Plane of Water

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Plane of Water
Location Level -4 of the
End Game
Bones No
Mappable Yes
Teleportable No
Diggable floor No
Diggable walls Yes

The Plane of Water is the last of the four Elemental Planes. It is completely full of water, except for several moving air bubbles, and primarily contains water elementals and sea monsters. Only monsters capable of swimming will be randomly generated.[1]

The Plane of Water is ineligible to leave bones files. The entire level is no-teleport and has an undiggable floor. You cannot engrave on this level, even with wands. You also cannot cast a targeted spell, i.e., cone of cold or fireball at skilled or higher.[2]


Bubbles of air form a type of ground in the level; the bubbles move on their own. The player cannot leave them unless they are capable of surviving underwater (i.e., by possessing magical breathing). Water walking or freezing the water with a blast of cold will not save you if you are drowning.

The player arrives in a bubble on the left-hand side of the screen. The magic portal to the Astral Plane is located in another one of the bubbles (initially on the right-hand side of the screen) and travels around the map along with the bubble. Bubbles will continually merge and divide, so the player will eventually drift next to the bubble containing the portal through chance (although this can take many turns).

The following monsters are generated in random locations around the level:

  • E 19 water elementals
  • ; nine kraken
  • ; eight giant eels
  • ; eight electric eels
  • ; four sharks
  • ; four piranhas
  • ; four jellyfish, and
  • Four other random monsters


Unless you have magical breathing and/or have genocided all sea monsters, there is more danger than usual of drowning while on this plane. Usually, it is enough to be very fast and unencumbered, as you can simply stay away from the eels. The usual precautions are recommended; a ring of conflict can help keep the sea monsters distracted. A bolt of cold down at the water will not rescue you from drowning. Non-flying steeds are not in danger of drowning if the player is moved by a water bubble while riding them.

Finding the magic portal can be difficult, because the portal moves along with its bubble. It is generally best to go to the center immediately and detect traps there. Reading a non-cursed scroll of gold detection while confused is the safest way; a crystal ball is also a viable option, but much less safe. The portal might not be around when you reach its former location, but will still be revealed and visible (unless there are items on it) once you enter its bubble. Use the trap id command to check. In some cases, wearing the Amulet of Yendor might help find the portal.

Some players genocide sea monsters right after entering this level to empty it completely; if sea monsters are already genocided when you enter, they will be replaced with other random monsters.


In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, as well as variants based on them, levitation or flying allowed the player to leave the bubbles.

Until NetHack 3.6.3, flying monsters were eligible to be generated on the plane, but would instantly drown if they appeared in a square of water; this also applies to non-flying steeds if a water bubble would leave the player outside of it while riding one.


The water freezes for a moment.
You zapped a wand, spell, horn or breath of cold, to no effect.
You had better wait for the sun to come out.
You try to cast a targeted spell. No effect.[3]


This page is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell. The original license is:

Redistribution, copying, and editing of these spoilers, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The original contributors to any spoiler must continue to be credited.
  2. Any modifications to the spoiler must be acknowledged and credited.