Dread seraph

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A dread seraph, Z, is a type of monster that appears in dNetHack. Dread seraphs are the strongest monster in the zombie monster class and can appear quite early in the dungeon, but will lie dormant and sealed away for most of the game and will only awaken once you are near the end - their presence causes corpses left on their level to rise from the dead as zombies or skeletons.

Dread seraphs are mindless, unbreathing humanoid undead that are strong and have a tendency to wander; they wait for you to approach before moving, and will allow you to draw close unless attacked. They possess regeneration, the ability to fly, swim, teleport, and see invisible, and cannot be tamed. In terms of resistances, a dread seraph has cold resistance, sleep resistance, poison resistance, death resistance, and drain resistance like all undead, along with stoning resistance. Their attacks consist of two strong reach attacks, which function similar to touch attacks and have a two-square range, and they have the ability to use deadly songs and even pray.


Dread seraphs are not randomly generated, and are not a valid target for polymorph or genocide. A dread seraph that is generated will always be hostile.

A dread seraph is only generated in the Dungeons of Doom, with a maximum of one appearing per level and sealed within a sepulcher. A sepulcher is a 5x5 room with two sets of walls surrounding the center square as depicted below - sepulcher walls are undiggable, and the inner set are unphaseable as well. Approximately 18 of levels below dungeon level 13 will contain a sepulcher, and levels with vaults of any kind cannot contain a sepulcher.


Once the player kills the Wizard of Yendor or picks up the Amulet of Yendor for the first time, the dread seraphs will wake up: When the player next visits a level containing a dread seraph in a sepulcher, an earthquake will occur and a chasm will open, freeing the seraph.

Songs and prayer

The chasm formed when a dread seraph awakens.

Most of the interesting properties of dread seraphs come from their songs - while awakened, they will use one of these songs every several turns:

  • All monsters on the level are affected by a kind of death magic. Players who resist take 1d(m_lev) damage.
  • All corpses on the level are revived.
  • All monsters are confused, stunned and turned berserk, while players are confused, stunned and subjected to hallucination
  • An earthquake occurs, creating pits which contain newly generated monsters.
  • All doors and containers on the level are locked, and doorways will have new locked doors created.

If a dread seraph drops below 14 of their maximum HP or becomes crazed, they will begin to pray. After 5 moves, it will be restored to full health and cured of any status ailments. At the same time, it will apply a studied debuff to the player equal to its monster level (typically 54). Unlike players, the seraph is not invulnerable while praying.


Dread seraphs have significant health pools of around 1500 or more HP and take 14 damage from weapon attacks, so it is usually a better idea to leave the level than to try to kill one.