From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A sandestin, &, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. The sandestin is a strong humanoid shapeshifter that is one of the few non-demon monsters in the demon monster class. In their base form, a sandestin has infravision, can be seen via infravision, will seek out and pick up weapons, armor and food, and can follow the player character to other levels if they are adjacent.

Sandestins have a 16 chance of changing form each turn: they will turn into monsters that can be created by the summon nasties monster spell 67 of the time, and will otherwise turn into a random monster.

A sandestin has two weapon attacks, and possesses stoning resistance.


Randomly generated sandestins may be peaceful towards chaotic characters that have not yet touched the Amulet of Yendor, and are only randomly generated in Gehennom. They are not valid forms for polymorph.

A sandestin does not leave a corpse upon death.


Sandestins and their tendency towards the forms of summonable nasties make them a priority target to eliminate should a character become aware of a hostile one's presence. Detecting a sandestin in the first place can prove quite difficult, however: players can go several hundred games without registering the existence of sandestins, as they do not leave corpses like other shapeshifters - several of the preferred forms for sandestins also do not leave corpses ordinarily.

One possible tell is that they will often be peaceful to chaotic characters, even in the forms of otherwise-hostile monsters that they will usually take. A ring of protection from shape changers will also reveal a sandestin.


The sandestin first appears in NetHack 3.3.0.


The sandestin is a creature that originates from the Dying Earth fantasy series written by Jack Vance. Sandestins are beings that can be summoned by magic-users on the Dying Earth in order to perform complex actions, but are unruly and considered dangerous to rely upon for such purposes. Magic in Dying Earth operates on the "fire and forget" system: to cast spells, a magic-user must memorize the proper syllables - the human brain can only accommodate a certain number of syllables, and using a spell causes those syllables to vanish from the caster's mind. As shown in Rhialto the Marvellous, the most powerful of wizards derive their power in part from being able to bind and control the sandestins.



In SLASH'EM, shapeshifters and other polymorphed monsters return to normal form when killed, making it more likely for players to both see sandestins in their base form and to have serious trouble dispatching one unless they have enough damage output. This also applies to SlashTHEM.


In GruntHack, sandestins and other polymorphed monsters behave as in SLASH'EM above.


In EvilHack, sandestins and other shapeshifters return to normal form if killed while shapeshifted, but also become cancelled so they cannot polymorph again. This also applies to Hack'EM.

Encyclopedia entry

Ildefonse left the terrace and almost immediately sounds of contention came from the direction of the work-room. Ildefonse presently returned to the terrace, followed by Osherl and a second sandestin using the guise of a gaunt blue bird-like creature, some six feet in height.
Ildefonse spoke in scathing tones: "Behold these two creatures! They can roam the chronoplex as easily as you or I can walk around the table; yet neither has the wit to announce his presence upon arrival. I found Osherl asleep in his fulgurite and Sarsem perched in the rafters."
"No matter," said Rhialto. "He has brought Sarsem, and this was his requirement. In the main, Osherl, you have done well!"
"And my indenture point?"
"Much depends upon Sarsem's testimony. Sarsem, will you sit?"
"In this guise, I find it more convenient to stand."
"Then why not alter to human form and join us in comfort at the table?"
"That is a good idea." Sarsem became a naked young epicene in an integument of lavender scales with puffs of purple hair like pom-poms growing down his back. He seated himself at the table but declined refreshment. "This human semblance, though typical, is after all, only a guise. If I were to put such things inside myself, I might well become uneasy."

[ Rhialto the Marvellous, by Jack Vance ]