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Permahallu is an unofficial conduct in some variants of Nethack that requires the hero to have hallucination for the entire game.

To activate permanent hallucination, you must set OPTIONS=hallucinating before starting the game. Once activated, the conduct is automatic. Wielding Grayswandir ends hallucination and breaks the conduct.

See hallucination for information on the effects of hallucination.


The November NetHack Tournament

In The November NetHack Tournament, the permahallu conduct is available, and there is an achievement for receiving the quest with permahallu conduct intact. In the 2022 tournament, 1 player earned this achievement. [1] In the 2023 tournament, 1 player earned this achievement.[2]


xNetHack offers the permahallu conduct.


SpliceHack offers the permahallu conduct.


UnNetHack offers the permahallu conduct.


While hallucination is normally only a mild, but amusing inconvenience in normal play, playing with permanent hallucination makes the game significantly harder, many reasons of which are shared with the Zen conduct.

  • Not being able to determine monster identities means you won't know how dangerous an enemy is until it starts attacking you. That fast enemy running at you could be a bat, soldier ant, kitten, or leocrotta, the stationary enemy could be a lichen, floating eye, blue jelly, or sleeping nymph, etc.
    • There are still some means of informally identifying what a monster can be: a monster's speed, attack types, ability to use weapons, and other attributes can help narrow down how dangerous it is, applying a stethoscope can also show you its max health and AC, and some monsters have specific responses when #chatting with them.
    • Going back to the upstairs when you think something dangerous is approaching lets you more easily escape if it turns out to be a fight you can't handle.
    • When a spellcasting monster casts summon nasties, it becomes incredibly easy to get lost in the crowd if you lose track of them, allowing them to continue to summon more. You also can't #name a spellcaster to make it easier to track them while hallucinating.
  • Every letter you write while engraving has a 50% chance to be impaired while hallucinating, making it effectively impossible to engrave Elbereth to protect yourself.
  • You won't get paranoid prompts when attacking enemies, making it very easy to accidentally anger peaceful monsters, especially pets, shopkeepers, and aligned priests. When walking near peacefuls or monsters that you aren't sure are peaceful or not, press m before moving to avoid automatically attacking them when you bump into them.
  • Dropping items on altars will not perfectly tell you their BUC status: items that are blessed or cursed will flash a random color, so you can only definitely identify if an item is uncursed.
    • Pets can tell if an item that flashes on an altar is blessed or cursed, but pets should rarely, if ever, be used outside this purpose because of how easy it is to accidentally attack and kill them.

Some lesser challenges that come with permanantly hallucinating include:

  • Item glyphs being distorted not only makes it easy to forget what objects were left behind in each level, it also makes Sokoban significantly harder. Boulders become hard to distinguish from other objects on the ground when their glyphs constantly randomize, and on the final level, the giant mimics won't appear as boulders like they normally do, requiring you to be cautious about every item you find that didn't initially appear on the map.
  • You can only name items in your inventory: trying to name an item on the floor makes it “decide to call you <foo>” instead.
    • Because you must pick up items to identify them, this makes you unable to name loadstones and puts you at risk of destroying a scroll of scare monster if picking it up to name it in a shop.
  • Traps will have their appearance randomized, even if you found them by searching, making it much harder to know how dangerous they are until you step on them. However, you can tell if the trap is an arrow, dart, or bear trap by trying to untrap it.
  • Because hallucination constantly abuses wisdom, you will very quickly drop to 3 wisdom and stay there the entire run, which both greatly reduces the amount of power you gain and significantly reduces spellcasting success chance for Healers, Knights, Monks, Priests, and Valkyries.
  • When searching a container for container traps, you may occasionally find a fake trap: trying to disarm it has no effect “That chest was not trapped", making it harder to find and remove traps from containers.
  • Tins will have the type of meat inside them distorted, making it unsafe to eat unidentified tins. The only exception is spinach, which will always appear as such if uncursed, and of a random color of decaying substance if cursed.
  • Gems cannot be informally identified as glass by rubbing an uncursed touchstone on them; they will always make fractals instead. You will need to bless the touchstone or be an archaeologist or gnome to identify gems with it.
  • Because wielding Grayswandir cures hallucination and breaks the conduct, you lose access to one of the best artifact weapons in the game.