Pit fiend

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The pit fiend, &, is a monster that appears in NetHack. It is a major demon with two weapon attacks and a crushing grab attack; like all major demons, it has fire resistance, poison resistance and immunity to death magic.

Pit fiends generate YAFM when falling into pits or spiked pits, which they share with pit vipers.[1][2]


Pit fiends are only randomly generated in Gehennom, and are also a valid form for normal polymorph. Pit fiends are also eligible for gating by other major demons, and may appear as the minion of a chaotic god.

Three pit fiends each are generated on the Plane of Earth and Plane of Fire.


Pit fiends are especially perilous if you encounter them earlier than normal due to shapeshifters or polymorph traps; their natural -3 AC can make escaping one difficult if it grabs you. They are quite slow at 6 speed however, however - Elbereth can be useful to drive them off and kite them, and you can also teleport yourself if grabbed, allowing you to escape or else prepare a means of fighting back (e.g. with a wand of cold or silver weapon).

In Gehennom where they normally occur, they are not as much of a threat - most players at this point will have a silver weapon or two, a few methods to deal cold damage, and better AC themselves along with a much more reliable hit-rate.


The pit fiend is introduced alongside many other major demons in NetHack 3.0.0.


The pit fiend originates from the 1st edition of Dungeons & Dragons, where it is a type of greater devil that primarily occupies the ninth and deepest layer of hell.

Originating as the personal servants of Asmodeus, pit fiends were the most powerful of the non-unique devils and acted as elite overseers of Hell itself. They were hulking, scale-armored humanoids with a pair of massive bat-like wings, fearsome claws, venomous fangs, and prehensile tails - pit fiends fought using these natural abilities alongside others that included cloaking themselves in flames or an aura of fear, turning themselves invisible, and various forms of creating and manipulating flame. A pit fiend was tyrannical and narcissistic: they were capable of cunning beyond measure and expert at terrifying lesser devils and mortals alike, though they were also prone to hubris and could not conceive the possibility of failure. Pit fiends could surpass their already mountainous power with training, and the greatest were promoted beyond the normal ranks into dukes, a unique form of devil with its own special abilities.

Pit fiends were made from worthy ice devils or erinyes who were subjected to the devil-scorching hellfire of the Pit of Flame for 1,001 days. Others could be created through the blood of Asmodeus himself: each drop became a greater devil, most often a pit fiend, and such beings had a fanatical loyalty to Asmodeus; they could also spawn lesser devils from their shed blood as well. The Dark Eight was a coven of pit fiend generals who directed Hell's armies and culture, and were in turn kept in line by Asmodeus and the other archdevils.


How pitiful. Isn't that the pits?
You saw a pit fiend fall into a pit, or fell into one while polymorphed into a pit fiend.[1][2]


Lethe patch

In the Lethe patch, Demogorgon's lair in Gehennom has four pit fiends - one next to Demogorgon's throne, two others within the fortress, and the fourth guarding the down stair.


In SLASH'EM, pit fiends may be generated as tame minions for a chaotic player at experience levels 28 to 30 via sacrifice or prayer.

A pit fiend named Hilvuuloth appears among the assistants of One-eyed Sam.


In UnNetHack, a pit fiend named Hilvuuloth is one of the assistants of One-eyed Sam, as with SLASH'EM.


In dNetHack, pit fiends are commander-rank demons that appear in various lairs all over Gehennom, and generate with huge tridents. The pit fiend's second weapon attack is replaced with a claw attack, and instead of a grabbing attack it has a spellcasting attack and a poisonous bite that reduces strength.

dNetHack adds a stronger variant in the Nessian pit fiend, which also has a passive attack that deals fire damage to melee attackers - they are the second-strongest non-unique demons in the game. Nessian pit fiends generate with maces and battle-axes, and primarily appear in Nessus.

Eight pit fiends known as the Ashmadia (singular "Ashmade") accompany Asmodeus within his court alongside a Nessian pit fiend known as Asemadeva, the Ninth Ashmade; Asmodeus can also form pit fiends and other demons from his shed blood, although pit fiends will only appear once he has taken very heavy damage. A single "traitor" Nessian pit fiend also appears in the court of Demogorgon within his palace, and Mammon can take the form of a "green pit fiend".

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, pit fiends are given a single claw attack and a new pit-creation attack in order to "live up to their name".[3] Fourk also adds more pit-based puns to the game's message output.

The pit fiend's new attack creates several pits around the target, always including one directly under them; if a square selected for pit creation already has one, it will become a hole. Most types of non-floor terrain, dungeon features and some kinds of existing traps are exempt from pit creation. Among other things, this makes wielding footrice corpses much more dangerous around pit fiends without levitation or flight.


In xNetHack, a different type of pit-creation attack inspired by Fourk is given to pit fiends, replacing their grabbing attack from vanilla.[4] The attack has them stomp the ground to create a pit right under you, then grab and throw you into it; if the attempt to create a pit fails (usually due to the square in question being ineligible), the pit fiend "looks rather piteous".

Preexisting pits may rarely turn into holes; while the attack only works on "normal" terrain types, preexisting traps generally do not block the attack. Levitating or flying does not block the attack either, but you will avoid any damage taken from the pit itself and immediately float out of it.


In EvilHack, the pit fiend's base experience is adjusted, and they now have a slightly higher speed of 9. Pit fiends in EvilHack can also stomp to create pits, with the implementation borrowed from xNetHack; pit creation occurs randomly 12 of the time, with the damage increased to 4d4.[5]

The second-tier demon lord Mephistopheles has a pit fiend among his servants if he appears in Gehennom.


In addition to SLASH'EM changes, the Undertaker quest in SlashTHEM has pit fiends as the second quest monster.

Encyclopedia entry

Pit fiends are among the more powerful of devils, capable of
attacking twice with weapons as well as grabbing and crushing
the life out of those unwary enough to enter their