new moment of death is later then the old moment of death, you bring forward your death by 1 move. For example, if you were expected to die from sickness in 5 moves, and ate a tainted corpse, you are now expected to die in 4 moves.
  • Otherwise, if the rottenness is at least 4 ("old"), and you are not there is a 20% chance that you "feel sick" and lose 1d8 HP.
    • If the rottenness is 6 or more but the corpse is not tainted, the chance is 100%.
    • You are completely protected from this damage if the corpse is poisonous, or you receive acidic damage from the corpse, or you are immune to sickness.
  • In the absence of other negative effects, unless the corpse is a lizard or lichen, there is still a 1/7 chance of a corpse turning out to be rotten, in the same sense as non-corpse comestibles, with the associated consequences.[11]
  • Otherwise, you receive the full benefit of eating a fresh corpse.

All unrevived corpses except lizards and lichens eventually disintegrate, quietly disappearing from the game. This happens at an age of approximately 250 turns, with some random variation.[12]

Poisonous and acidic corpses

Every corpse of a poisonuos monster has 4/5 chance of being poisonous. If you eat a poisonous corpse, while not poison resistant, you lose 1-4 points of strength and 1-15 hit points.[13]

"Ecch - that must have been poisonous!" - you started to eat one. "You seem unaffected by the poison." - you started to eat one but are poison resistant.

Acidic monsters always leave acidic corpses. If you eat one, while not acid resistant, you lose 1-15 hit points.[14]

"You have a very bad case of stomach acid." - you started to eat one while not being resistant.


In SLASH'EM, corpses sometimes get overgrown with molds. Knowing this fact, players may get extra resistances or lichen corpses. See Fungus.

Corpse benefits and dangers

Acidic or poisonous corpses do 1d15 points of damage,[15] old but otherwise (still) safe corpses sometimes do 1d8 damage.

Gaining intrinsics

Many monsters have a chance of giving one or more intrinsics upon eating their corpse. The chance of gaining an intrinsic from a corpse that could provide it is based on the monster's base level and any other intrinsics the monster could provide. If a monster could provide multiple intrinsics, then there is an equal chance of each being conveyed, even if you already possess the intrinsic. Once one intrinsic is picked from the list, there is a level in 15 chance for most intrinsics that it will be conveyed. Telepathy, teleportitis, and teleport control are exceptions; telepathy is guaranteed, while teleportitis and teleport control are level in 10 and level in 12 chances, respectively. Killer bee and scorpion corpses are also an exception; they have a (5 + level) in 20 chance of giving poison resistance.

Many other corpses also have special behaviors that are treated separately from the main intrinsics.

Purely beneficial corpses and globs

The following corpses are beneficial and not harmful, except that some of them are acidic (mentioned in the text)

  • All elves confer sleep resistance. If you are an elf yourself, eating their corpses constitutes cannibalism, but in that case you are already sleep resistant, so no need to eat them anywas.
  • wraith (level up, always; slightly different results in SLASH'EM)
  • All giants, Titan, Cyclops, and Lord Surtur (strength up)
    • fire giant and Lord Sultur also confer fire resistance
    • frost giant also confers cold resistance
    • storm giant also confers shock resistance
    • Ettin and minotaur are not giants, even if their character is "H".
  • mind flayer and master mind flayer (intelligence up, or telepathy)
  • floating eye (telepathy intrinsic, always)
  • all dragons except gray, silver, green, yellow, and chromatic (always confers intrinsics that that dragon has, so red dragons give fire resistance, black dragons give disintegration resistance etc.) Gray, silver, and yellow dragons confer no intrinsics. Green dragon and Chromatic Dragon are poisonous, but confer intrinsics, so they do not belong to this section.
  • Ixoth (confers fire resistance)
    • Baby dragons confer no intrinsics.
  • all nagas and naga hatchlings, except guardian naga, (confer poison resistance; red naga also confer fire resistance). Black naga and black naga hatchling are acidic. Naga have a higher chance of conferring resistances than naga hatchlings.
    • (the guardian naga also confers poison resistance, but it is poisonous itself, thus not purely beneficial.)
  • all puddings (confer cold, shock, and poison resistance). Acidic. Black puddings are not vegetarian, and brown puddings are vegetarian, but not vegan.
  • brown and red molds (confer poison resistance, cold resistance (only brown), and fire resistance (only red))
  • blue jelly (confers poison and cold ressistance)
  • gelatinous cube (confers fire, cold, sleep, and shock resistance). Acidic.
  • gray ooze (confers fire, cold, and poison resistance)
  • quivering blob (confers poison resistance)
  • electric eel (confers shock resistance)
  • lizard (if needed; cures stoning, lowers stun + confusion to two rounds, will not rot, but does become unsuitable for sacrifice)
  • unicorn (poison resistance. Killing unicorns of your own alignment massively lowers your Luck, but eating unicorns, even of the same alignment, has no such effect.)
  • cave spider and centipede (both confer poison resistance).
    • Giant spider also confers poison resistance, but it is poisonous itself, so it doesn't belong here.
  • fire ant (confers fire resistance)
  • pyrolisk (confers fire resistance and poison resistance)
  • flesh golems (confers fire, cold, shock, sleep, and poison resistance)
  • hell hound and hell hound pup (confer fire resistance)
  • ice troll (confers cold resistance)
  • winter wolf and winter wolf cub (confer cold resistance)
  • Yeti (confers cold resistance)
  • newts (can gain 1-3 energy, or increase your maximum energy if you are currently at max)
  • quasit (confers poison resistance)
  • shrieker (confers poison resistance)

As a general rule, monsters with a fiery attack (red molds, red dragons, etc.) tend to confer fire resistance and monsters with a cold attack (brown molds, white dragons, etc.) tend to confer cold resistance.

Corpses that are both beneficial and harmful

This section lists corpses which both provide benefit beyond nutrition value, and are harmful beyong being acidic, or cause an effect which may be both beneficial and harmful.

Many corpses are poisonous but may confer poison resistance:

Some poisonous monsters are otherwise beneficial:

Finally, there are non-poisonous corpses which may be good or bad:

  • Eating chameleon or doppleganger polymorphs you. You may or may not want it. Besides, doppleganger is a human, so beware of cannibalism.
  • Disenchanter corpse is mostly bad. If you eat it, one of the following 11 intrinsics is randomly selected[16][17]: fire resistance, cold resistance, poison resistance, telepathy, invisibility, see invisible, speed, stealth, intrinsic protection, teleportitis, aggravate monsters. If you posess this intrinsic, it is removed. Of all the intrinsics, only teleportitis and aggravate monsters are harmful, and invisibility can be harmful in some circumstances.
  • Leprechaun and all nymphs confer teleportitis. Some players like it, especially if they already have teleport control.
  • Tengu confers teleportitis, teleport control, and poison resistance.
  • Master Kaen confers poison resistance, but it is human, so eating his corpse constitutes cannibalism. (Since he is the Monk's quest nemesis, if you eat him, you are almost certainly a human.)
  • Nurse corpse restores you to your maximum hit points, and has a 73% chance of granting poison resistance; however, nurses are humans, so beware of cannibalism.
  • Cockatrice and chickatrice corpses kill you instantly by petrification, but if you are resistant, or saved by amulet of life saving, you may become poison resistant.
  • Stalker corpse makes you temporarily invisible for 50-149 turns. If you are already invisible (even temporarily), it will make you permanently invisible, and grant the see invisible intrinsic. At the same time, eating it will stun you for 60 (more) turns.
  • Violet fungus will make you hallucinated for 200 (more) turns, but grants poison resistance (20% chance).
  • Wizard of Yendor confers one of the four: fire resistance, poison resistance, teleport control, or teleportitis. It is a human, so beware of cannibalism.
  • Giant zombie and giant mummy may increase your strength, but also may give you food poisoning. Use tinning kit to prevent food poisoning, or use non-cursed unicorn horn, prayer, potion of full healing, non-cursed potion of extra healing, blessed potion of healing, or (unless chaotic or polymorphed to demon or undead) holy water, to cure it.
  • Elf zombie and elf mummy may grant you sleep resistance, but also may give you food poisoning. Use same remedies to prevent or cure food poisoning.

Corpses that are only harmful

The following corpses cause harm without any beneficial effect except nutrition:

  • Eating corpses of your own race constitutes cannibalism. Unless you are a caveman on an orc, you gain aggravate monster intrinsic, and lose 2-5 points of luck. Humans are all @'s except elves, all K's, and all werecreatures. Dopplegangers are also human, because their real appearance is @. Other races are obvious. Those who are not mentioned in previous sections are not beneficial.
    • Eating abbot also inflicts hallucination.
  • All cats and dogs (but not other canines or felines) confer aggravate monster intrinsic, unless you're a caveman or orc.
  • The following corpses or globs are poisonous without beneficial effects: all kobolds, rabid rat, baby green dragon, vampire bat, and, worst of them, green slime glob (acidic), which also slimes you.
  • Bat and giant bat stun you for 30 and 60 (more) turns, respectively.
  • All mimics (you can't move for a while)
  • Death, Famine, Pestilence (you die)
  • any undead (mummy, vampire, zombie) corpse is already old and has a chance of causing food poisoning
    • However: Corpses from undead can be tinned. The tinning process de-rotten-ifies the corpse and makes it safe to eat. Usually only worthwhile for elf and giant zombies/mummies; the former give sleep resistance, the latter an increase in strength. If you have no tinning kit but a unicorn horn, eat the corpse and cure yourself if it's rotten.
    • Ettin corpses always cause food poisoning

Acidic corpses and blobs

The following corpses and blobs are acidic without any other beneficial or harmful effects (followed by nutrition value):

See also

  • Death drops: items that sometimes appear when a monster leaves a corpse
  • Glob: comestible left by some NetHack 3.6.0 monsters instead of a corpse


External links

  • Eating Corpses for Food and Intrinsics - useful reference table of corpses, the intrinsics and effects they give when eaten, and other related information, for Nethack 3.4.3
  • HiSPeed's NetHack Helper - contains, among other, the corpse attribute database from Eating Corpses for Food and Intrinsics in interactive form.

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.