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The members of the vortex monster class will all engulf you and cause an appropriate type of damage, except dust vortices, which will blind you, and fog clouds, which will do physical damage. Once you can survive their engulfing long enough to get yourself expelled with your horn or drum, their greatest danger is transporting you into lava or into a black dragon's disintegration blast.

Fog cloud

Fog clouds offer a good opportunity for weapon training. Once engulfed you will hit automatically, avoiding the normal trouble non-warrior roles can have with the -4 Unskilled To-hit penalty. Despite messages like "You are laden with moisture and can barely breathe", they are not very dangerous because of their low speed. Pacifists might have problems with them if they can't move away since they mustn't destroy them.

As of version 3.6.0 a fog cloud may actually be a shapeshifted vampire or vampire lord, and resurrect in that form after being killed.

Dust vortex

As with fog clouds, dust vortices offer a good chance for beginning characters to train their weapon skills, particularly since they deal no physical damage.

Ice vortex

Energy vortex

The energy vortex is a very dangerous monster to encounter if one lacks shock resistance, possessing both passive and active shock attacks. Note that the passive attack is only triggered by melee attacks; ranged attacks, even when engulfed, are perfectly fine. This includes repeatedly throwing and picking up your melee weapon, if you have no more powerful alternative. It is sometimes necessary to use wands to survive an unfortunate energy vortex encounter.

While engulfed, the energy vortex will drain your power 75% of the time, much in the same manner as a anti-magic trap. If it drains your power below zero, it will reduce your max power! This can be particularly devastating if you can't kill it quickly; it can drain your max power all the way down to zero. Cancelling the vortex will prevent this, but magic cancellation will not, nor will magic resistance.

Steam vortex

Fire vortex

Encyclopedia entry

Swirling clouds of pure elemental energies, the vortices are
thought to be related to the larger elementals. Though the
vortices do no damage when touched, they are noted for being
able to envelop unwary travellers. The hapless fool thus
swallowed by a vortex will soon perish from exposure to the
element the vortex is composed of.

Body Parts

Vortex also refers to the grouping of body parts for the forms of vortices. It affects the messages referring to the appropriate body parts as follows[1]:

Bodypart[2] Description
Arm Region
Eye Eye
Face Front
Finger Minor current
Fingertip Minor current
Foot Lower current
Hand Swirl
Handed Swirled
Head Central core
Leg Lower current
Light Headed Addled
Neck Center
Spine Currents
Toe Edge
Hair Currents
Blood Life force
Lung Center
Nose Leading edge
Stomach Interior



In SLASH'EM, the energy vortex, doesn't drain your energy.


UnNetHack adds the surprisingly dangerous anti-matter vortex (removed after version 4.0.0).


This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

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 {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.