Ghost (monster class)

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The ghost is a monster class that appears in NetHack, and is represented by a blank space ( ). Ghosts are designated internally by the macro S_GHOST.[1]

The monster class contains two monsters:[2]

It is common for players to use the SYMBOLS option to give ghosts and shades a different appearance.

Common traits

All ghosts are humanoid, human size undead monsters that are unsolid and unbreathing. They are capable of flight and phasing through walls, and will follow a nearby player to other levels. They cannot be genocided, and are always generated hostile.


Glyph visibility

Many players consider the   glyph to be difficult to see. To mitigate this, one can change the "monsters" option in the options file to take advantage of otherwise unused symbols. A default line looks like:

OPTIONS=monsters:abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ@ '&;:~]

One alternative is:


which uses 8 for ghosts and shades. This makes them generally easier to see, especially when using telepathy or other means of detecting monsters that would otherwise display a blank glyph unless you move the cursor over its square (e.g. using m to cycle through visible monsters while far looking).


Some variants of NetHack change the glyph used by ghosts for better visibility.


SLASH'EM adds one new monster to the ghost monster class:


In AceHack, this monster class is merged into the wraith monster class to make them more visible to players. This is also applicable to Nethack 4, NetHack Fourk and FIQhack.


In dNetHack, the ghost monster class uses the dot, ., as a glyph. dNetHack also moves the shade to its own monster class and adds new monsters to the ghost monster class:


In xNetHack, this monster class is merged into the wraith monster class to avoid using punctuation for monster glyphs and make them more visible.


SpliceHack adds a new monster to the ghost monster class:

Regular ghosts can grow up into spectres.


EvilHack adds a new monster to the ghost monster class:


In SlashTHEM, the ghost monster class now uses the 8 glyph. SlashTHEM retains the shadow from SLASH'EM and adds new monsters to the monster class: