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'Murderer' redirects here. For the role in SLASH'EM Extended, see Murderer (role).

In NetHack, murder is the act of killing a formerly peaceful human such as a watchman, shopkeeper, or aligned priest. This only applies to humans who were generated as peaceful, not to those who were generated as hostile then pacified through magic. In particular, Keystone Kops do not count because they are generated hostile. Also, if you anger the high priest of Moloch by entering his temple, you may kill him without being considered a murderer. Killing him from outside the temple, without first entering the temple, still counts. If the high priest has called you an infidel, he is fair game. Killing a guard is murder, even if the guard attacks first.

Unless you are chaotic, murder will cause you to lose intrinsic telepathy and two points of Luck. The message when this happens is "You murderer!"

Note that whatever your race, only the killing of a peaceful human will ever be classed as murder.

Everyone including chaotics still gets a huge alignment penalty for killing always-peaceful monsters (which mostly coincide with those that can be murdered): Minetown watch, priests, shopkeepers etc.


The simplest way to get rid of a peaceful human while avoiding the penalty for murder is to let your pet do the dirty work. You can also polymorph your victims before killing them. Note that a failed polymorph, "<human> shudders." (system shock), still counts as murder.

It's a good idea to carry a tin or two of floating eye meat in case you lose your telepathy (whether through committing murder or a gremlin attack).

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