Monster frequency

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Monster frequency is used in random monster creation, but not in deliberate polymorph results and more specific ways of monster generation. It is a number which can technically range 0–7 (though 6 and 7 are not used in Vanilla NetHack) and which determines how frequently a monster is generated, relatively to the other monsters.

The following terms are used to describe the frequency of a monster in the infobox on monsters' pages:

Frequency Description
0 Not randomly generated
1 Very rare
2 Quite rare
3 Rare
4 Uncommon
5 Common
6 Very common (unused in Vanilla NetHack)
7 Prolific (unused in Vanilla NetHack)

Adjustment for aligned levels and branches

If a special level or branch has an alignment, the frequency values of all monsters are adjusted by adding a number depending on the alignment of the monster and that of the branch or level.[1] The numbers that are added to the frequencies are:

Monster's alignment Lawful level/branch Neutral level/branch Chaotic level/branch
-20 0 0 5
-19 to -17 0 0 4
-16 to -13 0 1 4
-12 1 2 4
-11 to -9 1 2 3
-8 to -5 1 3 3
-4 2 4 3
-3 to -1 2 4 2
0 2 5 2
1 to 3 2 4 2
4 3 4 2
5 to 8 3 3 1
9 to 11 3 2 1
12 4 2 1
13 to 16 4 1 0
17 to 19 4 0 0
20 5 0 0

For example, consider the Oracle level, which is neutral. On that level, a kitten, which is neutral (alignment 0) and whose normal frequency is "1", will have its frequency increased to 6. A black unicorn, which is chaotic (alignment -7) and whose normal frequency is also "1", will have its frequency increased to 4.

That does not mean that the kitten is six times more common on the Oracle level than on an unaligned level. Indeed, the numbers are relative frequencies, and since almost every monster has its frequency increased on aligned levels, the kitten will actually be less than six times more common than on an unaligned level.

This explains why monsters with a frequency of "0" but without the G_NOGEN flag are not randomly generated on unaligned levels, but can be randomly generated on aligned levels and branches. In Vanilla NetHack, monsters with this property are "baby" monsters (dragons, naga, worms, crocodiles).

The aligned levels are:[2]

Chaotic Neutral Lawful
Medusa's Island, Vlad's Tower Oracle's Level, Sokoban The Gnomish Mines

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, many monsters that are present in Vanilla NetHack have a higher frequency than they do in Vanilla. The most extreme examples are kittens, little dogs and their grown-up forms, all of which have a frequency of "1" in Vanilla and "7" in SLASH'EM. These are the only six SLASH'EM monsters with a "7" frequency. Floating eyes and cockatrices have a "6" frequency. This means that SLASH'EM, unlike Vanilla, uses the entire range of possible frequencies (0–7).

Also, in SLASH'EM, the frequency adjustment for aligned levels and branches is not as large as in Vanilla, as shown in the following table:

Monster's alignment Lawful level/branch Neutral level/branch Chaotic level/branch
-20 0 0 2
-19 to -11 0 0 1
-10 to -1 0 1 1
0 1 2 1
1 to 10 1 1 0
11 to 19 1 0 0
20 2 0 0

References

  1. align_shift in makemon.c
  2. dat/dungeon.def


This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

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.