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Stoning or petrification is the process of a character turning to stone. This usually happens due to an encounter with a cockatrice but the gaze of Medusa also turns you to stone.

In vanilla, stoning resistance can not be gained by external means but only by polymorphing into an intrinsically stoning resistant monster. You are only resistant for the duration you are such a monster. Intrinsic stoning resistance is not implemented.[1]

Stoning resistant monsters[edit]

A variety of monsters are stoning-resistant, typically for fairly straightforward reasons:[2]

If you try to petrify golems (other than stone golems), they turn to stone golems instead.

Stiffening vs. instadeath[edit]

The gaze of Medusa, and touching a cockatrice or chickatrice is instantly fatal for a character without stoning resistance. Attacking barehanded or barefooted, picking up the corpse barehanded, and kicking barefooted are considered ways of touching among many, many others. Throwing a cockatrice egg up (<) and being hit by it is an instadeath, but being hit by one thrown by a monster starts the stiffening process, as does eating the egg, or hearing the cockatrice's hissing attack. The process technically takes 5 turns, but after 2, your limbs turn to stone and you can't do anything else but proceed to die. You will also lose any intrinsic speed when you start "slowing down",[3] which may give you even fewer actions to save yourself; if you are burdened or worse, you might not be able to save yourself at all!


Message Turns to live
"You are slowing down" 2
"Your limbs are stiffening" 1
  • "Your limbs have turned to stone."
  • "You have turned to stone."
  • "You are a statue."

Stopping stiffening[edit]

If you hear the hissing of a cockatrice and start turning to stone – stiffening – you still have several ways, albeit not several turns, to save yourself. Eating a lizard or certain (acidic) monsters stops the process. The monster corpses that can stop stiffening are as follows:

The standard method is to eat a lizard corpse. Since they never rot, you should always carry one along. See eat.c, line 490 and eat.c, line 510 for further information. Note that tins of the above monsters will also work. However, they need to be blessed in order to have a chance of saving your life; blessed tins take one turn to open and a second turn to eat, while non-blessed tins take more than one turn to open (unless you are wielding a tin opener, but note that you do not have enough time to wield one if you weren't already).

However, if you do not have a lizard corpse with you, you may quaff a potion of acid. The stone to flesh spell will also save you if you cast it on yourself, but it will also turn your items made of stone directly in your main inventory into meat, including rocks, rings and wands.

If your god is happy with you and you are not in Gehennom, prayer works as well.

Being slimed does not save you from petrification, unless it is by eating a green slime corpse (and even then only because the corpse is acidic). This is not usually recommended because this will induce sliming which will kill you unless you can cure that too.

An amulet of unchanging will not protect you from stoning, but an amulet of life saving will save your life. Reflection protects you from turning to stone by the gaze of Medusa, as will being blind. Wearing gloves is strongly recommended while handling cockatrices.

Polymorphing into a stoning-resistant monster will also stop the petrification process, as will polymorphing into any type of golem (as they turn into stone golems rather than dying).


In SLASH'EM, there are two additional monsters that cause stoning: The thick-hided basilisk, and the asphynx, which can hide under objects and stone an unexpecting player. Both are significantly higher-level than the cockatrice; thus, you will be fighting them for longer, increasing the chance that one of their attacks may start turning you to stone.

SLASH'EM also introduces the amulet versus stone, which will save your life against stoning in the same manner as an amulet of life saving, costing a point of constitution and incrementing the "killed" counter. The amulet, however, is not destroyed in the process unless it is cursed; otherwise, its beatitude changes from uncursed to cursed, or from blessed to uncursed. Thus, with a sufficient supply of holy water, one amulet can prevent many stoning YASDs.


In UnNetHack, external resistance to stoning may be provided by chromatic dragon scales (or chromatic dragon scale mail).


  1. monst.c, line 147, monst.c, line 184, monst.c, line 176, monst.c, line 426, monst.c, line 433, monst.c, line 1349, monst.c, line 1423, monst.c, line 1744, monst.c, line 1774, monst.c, line 2063, monst.c, line 2477, monst.c, line 2879, monst.c, line 3220
  2. See monst.c, line 94 and on; look for MR_STONE in the seventh field (not the eighth, that's resistances it grants).
  3. timeout.c, line 36