Monster spell

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A monster spell is a category of spells that only spell-casting monsters can make use of. Some are unique to this category, while others share properties with other magical items.

Monsters can only cast spells if they are not cancelled and at least level one, and can only cast once every (10 − (monster's level)) turns to a minimum of two turns;[1] they will attempt to cast spells if these conditions are not met, producing a "curse" message.[2] Even with these conditions satisfied, there is a 2 in (monster's level) chance of the spell failing (with five times that chance if the monster is confused).[3]

Monsters that are scared (e.g., by Elbereth) or are not adjacent to you[4] will not use directed spells. If a monster uses a directed spell at you, but you are on a different square than the monster expected, the spell will fail and produce a "curse" message.

Monsters will never cast spells (even not directed at you) if they're more than 7 squares away from you.[5]


<Monster> points at you, then curses.
<Monster> points all around, then curses.
The monster attempted to cast a spell before they were able to do so.
<Monster> points and curses in your general direction.
As above, but the monster cannot see you.
<Monster> points and curses at your displaced image.
As above, but you are displaced.
You hear a mumbled curse.
As above, but you cannot see the monster.
The air crackles around <monster>.
The monster cast a spell when able to do so, but the spell failed.
<Monster> casts a spell!
<Monster> casts a spell at you!
The monster successfully cast a spell.
<Monster> casts a spell at a spot near you!
As above, but the monster cannot see you.
<Monster> casts a spell at your displaced image!
As above, but you are displaced.


There are three categories of spells that monsters can cast: ray-type spells, mage spells, and clerical spells. In vanilla, no creature casts spells in more than one category. In the tables below, Min. level refers to the minimum level required for the monster to be able to cast that spell. The monsters that use the type of spells in each table are listed in the two Monsters column. In the Monsters (at lowest level) column, we assume that the monster is generated at its base level minus one, which is the lowest possible level at which a monster will be randomly generated. In the Monsters (at highest level) column, we assume that the monster is generated at its base level times 1.5, which is the highest possible level at which a monster will be randomly generated. In both cases, each monster can cast the spell on the line it appears, as well as every spell above it. It is still theoretically possible for monsters to cast spells that appear below their names in the table, if they drink enough potions of gain level. The spell Double Trouble can only be used by the Wizard of Yendor. As an example, a golden naga is guaranteed to be able to cast Psi bolt, Cure self, Haste self, Stun, Disappear, Drain strength and Destroy armor. It may be able to cast Curse items and Aggravate, if it is generated at a high enough level.

Monster spellcasting abilities are dependent on their current level, not their original level, so draining a monster will remove its ability to cast higher-level spells. However, most important spellcasters are immune to life drainage, and those that aren't generally have very high MR, making the spell nearly useless. Stormbringer and the Staff of Aesculapius bypass monster MR, though both will kill most non-resistant monsters quickly enough that the effect on their spellcasting is not generally that noticeable.

Mage spells

Spell Min. level Directed Monsters (at lowest level) Monsters (at highest level)
Psi bolt 1 Y kobold shaman
Cure self 2 barrow wight, orc shaman, gnomish wizard
Haste self 3 kobold shaman
Stun 4 Y guide, apprentice barrow wight, orc shaman, gnomish wizard
Disappear 5
Drain strength 7 Y guide, apprentice
Destroy armor 9 Y golden naga, lich, nalfeshnee
Curse items 11 Y demilich
Aggravate 14 ki-rin, titan, Ixoth, Dark One, Minion of Huhetotl, Thoth Amon, Chromatic Dragon, Nalzok golden naga
Summon nasties 16 master lich, Archon, Neferet the Green lich, nalfeshnee
Touch of death 21 Y arch-lich, Orcus, Dispater, Demogorgon demilich, master lich, arch-lich, ki-rin, titan, Archon, Ixoth, Dark One, Minion of Huhetotl, Thoth Amon, Chromatic Dragon, Nalzok, Neferet the Green, Orcus, Dispater, Demogorgon
Double Trouble 19/unique Wizard of Yendor Wizard of Yendor

Clerical spells

Spell Min. level Directed Monsters (at lowest level) Monsters (at highest level)
Open wounds 1 Y
Cure self 2
Confuse 3 Y abbot, acolyte
Paralyze 5 Y
Blind 6 Y abbot, acolyte
Summon insects 9
Curse items 10 Y aligned priest
Lightning 12 Y
Fire pillar 13 Y
Geyser 14 Y high priest, Grand Master, Master Kaen, Arch Priest aligned priest, high priest, Grand Master, Master Kaen, Arch Priest

Ray-type spells

Ray-type spells come in three varieties[6] (though only two are in use). They can be cast from afar, and when used this way, act the same as wands or breath weapons. When cast from an adjoining square, they act as melee attacks and cannot be reflected, but the appropriate resistance will still nullify them.

  • Three creatures use magic missile: Angels, Yeenoghu and the Oracle (the Oracle's version is passive and will only occur in response to a melee attack). Magic resistance is proof against this attack. The message is, "You are hit by a shower of missiles!" "The missiles bounce off!" if you have magic resistance.
  • Asmodeus, and no one else, has a cold attack. "You are covered in frost" when hit by this attack. Cold resistance nullifies it.
  • The source code also supports a fire attack. "You are enveloped in flames" when hit by this attack, and fire resistance nullifies it. No monster in vanilla has this attack.



SLASH'EM has many new spellcasting monsters, including fire vampires which use the previously-unimplemented fire ray spell. It also introduces two new mage spells:


In FIQHack, monsters use the same spellcasting system as the player, and can also read spellbooks to acquire new spells. This makes higher-level spellcasting monsters much more dangerous. Low-level spellcasting monsters (kobold shamans, orc shamans and gnomish wizards) no longer approach you due to lacking melee ability, and will instead attempt to line up with you in order to cast spells.


In EvilHack, if you are polymorphed into a monster with spellcasting attacks in their routine and you have enough spare power, attacking in melee will cause you to randomly use one of their available spells; the spellcasting attack fails if you do not have enough power.

See also


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