When you reach zero hit points, you die. Death is also possible when you have nonzero hit points, by several methods of instadeath or delayed instadeath. You lose all the progress you made in that game, and you may have your possessions identified, see your attributes at the time of death (as well as a single post-mortem attribute), see a list of vanquished creatures, see a list of monsters genocided, and see which official conducts you have adhered to.
Dying may also create a bones file.
However, there are a couple of in-game methods of cheating death. If you run out of hit points while polymorphed and not wearing an amulet of unchanging, you will return to your normal form, but if you die in any other way while polymorphed, it will be permanent. An amulet of life saving will bring you back from almost all deaths at the cost of one point of constitution. The exceptions are brainlessness from a mind flayer's attack and self-genocide.
A particularly spectacular character death, especially if said character is well-ascendable, is often called a splat. Watching splats (live or on Splat TV) is a part of the fun of social NetHack.
- "You die..."
- The usual death message, shown when you die through hit point loss, choking, strength loss from a monster spell and many special monster attacks including passive attacks.
See individual pages for more specific messages seen on player death.