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In NetHack, hallucination is a status-impairing property that will cause you to perceive objects and monsters in a distorted fashion. Hallucination shows up on the status line as "Hallu".


While hallucinating, object glyphs will be seen as continually changing items of any class - a pick-axe may be seen as a sack or dagger, but not as a monster. This also applies to items in your inventory or on your square, but the actual appearance of those items will be accurately reported. Monsters will cycle through various appearances, and their tame or hostile status is obscured. This perception changes every time the screen is updated, so even selecting an object or monster and pressing ; to see what it is appearing as will change it to something else.

The set of names chosen for monsters while hallucinating includes a selection of various names from popular culture and entertainment, e.g. Barney the Dinosaur, King Kong, the Luggage, the Mother-in-Law, and The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal among others. The same applies for any mention of gold or zorkmids. Similarly, hallucination replaces various standard messages with funny ones, such as "You hear the studio audience applaud!" and "You are getting the munchies."

Hallucination will also abuse wisdom every 5 turns for its duration.

Monsters cannot hallucinate, and anything that would inflict hallucination upon you will leave a monster confused instead.[1]


There are several means to induce hallucination:

  • Eat the corpse or tin of a yellow mold, violet fungus or any monster with a stunning attack - this lasts 200 (more) turns.
  • Be hit by the exploding attack of a black light while not blinded - this lasts 10–120 (more) turns.
  • Quaff a potion of hallucination - this lasts 300–499 (more) turns for a blessed potion, 600–799 (more) turns for an uncursed one, and 900–1099 (more) turns for a cursed potion.
  • Apply a crystal ball and fail the intelligence check, which has a 15 chance to "zap your mind" and cause hallucination - this lasts 1–100 (more) turns.
  • Apply a cursed unicorn horn, which has a 16 chance to induce hallucination = this lasts 1–100 (more) turns.
  • Trigger a container trap, which has a 326 chance to produce a "cloud of <color>* gas" (unless the container trap is harmless) - this lasts for 16–20 (more) turns and will additionally stun you.
    • *This can be any of the following colors: ultraviolet, infrared, bluish-orange, reddish-green, dark white, light black, sky blue-pink, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, striped, spiral, swirly, plaid, checkered, argyle, paisley, blotchy, guernsey-spotted, polka-dotted, square, round, triangular, cabernet, sangria, fuchsia, wisteria, lemon-lime, strawberry-banana, peppermint, romantic, or incandescent.


Hallucination can be cured by:

Additionally, obtaining a source of hallucination resistance will suppress the effect for its duration. Currently, the only means of doing so is to wield Grayswandir.


Hallucination can be both funny and dangerous - as indicated previously, inability to distinguish a peaceful monster from a hostile one can quickly prove fatal. It is an easy and somewhat common mistake to lose track of which monster is your pet in a melee situation and accidentally kill it. You will also be unable to distinguish one hostile monster from another, making it difficult to prioritize targets. Additionally, engraving while hallucinating has a high chance to fail.

If you have quaffed a potion of hallucination and have no way to cure yourself, it is wise to keep away from your pet and/or large concentrations of peaceful monsters for the duration. Areas such as Minetown (and the rest of the Gnomish Mines if dwarves or gnomes are peaceful towards you) are rife with peril.

Once you have a noncursed unicorn horn, hallucination is trivial to cure. Until then, you can avoid most causes of hallucination somewhat easily, with the notable exception of the typically-invisible black light. If you are aware of the light's approach (e.g. through see invisible, monster detection or noticing your pet fighting something invisible), you can blindfold yourself so that the explosion has no effect. Failing that, hallucination from a black light only lasts for around 100 turns at most, so you can shut yourself in a room and wait it out.

Identifying items and monsters

It is a Bad Idea to eat an unidentified tin while hallucinating. Your perception of the smell will be affected, and you might eat meat of your race without realizing it. Spinach is still identified normally (except to distort the color of cursed spinach), and cockatrice meat always "smells like chicken" when hallucinating[2] - all other contents cannot be readily distinguished until the tin is eaten, or else identified beforehand. You may also wish to refrain from quaffing unidentified potions until you recover from hallucination.

You can still #chat to a hallucinatory monster to identify it. A stethoscope will also correctly identify a monster's attributes while misidentifying Thus, it can be useful to determine if a monster is tame or peaceful before attacking. You can also identify your pet—or at least that a creature is a cat or dog—by chatting to it. Its response will be normal for its type. If you kill a hallucinogen-distorted monster and step onto the square containing its corpse, the corpse will be accurately identified.


Hallucination also has a few strange benefits. Among them is protecting against the touch of death monster spell: Instead of dying, you "have an out of body experience". Note that this does not protect against Death's special deadly touch attack.

Hallucination also has a 34 chance of protecting you from any gaze attack, including the floating eye's paralyzing passive attack.[3][4]


Hallucination's effect on gaze attacks was introduced in NetHack 3.6.0.


Oh wow! Everything <looks/feels> so cosmic!
You are hallucinating - "feels" is used if you are also blind at the time.
Oh wow! Great stuff!
You ate the corpse or tin of a monster and began hallucinating.
Far out! Everything is all cosmic again!
You were blind, and either recovered or removed what was covering your eyes while hallucinating.
Everything <looks/feels> SO boring now.
You are no longer hallucinating - as with the first message, "feels" only occurs if you are also blind.
Your vision seems to flatten for a moment, but is normal now.
As above, but you had a source of hallucination resistance when it wore off.



In SLASH'EM and its variants, hallucination also distorts items you are standing on and your inventory, which makes it a crippling disability; however, it is still only a minor problem in the eyes of your deity. It is therefore essential to avoid quaffing a potion of hallucination without a cure, and to remember the inventory letter of your unicorn horn or other remedy.

Eating a mushroom or a pink pill may cause hallucination, and applying a medical kit can cure it.

Hallucination can be moderately useful as a way to bless items without breaking atheist conduct: asking a shopkeeper to uncurse an item while hallucinating has a chance of blessing it instead.


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.