Nightgaunt (SLASH'EM)

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For the monster in other variants, see nightgaunt.

A nightgaunt, B, is a type of monster that appears in SLASH'EM and SlashTHEM; it also appears in SpliceHack, where it instead uses the B glyph.

The nightgaunt is a strong, eyeless and thick-skinned omnivore that is breathless, capable of flight, can see invisible, has infravision, and can be seen via infravision. Nightgaunts possesses enhanced regeneration, have a tendency to wander while moving, will seek out and pick up magical items and other objects, and can follow the hero to other levels if they are adjacent. Tame nightgaunts may turn traitor.

A nightgaunt has two "tickling" claw attacks, which inflict paralysis while abusing constitution and dexterity.[1] Nightgaunts possess cold resistance, sleep resistance and poison resistance.

Nightgaunts are poisonous to consume, and eating a nightgaunt's corpse or tin always grants cold resistance.

In SLASH'EM and SlashTHEM, a nightgaunt squeaks if chatting to one, which is likely a leftover from the bat's monster data; in SpliceHack, nightgaunts are silent.


Randomly generated nightgaunts are always created hostile, and may appear in small groups.


Nightgaunts are quite fast at 20 speed, and their paralysis attack can be very threatening on paper when combined with their base -2 AC and MR score of 50 - in practice, a SLASH'EM or SlashTHEM character typically has a source of free action or MC3 to completely block the paralysis by the time they first encounter nightgaunts, though they will still take a few hits to defeat and can wear down inattentive fighters. It is wise not to mistake nightgaunts for the bats they share a glyph with, especially if a character is not prepared to take them on; nightgaunts are intelligent enough to use the items they pick up, including potentially dangerous wands.


The nightgaunt is a creature that originates from H.P. Lovecraft novella "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath", which was completed on January 22, 1927 and left unrevised and unpublished until the story was published posthumously by Arkham House in 1943. In the story, nightgaunts (or "night-gaunts") are thin, black and faceless humanoid creatures that have smooth and rubbery skin, a pair of inward-facing horns on their heads, clawed hands, long barbed tails, and bat-like wings that they use to fly soundlessly. Nightgaunts are described as doing nothing else besides clutching, flying and tickling; they are silent due to lacking facial features, and are often believed to be servants of the malevolent god Nyarlathotep.

When Randolph Carter sees a majestic city known as Kadath in his dreams, but is unable to approach it, he braves the Dreamlands in search of the city - the journey takes him to a mountainside carving that is said to display the gods' features, and recognizes their visage in the traders seen around Celephaïs, surmising that Kadath must be nearby. Before Carter can act on this knowledge, however, nightgaunts capture him and leave him to die in the underworld; fortunately, he is rescued by friendly ghouls, including his friend Richard Pickman. Later, when Carter manages to sneak onto the island of Inganok, but is captured there by a merchant he had previously encountered and brought to a monastery inhabited by the dreaded High Priest Not to Be Described.

Within the monastery, Carter learns among other things that the nightgaunts do not serve Nyarlathotep, as is commonly supposed, but the deity known as Nodens, and that even Earth's gods fear them - Carter deciphers the masked high-priest's true identity from this and recoils in horror, eventually fleeing into the maze-like corridors of the monastery and wandering until he chances on the exit. He eventually rescues several ghouls from the Men of Leng, and obtains the services of a flock of nightgaunts to transport himself and the ghouls to the gods' castle on Kadath.

Encyclopedia entry

The following entry only appears in SpliceHack:

But Carter preferred to look at them than at his captors, which
were indeed shocking and uncouth black things with smooth, oily,
whale-like surfaces, unpleasant horns that curved inward toward
each other, bat wings whose beating made no sound, ugly prehensile
paws, and barbed tails that lashed needlessly and disquietingly.
And worst of all, they never spoke or laughed, and never smiled
because they had no faces at all to smile with, but only a suggestive
blankness where a face ought to be. All they ever did was clutch
and fly and tickle; that was the way of night-gaunts.
[ The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, by H.P. Lovecraft]