Elf (monster attribute)

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For other uses, see elf.

Elf is a monster attribute in NetHack that indicates when a monster should be considered elven.[1] It has many effects, but most significantly it helps determine whether your actions constitute cannibalism or same-race sacrifice.

It is easy to tell if a monster is elven, as all elven monsters with the exception of elvenking have the word elf in their name, and none that are not elven have it.


In the dungeon, you can encounter the following elven monsters:

The plain elf is not randomly generated as a monster. Elf corpses are dropped by the elf mummy and zombie, and are also found in graves left by player elves in bones. An elf monster may be created by reviving an elf corpse.


A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"this section is incomplete and requires expansion"

The elf attribute is used to determine the following things:


In the source, the elf attribute is represented by the macro M2_ELF.[1]



Drow are flagged as elves, as was Lareth, the Gnome quest nemesis in versions predating the separation of race and role.


In UnNetHack as part of the grudge patch, elves will attack any orcs or kobolds they encounter, and vice versa.

Encyclopedia entry

The Elves sat round the fire upon the grass or upon the sawn rings of old trunks. Some went to and fro bearing cups and pouring drinks; others brought food on heaped plates and dishes.
"This is poor fare," they said to the hobbits; "for we are lodging in the greenwood far from our halls. If ever you are our guests at home, we will treat you better."
"It seems to me good enough for a birthday-party," said Frodo.
Pippin afterwards recalled little of either food or drink, for his mind was filled with the light upon the elf-faces, and the sound of voices so various and so beautiful that he felt in a waking dream. [...]
Sam could never describe in words, nor picture clearly to himself, what he felt or thought that night, though it remained in his memory as one of the chief events of his life. The nearest he ever got was to say: "Well, sir, if I could grow apples like that, I would call myself a gardener. But it was the singing that went to my heart, if you know what I mean."

[ The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]


  1. 1.0 1.1 monflag.h in NetHack 3.4.3, line 116: monster attribute M2_ELF
  2. makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 953: possibly make monsters peaceful
  3. peace_minded in makemon.c: is monster peaceful?
  4. mondata.h in NetHack 3.4.3, line 102: are these races peaceful?
  5. maybe_cannibal in eat.c: cannibalism
  6. 6.0 6.1 mondata.h in NetHack 3.4.3, line 85: compare races
  7. pray.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1167: own-race sacrifice
  8. objnam.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2560: wishing for corpses
  9. 9.0 9.1 genus in mon.c: the race of a monster
  10. sounds.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 439: chatting to others' quest guardians

This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

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 the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.