Death (character)

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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.


Death in NetHack is permanent, unlike in many other games; you only have one life, and you cannot go to an older save file. Doing so artificially - savescumming - is considered cheating.

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.

If playing in explore mode or wizard mode, you can choose whether or not to die.

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.

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.1.

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 Information on this page may be out of date.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.