Elf zombie

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An elf zombie, Z, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is a zombified elf that you may encounter before seeing any live elves. Like most zombies, elf zombies can follow you to other levels if they are adjacent.

An elf zombie has a single claw attack. The elf zombie is one of only two zombies to leave a potentially beneficial corpse: eating the elf corpse it leaves behind has a 23 chance of conveying sleep resistance, but the corpse's age may cause food poisoning.


Randomly generated elf zombies may occur in small groups of 2 to 4, and are always hostile.

Elf zombies may appear among the zombies and other monsters that are part of the first quest monster class for Priests, and make up 24175 of the monsters that are randomly generated on the Priest quest. The branch also has several undead-filled graveyards that include elf zombies among their ranks.

An elf zombie will leave an aged elf corpse upon death.[1][2]


Like most zombie groups, elf zombies can easily be handled by early characters with some care. Elf zombies are most notable for leaving behind corpses that can be eaten for sleep resistance, making them worthwhile sources if you have a tinning kit on hand. The corpses can also be eaten raw if you have a means to cure potential food poisoning (e.g. a non-cursed unicorn horn) and ensure that your HP is high enough to avoid fatal damage from feeling sick.

Player elves can use elven zombies to convert cross-aligned altars with their corpses, or else summon demons on co-aligned ones.


The elf zombie first appears in NetHack 3.0.0, where most of the various zombies are first distinguished from each other.



In SLASH'EM, elf zombies can be created by using the raise zombies technique while adjacent to the corpse of any elf.


In GruntHack, elf zombies are replaced with the zombie racial monster, which kobolds are eligible to generate as. Any non-undead elf monster killed by a zombie will rise as an elf zombie.

Encyclopedia entry

The zombi ... is a soulless human corpse, still dead, but taken from the grave and endowed by sorcery with a mechanical semblance of life, -- it is a dead body which is made to walk and act and move as if it were alive.

[ W. B. Seabrook ]


  1. src/mon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 147: Converting monster index of undead to corpses of their living counterparts
  2. src/mon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 372: Undead corpses and their ages are handled with other "special" death drops