Gnome king

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A gnome king, G, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. A gnome king is the strongest type of gnome, and is an overlord to his kind.

Like standard gnomes, a gnome king has infravision and can be seen with infravision, and hostile gnome kings will collect items that they can use. A gnome king has a single weapon attack.

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

Gnome kings are known as gnome rulers, with "king" and "queen" being gendered titles.


Randomly generated gnome kings are always peaceful towards gnomish and dwarvish characters, and will be hostile towards the other playable races. A gnome lord can grow up into a gnome king.

There is a 34 chance of the northeast room opposite the possible tool shop in the Bazaar Town map of Minetown containing a gnome king; a statue of a gnome king is guaranteed to appear in a lit portion of Grotto Town. One gnome king each is also generated in The Gnome King's Wine Cellar and The Mimic of the Mines maps of Mines' End. For a dwarvish or gnomish character, two-thirds of the gnomes and other peaceful monsters will instead be replaced with random monsters.

Gnome kings may appear among the hostile G that generate in throne rooms, as well the monsters randomly generated by looting a throne while confused and carrying gold (provided there is no chest on the level).[1] A gnome king may additionally serve as the monster occupying the throne within the room.[2]

Starting inventory

Gnome kings are eligible for offensive items, defensive items, and miscellaneous items.

A gnome king placed at level creation has a chance of being generated with a single candle: the chance is 120 if he is in the Gnomish Mines, and 160 otherwise.[3] The candle has a 34 chance of being tallow and a 14 chance of being wax, and will be lit if the gnome is generated in a dark area.

Gnome kings that are not generated on the Rogue level have a 512 chance of being generated with one of the default weapon sets, with an equal probability of each: 3-14 darts, a crossbow and 3-14 crossbow bolts, a bow and 3-14 arrows, a stack of 3-5 daggers, or an aklys.[4] As an overlord to his kind, a gnome king's weapons will always be at least +1.


Gnome kings are still somewhat slower than an unhasted, unburdened character, but their weapon attack is fairly strong, and the enchanted weapons they can generate with can be deadly for a character that lacks solid AC and/or HP; they will also use magical items such as wands or scrolls against you. Having a mix of escape items and ranged attacks of your own can counteract this - wands such as sleep and striking can prove effective against them in return. While magic resistance and reflection are not at all required to face down a gnome king, characters that happen upon a source early are protected from worst-case scenarios involving certain surprise wands or tools.

Gnome kings have a somewhat low MR score of 20: this gives them some resistance against certain wands and effects, but otherwise they lack any spectacular defenses and possess a poor 10 AC, though they will put on any armor they come across. In the crowded and cramped levels of the Gnomish Mines, isolating them from other monsters that may attack you from range or surround you can prove helpful, and luring them around corners and down corridors to get them in melee range can help a low-level character manage them more easily. If all else fails, Elbereth and some scaring tools can drive them off, but they may shoot or throw weapons at you as they flee.


The gnome king first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


Some variants make adjustments so that female counterparts to the gnome king can generate and are properly named.


In SLASH'EM, if the player is a gnome or a dwarf, peaceful gnome kings in the Gnomish Mines are replaced with hostile ogres at level creation, with the exception of bones.[5]


In dNetHack, the gnome queen is a distinct monster from the gnome king rather than a simple female counterpart.

A gnome king may appear as the ruler of a randomly-generated throne room - his court can contain gnome lords, gnome ladies, gnomes, gnomish wizards, tinker gnomes, dwarves, dwarf lords, dwarf clerics, hobbits, leprechauns, and homunculi.


In xNetHack, the monster is known as a gnome ruler.


In EvilHack, the monster is referred to as a gnome royal.


In Hack'EM, the monster is also known as a gnome royal as in EvilHack.

Encyclopedia entry

... And then a gnome came by, carrying a bundle, an old fellow three times as large as an imp and wearing clothes of a sort, especially a hat. And he was clearly just as frightened as the imps though he could not go so fast. Ramon Alonzo saw that there must be some great trouble that was vexing magical things; and, since gnomes speak the language of men, and will answer if spoken to gently, he raised his hat, and asked of the gnome his name. The gnome did not stop his hasty shuffle a moment as he answered 'Alaraba' and grabbed the rim of his hat but forgot to doff it.
'What is the trouble, Alaraba?' said Ramon Alonzo.
'White magic. Run!' said the gnome ..
                        [ The Charwoman's Shadow, by Lord Dunsany ]
"Muggles have garden gnomes, too, you know," Harry told Ron as they crossed the lawn.
"Yeah, I've seen those things they think are gnomes," said Ron, bent double with his head in a peony bush, "like fat little Santa Clauses with fishing rods..."
There was a violent scuffling noise, the peony bush shuddered, and Ron straightened up. "This is a gnome," he said grimly.
"Geroff me! Gerroff me!" squealed the gnome.
It was certainly nothing like Santa Claus. It was small and leathery looking, with a large, knobby, bald head exactly like a potato. Ron held it at arm's length as it kicked out at him with its horny little feet; he grasped it around the ankles and turned it upside down.

[ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling ]