Peaceful monsters are those that do not attack you. They can be attacked, but only with a small penalty (1) to your alignment. An attacked peaceful monster also becomes hostile: "The dwarf gets angry!". This is acceptable for late game characters, but dangerous for low level characters with low alignment. Pets do not become hostile even if accidentally or purposely attacked by the player. Demons and minor demons who become hostile will "scream," alerting nearby monsters to your presence.
Pets can and will attack peaceful monsters with no penalty to the player, other than the chance of the pet being killed.
Note that attacking monsters with spells or missiles does not result in a yes/no prompt, as melee does; the missile will strike whatever is in its path. Before casting spells or firing missiles, it is sometimes advisable to check the status of a monster with the / or the ; key. This is only recommended for some monsters; for example, orcs will often be peaceful towards orcish player characters, and so should be checked, while others, such as rothes, are always generated hostile. Attacking monsters with polearms also does not ask for confirmation, although this appears to be bug C343-305 ("Attacking with an applied polearm ignores the 'confirm' option.")
Also note that the artifact sword Stormbringer will cause you to attack peaceful monsters without offering a yes/no prompt. You receive the message, "Your bloodthirsty blade attacks!" This can be quite dangerous if you blunder into a monster such as a priest or shopkeeper, so it is advisable to wield a different weapon while moving in an area with peaceful monsters.
Which monsters are generated peaceful?
Many factors can be used to determine when a monster is generated peaceful.
- Some monsters are marked as "always starts as peaceful" or "always starts as hostile". For more information, see the individual monster pages.
- Monsters that are of one of the player races (humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and orcs), and who are not marked as "always peaceful" or "always hostile", may have a peaceful/hostile status based on the hero’s base race, as follows:
|Hero's base race||Monsters always peaceful||Monsters always hostile|
|Orc||none||Human, Elf, Dwarf|
- For monsters that are not marked as always peaceful or always hostile, and do not have a peaceful/hostile status based on the hero’s base race, the monster’s attitude to the hero is normally based on the monster’s alignment, the hero’s alignment and the hero’s alignment record, as follows:
- Chaotic monsters are generated hostile to a hero who has the Amulet of Yendor.
- Monsters represented by A are generated hostile to a chaotic or neutral hero, and to a lawful hero with negative alignment record. They are always generated peaceful to a lawful hero with non-negative alignment record.
- Coaligned unicorns are always generated peaceful, cross-aligned ones are always generated hostile.
- Other monsters will always be generated hostile to a non-coaligned hero, or to a coaligned hero with alignment record lower than -14. For a coaligned hero with alignment record at least -14, the probability of the monster being peaceful is , where is the hero's alignment record and is the absolute value of the monster's alignment.
- However, there are many exceptions to the above rules:
- Djinn from a magic lamp or smoky potion can be tame, peaceful, hostile, can disappear after granting a wish, or disappear without granting a wish. This is based on the BUC status of the lamp or potion, on random chance, and, for smoky potions, on whether the potion was quaffed by the hero or a monster.
- Monsters from a figurine can be tame, peaceful or hostile, based on the BUC status of the figurine and on random chance.
- Demons summoned by same-race sacrifice will be peaceful if the hero is chaotic, and hostile otherwise.
- The lawful named demons are generated hostile if you are wielding Excalibur, and peaceful otherwise.
- Nasties created by the Summon nasties monster spell are always hostile; random monsters that replace a nasty that has been genocided may not be.
- Insects and snakes created by the Summon insects spell are always hostile.
- Minions sent by an angry god are hostile.
- When a throne room is created, the monsters generated in the room are hostile.
- Schroedinger's Cat is always generated peaceful (when alive).
- On special levels, monsters will often be created with a predetermined peaceful/hostile status.
- Makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1575
- Role.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 412
- Role.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 424
- Role.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 436
- Role.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 448
- Role.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 460
- Makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1583
- Makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1586
- Makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 988
- Makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1592
- Pray.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1203
- Makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1047
- Wizard.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 456
- Mcastu.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 556
- Minion.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 134
- Mkroom.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 306
- Pickup.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 2047