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An imp, i, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is a tiny minor demon that has infravision, can be seen with infravision, possesses regeneration, and can follow a player character to other levels if it is adjacent.

An imp has a single claw attack.

Hostile imps will taunt you with random demonic maledictions when attacking you or chatted with.


Randomly-generated imps may be created as peaceful for chaotic characters.

Breaking an expensive camera has a 19 chance of creating an imp, which will be peaceful unless the camera was cursed.[1]

Imps appear among the random i that are part of the first quest monster class for Knights and make up 24175 of the monsters that are randomly generated on the Knight quest. They also appear among the random i that are generated on each floor of the Wizard quest at level creation.


While it may not seem very dangerous, imps can be quite annoying and difficult for early characters to deal with: their 2 AC is fairly low for this point in the game, and the regeneration also makes sticking any actual damage tricky An imp also moves at the same speed as an unhasted character, making escaping one tricky as well.

Melee-focused roles with good starting weapons are likely to have less trouble dealing with early imps. A dust-written Elbereth is good for scaring off an annoying imp, and a pet can help whittle one down in combat. Magic can still work against an imp, though their MR score of 20 means that a few tries of a spell or wand may be required.


The imp first appears in Hack for PDP-11, which is based on Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial bestiary for Hack 1.0.


An imp is a European mythological being similar to a fairy or demon, frequently described in folklore and superstition. The name is likely derived from the term ympe, which describes a young grafted tree. Imps are often described as lesser supernatural beings with small statue and lively dispositions: they are mostly troublesome and mischievous, and are only rarely seriously threatening or dangerous; the attendants of the devil are sometimes described as imps. Imps are featured in Dungeons & Dragons, where they make their debut in the 1st Edition Monster Manual.

The imp of Dungeons & Dragons is a minor devil (rather than a demon) that is vicious and manipulative, and is among the weakest beings in the infernal hierarchy - they are considered the lawful equivalents to the chaotic evil quasits, and their job is to assist and partake in the corruption of mortals whom their masters seek to groom to the side of evil. An imp in its natural form is a two-foot bat-winged humanoid that can appear in a variety of colors, with the most common one being dark red. The have small, sharp and twisting white horns, and their prehensile tails are stinger-tipped.

Imps have an insidious and duplicitous nature befitting devil-like beings, and coerce and flatter others into acts of evil: imphood is often the first chance for aspiring devils to roam the mortal world freely in search of souls to corrupt, which in turn qualifies them for promotion once they corrupt enough mortals. When not doing so, they engage in unscrupulous mischief such as swiping valuables. Though imps are somewhat durable, they are also cowardly and only do battle if necessary: even when fighting they rely on the element of surprise, using abilities such as transformation into animals and invisibility, and often flee if a battle was no longer going in their favor. Imps are also very independent creatures, and while they often put on a facade of fawning servitude for any mortal master they serve, they ultimately only see them as a means to obtain a position of true power - similarly, their obedience to their leaders in Hell is rooted in craven pragmatism rather than genuine loyalty.



In SLASH'EM, a hostile imp is generated in the Chamber of Sloth within the Lawful Quest at level creation, and fifteen imps are generated randomly around Dispater's lair at level creation.

An imp is among the loyal tame minor demons that can be given as minions via sacrifice or prayer to chaotic players of experience level 6 or lower.

Imps appear among the random i that are part of the second quest monster class for Necromancers and make up 6175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Necromancer quest.

All of the above information applies to SlashTHEM.


In UnNetHack, an imp is generated in Asmodeus's Lair within the chamber containing the up stair at level creation.

710 of the monsters randomly generated on the Fire Temple level of the Chaos Temple Quest will be imps.


In dNetHack, the imp is lawful and has the ability to fly, and their difficulty is increased to 5.

Imps can appear in the court of a throne room ruled by a kobold lord.


In xNetHack, imps and other minor demons that leave corpses are carnivorous. Imps also take +d6 damage from being hit with iron weapons and items.


In SpliceHack, an imp is generated in Asmodeus's Lair within the up stair chamber at level creation, as in UnNetHack.


In EvilHack, an imp is generated in one of the possible demon prince lair maps for Gehennom - the map is based on Asmodeus's lair from UnNetHack and SpliceHack.


In Hack'EM, imps have the ability to go berserk at low health.

In addition to details from SLASH'EM applying, an imp is generated in one of the possible demon prince maps for Gehennom as in EvilHack.

Encyclopedia entry

 ... imps ... little creatures of two feet high that could gambol and jump prodigiously; ...

[ The Charwoman's Shadow, by Lord Dunsany ]

An 'imp' is an off-shoot or cutting. Thus an 'ymp tree' was a grafted tree, or one grown from a cutting, not from seed. 'Imp' properly means a small devil, an off-shoot of Satan, but the distinction between goblins or bogles and imps from hell is hard to make, and many in the Celtic countries as well as the English Puritans regarded all fairies as devils. The fairies of tradition often hover uneasily between the ghostly and the diabolic state.

[ A Dictionary of Fairies, by Katharine Briggs ]