Giant (monster attribute)

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The giant is a category of monster that appears in NetHack, and is denoted by the monster attribute flag M2_GIANT in the game's source code.


Monsters with the M2_GIANT flag are as follows:

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Common traits

Giants are carnivorous and either lawful or chaotic, and generally have low monster magic resistance. They are too huge to wear shirts, cloaks, and body armor, and will break through locked doors; they will pick up and wield weapons and wear other types of armor. All types of non-undead giant are part of the giant humanoid monster class, and thus represented by the H glyph. Giants can pick up and throw boulders, and giants in the path of a boulder from a rolling boulder traps will snatch the boulder if it is triggered, adding it to their inventory.

Despite possessing some of the above traits, ettins and titans lack the M2_GIANT flag and so are not considered giants.

Giant corpses, including those of unique giants, have a 50% chance of increasing your strength, similar to a non-cursed tin of spinach; this is treated as an intrinsic in addition to any others conferred by that giant.[1][2]

The artifact long sword Giantslayer grants a +1d5 to-hit bonus and double damage against giants when wielded; giants are also considered kebabable, granting a +2 to-hit bonus for attacking them with a weapon that uses the spear skill.

In addition to the normal responses for humanoid monsters, chatting to a peaceful, non-undead giant may cause them to boast about their gem collection, complain about a mutton diet, or shout "Fee fi fo fum!" and guffaw; this last result has a chance of waking nearby sleeping monsters.[3]


Giants that are not undead can occasionally be generated in groups. They have a 50% chance of being created with a boulder, and are often generated with a small assortment of gems.[4][5]

Giants may appear among the hostile giant humanoids generated in throne rooms on dungeon level 13 and below, and may appear when a throne at this depth or lower is looted.[6]

Giants are also eligible to appear in the Valkyrie quest and Caveman quest, which have the ​H giant humanoid as the second quest class.



Giants will often throw their boulder at you as soon as they can see you. Players can use these boulders as a defensive measure against other monsters, keeping them away and using ranged attacks to fire past the boulders and pick them off; boulders are especially useful for clogging up hallways. However, this will not impede the giants themselves, who can freely step over and pick up boulders.

Giants can also generate with and/or pick up dangerous items and attack wands as well; on the other hand, their low MR leaves them very vulnerable to wands and spells themselves, and the only giants with any significant MR are the giant mummy and Lord Surtur. Giants are also usually slower than the player character at base speed, and you will likely have found a source of fast speed by the time you encounter them.

Eating giants

Giant corpses and their strength bonuses are frequently sought after, especially by physically weaker roles and races; most non-elven characters will seek out giant corpses to continue increasing their strength once it has hit 18. However, giant corpses are also very high in nutrition, and their high nutrition presents a choking hazard. A tinning kit such as the one Archeologists start the game with is recommended, and additionally makes the corpses of giant zombies and mummies safe as well; unlike spinach, tins of giant meat provide a strength increase even if cursed.

Cavemen and Valkyries in particular benefit from having hill giants and fire giants as their respective second quest monsters, and giant humanoids act as their second quest classes; this enables corpse farming, especially with the co-aligned sanctuary available to Cavemen, but also carries the danger that a randomly generated H may turn out to be a titan.

While Archeologists and Priests can also access giant corpses as well as ettin corpses on their quest, their best source is the mummies and zombies, which are the respective second quest classes for them and only have a 3% chance of generation. Archaeologists have the advantage of starting with a tinning kit, and can makes these corpses safer to eat while not being satiated quickly - Priests will much prefer the gains from easily-farmed wraiths to intermittent strength increases.


Giants were introduced to NetHack with the inclusion of the 'standard' giant in NetHack 1.3d.

In NetHack 3.0.0, the various types of giants (minus the storm giant) were added, as well as their close relative, the titan, and the giant zombie and giant mummy. The "base" giant remains in the game's data, as the undead giants still leave behind a "giant corpse" upon defeat.

The storm giant was introduced to the vanilla game in NetHack 3.3.0. Before that, it first appeared in SLASH 6, a variant of NetHack 3.1.3 and the last release of SLASH.


Main article: Giant (starting race)

Many variants make the giant eligible as a starting race.


In SLASH'EM, there is only a 25% chance that strength gain will occur when eating giant meat; this does not affect the chance of gaining any other intrinsics from the corpse.[7] It is possible to encounter normally-generated "plain" giants as well.

SLASH'EM also includes the giant court, a special type of throne room carried over from NetHack-- 3.1.3 that only contains giants, and introduces The Giant Caverns, a special level that houses several giants and a new unique giant, The Largest Giant.


In addition to SLASH'EM changes above, SlashTHEM adds the hill giant shaman.

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, giants are a playable race. Giants can be Barbarians, Cavemen, or Rangers. They can pick up and throw boulders, which makes it very easy for them to move past them in blocked-off corridors, and their size prevents them from wearing most normal armor. They move at half-speed and (aside from strength) have significantly lower attribute caps.


SporkHack includes the giant as a playable race.


GruntHack includes the giant as a playable race.


Main article: Giant (starting race)

EvilHack adds the giant as a playable race, which is adapted from SporkHack. Giants start with intrinsic hunger, and may carry a boulder and/or some gems into the dungeon. Their starting inventories for each role are altered to account for their being too large for most body armor.

Giants are also eligible to appear as racial monsters, e.g. soldiers and shopkeepers.


In dNetHack, both the gnoll matriarch and siege ogre are given the M2_GIANT tag. A titan-ruled throne room often includes various giants in the court, including the "plain" giant.

Encyclopedia entry

Giants have always walked the earth, though they are rare in
these times. They range in size from little over nine feet
to a towering twenty feet or more. The larger ones use huge
boulders as weapons, hurling them over large distances. All
types of giants share a love for men - roasted, boiled, or
fried. Their table manners are legendary.