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Members of the Z zombie monster class are undead creatures often found in graveyards or in the main dungeon. Zombies leave corpses that are already old, so they are unfit for sacrificing (except for same-race sacrifices). They are also likely to be tainted even if eaten immediately. You can tin a zombie's corpse to attempt to gain whatever intrinsic would normally be added by consuming a normal corpse of the same monster type. More dangerously, eating a zombie corpse and then curing the sickness is also possible.

Ghouls and skeletons are also represented by Z, but are not technically zombies.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Zombies and liches can now raise monsters killed by them without a weapon as zombies, unless they are cancelled. The corpse will rise 5-20 turns after death if it has a corresponding zombie type. You can also do this if polymorphed into a zombie or lich. Zombies and liches will now fight living monsters that can be turned into zombies.

Types of zombies

Kobold zombie

These monsters are coveted by neutral protection racketeers because they provide a boost to alignment record with only minimal gain in experience. This is helpful to improve the outcome of prayer without gaining unnecessary levels. This is true for lawful protection racketeers as well, though their options are so common that it's rarely an issue.

Gnome zombie

Orc zombie

Orc zombies, along with orc mummies and other live orcs, are detected by Sting when wielded. Strangely, they may also appear among the named orcs that can be found in the Gnomish Mines and other levels in a game that has the Orcish Town variant of Minetown, and will even be generated carrying the appropriate loot.

Dwarf zombie

Elf zombie

Elf zombies leave old elf corpses. These may be tinned and then eaten for the sleep resistance intrinsic, which they have a 67% chance of giving. The high chance comes from the fact that the base level of the elf monster is considerably higher than other base race monsters. If you have an immediate means of curing food poisoning but no tinning kit, it may even be worth it to eat one raw.

Human zombie

Reviving an aligned priest corpse with will instead produce a human zombie.

Ettin zombie

Players generally encounter Ettin zombies well before encountering normal Ettins.

Giant zombie

Giant zombies leave rotten giant corpses. These may be tinned and then eaten for the strength gain.



dNetHack adds two new types of zombie: the Drow zombie and half-dragon zombie.

Also, dNethack zombies can now rise from the dead similar to GruntHack zombies. However, they lack the sickness inducing bite. All non-undead will attack zombies on sight. Any monster killed by a zombie will eventually revive as one if a corpse is left, however the player will not (as of yet).

In dNetHack, the Z class also includes the skeletal pirate, gnoll ghoul, and dread seraph.

Drow zombie

Half-dragon zombie

Even in death, the half-dragon zombie retains the half-dragon breath attack it had in life.


Zombies in FIQHack can be much more dangerous to the inattentive or careless player. First, zombies can revive other corpses. If there is a zombie variant of the corpse, it will become a zombie of that type. If there is not a zombie variant of the corpse, it will become an enslaved monster. This is indicated by the use of 'enslaved' in messages, for example 'the enslaved kitten hits!'

Every time a zombie successfully strikes a living player, it will cause (or increase) zombification disease[1] . This is not immediately a problem as minor zombification disease will go away over time. Zombification disease is implemented as a delayed instadeath timer starting at 100. Each successful hit reduces the timer by 10[2]. If the timer remains above 50, zombification disease will eventually wear off and will never kill the player. However, if the timer goes below 50[3], the disease will never wear off and will kill the player when the timer reaches 0. This is made very clear in status messages.

Zombification disease can be cured similarly to other sickness (a unicorn horn is very helpful!). Note it is considered a major trouble for the purposes of praying.

Zombification also prevents HP regeneration.

Finally, the undead and the living in FIQHack are mortal enemies and will always attempt to destroy each other.


The zombie is a mindless animated corpse. It originates from Haitian folklore. The etymology comes from African or Caribbean creole of related concepts.

The folklore of the ghoul is a bit unclear, but it is not considered a 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 ]


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.