Oracle (monster)

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For the level this monster is found on, see Oracle (level).

The Oracle, @, is a monster that appears in NetHack. She is a unique human that can be seen via infravision, and is completely sessile.

The Oracle has a passive magic missile attack that only triggers if the player character attacks her in melee. She possesses magic resistance due to the aforementioned attack.


Main article: Oracle (level)

The Oracle is always created peaceful, and is not a valid form for polymorph.

The Oracle is always generated on her special level, with the exception of a bones file where she was killed on that level.


The Oracle offers two consultations services, which can be accessed by chatting to her with gold in open inventory. Minor consultations are simply true rumors, while a major consultation is an extended description of some aspect of the game. An example of a major consultation is shown below:

Behold the cockatrice, whose diminutive stature belies its hidden might.  The  
cockatrice can petrify any ordinary being it contacts--save those wise  
adventurers who eat a dead lizard or blob of acid when they feel themselves  
slowly turning to stone.

Buying a consultation of either type exercises wisdom, and score and experience points are awarded for the first purchase of each consultation type:[1][2][3][4]

First consultation bought Type Cost Score Experience points Cost/Score Cost/XP
Minor Minor 50 21 5 2.38 10
Major 500 + (50 × XL) 90 + (9 × XL) 20 + (2 × XL) 5.56 25
Major Major 500 + (50 × XL) 210 + (21 × XL) 50 + (5 × XL) 2.38 10
Minor 50 9 2 5.56 25

If a major consultation is bought with an insufficient amount of gold, the Oracle will take all of it and recite a special oracularity, which also "uses up" the experience gain for major consultations:[5][6]

" is rather disconcerting to be confronted with the
following theorem from [Baker, Gill, and Solovay, 1975].
Theorem 7.18  There exist recursive languages A and B such that
  (1)  P(A) == NP(A), and", "  (2)  P(B) != NP(B)
This provides impressive evidence that the techniques that are
currently available will not suffice for proving that P != NP or
that P == NP."  [Garey and Johnson, p. 185.]

Angering the Oracle will prevent a character from buying consultations until she is pacified, and if the Oracle is killed by any means, consultations become inaccessible for the rest of the game unless she is revived from her corpse via wand of undead turning.

Lists of consultations

The Oracle's consultations are stored in plain text in the source code:


The Oracle is intended to be the primary means by which unspoiled players learn about the game, and is additionally a notable source of experience for pacifist conduct - be mindful of retaining enough for the major consultation when leveling a pacifist character, and keep any sufficiently powerful pets clear of the Oracle until consultations can be bought.

Those looking to dispose of the Oracle (e.g. for extinctionist conduct) can kill her with ranged attacks without any retaliation, but this will incur murder penalties for non-chaotic characters. As the Oracle's magic missile passive does not apply to monsters, any pet at level 11 or higher can attack the Oracle and kill her.


The Oracle first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


The Oracle and her level are primarily based on the Pythia, the priestess who presided over the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi; the NetHack Oracle will welcome the character to "Delphi" upon seeing them.

The special "cheapskate" consultation is a reference to Oracle machines.


True to her word, the Oracle <offhandedly/casually/nonchalantly> says:<...>
You purchased a minor consultation from the Oracle.
The Oracle meditates for a moment and then intones:<...>
You purchased a major consultation from the Oracle.
The Oracle scornfully takes all your money and says:<...>
As above, but you lacked enough gold.
The Oracle is in no mood for consultations.
You spoke to the Oracle while she is hostile.


Many variants enable the Oracle's passive attack to be used against other monsters, and several of them also cause woodchucks to attack the Oracle on sight as part of Nephi's grudge patch.


In SLASH'EM, the Oracle is able to use her passive attack on other monsters. If a woodchuck attacks the Oracle, the message associated with the attack is "ZOT!"[7]

Be careful with pets around the Oracle: her passive attack is disproportionately strong for her level, meaning most pets that attack her will die in the process. Lawful characters may actually find this useful: they can receive minions such as movanic devas which may carry a shield of reflection, and even if they don't are guaranteed to have an erodeproof long sword and large shield. Bringing these minions to the Oracle is a good way to obtain their equipment without incurring any penalties for directly killing a pet.


In UnNetHack, woodchucks will attack the Oracle on sight, and the Oracle is able to use her passive attack on other monsters.

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, the Oracle can grant enlightenment at a price equal to 20 times the character's experience level.


dNetHack and notdNetHack include more options for consultations for the Oracle:

  • Enlightenment, at a cost of 200 + (20*XL) zm.
  • "Glimpses of things to come", which cost 150 zm each and hint at some randomized aspects of the dungeon and what they are set to for that game. You can choose which glimpses to ask for:

Sightings of the eladrin nobility -- tells you which Eladrin Caste there are

Highest Caste Oracle
Tulani Eladrin "They say radiant spheres roam the land."
Gae Eladrin "They say (aestival/vernal/hibernal/autumnal) spirits roam the land."
Brighid Eladrin "They say the deep nobility has emerged to roam the land."
Uiscerre Eladrin "They say the deep nobility has surfaced to roam the land."
Caillea Eladrin "They say the winter witches have come down from the mountains."

Talk of the castle in the air -- is Bahamut's Tower in the Law Quest

Has Bahamut's tower been generated Oracle
Yes "They say Bahamut's palace has been sighted from afar."
No "Rumors of Bahamut's palace have been greatly exaggerated."

The location of the primordial ones -- tells you the Eladrin Precursor race, if any

Precursor Type Oracle
Dracae Eladrin "They say the ancient eladrin mothers have been seen once again."
Polypoid beings "There's been rumors of invisible shapeshifters in the (deserts/forests)." ("deserts" if the Chaos Quest is Mithardir, "forests" otherwise)
same as modern high-caste eladrin "I've been considering expanding my statue collection. I hear Oona has quite the variety..."

Knowledge of those who came before -- which Chaos Quest variant

Chaos Quest Variant Oracle
Chaos Temple (Final Fantasy) "Some adventurer came through here the other day, all dressed in blue and muttering about 'Materia'?"
Mithardir "Some adventurer came through here the other day, wearing the oddest white headscarf."
Mordor "A pair of short adventurers came through here just the other day... there was an odd wretched creature following them though."
"A pair of short adventurers came through here the other day, apparently in search of a volcano?"

Impressions of the Queen of the Fae -- which Oona

Oona's Elemental Type Oracle
Fire "They say Oona has a bit of a fiery personality..."
Cold "They say Oona can be a bit cold at first..."
Electric "They say meeting Oona can be a bit of a shock..."

Knowledge of the Layers of the Abyss - which demon lord (Abyss) levels are in Gehennom. You are told about 1 of the 3 levels at random.

Brine Flats Demon Prince Oracle
Demogorgon "They say that a closed drawbridge should be left well enough alone."
Dagon "They say that the darkest depths hide the most dangerous foes."
Lamashtu "They say that the depths of the Abyss can drive even the brightest lights to madness."
Abyss 1 Demon Lord Oracle
Juiblex "They say the Father of Slimes will always save his children from calamity."
Zuggtmoy "They say that even decay itself is a form of life." normally
"Can you feel your heart burning? Can you feel the struggle within?" when hallucinating or affected by the Spores madness
Yeenoghu "They say that even the most savage of butchers have those they bow to."
Baphomet "They say that the most twisted labyrinths trap the angriest denizens."
Pale Night "They say that sometimes, it's best to not look beyond the veil."
Kostchtchie "They say that fury doesn't always burn hot."
Abyss 2 Demon Prince Oracle
Orcus "They say that death is only a temporary setback to some denizens of the Abyss." normally
"They say that the Word that echoes around you lives on." if you have Tenebrous bound
"They see that if Creation began with light, then darkness will persist at the end of all things." if you have Tenebrous bound and also know the First Word of Creation
Malcanthet "They say that despite its looks, paradise is only paradise to some."
Graz'zt "They say that the most self indulgent tend to be jealous lovers."
Avatar of Lolth "They say that not only demons haunt the depths of the Abyss, but divine power as well." normally
"The symbol you bear has been more common around here lately." if Lolth is your god

Knowledge of the Lords of the Nine Hells - which archdevil (Hell) levels are in Gehennom. You are told about 1 of the 2 randomised levels at random. The third level is always Nessus, which contains Asmodeus, Glasya, and Daemon.

Upper Hell Archdevil Oracle
Bael "They say that not only minotaurs can be found at the centers of mazes."
The Chromatic Dragon "They say that if you're lucky, not only demons can be found in the Abyss."
Dispater "They say that the Iron City is ruled with an iron fist."
Mammon "They say that sometimes, the filthiest muck hides the greatest riches."
Belial "They say the scorching heats of Gehennom have been worse recently."
Lower Hell Archdevil Oracle
Leviathan "They say that sometimes, it's best to leave frozen foes alone."
Lilith "They say that the only thing worse than an evil witch is a whole coven of them."
Baalzebub "They say that the harder they fall, the more dangerous they are."
Mephistopheles "They say that sculptures made of ice are sometimes more lifelike than ones made of stone."


In FIQhack, the Oracle provides enlightenment similar to Fourk.


In xNetHack, woodchucks and the Oracle attack each other on sight.

The Oracle has many new consultations, and she also has a 23 chance of generating with a potion of hallucination - this is another allusion to the shrine at Delphi, which had chemical vapors emitting from a spring-made cleft that is speculated to have induced "prophetic" trances.


In EvilHack, the Oracle can use her passive attack on other monsters and will become mobile if angered, with the ability to break boulders while moving. Her attack routine is changed as well: she can cast one clerical and one mage monster spell during each of her turns, and her magic missile passive's dice is changed to 8d8. Changes to magic resistance mean that it will no longer block the Oracle's magic missile passive, though half spell damage still reduces its damage output, and reflection can partially reduce its damage.

The Oracle generates with the Magic 8-Ball, an artifact that divulges rumors based on its beatitude and grants warning while carried - it is implied to be the source of her knowledge, and her abilities are altered as above in recent versions due to how desirable the artifact is. The Oracle's consultations are also one of the possible sources of Elbereth for a character.

Encyclopedia entry

Delphi under towering Parnassus, where Apollo's oracle was,
plays an important part in mythology. Castalia was its
sacred spring; Cephissus its river. It was held to be the
center of the world, so many pilgrims came to it, from
foreign countries as well as Greece. No other shrine rivaled
it. The answers to the questions asked by the anxious
seekers for Truth were delivered by a priestess who went into
a trance before she spoke.

[ Mythology, by Edith Hamilton ]


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