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In NetHack, resistances are properties that protect you against several harmful effects that you may encounter in the dungeon. A resistance can be either intrinsic, meaning a natural resistance, or extrinsic, meaning a resistance gained by wearing or wielding a certain item. Many intrinsic resistances can only be gained by polymorphing into a certain creature, which is not very convenient.

Intrinsic resistances

One of the most common ways to gain intrinsic resistances is through the eating of corpses. Of special note are dragon corpses, as they are guaranteed to give resistances based on their color as specified below, with the exception of yellow, gray and silver. Other monsters also provide intrinsic resistances if their corpses are eaten, details of which can be found in the individual monster descriptions.

Extrinsic resistances

Extrinsic resistance is obtained, by definition, through items. Dragon scale mail and the lower dragon scales provide reliable methods for many resistances. Artifacts also often provide resistances, some of which are hard to obtain otherwise.

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

Resistances conferred by worn or wielded items have a 99% chance of protecting your inventory; see this commit.

List of resistances

A non-exhaustive table of the resistances and methods to obtain them is as follows:

Resistance Dragon corpse Dragon scales Item Polymorph form (see Monster resistances)
Acid resistance None Yellow Alchemy smock Any acidic-corpse monster (e.g. acid blob)
Cold resistance White White Many Many "cold" monsters
Disintegration resistance Black Black None (baby) black dragon
Fire resistance Red Red Many Many "hot" monsters
Magic resistance None Gray Cloak of magic resistance
Many Quest artifacts
(baby) gray dragon
Poison resistance Green Green Ring of poison resistance, amulet versus poison, Alchemy smock Undead, demons, many "poisonous" monsters
Shock resistance Blue Blue Ring of shock resistance  
Sleep resistance Orange Orange   Undead, elves
Hallucination resistance None None Grayswandir  
Drain resistance None Deep
(SLASH'EM only)
The Staff of Aesculapius
Any undead or demon
Stoning resistance None chromatic (UnNetHack only)   Acidic or stone-based creatures (e.g. gargoyles, stone golems)
Sliming resistance None None   Green slime, fiery (not merely "hot") creatures
Sickness resistance None None   Ghoul, fungi

See also