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The elemental is a monster class that appears in NetHack, and is represented by the uppercase E glyph (E). Elementals are designated internally by the macro S_ELEMENTAL.[1]

The monster class contains the following monsters:[2]

Common traits

All elementals are strong, inediate and neutral-aligned monsters that lack a sense of smell. Except for the stalker, they are eyeless, mindless and amorphous - they also possess an MR score of 30.


Excluding the stalker, each of the elementals has a corresponding Elemental Plane that is considered their 'home plane': several elementals are generated on their home plane at level creation, all elementals generated within the level will have three times the normal amount of hit points, and their maximum HP-gain threshold is also multiplied by 3.[3][4][5]

The elemental is the first quest monster class for Monks, and makes up 24175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Monk quest. Some elementals are also generated on floors below the home level of the quest branch at level creation: three are generated on the upper filler level, and two each are generated on the lower filler level(s). The elemental is also the second quest monster class for Samurai, making up 6175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Samurai quest.

2 to 3 elementals appear among the monsters generated in the central room of the Castle at level creation.

Minus the stalker, elementals do not leave behind corpses upon death.


The elemental monster class is introduced in NetHack 3.0.0 with the exception of the stalker. While the stalker first appears in Hack for PDP-11, which is based on Jay Fenlason's Hack, NetHack 3.3.0 is the first version to move the stalker to the elemental class, and repurposes its former I glyph to indicate the last known position of any invisible monster.



In SLASH'EM, at least one elemental of each type is generated on a specific square within the Cloud Bank of the Lawful Quest at level creation, with a 35 chance of a second one of that type being placed nearby - four other random elementals are placed as well.

The elemental is the first quest monster class for Flame Mages, and makes up 24175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Flame Mage quest.


dNetHack adds many new monsters to the monster class:

Half-dragon Bards that reach experience level 14 can sing elementals into being.

Pentagrams and the Elder Elemental Eye are wards that can protect a character against elementals at all levels of reinforcement.

The Nurturing Word of Creation's active power deals (XL2)d12 damage to elementals and other specific monsters.


SpliceHack introduces several new monsters to the monster class:

SpliceHack also adds the scroll of elementalism, which can summon a random elemental.


In EvilHack, each non-stalker elemental now has a form of engulfing attack.


In addition to SLASH'EM details, SlashTHEM adds the following monsters to the monster class:

The four elementals from NetHack cannot grow up into their "greater" counterparts.

Each set of elementals has a quest artifact that can be invoked to summon a tame elemental, including the artifacts carried over from SLASH'EM:

The invoke effects for the Acid and Electric Mage quest artifacts are based on the associations between particular elements in Dungeons & Dragons.

Each invoke effect 34 chance of generating a standard elemental of that type and a 14 chance of generating a greater elemental - for The Storm Whistle, it instead has a 14 chance of creating an ice elemental, and will otherwise create an ice vortex.

Encyclopedia entry

Elementals are manifestations of the basic nature of the
universe. There are four known forms of elementals: air, fire,
water, and earth. Some mystics have postulated the necessity
for a fifth type, the spirit elemental, but none have ever
been encountered, at least on this plane of existence.