From NetHackWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Instadeath stands for instant death. An instadeath causes death in zero time and allows no intervention.

Causes of instadeaths are:

  • Stoning by a chickatrice, cockatrice, or Medusa (unless stoning resistant):
    • Touching a cockatrice or chickatrice corpse without worn gloves.
      • Passing a square with a cockatrice or chickatrice corpse while blind and not levitating is considered as touching the corpse.
    • Eating a cockatrice or chickatrice corpse, or eating the corpse of Medusa.
    • Kicking a cockatrice or chickatrice corpse without worn boots.
    • Trying to sacrifice or tin a cockatrice corpse without worn gloves, even if it is already lying on the altar.
    • Falling into a pit, or down a hole or trapdoor while wielding a cockatrice corpse.
      • Includes deliberately flying down a hole, although flying over a pit is safe
    • Falling down stairs due to being burdened while wielding a cockatrice corpse.
    • Attacking a cockatrice while polymorphed into a creature with a contact attack, or when not wielding a weapon and not wearing gloves.
    • Seeing Medusa's gaze, unless blind or reflecting. Invisibility protects her, not you.
    • Having a cockatrice egg thrown upwards hit you.
  • Being hit by a death ray while not having magic resistance, and not polymorphed into a demon or undead. This can be achieved by:
  • Being touched by the touch of death while not having magic resistance, not polymorphed into a demon or undead and not hallucinating.
  • Being fatally poisoned, by a monster attack, a poisoned weapon, or a spiked pit unless you have poison resistance. Quaffing a potion of sickness or eating a poisonous corpse will never instakill you (but may kill you by hitpoint loss or strength drain).
  • Choking on your food
  • Starving to death
  • Drowning in a body of water
    • If you fall into a body of water with no adjacent land, you'll drown unless you are breathless or amphibious.
    • Falling into water with excessive encumbrance may drown you even if there is adjacent land. There is a chance that you drop some inventory instead.
  • Standing near a collapsing drawbridge.
  • Genociding your own race, by scroll of genocide or sitting on a throne. Reading a non-cursed scroll of genocide while confused always results in self-genocide.
  • Falling into lava without fire resistance.
  • Intentionally level teleporting yourself to level 0 or any "higher" level - level 0 is nowhere, -1 to -8 is "above the clouds", -9 is Cloud Nine and -10 and above is Heaven. Teleporting to a level "above" 0 will not instakill you if you have levitation or flying, but the game will end anyway.
  • Being hit by a disintegration breath (from a black dragon or the Chromatic Dragon) without reflection or disintegration resistance. If you are wearing a shield, it disintegrates, saving you; if not, but are wearing body armor, that and any cloak disintegrate, again saving you (but likely leaving you with a very poor armor class and vulnerable to the rebound).
  • Being hit by a lightning bolt from an angry god without reflection or shock resistance.
  • Being hit by a wide-angle disintegration beam from an angry god without disintegration resistance. An amulet of reflection, shield of reflection or any kind of body armor will not protect you in this case.
  • Being hit by Vorpal Blade or The Tsurugi of Muramasa (5% chance, 10% in SLASH'EM).
  • Cheating by modifying the save file ("death by trickery").
  • Being level drained below experience level 1
  • Eating any of the Riders' corpses (note that food appraisal does not warn you)
  • Digesting any of the Riders
  • Having your brain eaten by a mind flayer

Dying on turn one generates the message "Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 zorkmids.", a reference to Monopoly.

Dealing instadeath unto other monsters

In many situations, it is very helpful for your player to have a way to instantly kill other monsters. Here are some methods of instantly killing monsters, listed roughly in order from most common to most obscure. Note that not all methods work on all monsters; for example, undead monsters resist death rays, etc.

  • Zap a monster with a wand of death or finger of death
  • Hit a monster with a poisoned weapon (10% chance)
  • Zap a monster with a wand, potion or spell of polymorph (small chance of fatal system shock)
  • Hit a monster with a wielded or thrown cockatrice corpse or cockatrice egg
  • Disintegrate a monster with a black dragon's disintegration breath
  • Engulf a monster with a swallowing monster such as a purple worm or trapper
  • Open, close, or destroy a drawbridge on top of a monster (see dig for victory)
  • Attack a monster with Vorpal Blade or The Tsurugi of Muramasa (5% chance, 10% in SLASH'EM)
  • Displace a pet into water or lava
  • Cause a monster engulfing you to be struck by a lightning bolt from an angry god
  • Cause a monster engulfing you to be struck by a wide-angle disintegration beam from an angry god (requires it to survive the aforementioned lightning bolt, generally by being shock resistant)
  • Polymorph into a sea monster with a drowning attack, and repeatedly attack monsters while being in water (breathless monsters will survive this type of attack). The chance of wrapping around a target monster is only about 10% but if it's successful, the next melee attack will instakill the monster.


SLASH'EM features several new instadeaths. They are:

See also

Delayed instadeath, which also results in sudden death but allows for emergency intervention.

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.1.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.