Ice devil

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An ice devil, &, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. The ice devil is a major demon that can see invisible and may follow a nearby player to other levels. It has four attacks: two claw attacks, a bite and a cold-element sting.

Ice devils have fire resistance, cold resistance and poison resistance, as well as the standard major demon immunities to death magic and draining.

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.

Per commit 76de4f6e ice devils get an additional slowing touch attack.


Ice devils are always generated hostile, and are only randomly generated in Gehennom. Ice devils are also eligible for gating by other major demons, and may appear as the minion of a chaotic god.

Ice devils have a 14 chance of being generated with a spear; this is handled in a separate area of makemon.c from other monsters, as ice devils do not have a weapon attack.[1] They will never receive random offensive items.


Ice devils are much slower than their other demonic kin, with half the speed of a normal player character, but make up for it with a solid -4 AC and a set of four attacks that can inflict decent damage if they all land.

Polymorph traps and shapeshifters such as chameleons mean that unfortunate players can encounter one far earlier than normal, and possibly before they are prepared - the sting is especially threatening without cold resistance, and their gating ability may spell doom if they manage to swarm you. A player with decent AC and a well-enchanted blessed and/or silver weapon can take advantage of their low speed to make short work of them, and should be well-prepared for them by the time they reach Gehennom - notably, ice devils resist cold damage unlike most other demons.

As a pet

As pets, ice devils are decent well into the mid-game and can be used to take out peaceful monsters such as the Minetown watch or temple priest - their natural -4 AC compensates for an inability to wear torso armor. However, their low speed tends to make transportation a chore unless you have a magic whistle or blessed eucalyptus leaf available.


The ice devil first appears in NetHack 3.0.0, when the various major demons were differentiated from each other.


The ice devil originates from the 1st edition of Dungeons & Dragons, where it is a type of greater devil that populates the various planes of Hell, and are most common on the fifth and eighth layers.

Ice devils (or "gelugons" in later editions) appear as large, semi-insectoid creatures that serve as generals for Hell's infernal legions, though they are often ill-suited due to their hatred of weakness and desire to battle alone. Ice devils also serve as personal guards and elite warriors for other powerful devils and mortals; a guard of nearly 10,000 ice devils is stationed at the portal to Hell's ninth plane. Each ice devil tirelessly pursues promotion into the more powerful pit fiend; though vicious in battle and unlikely to shy away from necessary fights, ice devils were goal-oriented and fought either to complete their mission or secure an easy victory if they saw one.

Ice devils favor unarmed combat and would target frontlines and other weaker foes first, savagely using their claws, pincers and tails to tear into foes. They also exude an aura of numbing cold which slowed enemies that failed a save versus paralysis; roughly one in every four ice devils also utilize a spear that is similarly capable of paralyzing foes with its frost. Ice devils are also proficient at wizardry, particularly including cold-oriented spells, and can gate in other devils for assistance.



In SLASH'EM, the ice devil's difficulty is raised to 17.

Ice devils may be generated as tamed minions for a chaotic player at experience levels 27 to 30 via sacrifice or prayer.


In dNetHack, ice devils are far stronger on offense: their two claw attacks are replaced with 4d4 primary and off-hand weapon attacks, and their cold sting deals 5d4 damage. Ice devils can also appear among the default "prisoners" within the cells of a throne room that has no special ruler.

In the lower Hell map that contains the creature in the ice, 25 ice devils are placed randomly around the level.


In SpliceHack, the ice devil's sting will instead inflict fumbling on you if it hits.


In notdNetHack, the Ice Caves adventure branch has two hostile ice devils guarding the barred-off altar within Minetown. notdNetHack also includes the same ice devil-populated map containing the creature in the ice as one of the possible lower Hell maps.


In EvilHack, the ice devil's speed is increased to 9. An ice devil statue can be found among the demon statues in the hidden temple of the Infidel quest's home level.

Four hostile ice devils are found in the Ice Queen's Realm, with one pair stationed outside the temple and the other pair residing within; ice devils are also the only demons that can be summoned via gating within the dungeon branch, as it is too cold for any other kind of demon.[2]

The demon prince Asmodeus has an ice devil as part of his entourage if his level appears in Gehennom.


In addition to SLASH'EM changes, SlashTHEM generates a pair of ice devil statues on one of the possible Lethe Gorge-derived maps for Gehennom floors that contains a migo hive.

Encyclopedia entry

Ice devils are large semi-insectoid creatures, who are
equally at home in the fires of Hell and the cold of Limbo,
and who can cause the traveller to feel the latter with just
a touch of their tail.


  1. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 770: "moved here from m_initweap() because these don't have AT_WEAP so m_initweap() is not called for them"
  2. EvilHack 0.8.0 src/minion.c, line 70