Lurker above

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A lurker above, t, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is one of the two eponymous monsters that make up the trapper or lurker above monster class. A lurker above is a strong and carnivorous animal without eyes, limbs or a head that is capable of flight unlike the trapper, and hides itself on the ceiling of the dungeon to take its targets by surprise.

A lurker above has a digestion attack.


Randomly generated lurkers above are always hostile.

The lurker above is the only flying monster that cannot be generated on the Plane of Air.


Like trappers, lurkers above can easily be detected via telepathy or warning, and their very low speed of 3 makes them nonthreatening, especially if you are decently equipped. However, do not let any of your pets near one - digestion attacks will instantly kill pets that are small enough, so be sure to scout for lurkers beforehand when navigating a floor.


The lurker above first appears in Hack for PDP-11, a variant of Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial bestiary for Hack 1.0.

In Hack for PDP-11, the lurker above used the apostrophe, ', as its glyph; in Hack 1.0, the lurker above used the tilde, ~. Hack 1.0.1 reverts the lurker above's flyph back to ', which it would use from this version to NetHack 2.3e. In NetHack 3.0.0, the lurker above is moved to a monster class with the trapper and given its current glyph.


The lurker above originates from Dungeons & Dragons, where it first appears in TSR Games' official newsletter The Strategic Review as an addition to the original 1974 edition's bestiary. Also known simply as a lurker, it is one of the classic examples of the franchise's "gotcha monsters", creatures that are primarily designed with the purpose of tricking and killing adventuring parties - for this reason, both it and the trapper are often ranked among the most obnoxious monsters by players. In the later revisions of 3rd Edition and the 4th Edition, lurkers and their trapper 'relatives' are eventually phased out in favor of the similar darkmantle, though they would return alongside it for the 5th Edition.

Lurkers are a type of aberration found in the Underdark and in dungeons. A lurker resembles a huge manta ray, with a grey underside that has a stony texture - unlike the lurkers of NetHack, they possess eyes. Lurkers are capable of flight due to a gas generated in their internal sacs, which gives them a natural buoyancy that they coast upon by flapping their wing-like mass; they can also attach themselves to surfaces and creep very slowly along them as well. Lurkers are typically solitary creatures and often encountered alone.

A lurker hunts by using their flight and stony underside to camouflage themselves by hiding along the ceilings of caverns and tunnels, with their underside providing cover and allowing them to blend in and become near-impossible to detect - where the similar trapper is primarily carnivorous, lurkers are omnivorous scavengers and will eat whatever they can catch. The lurker drops down on suitable prey that passes underneath, slamming into the victim and wrapping around them; though unintelligent, a lurker is tenacious and will not let up the fight until it is either killed or constricts its victim to death.


In variants that incorporate the Convict role, various lurkers above are generated on the lower filler level(s) of the Convict quest at level creation.


In dNetHack, lurkers above can be repelled with the Elder Sign and Cerulean Sign wards.


In Hack'EM, the lurker above is mindless and thus cannot be detected with telepathy.

Encyclopedia entry

These dungeon scavengers are very adept at blending into the surrounding walls and ceilings of the dungeon due to the stone-like coloring of their skin.