God

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This article is about NetHack's deities. For the item known as “GoD”, see gauntlets of dexterity.

In NetHack, the role of your hero determines the pantheon of gods that appear during the game. Your task is to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor for the god of your alignment: to ascend and win the game, you must sacrifice the amulet at your god's high altar - you can sometimes #pray to your god in times of need, though be careful not to anger them. The pantheon for a priest(ess) is randomly selected from another single role; if a priest's lawful god is Blind Io, the neutral god is always going to be The Lady.

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Description

Each role's pantheon contains one lawful, one neutral, and one chaotic god; there is no functional difference in gameplay between the gods of different roles. The unaligned god is always Moloch, who holds dominion over prayers and altars in Gehennom. Atheist conduct tries to avoid actions directly involving any of the gods and other aspects of religion.

The divine pantheons are listed as follows:

Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Archaeologist Quetzalcoatl Camaxtli Huhetotl
Barbarian Mitra Crom Set
Caveman Anu Ishtar Anshar
Healer Athena Hermes Poseidon
Knight Lugh Brigit Manannan Mac Lir
Monk Shan Lai Ching Chih Sung-tzu Huan Ti
Priest random random random
Ranger Mercury Venus Mars
Rogue Issek Mog Kos
Samurai Amaterasu Omikami Raijin Susanowo
Tourist Blind Io The Lady Offler
Valkyrie Tyr Odin Loki
Wizard Ptah Thoth Anhur
Unaligned Marduk · Moloch · Elbereth · Arioch

Other gods

Of the other "unaligned" gods, Marduk is described in the introductory text as the Creator, from whom Moloch stole the Amulet of Yendor. Elbereth is an elf-goddess whose name can be engraved to frighten most monsters, but not all of them.

History

Pantheons are introduced in NetHack 3.0.0 - in previous versions of NetHack, there are no sacrifice mechanics or altars, and prayers are made to "the gods" in general. The exact mechanics vary between these versions, but do include the standard starting cooldown of 300 turns and longer wait times between prayer for a demigod character.

Origin

A god or deity is a supernatural being considered to be divine or sacred. One commonly accepted definition of a god is "a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans, but who interacts with humans, positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness, beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life". A pantheon is the particular set of all gods of any individual polytheistic religion, mythology, or tradition.

The NetHack pantheons and related quests for each role are derived from a mix of real-world and fictional sources:

Other deities

Variants

SLASH'EM

SLASH'EM introduces the following pantheons to correspond with the newly added roles:

Lawful Neutral Chaotic Origin
Undead Slayer Seeker Osiris Seth Egyptian mythology (Seeker is likely a misspelling of Seker)
Flame Mage Earth Fire Ash Aspects of fire
Ice Mage Air Frost Smoke Aspects of ice
Yeoman His Majesty His Holiness The Commons The English Civil War
Necromancer Nharlotep Zuggothobal Gothuulbe Invented, possibly inspired by Cthulhu Mythos

Convict patch

The Convict patch adds the Convict as a new role with its own pantheon, based on the Forgotten Realms mythology.

Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Convict Ilmater Grumbar Tymora

Pirate patch

The Pirate patch adds the Pirate as a new role with its own nautically-inspired pantheon

Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Pirate Davy Jones the deep blue sea the storm

SpliceHack

SpliceHack incorporates the Convict patch and Pirate patch. It has some original roles with their own pantheons.

Role Lawful Neutral Chaotic Source
Cartomancer Johnny Spike Timmy Magic the Gathering archetypes
Dragon rider Enki Enlil Ereshkigal Sumerian

Encyclopaedia entry

Goddesses and Gods operate in ones, threesomes, or whole
pantheons of nine or more (see Religion). Most of them claim
to have made the world, and this is indeed a likely claim in
the case of threesomes or pantheons: Fantasyland does have
the air of having been made by a committee. But all Goddesses
and Gods, whether they say they made the world or not, have
very detailed short-term plans for it which they are determined
to carry out. Consequently they tend to push people into the
required actions by the use of coincidence or Prophecy, or just
by narrowing down your available choices of what to do next:
if a deity is pushing you, things will go miserably badly until
there is only one choice left to you.

[ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, by Diana Wynne Jones ]