Prayer timeout refers to how much time you need to wait before your god will accept another prayer. Gods in NetHack are often benevolent, but prefer if you wait some time between prayers. The initial value of your prayer timeout is set to 300, and decreases by one each game turn. That means it is generally safe to pray on turn 301, but not on 300. Note that if you are fast or very fast, you may move more than once per game turn, and your prayer timeout may appear longer because you take more actions in the same number of game turns. A wand or potion of enlightenment can be used to determine if it is safe to pray.
The exact amount by which your prayer timeout increases after praying is a complex mathematical function involving several random variables, causing the increase to usually range between 50 and 1000, though it can be much higher on occasion (see the tables below for precise numbers).
Your prayer timeout is reset by praying. The amount it is reset to depends on several things:
- Whether you have been crowned.
- If you've killed the Wizard of Yendor or have performed the invocation.
Also your prayer timeout may be incremented further if you've done any of the following actions:
- Being converted to another alignment through cross-aligned sacrifice
- Praying at an altar not of your alignment
A successful wish increases your prayer timeout. The 95% confidence value is an additional 145 turns and the 100% confidence value is 150 turns. See below for more information on confidence values.
- Lawful and Neutral:
Where MONSTR is the difficulty level of the monster the corpse came from. The value from above is then subtracted from your prayer timeout. You can determine if it is safe to pray depending on what message you received after your sacrifice.
Typical prayer timeouts
The confidence value is the prayer timeout value that will result 95% of the time. In other words, if you've waited that many turns, you can be 95% confident that you can pray again. As you can see, the 100% confidence value is extremely large and fairly useless except for those who fear the RNG. (Amusingly, for crowned characters, praying too early may actually shorten the prayer timeout.)
|Prayer||95% Confidence||100% Confidence if your level <=17||100% Confidence at level 30|
|God is displeased||1053||2998||5997|
|God is pleased||1229||3498||6996|
|God is pleased, and you've been crowned OR have killed Rodney*||3980||13493||26986|
|God is pleased, and you've been crowned AND have killed Rodney*||7479||23488||46976|
*The invocation ritual also counts, in case you get the Book of the Dead without killing Rodney.The waiting time is graphed below as a function of the desired confidence level (assuming you are level <=17):
- pray.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1019
- spell.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 255
- wizard.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 550