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A salamander, :, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. Salamanders are slithy humanoid reptiles that are the strongest of the lizards, and are the only members of the monster class that are not animals.

A salamander has four attacks: a weapon attack, a fiery touch and two bearhug attacks, the second of which is also fiery. Salamanders possess fire resistance and sleep resistance, and are immune to sliming.

A salamander corpses is poisonous to eat, but eating a salamander corpse or tin has a 53% chance of conveying fire resistance.

If you #chat to a salamander, they will "mumble incomprehensibly".


Salamanders are only randomly generated in Gehennom, though they are also a valid form for polymorph, e.g. from polymorph traps. Eight salamanders are generated upon reacing the Plane of Fire.

Salamanders are generated with either a spear (67 chance), a trident (221 chance), or a stiletto (121 chance).[1]

Salamanders cannot be selected as a target for genocide.


Salamanders are usually not too difficult to face for a player that has reached Gehennom, though being caught in their bearhug may leave you vulnerable to more vicious monsters in the area unless you kill them or break their grip quickly. However, a salamander has no MR score, leaving it vulnerable to wands and spells as well as various tools - this makes scaring one into releasing you fairly trivial.

Salamanders are the only monsters that will eat a glob of green slime to cure stoning, as they are fiery and not subject to sliming.

As a polyform

Salamanders are solid polyforms, since they move at the same base speed as you, possess a natural AC of -1 and can wear all armor minus boots. If you are using polymorph to cure sliming, a salamander is the best fiery monster form available, as they are not eyeless and possess arms to pick up and wield items. As a salamander, you can also safely eat globs from green slimes to cure stoning.

Of note is that you can safely quaff a lit potion of oil as a salamander, which exercises wisdom.


The salamander first appears in NetHack-- 3.1.3, and are among the many monsters from that variant added to SLASH 6. Salamanders make their vanilla NetHack debut in NetHack 3.2.0.


"Salamander" refers to both a real-life species of animal and a fantastic creature. Real-life salamanders are amphibians characterized by their lizard-like appearance: slender bodies, blunt snouts, short limbs projecting at right angles to the body, and a tail. All ten families of salamander - including Salamandridae, whose members have bodies without the grooved sides typical of others, and are mostly known as newts - are grouped together under the order Urodela, and their traits vary widely by species.

Most salamanders have at most four toes on their front legs, and at most five on their rear legs; some species have fewer, while others may even lack hind limbs. Salamanders typically lay eggs in water and have aquatic larvae, but some species in harsher environments may even reproduce while still in the larval state. Some species are fully aquatic throughout their lives, others take to the water intermittently, and still others are entirely terrestrial and become capable of regenerating lost limbs and other damaged parts of their bodies in adulthood.

Some salamanders have have poison-secreting skin and bright warning coloration to advertise their toxicity - this trait was noted as far back as Ancient Greece, where writers such as Theocritus and Pliny the Elder believed that salamander secretions were used in medicine and poisons. Salamanders often prefer habitats that are in or near cool, damp and/or watery areas, and species diversity is highest in eastern North America.

Salamanders in fantasy

Though the default tileset makes it resemble the animal, the salamanders of NetHack are derived from Dungeons & Dragons, whose salamanders are reptilian humanoids with a pair of arms and a tail that originated on the Elemental Plane of Fire - a significant population migrated from there to areas such as the Firelands and the Peaks of Flame via portal. Their culture is known for metalsmithing and creating weapons that utilized the power of flame, and they often wielded spears and used their tails to constrict their enemies; their skin was so hot that even the merest touch caused burns.

Some of these traits and other qualities associated with "fantastic" salamanders by classical, medieval and renaissance lore are themselves derived from real salamanders: Certain writings of Pliny the Elder's time exaggerated the salamander's poisonous skin to the extent that a single salamander could supposedly taint the fruit of any tree that it climbed, and any water from a well that it fell into would become lethal. This is likely the basis for the burning skin that the salamanders of Dungeons & Dragons have, and may also be why the salamanders of NetHack are poisonous to eat and have 'burning' touch and hug attacks.

Hermeticist beliefs originating in Renaissance Europe considered salamanders fiery creatures, as they "mysteriously" appeared when the rotting logs they hibernated in were brought indoors and put on a fire; the Talmud also describes the salamander as a product of fire whose blood grants immunity from fire to anyone smeared in it. The philosopher Saint Augustine argues in The City of God that salamanders are proof of eternal punishment, since the flames they inhabited could be used to burn sinful humans forever - both this and their elemental affinity for fire may explain why NetHack salamanders typically only appear in Gehennom.



In SLASH'EM, salamanders are guaranteed polyforms for Dopplegangers at experience level 8, and are a solid choice for similar reasons as in vanilla.


UnNetHack adapts the black market branch from SLASH'EM and replaces one of One-Eyed Sam's assistants, a rhaumbusun named Izzy, with a salamander of the same name.


In dNetHack, the salamander's difficulty is raised to 13. Drow characters are capable of applying saddles to tame salamanders and using them as steeds.

The Chaos Temple variant of the Chaos Quest generates two salamanders in the domain of Kary, the Fiend of Fire.


In SpliceHack, the black market uses the same layout as in SLASH'EM, and includes Izzy the salamander as one of the assistants.

Ten hostile salamanders are generated in the City of Brass at level creation.


In addition to dNetHack details, notdNetHack adds the salamander as a playable starting race.


In EvilHack, salamanders can survive in and move through lava, remaining within lava squares when possible - they can also pull players into lava with their bearhug attack, similar to pythons and eels in water. Being pulled into lava this way will usually destroy most of the player's inventory along with possibly killing them outright. The salamander's attack routine is altered so that the non-fiery bearhug attack is third in order, but it is otherwise mostly unchanged from vanilla NetHack.

EvilHack also adds the frost salamander, a stronger icy counterpart that only appears in the Ice Queen's Realm - it keeps to ice tiles where possible and cannot drown you, though this instead introduces the risk of being lured onto ice that may be promptly melted. Frost salamanders use the same hit dice and attack routine as a salamander in NetHack, though with cold damage.


In addition to SLASH'EM details, the salamanders is the second quest monster for the Firefighters in SlashTHEM, and make up 24175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Firefighter quest. Salamanders also appear among the random : that are part of the second quest monster class for Firefighters and make up 6175 of the monsters randomly generated there. Some salamanders are also placed on various floors of the branch at level creation: five salamanders each are generated on the home, locate and goal floors, one salamander is placed within the upper filler level(s), and two are placed within the lower filler level(s).

Encyclopedia entry

For hundreds of years, many people believed that salamanders were magical. In England in the Middle Ages, people thought that fire created salamanders. When they set fire to damp logs, dozens of the slimy creatures scurried out. The word salamander, in fact, comes from a Greek word meaning "fire animal".

[ Salamanders, by Cherie Winner ]