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In NetHack, the term foocubus (plural foocubi, derived from foo) refers to either one or both a pair of monsters that can be encountered in the dungeon: the incubus, &, and the succubus, &.

Incubi and succubi are major demons that are identical save for gender: they are humanoid, inediate, have infravision, are capable of flight, and follow you to other levels if they are close enough. They possess the standard demon resistance to fire, poison, death magic, and life-draining, and have three attacks: they lead with a special seduction attack which is equal parts dangerous and empowering for the player character, and follow with two claw attacks.[1][2]

Attempting to apply a saddle to either type of foocubus will abuse wisdom and print YAFM; applying a mirror at a foocubus will cause them to steal it and teleport away.

One of the hallucinatory monsters that can appear while hallucinating is a "voluptuous ampersand", referring to the glyph of a foocubus.

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.

"Amorous demon" is the monster's official gender-neutral name. Succubi and incubi are no longer distinct monster types, but rather different genders of the amorous demon.


In addition to random monster generation, foocubi can be generated by the following methods:

  • A hostile foocubus of either gender can be summoned by kicking a sink.
  • A foocubus is one of the major demons that can summoned by same-race sacrifice on a chaotic or unaligned altar if Yeenoghu and Juiblex are already generated in a game (e.g. being summoned through the same method); the foocubus will be peaceful if you are chaotic, and hostile otherwise. 89 of the major demons summoned this way will be foocubi.[3]
  • Foocubi can be gated in by other major demons, though they are incapable of gating any demons themselves; the same applies to you if you perform an unarmed attack on a monster while polymorphed into a major demon other than a foocubus.
  • Foocubi are also among the demons that can be summoned with a 110 chance by any hostile monster casting the summon nasties monster spell in Gehennom.[4]

Four incubi and two succubi can be found within the dwelling on the west side of the Tourist quest goal level.

Foocubi cannot be targeted for genocide, and like all major demons do not leave a corpse upon death.

Foocubus seduction

If the SEDUCE compile-time option (enabled by default) is disabled, the foocubus's seduction attack will be replaced with a drain life attack similar to those of vampires.[5]

Foocubi are heterosexual, and will only seduce you if you are of the opposite gender to them; the seduction will trigger if you #chat to a foocubus of the opposite gender, or if a hostile foocubus of that gender uses their seduction attack while you are not unconscious.[6] A hostile foocubus of the same sex as you will not use their seduction attack against you, and chatting to any such foocubus will have no effect. Against other monsters, foocubi using the seduction attack simply steal items if possible, much like a nymph. If you are riding a mount of the opposite sex to the foocubus, the attack may fall upon the steed and cause them to steal its saddle, forcibly dismounting you - if you are dismounted onto water or lava, you will drown, burn up or sink into the lava accordingly.

First, the foocubus will attempt to take off all of your worn armor, regardless of if it is cursed - they will ask your permission for each item with a probability of CHA20 if you are not deaf, and will otherwise just take off that item.[7][8] The foocubus can only remove your suit if you have not kept your cloak on, and can only remove your shirt if you have not kept your cloak or suit on. If removed armor causes you to change location, e.g. falling through a hole or trap door or landing on a teleport trap, the seduction is aborted.[9]

A foocubus will never attempt to remove an amulet or blindfold, and will ignore rings except for a ring of adornment: An incubus may offer to put the ring on one of your fingers, while a succubus may ask you for it - both prompts occur with a CHA20 chance (where CHA is your charisma before donning or doffing the ring) if you are not deaf, and the foocubus will otherwise put on or take the ring.[10][11] If a female character is already wearing two rings and neither of them are rings of adornment, while you have a ring of adornment in open inventory, the incubus may replace the worn ring on the left hand with that ring of adornment;[12] if removing a ring to make space for the ring of adornment causes you to change location, the seduction is aborted.[13] The foocubus will try to take off your gloves before putting on a ring of adornment or taking a worn one, and will leave the ring alone if your gloves are still on after that attempt.[14]

If after this you are still wearing body armor or a cloak, the foocubus will leave you alone and try to teleport away[15] - otherwise, they will initiate the encounter. As indicated by the accompanying message, this does not increment the turn counter.[16] At the end of the encounter, you will experience either a positive or a negative effect, with the likelihood based on the sum of your intelligence and charisma stats.[17] The probability of a positive effect is (INT+CHA+1)/35, where the sum of INT and CHA is capped at 32, giving a minimum 5.7% chance of a negative effect.[18] Chaotic characters gain a point of alignment for taking part in a foocubus encounter.[19]

After the encounter, whether positive or negative, the foocubus may try to take some gold from you as a payment and teleport away: the amount taken usually consists of a 500zm flat fee plus a random percentage of the current gold in your wallet, and will not take into account any gold beyond 32757zm. [20] The attempt will fail with a probability of CHA20 (or always, if you are polymorphed into a leprechaun);[21] if you have no gold in your wallet, the foocubus will instead simply teleport away unpaid, with no change beyond an alternate message. Furthermore, a peaceful foocubus will charge only 15 of the usual price—rounded down, but always at least 1zm;[22] a tame foocubus will never charge you.

If you get a positive effect, for up to 100 turns after the foocubus will complain of having a headache instead of seducing you;[23] if you get a negative effect, the foocubus will be ready to go again immediately.[24] In either case, there is a 125 chance that the foocubus will complain of a severe headache, meaning that it is worn out and cancelled - this renders it incapable of further seduction.[25][26]

Positive effects

If the sum of your intelligence and charisma stats plus one is no less than a random number chosen between 1 and 35, you experience one of the following positive effects, with an equal probability of each:[23]

Effect Message
Restores all power and increases maximum by 1-5; exercises constitution.[27] You feel raised to your full potential.
Constitution increases by 1 and is exercised.[28] You feel good enough to do it again.
Wisdom increases by 1 and is exercised.[29] You will always remember <the foocubus>...
Raises your level by 1 if possible and exercises wisdom. This increases your hit points and power, even if you are already level 30.[30] That was a very educational experience.
Heals all hit points and exercises strength.[31] You feel restored to health!

Negative effects

If instead, the sum of your intelligence and charisma stats plus one is less than the random number chosen between 1 and 35, you experience one of the following negative effects, with an equal probability of each:[24]

Effect Message
All your power is lost, your maximum energy is reduced by 1-10 subject to half physical damage, and your constitution is abused.[32] You feel drained of energy.
Constitution lowers by 1 and is abused.[33] You are down in the dumps.
Wisdom lowers by 1 and is abused.[34] Your senses are dulled.
You lose 1 level unless you have drain resistance, and constitution, wisdom and dexterity are abused.[35] You feel out of shape. (if you lost a level)
You have a curious feeling... (if you have drain resistance)
Strength is abused and you take 6–15 hit points of damage, subject to half physical damage.[36] You feel exhausted.

If you are killed by the HP loss, the cause of death is livelogged as "killed by exhaustion";[35] if you are killed by the level drain, the cause of death is livelogged as "killed by overexertion".[36]


Foocubi do very little melee damage, and are relatively easy to kill even for some low-level characters - note that they have a base AC of 0, and their high MR score of 70 significantly limits the effectiveness of spells.

The foocubus's profitability for high-intelligence and high-charisma players - a very efficient way to gain XL, HP and power - is counterbalanced by two factors: the negative effects of encounters (which, as discussed further below, are surprisingly simple to cure), and the primary danger of what seems like a humorous side effect of the seduction: the player is left at least partly disrobed in the presence of any other monsters that happened to be in the room. Players who rely on armor items for reflection or MR can find themselves suddenly annihilated by attacks they would usually shrug off - being seduced near a group of hostile monsters (e.g., that were freshly generated by summon nasties) is generally a worst-case scenario.

Setting up

If possible, when initiating an encounter make absolutely sure that the immediate area is clear, and that most monsters cannot close in on you after. You can lead a foocubus (or multiple foocubi) to a safer location before initiating the encounter, since they will follow you when next to you while you are branchporting with The Eye of the Aethiopica, levelporting, or going up or down stairs.

An amulet of change may be of interest to players looking to maximize their gains from foocubi as much as possible - Tourists in particular may be tempted to use one for the foocubi on the goal level of their Quest branch.

Stat boosting

Higher charisma and intelligence naturally increase the odds of a a beneficial effect from an encounter with a foocubus, but both stats are very difficult to raise outside of the potion of gain ability, and neither can be exercised. Wizards are high-intelligence roles that are excellent for obtaining boosts from foocubi, and can often do so well from the beginning of the game. Meanwhile, the most reliable method of raising charisma is the ring of adornment - unfortunately, as described above, foocubi also take an interest in them. Female characters will not have their rings taken by an incubus, but they may be made to remove a vital worn ring if they are wearing two non-adornment rings, including a ring of levitation keeping them from drowning or burning in lava. Conversely, male characters do not have to worry about worn rings being removed, but the ring providing their charisma boost may be stolen unless they have a boosted charisma of at least 20.

Magic traps have an effect that increase your charisma by one point and tame any monsters in the vicinity if they are tameable. However, this is unreliable, and there are more frequent negative effects such as: being blinded, deafened and surrounded with monsters; being hit by a tower of flame, as from a fire trap; or else having the magic trap explode, removing it (though it also provides a boost to power if you survive the explosion). Having fire resistance, a means of mitigating blindness (e.g. telepathy), and the ability to handle the summoned monsters is recommended; see the article on magic traps for more detailed information on handling magic trap effects.

Quaffing from magic fountains have a 710 chance of increasing a random attribute by 1, or increasing all your attributes by 1 with a natural Luck of at least 4. However, there is no way to tell if a fountain is magical before quaffing, and the negative effects that quaffing from non-magical fountains can produce are much worse to deal with compared to magic traps, such as cursing your inventory; placing your items in a bag beforehand is a good idea, as is being prepared to deal with water moccasins or even a water demon. See the article on magic fountains for more detailed information.

A helm of brilliance can raise intelligence, but the foocubus may try to take it off - as detailed above, they are more likely to ask if you have higher charisma. Unlike rings of adornment, the foocubus will not steal the helmet, allowing you to put it back on before trying again. A negatively-enchanted helm is of no concern, as you can always give consent to take the helmet off.

Dealing with negative effects

Most negative effects of seduction can easily be dealt with: loss of wisdom or constitution can be cured by applying a unicorn horn; hit points will heal over time, though this makes it unwise to consort with foocubi when you are nearly dead; a lost level can be quickly regained by means such as killing a monster or eating a tripe ration to get it back before playing with the foocubus again. Wielding Excalibur, Stormbringer or the Staff of Aesculapius can protect against the level drain effect. However, there is no "cure" for loss of maximum energy, though non-cursed potions of gain energy can boost it back up.

Overall, while it is very possible for a low-intelligence or charisma character to still benefit from dealing with a foocubus, the negative effects can make the process tedious - a player concerned about this can wait to raise their intelligence and charisma before an encounter and tip odds of energy gain in their favor.

The following steps should also be taken to minimize post-encounter vulnerability:

  • Never voluntarily allow a foocubus to remove anything other than your cloak and body armor, unless you are trying to take off a cursed piece of armor.
  • Again, whenever possible only consort with foocubi in an area you have emptied of other enemies. You can keep the foocubus off your back while clearing out an area by luring it up or down a level, or else using Elbereth whenever it approaches. For further details and special cases, see the "Possible YASDs" section below.
  • Finally, remember to get dressed again afterward!

To prevent a foocubus from taking your gold, simply keep it in a container, or drop it on the ground if it is an emergency. A gentlemanly and/or ladylike player may wish to retain a small amount of gold in their inventory, so that the foocubus will receive at least a token payment for its services. Once the foocubus develops a "severe headache", you can kill it and recover any gold it took from you if you so wish.

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.

Unicorn horns can no longer restore reduced attributes. Alternatives include potions of restore ability, the restore ability spell, prayer, or gain ability.

Taming foocubi

As pets, foocubi can augment their base AC of 0 with the ability to use all non-silver armor, but they are not at all strong offensively. More importantly, tame foocubus represent easier encounters compared to a hostile or peaceful one - though the actual encounter itself is no different (as you simply initiate the encounter via #chat), it is much easier to account for all relevant problems: they can be led away from hostile monsters, have nothing to fear from other pets, and can be more easily guided to a safe spot for the encounter, usually making your armor easier to put back on after. Additionally, if you possess a magic whistle or move to a no-teleport level, it will not be necessary to chase down the foocubus after each encounter - they will also never charge you any gold.

Tamed foocubi can be obtained in various manners:

  • Activate a figurine of one. The probability of a tame foocubus is 45 for a blessed figurine, and 15 otherwise.
  • Polymorph an already-tamed pet into a foocubus, though this is very unreliable.
  • Gate in a foocubus by attacking a monster bare-handed while polymorphed into a major demon; note that you have a 56 chance of gating in a demon of the same type as your current form, and that foocubi cannot gate demons themselves.

Once the foocubus becomes cancelled, you can abandon or polymorph it as you like - the resulting monster will still be cancelled, so you cannot polymorph it back into a useful foocubus, and the new form may also be less effective.

Seduction and safety

There are several ways a foocubus can kill you outright even while not hostile, though they are generally easy to avoid. Nevertheless, a player should remain aware of the following:

  • Be cautious when wearing levitation boots or water walking boots if you encounter a foocubus above water or lava - the foocubus may remove them, dropping you to your doom.
  • Female characters should be similarly cautious when wearing a ring of levitation on their left hand, a second ring on their other hand, and carrying a ring of adornment: an incubus may replace the ring of levitation with the ring of adornment.
  • If you are riding a flying steed (such as a dragon) over open water or lava, and they are the opposite gender of the foocubus, that foocubus may seduce it and remove the saddle, causing you to drown or burn up. Though being seduced yourself is safe in such a situation provided the steed is not of the same sex as you (and thus opposite of the foocubus), it may be more pragmatic to avoid foocubui entirely until you are on land.
  • Avoid wielding footrice corpses around foocubi unless you have charisma of 20 or more - they may remove your gloves and leave you stiffed.
  • Characters at experience level 1 should stay well away from foocubi, as one of the possible negative outcomes is a level drain. In practice, this means that low-level characters should not kick sinks.
  • Always be sure to double-check and put back all of your armor once you and the foocubus are done.
  • Always have a backup source of reflection for Medusa's chamber - entering and having a foocubus immediately seduce you and remove your only source of reflection will likely prove fatal.

Removing cursed items

Foocubi can remove any armor, including cursed armor, providing an alternative to nymphs for removing cursed armor. Succubi can also remove cursed rings of adornment from male characters, while incubi can remove any cursed ring from female characters wearing two rings and carrying an additional ring of adornment.

Conducts and other habits

For a pacifist player, a foocubus represents one of the primary means of gaining experience levels still available to them.

Finally, some players that like to prepare for the "demigod bar" may optionally use one of their remaining wishes on a blessed greased figurine of a foocubus of their choice.


The incubus and succubus are introduced in NetHack 3.0.0, when the various types of demon were introduced.

From NetHack 3.0.0 to NetHack 3.4.3, including some variants based on these versions, a foocubus will not account for whether or not you are wearing gloves when they put on or remove a ring of adornment; applying a mirror to have it stolen would also only work on succubi. The current behavior for mirrors and rings of adornment are introduces in NetHack 3.6.0.

In NetHack 3.4.3, earlier versions and variants, foocubi were one of many monsters utilized in drain for gain strategies.

From NetHack 3.0.0 to NetHack 3.6.0 (including some variants), the outcome calculation uses uncapped attributes, making it possible to guarantee a positive result with a combined INT and CHA of at least 34;[37] the current calculation method with the attribute cap is introduced in NetHack 3.6.1.[18]


The incubus and succubus are folkloric demons or entities that seek out sexual intercourse with sleeping humans of the opposite gender, with parallels in many cultures. Some tales and sources state that repeat encounters with either an incubus or succubus may result in the deterioration of health, an impaired mental state, or even death; others suggest that they may require these encounters in order to survive.

The incubus and succubus of NetHack are primarily derived from Dungeons & Dragons, where succubi appear in all editions; incubi were first introduced by a 3.5e article in Dragon issue #353, titled "Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Malcanthet". Incubi and succubi are shapechanging demons that dwell in the Abyss, and seek to seduce and tempt mortals and ultimately slay them, then take their life energy back to the Abyss; they were often found in the service of many other evil beings. In their true form, they appear as stunningly beautiful humans of statuesque 6-feet builds and perfect figures, with flawless skin and typically red or raven-black hair; they also have clawed fingers and large dark-hued or reddish bat-like wings on their backs, as well as possibly small horns and/or a tail.

Succubi and incubi are described as lusty creatures, as in many real-word folkloric traditions, and manipulate other lower demons using wits and threats; their trademark deadly kiss could drain victims of a level, and they have many other abilities, including charming, ESP, and even demon gating, that their NetHack counterparts often lack. Incubi and succubi were rarely seen in these true forms, as they often used their shapechanging to assume a humanoid form and could maintain it for as long as they liked. More recent editions posit that incubi and succubi are wholly separate species, with the former being significantly rarer; some editions note that their shapechanging powers allow them to each shift into the other with ease, though most will have a preference for one or the other.

Other messages

The dishwasher returns!
A foocubus appeared as a result of you kicking a sink.
Shame on you!
You tried to apply a saddle to a foocubus of either gender; this abuses wisdom.
The <foo>cubus cajoles you.
You chatted to a foocubus of your gender.
You feel very attracted to the <foocubus>
A foocubus of the opposite gender is seducing you.
Someone caresses you...
As above, while blind.
You're such a <sweet lady/nice guy>; I wish...
The foocubus failed to initiate an encounter, and teleports away if possible.
Time stands still while you and <the foocubus> lie in each other's arms...
The foocubus initiates an encounter, leading to one of the effects described above, then attempts to take a payment and teleport away.
You seem to have enjoyed it more than <the foocubus>...
You experienced a positive effect from the encounter.
<The foocubus> seems to have enjoyed it more than you...
You experienced a negative effect from the encounter.
It's on the house!
You had no gold in open inventory for the foocubus to take after an encounter.


Some variants give the foocubi's seduction attack to additional monsters as well.


In SLASH'EM, polymorphing into a foocubus sets your charisma to 18.

A gypsy telling your fortune can pull the 4 of trumps (The Lovers), which generates a foocubus of the opposite sex.


In dNetHack, there are various types of seduction depending on the monster - the standard seduction of a foocubus uses the same check versus intelligence and charisma as NetHack 3.4.3. A worn engagement ring will block the seduction attack of foocubi, and chiropterans and yuki-onna are inherently immune (the former due to body shape compatibility, and the latter due to being seducers themselves). Clockwork automatons have a different set of interactions after a foocubus encounter, with their own set of standard positive and negative effects depending on a check versus intelligence and charisma (also the same as in NetHack 3.4.3):

  • If your combined INT and CHA are lower than a randomly generated number between 1 and 34, you will either lose an experience level or have a single item stolen from you by the foocubus, with an equal probability of each.
  • Otherwise, there is a 15 chance of gaining a level from the encounter - the remaining 45 of the time, the foocubus will offer to wind you up if you are below half of your maximum nutrition.

An incubus and a succubus appear in a 'brothel' on the home level of the Pirate quest, and foocubi may also appear in the audience of a throne room ruled by an orc of the ages of stars.

If the spirit Enki is bound, saying no to any seduction prompts will violate his taboo and unbind him; blocking seduction with an engagement ring does not count towards this.

In terms of strategy, an encounter with a foocubus of the opposite sex is one of many possible options for a Madperson to remove their cursed straitjacket.


In xNetHack, the odds of a good result from a foocubus encounter are changed to the following, with the cap on combined intelligence and charisma removed:

\frac{\mathrm{Int} + \mathrm{Cha}}{25 + (5 \times \text{ seducer lvl}) + (20 \text{ if in Gehennom})}

Encyclopedia entry

The incubus and succubus are male and female versions of the same demon, one who lies with a human for its own purposes, usually to the detriment of the mortals who are unwise in their dealings with them.


  1. doseduce in mhitu.c
  2. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2432
  3. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 1764
  4. src/wizard.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 558
  5. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 272
  6. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2446
  7. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2563
  8. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2744
  9. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2574: A check for your position occurs with each mayberem(), as well as just before determining if an encounter occurs
  10. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2478
  11. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2508
  12. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2494
  13. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2539: Another position check occurs here
  14. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2471
  15. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2583
  16. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2599
  17. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2605
  18. 18.0 18.1 src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2601
  19. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2595
  20. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2696: rnd(gold+10) + 500
  21. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2691
  22. mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2704
  23. 23.0 23.1 src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2653
  24. 24.0 24.1 src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2606
  25. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2420
  26. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2443
  27. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2657
  28. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2661
  29. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2667
  30. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2673
  31. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2678
  32. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2611
  33. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2619
  34. src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2625
  35. 35.0 35.1 src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2631
  36. 36.0 36.1 src/mhitu.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 2642
  37. mhitu.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2282

See also