Priest of an unknown god

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The priests of an unknown god are monsters in dNetHack that are more a feature of the dungeon than a threat to the player.

They have no offensive or defensive abilities, but when you strike one with an artifact (or #chat while wielding one), they will "tug gently" on it, and you will be asked if you want to let go of the item. If you let go, both the priest and the artifact will disappear from the game, and an earthquake will occur around you. Artifacts that have been removed in this way will never be generated again in the same game. Giving away a gifted artifact will anger the god that gave it to you.

Any artifact that's guaranteed to appear in a certain location (Rod of Seven Parts, demon lord artifacts, etc.) or that can be necessary to complete the game (Pen of the Void, Silver Key, Annulus) cannot be given away. Broadly speaking, if it's wishable, giftable, or randomly findable, it can be given. Non-weapon artifacts can be given away, but they must be wielded as if they were weapons.

If a priest of an unknown god is killed in any other way, it will resurrect after a few turns, like one of the Riders.


Five priests of an unknown god are guaranteed to appear in dNetHack, all of them in the Neutral Quest, below the Outlands:

  • The first on the island in the headwaters of the Lethe
  • The second on the sixth level of the Lethe, south of the temple of the forgotten god
  • The third in a ruined temple on an island on the third level of the Gulf of N'kai
  • The fourth and fifth on two of the altars in R'lyeh (not the same ones as Great Cthulhu or the other alhoon)


Main article: dNetHack artifacts

The priests' ability to remove artifacts from the game makes them a way to manage unwanted artifacts. dNetHack doesn't count randomly generated artifacts towards the wishing numbers, but it does count them towards sacrifice, so a character who really wants a specific sacrifice gift could try to donate unwanted gifts to that end.

There are some benefits to giving away artifacts you aren't going to use, even if you're not planning on sacrificing. Giving away 5 artifacts will unlock a special seal for Binders, in addition to allowing any character to wish for another (generally their third wished) artifact.

Be mindful that destroying an artifact that was given to you by your deity as a sacrifice gift will anger your deity.