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A raven, B, is a type monster that appears in NetHack. It is a bird that is capable of flight, and wanders randomly similar to the other monsters of the bat or bird monster class: there is a 13 chance of a raven moving in a random direction during each of its turns.[1]

A raven has two attacks: a bite and a relatively unique claw attack that can blind targets for d6 (more) turns. A pair of lenses or a helm with the randomized appearance of a visored helmet can protect against the latter attack.

A character that polymorphs into a raven is intrinsically stunned for the duration of that form.[2] Eating a floating eye corpse or tin while in the form of a raven prints a unique message.[3]

Chatting to a raven will cause it to reply "Nevermore!"[4]


Randomly-generated ravens are always hostile.

Ravens appear among the random B that are part of the first quest monster class for Wizards and make up 24175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Wizard quest.

Thirty ravens are generated on the third version of Medusa's Island at level creation.

Ravens generated in Gehennom have slightly higher speed than normal, which is likely a play on the phrase "like a bat [on its way] out of hell" even though the raven itself is not a bat (though it is part of the same monster class).[5]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Per commit 1ae2bc70, ravens generated while the player character is wielding a bec de corbin are created peaceful.


Ravens are quite fast at 20 speed and can prove annoying to an early character, especially if you lack telepathy to detect other monsters and move safely around them - being blinded can also prevent reliably engraving Elbereth in a dire situation.

Characters can protect against a raven's blinding talons by actively blinding themselves a blindfold or towel, though they will want telepathy or warning to follow the raven's erratic movement and avoid attacking peaceful monsters. A pair of lenses or a visored helmet can also protect against the attack, though lenses can be hard to find and a visored helmet may be the randomized appearance for a helm of opposite alignment. Being polymorphed into an eyeless form will also protect against the attack.

Beyond blinding, ravens are not too threatening and can be picked off by most ranged attacks or a pet before they get within range.


The raven first appears in NetHack 3.3.0.


A raven is any of several larger-bodied bird species with the genus Corvus. There is no singular taxonomic group within the genus, as well as no common distinction between "crows" and "ravens", which usually are assigned to the different species based on their size. Ravens are omnivorous and have a reputation alongside various other birds for seeking out a wide variety of nutrition sources: carrion, insects, berries, fruit, small animals, and even food waste. The common raven (Corvus corax) is among the more well known members of the species, and often shows signs of unusual intelligence.

Ravens have enough of a reputation for gouging out the eyes of prey or other animals that they are the subject of at least a few proverbial sayings, up to and including its use as a metaphor in Proverbs 30:17 of The Bible. The raven also has a myriad of symbolisms and other mythic associations due to its black plumage, croaking call and carrion diet - it is both associated with loss and ill omen and considered a symbol of prophecy and insight, as well as a psychopomp or other similar "mediator" that bridges the worlds of the dead and the living. "The Raven", a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, is a popular work that incorporates many of these aspects, and is the source of the response given to NetHack players that chat with one in-game.


You peck the eyeball with delight.
You ate the corpse or tin of a floating eye while polymorphed into a raven.[3] The message originates from UnNetHack.


In variants that incorporate a grudge system, ravens will often target eye-based monsters such as the floating eye.


In SLASH'EM, ravens are the first quest monster for Yeomen, and make up 96175 of monsters randomly generated monsters on the Yeoman quest - two ravens are placed near the northern side of the large moat surrounding the tower upon entering the home level. Ravens also appear among the random B that are part of the first quest monster class for Necromancers and make up 24175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Necromancer quest.


In UnNetHack, ravens will attack floating eyes and evil eyes, and eating a floating eye corpse while in the form of a raven prints the unique message shown further above. Kicking a dead tree has a 15 chance of producing a hostile raven.


In FIQHack, ravens will also attack floating eyes.


In notdNetHack, ravens are likely to appear within the Dismal Swamp.


In EvilHack, dead trees also have a 15 chance of producing a hostile raven when kicked.


In SlashTHEM, four ravens are generated in the village level of the Town branch at level creation.

Encyclopedia entry

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered -- not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered, 'other friends have flown before--
On the morrow *he* will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
        Then the bird said, 'Nevermore.'

[ The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe ]