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In NetHack, monsters that are peaceful do not attack you, and will simply wander around the immediate area.

Attacking one causes a −1 alignment penalty, and the attacked monster also becomes hostile ("The dwarf gets angry!"); other peaceful monsters who witness the attack may also become hostile or scared. Some monsters who become hostile will "scream", alerting nearby monsters to your presence. To prevent this occurring by accident, moving into a peaceful monster normally will offer a "Really attack the <foo>?" prompt rather than defaulting to a melee attack.

Attacking monsters with spells or missiles does not result in a yes/no prompt, and the missile will strike whatever is in its path; the artifact sword Stormbringer will also cause you to attack peaceful monsters without offering a yes/no prompt. ("Your bloodthirsty blade attacks!") Attacking monsters with polearms also does not ask for confirmation, although this appears to be bug C343-305 ("Attacking with an applied polearm ignores the 'confirm' option").

Pets do not immediately become hostile if accidentally or purposely attacked by the player - see the section on abuse in the tameness article for more information. Pets also can and will attack peaceful monsters with no penalty to the player, other than the chance of the pet being killed.

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.

Peaceful monsters can now be displaced. When attempting to move into a peaceful monster without wielding Stormbringer, there is a 6 in 7 chance that you will swap places with it. Monsters cannot be displaced out of traps, into traps, into water if it cannot swim or levitate or into other hazardous terrain. Sleeping or paralyzed monsters cannot be displaced at all, but immobile monsters can with a 1 in 7 chance.

Aligned priests, shopkeepers, guards, the Oracle and quest leaders cannot be displaced.

Monsters that are generated peaceful

Many factors can be used to determine when a monster is generated peaceful.

  • Some monsters are marked as "always starts as peaceful" or "always starts as hostile". For more information, see the individual monster pages.
  • Monsters that are of one of the player races (humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and orcs), and who are not marked as "always peaceful" or "always hostile", may have a peaceful/hostile status based on the player's base race, as follows:[1]
Player's base race Monsters always peaceful Monsters always hostile
Human[2] none Gnome, Orc
Elf[3] Elf Orc
Dwarf[4] Dwarf, Gnome Orc
Gnome[5] Dwarf, Gnome Human
Orc[6] none Human, Elf, Dwarf
  • For monsters that are not marked as always peaceful or always hostile, and do not have a peaceful/hostile status based on the player's base race, the monster's attitude to the player is normally based on the monster's alignment, the player's alignment and the player's alignment record, as follows:
    • Chaotic monsters are generated hostile to a player who has the Amulet of Yendor.[7]
    • Monsters represented by A are generated hostile to a chaotic or neutral player, and to a lawful player with negative alignment record. They are always generated peaceful to a lawful player with non-negative alignment record.[8]
    • Coaligned unicorns are always generated peaceful, cross-aligned ones are always generated hostile.[9]
    • Other monsters will always be generated hostile to a non-coaligned player, or to a coaligned player with alignment record lower than −14. For a coaligned player with alignment record at least −14, the probability of the monster being peaceful is \frac{(15+AR)(1+MA)}{(16+AR)(2+MA)}, where AR is the player's alignment record and MA is the absolute value of the monster's alignment.[10] Notably, this means that no matter their alignment record, neutral characters will see such monsters being peaceful at most 50% of the time, since all neutral monsters have zero alignment.
  • However, there are many exceptions to the above rules:
    • Djinn from a magic lamp or smoky potion can be tame, peaceful, hostile, can disappear after granting a wish, or can disappear without granting a wish. This is based on the BUC status of the lamp or potion, on random chance, and, for smoky potions, on whether the potion was quaffed by the player or a monster.
    • Monsters from a figurine can be tame, peaceful, or hostile, based on the BUC status of the figurine and on random chance.
    • Demons summoned by same-race sacrifice will be peaceful if the player is chaotic, and hostile otherwise.[11]
    • The lawful named demons are generated hostile if you are wielding Excalibur, and peaceful otherwise.[12]
    • Nasties created by the summon nasties monster spell are always hostile; random monsters that replace a nasty that has been genocided may not be.[13]
    • Insects and snakes created by the summon insects spell are always hostile.[14]
    • Minions sent by an angry god are hostile.[15]
    • When a throne room is created, the monsters generated in the room are hostile.[16]
    • Schroedinger's Cat is always generated peaceful (when alive).[17]
    • On special levels, monsters will often be created with a predetermined peaceful/hostile status.

Making monsters peaceful


The penalty for attacking peaceful monsters is manageable for late-game characters, but dangerous for characters with low levels and/or low alignment.

Before casting spells or firing missiles, it is sometimes advisable to check the status of a monster with the / or the ; key. This is only recommended for some monsters; for example, orcs will often be peaceful towards orcish player characters, and so should be checked, while others, such as rothes, are always generated hostile. If wielding Stormbringer, it is dangerous to blunder into a monster such as an aligned priest or shopkeeper, so it is advisable to wield a different weapon while moving in an area with peaceful monsters.

List of monsters that may be generated peaceful

Most monsters are always generated hostile (they are defined with the M2_HOSTILE flag), but some types may be generated peaceful under normal circumstances.

Always peaceful

These monsters are defined with the M2_PEACEFUL flag.

Sometimes peaceful

These monsters are defined with neither the M2_PEACEFUL nor M2_HOSTILE flag, and may be peaceful depending on your alignment and alignment record when generated under normal circumstances. Most of these are peaceful with a probability of \frac{(15+AR)(1+MA)}{(16+AR)(2+MA)} if you are co-aligned and hostile otherwise, but see the previous section for exceptions.





"Oh my!"
A peaceful monster saw you attack another peaceful monster.


In SLASH'EM, the koala's calming attack pacifies any successfully hit monster. To make use of this ability, tame a koala with eucalyptus leaves, or polymorph into one.

See also