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A manes, i, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. The manes is a nonliving monster that is the most basic form of minor demon a player character can encounter. A manes has infravision, can be seen via infravision and will follow you to other levels if it is adjacent.

A manes has two claw attacks and a bite attack, and possesses sleep resistance and poison resistance.

Manes are poisonous to eat, which primarily comes up if they are digested by another monster.


Randomly-generated manes are always created hostile, and frequently appear in large groups. A manes can grow up into a lemure.[1]

Manes 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.

A manes never leaves a corpse upon death.


Manes are described as "the gnats of the dungeon" in their encyclopedia entry for good reason: they are very weak individually and move at a sluggish 3 speed, though their attacks can pile up damage against early characters with low HP or AC, since they can roll upwards of 10 damage per round of attacks. This makes swarms of manes potentially deadly if a character is careless and/or gets overwhelmed by the speed system not distributing actions in their favor.

Manes swarms are likely the first set of monsters where running through a corridor or door is employed as a tactic, since funneling them throw narrow areas makes dispatching them much easier. Most characters can also make the swarms much easier by gaining a few levels worth of HP, using ranged attacks, attaining reliable accuracy with their primary weapon(s), and/or shoring up their AC.


The manes first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


In Roman mythologhy, Manes (MAH-nays) are chthonic deities sometimes thought to represent souls of deceased loved ones, and were associated with other similar beings worshiped in domestic, local, and personal cults as part of the di inferi (Latin "those who dwell below"), the undifferentiated collective of divine dead. The word manes is Latin, and has a singular form manis that is not used for the meaning specific to these spirits[2] - in English, the word has no singular, and so NetHack just uses manes for the singular as well.

Manes are differentiated from other types of Roman spirits by the writings of the theologian St. Augustine, and in City of God he cites Latin-language prose writer Apuleius as saying "that the souls of men are demons [in the sense of "familiar spirits"], and that men become[...]Manes if it is uncertain whether they deserve well or ill". Roman tombstones often included the letters D.M., which stood for Dis Manibus - this can literally mean "to the Manes", or figuratively mean "to the spirits of the dead", and continued to appear even in some later Christian inscriptions. The Manes were honored during public festivals such as the Parentalia and Feralia in February, and it is speculated that the gladiatorial games, originally held at funerals, may have been instituted in the honor of the Manes.

The manes of Dungeons & Dragons, also known singularly as a mane, makes its debut in the 1st Edition Monster Manual as a dead soul that was chaotic evil in life and sent to the Abyss. Manes appear as three-foot humanoids with pale, bloated and maggot-ridden bodies, and their eyes constantly drip liquids: the transformation into this wretched form robs most of these souls of their memories, leaving only a persistently vague sense of loss and the resulting bitter rage; only a rare few manes retained even fragmented memories of their mortal lives. This also leaves the manes as semi-intelligent and practically feral beings, driven entirely by hatefulness: they wander the Abyss in swarms of a dozen and hordes of up to a hundred, attacking non-demonic entities with their jagged teeth and claws.

Manes are considered "sub-demon" entities and expendable cannon fodder by other demons, and are treated as literal "fodder" for demon lords and princes, who consumed them as a food source (which would erase the manes permanently) - a few manes occasionally gained the self-awareness needed to recognize their position in the Abyss and fight to improve it, which rarely ended in success. The forces within the Abyss may transform a manes into another demon at random, and those showing a glimmer of intellect or a particular cruelty may be manually promoted into higher-ranked demons or other beings depending on the promotee - they were are just as likely to be culled in order to prevent the upending Abyssal society by a transformed manes potentially rising to the status of demon lord.



In SLASH'EM, manes hit as a +1 weapon but are otherwise unchanged, making little difference (if any) for dealing with them in practice - as SLASH'EM is based on NetHack 3.4.3, a starting character can comfortably use hit and run tactics against manes swarms.

Manes 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 also applies to SlashTHEM.


In dNetHack, manes are considered demons.

Manes may appear in the court of a throne room ruled by an orc-captain.

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, the manes is moved to the wraith monster class at W.


In xNetHack, manes and other minor demons take +d6 damage from being hit with iron weapons and items.

Encyclopedia entry

The gnats of the dungeon, these swarming monsters are rarely seen alone.