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Flying is an intrinsic property which allows a creature to avoid contact with the ground. Unlike levitation, flight allows control over vertical movement, so while flying you can pick up items on the floor, go down stairs, use ranged weapons without hurtling in the opposite direction, and so on. Broadly speaking, flight gives almost all of the benefits of levitation with none of the downsides.

The only ways to fly in vanilla NetHack are by polymorphing into or riding on a flying monster. Thus, in most games, flight is never achieved, and levitation is used instead for the short periods of time necessary to cross water or lava and avoid traps.

In the source code, a monster is defined as flying if it has the M1_FLY flag.[1] Even though e eyes and spheres possess the M1_FLY flag, they levitate rather than fly.


The effects of flying are:

  • You can pass over pits, holes, trap doors, squeaky boards, and bear traps without triggering them. (Pits and holes in Sokoban will still trap you.)
  • You can pick up items in pits and spiked pits without falling in. If you begin flying while stuck in a pit, you can escape in one turn.
  • You can descend into holes and trap doors with the > command. For example, you can descend into the Valley of the Dead from the castle.
  • Land mines have a chance of not being triggered, and will not wound your legs.
  • You can move over lava and water safely, and you can dip items into water.
  • You have a better chance of avoiding being killed by a collapsing drawbridge.
  • You can move freely over ice and on the Plane of Air.
  • Wounded legs do not reduce your carrying capacity.
  • You suffer no ill effects from descending stairs when encumbered, fumbling, or punished.
  • You escape the dungeon rather than dying if you level teleport to a level between −9 and −1.
  • You cannot snag underwater items with a bullwhip unless you start levitating.

If you begin phasing through something solid, you will stop flying until you are in open space again.



You can acquire this property by polymorphing into a flying monster:

The following monsters also fly, but are not valid polymorph forms:


You can also fly by riding a flying monster:


You can sometimes displace flying monsters by kicking them. If the "foo swoops, nimbly evading your kick" then it is moved to a vacant square randomly selected from those nearest to you.[2] This means that on sufficiently crowded levels, it is possible for a flying creature to swoop through a wall. (This is possibly an effect of bug C343-38; it is hard to tell from its description.)


SLASH'EM added the amulet of flying which grants flying extrinsically. It cannot be eaten to gain intrinsic flight. You can also snatch items from pits while flying with a fishing pole.

The Amulet of Flying has since been added to Fourk, NetHack_3.7.0(in development), Evilhack, and UnNetHack. dNetHack has boots of flying instead.

Player Vampires and Angels have intrinsic flight. Half-Dragons receive flight at XL 14.

In Fourk, Valkyries have intrinsic flight.


This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
  2. Any modifications to the spoiler must be acknowledged and credited.

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.