Poison resistance

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Poison resistance is considered one of the most essential intrinsics in the game. This resistance protects against the harmful effects of poison, including instadeath. For example, a dart trap might shoot out a deadly poisoned dart.

Poison resistance does not protect you from food poisoning. It only partly protects you from the bad effects of potion of sickness.


Many corpses that offer poison resistance are themselves poisonous or otherwise dangerous (a notable exception is the corpses of shriekers, which can usually be found early). There are, however, many safe ways of acquiring poison resistance. For example, rings and amulets both include one that protects you against poison. Green dragon scale mail also protects against poison.

Barbarians, healers and orcs have a natural poison resistance. Monks get a natural poison resistance when they reach experience level 3 and tourists at level 20. Poison resistance is also granted when you are crowned.

You can safely obtain poison resistance from a corpse in one of the following ways:

  • Eat a non-poisonous corpse that grants the intrinsic.
  • Use a tinning kit to make a poisonous corpse safe (bear in mind that not all poisonous monsters grant poison resistance).
  • Wear an item that grants poison resistance. This could be a ring of poison resistance, an amulet versus poison, an alchemy smock, or green dragon scale mail or scales.
  • Use a unicorn horn to negate the strength drain caused by eating a poisoned corpse (this works because unlike poisoned attacks, corpse poison cannot cause instadeath, although it causes some HP loss).
  • Wear a ring of sustain ability to avoid the strength drain from eating a poisonous corpse.
  • If you know you can pray, get drained 4 strength, pick up junk to be overtaxed, and pray.

Safe corpses

The following corpses provide a chance (given) of gaining poison resistance, and are not dangerous to eat. In this table and the next, corpses which break vegan but not vegetarian conduct are marked with a (v), while those which are safe for vegans are marked with a (V):

Monster Probability
black unicorn 27%
blue jelly (V) 13%
brown mold (V) 3%
cave spider 7%
centipede 13%
flesh golem 12%
golden naga 67%
golden naga hatchling 20%
gray unicorn 27%
guardian naga hatchling 20%
pyrolisk 20%
quasit 20%
quivering blob (V) 33%
red mold (V) 3%
red naga 20%
red naga hatchling 10%
shrieker (V) 20%
white unicorn 27%

Unsafe corpses

The following corpses are among those that provide poison resistance, but are mildly dangerous:

Monster Danger Probability
black naga Acid 53%
black naga hatchling Acid 20%
Chromatic Dragon Poison 17%
cobra Poison 40%
giant beetle Poison 33%
giant spider Poison 33%
green dragon Poison 100%
gremlin Poison 33%
guardian naga Poison 80%
homunculus Poison 7%
jellyfish Poison 20%
killer bee Poison 30%
Master Kaen Cannibalism (for humans) 100%
nurse Cannibalism (for humans) 73%
pit viper Poison 40%
queen bee Poison 60%
scorpion Poison 50%
Scorpius Poison 100%
snake Poison 27%
soldier ant Poison 20%
tengu Teleportitis 13%
violet fungus (V) Hallucination 20%
water moccasin Poison 27%
Wizard of Yendor Cannibalism (for humans) 25%
xan Poison 47%
yellow mold (V) Poison + Hallucination 7%

Very unsafe corpses

Unless you are polymorphed into a stoning-resistant form, eating any of these corpses will instantly result in YASD. If, however, you are in a stoning-resistant form before getting poison resistance, these corpses can provide it permanently. Note that tinning them does not make them safe to eat.

Monster Danger Probability
chickatrice Stoning when touched or eaten 27%
cockatrice Stoning when touched or eaten 33%
Medusa Stoning when eaten 100%


The following messages are associated with poison resistance:

"You feel healthy(!)"
You received poison resistance by eating a corpse or tin, or by reaching level 3 as a monk (the exclamation point is present in that last case).
"You feel especially healthy."
You received poison resistance by eating a corpse or tin, while having extrinsic poison resistance (from a ring, amulet, etc.), or poison resistance from level gain.
"You feel hardy!"
You received poison resistance by reaching level 20 as a tourist.
"You feel a little sick!"
You lost poison resistance due to a gremlin's attack.
"You feel less healthy!", "You feel less hardy!"
You lost poison resistance through level drain, as a monk/tourist.
"You seem unaffected by the poison", "The poison doesn't seem to affect you."
These messages indicate that you were poisoned, but suffer no adverse effects due to poison resistance.

External links

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.1.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.