The term foocubus refers to an incubus or a succubus, especially one of the opposite sex of the character. Foocubi are demons that appear in NetHack, and have a special seduction attack which can be used by high-intelligence and high-charisma players for its beneficial effects, although it is not without its risks.
In the vanilla game, all foocubi are heterosexual; an incubus will never try to seduce a male character, and a succubus will never seduce a female. If you chat to a foocubus of the same sex as you, it will "cajole" you, which has no effects. Trying to use a saddle on a foocubus results in YAFM ("Shame on you!"), as well as abusing your wisdom.
In addition to the usual methods of monster generation, foocubi can be summoned by kicking a sink or sacrificing a creature of your own race as a chaotic character. As a major demon, other major demons can gate them in, but they cannot summon other demons; they share this trait with another major demon, the balrog, though they may read a scroll of create monster should one be available. They also cannot be summoned by a cursed scroll of genocide.
The foocubus may begin the encounter of its own volition if it is hostile, or the player may begin the encounter with the #chat command.
The foocubus will attempt to remove all armor; with a probability of CHA⁄20, they will ask, and will just remove the item. This process repeats for each item of armor you are wearing; the foocubus can only remove your suit if you have not kept your cloak on, and can only remove your shirt if you have not kept your cloak or suit on. A foocubus will never attempt to remove an amulet or blindfold, and will only affect rings if you have a ring of adornment; see below for details. If you are riding a mount, the foocubus might steal the saddle off the mount, dismounting you.
If, at this point, you are still wearing body armor or a cloak, the foocubus will leave you alone and try to teleport away ("You're such a <sweet lady|nice guy>; I wish..."); otherwise, they will initiate an encounter. ("Time stands still while you and <the foocubus> lie in each other's arms...") This does not increment the turn counter.
At the end of the encounter, you will experience either a positive or a negative effect; the likelihood of a positive outcome depends on the sum of your intelligence and charisma stats. The probability of a positive effect is (IN+CH+1)/35. For this purpose, the sum of IN and CH is capped at 32, giving a minimum 5.7% chance of a negative effect, no matter how high your attributes are.
After the encounter, whether positive or negative, the foocubus may try to take some gold from you as a payment and teleport away. The attempt will fail with a probability equal to your charisma out of 20 (or always, if you are polymorphed into a leprechaun). The amount taken usually consists of a 500zm flat fee, plus a random percentage of your current gold outside of any container. However, if you have more than 32757zm, the foocubus's percentage will not take into account any gold beyond that amount. If you have no gold in your main inventory, the foocubus will instead simply teleport away unpaid, with no change beyond an alternate message. ("It's on the house!") Furthermore, a peaceful foocubus will charge only 1/5 of the usual price—rounded down, but always at least 1zm; a tame foocubus will never charge you.
If you got a positive effect, the foocubus will complain of having a headache and will do you no more favors for 1-100 turns. If you got a negative effect, the foocubus will be ready to go again immediately. However, in either case, there is a 1 in 25 chance that the foocubus will complain of a severe headache; this means that it has been cancelled, as if struck by the wand, and will never be able to seduce you again.
If the sum of your intelligence and charisma stats plus one is no less than a random number chosen between 1 and 35, you "seem to have enjoyed it more than <the foocubus>..." and experience one of the following positive effects with equal probability:
|Constitution increases by 1 and is exercised.||You feel good enough to do it again.|
|Wisdom increases by 1 and is exercised.||You will always remember <the foocubus>.|
|Heals all hit points and exercises strength.||You feel restored to health.|
|Restores all power and increases maximum by 1-5; exercises constitution.||You feel raised to your full potential.|
|Raises your level by 1 and exercises wisdom. This increases your hit points and power, even if you are already level 30.||That was a very educational experience.|
If, instead, the sum of your intelligence and charisma stats plus one is less than the random number chosen between 1 and 35, the foocubus "seems to have enjoyed it more than you..." and you experience one of the following negative effects with equal probability:
|Constitution reduces by 1 and is abused.||You are down in the dumps.|
|Wisdom reduces by 1 and is abused.||Your senses are dulled.|
|Strength is abused and you take 10-16 hit points of damage.||You feel exhausted.|
|All your power is lost, your maximum energy is reduced by 1-10 and your constitution is abused.||You feel drained of energy.|
|You lose 1 level unless you have drain resistance.||You feel out of shape. (if you lost a level); You have a curious feeling... (if drain resistant)|
Foocubi do very little melee damage, and are easy to kill even at low levels. As discussed further below, most of their negative seduction effects are also easy to cure. Their true danger lies with what seems like a humorous side effect of seduction: The player is left at least partly disrobed in the presence of any other monsters that happened to be in the room. Players who rely on armor items for reflection or MR can find themselves suddenly annihilated by attacks they would usually shrug off. As such, it is sensible to make absolutely sure that the immediate area is clear and that most monsters cannot close in on you post-encounter.
The probability of a beneficial effect from the encounter is (INT+CHA+1)/35. It is therefore a good idea to maximize charisma before consorting with foocubi. Intelligence also helps, but intelligence is the most difficult score to raise. For this reason, wizards are excellent for using foocubi and can often do so well from the beginning of the game. Maximizing charisma, however, is another matter.
A ring of adornment can raise (or lower) charisma, but foocubi take an interest in them. An incubus may put it on your finger; a succubus may ask you for it, or just take it. The probability of asking, rather than just doing, is in both cases CHA/20 (where CHA is your charisma before donning or doffing the ring). A female character has a small advantage here, as she can keep a positively enchanted ring on and it will boost her chance of a positive effect. A male can only do this reliably if his charisma is thus boosted to at least 20, as the succubus will otherwise eventually steal the ring. On the other hand, male characters need not ever worry about negatively enchanted or cursed rings of adornment, nor having a ring of levitation replaced by a ring of adornment and possibly dropping him into water or lava. A tame succubus will eventually drop any stolen ring.
Magic traps have an effect that causes you to gain a point of charisma and tame any monsters in the vicinity if they are tameable, resulting in some unusual pets (with the message "You feel charismatic!"). However, repeatedly stepping on a magic trap is most likely to have negative results, such as surrounding you with monsters after blinding and deafening you, or creating a tower of flame, as from a fire trap. Having fire resistance, a means of mitigating blindness (e.g. telepathy), and the ability to handle the summoned monsters is recommended; see the article on magic traps for more detailed information on how to handle such effects.
Meanwhile, magic fountains have a 7 in 10 chance of increasing a random attribute by 1, or increasing all your attributes by 1 with a natural Luck of at least 4. However, there is no way to tell if a fountain is magical prior to quaffing, and the negative effects that quaffing from non-magical fountains can produce are much worse to deal with compared to magic traps, such as cursing your inventory; placing your items in a bag beforehand is a good idea, as is being prepared to deal with water moccasins or even a water demon. See the article on magic fountains for more detailed information.
Beginning with NetHack 3.6.0, a foocubus will not put on or remove a ring of adornment if you are wearing gloves. He or she will attempt to remove your gloves, with the usual probability CHA/20 of asking first, before putting on or removing a ring. This does not affect succubi stealing rings of adornment that are not worn, because gloves do not impede this act.
A helm of brilliance can raise (or lower) intelligence. As with all armor, the foocubus may try to take it off; with probability CHA/20, they will ask instead of just removing the helmet. Unlike rings of adornment, the foocubus will never keep the helmet; thus you can put it back on and still get the boost when you try again. Negative enchantments need not cause concern, as you can always give consent to take the helmet off.
Dealing with negative effects
Most negative effects of seduction can easily be dealt with. Loss of wisdom or constitution can be cured by applying a unicorn horn. Hit points will heal over time (but don't consort with foocubi when you're nearly dead). If you lose a level, go and kill a wimpy monster or eat a tripe ration to get it back before playing with the foocubus again. Thus, it is possible for a low-intelligence or charisma character to still benefit from dealing with a foocubus, though the process is likely to be tedious. There is no cure for loss of maximum magical energy, and The NetHack Incubus and Succubus Spoiler suggests that if you care about this, you should wait until your intelligence and charisma are high enough that on average you will gain more magical energy than you lose.
To minimize post-assignation vulnerability, you should never voluntarily allow a foocubus to remove anything other than your cloak and body armor; an exception is if you are trying to get a cursed item removed. It is also wise to only consort with foocubi in an area you have emptied of other enemies. You can keep the foocubus out of the way while you do this by luring it up or down a level, or by using Elbereth whenever it approaches. For further details and special cases, see the "Possible YASDs" section below. Finally, remember to get dressed again afterward!
To prevent a foocubus from taking your gold, simply keep it in a container. In an emergency you can also drop it on the ground. A gentlemanly and/or ladylike player may wish to retain a small amount of gold in their inventory, so that the foocubus will receive at least a token payment for its services.
After the foocubus develops a "severe headache", you can kill it and recover any gold it took from you; the only reasons for leaving it alive are strictly sentimental.
As pets, foocubi are next to worthless in combat, but can still be #chatted to. Because they are demons, a foocubus cannot be tamed unless you are polymorphed into a demon; however, a foocubus is a valid polymorph form, and thus it is possible to polymorph an existing pet into a foocubus of the opposite gender (or swap gender yourself with an amulet of change or by polymorphing into a foocubus of the opposite gender yourself). Lying with a tame foocubus is no different from with a hostile or peaceful one; all problems including armor removal and self-cancellation remain. The key is that a tame foocubus is much easier to control, as you can lead it to a safe location before engaging it. Additionally, if you possess a magic whistle or move to a non-teleport level, it will not be necessary to chase down the foocubus after each encounter. A tame foocubus will also not be attacked by your pets and can be easily led away from any hostile monsters it would foolishly attack. Once the foocubus becomes cancelled, it should be abandoned or polymorphed; note that polymorphing a cancelled foocubus will create a cancelled monster, so you cannot polymorph it back into a useful foocubus.
There are several ways a foocubus can kill you outright, but they are generally easy to avoid.
- Be cautious when using levitation boots or water walking boots; the foocubus may remove them, dropping you into water or lava.
- If you are riding a flying steed (such as a dragon) over open water or lava, a foocubus may seduce it and remove the saddle, causing you to drown. However, being seduced yourself is safe in such a situation, so if you aren't the same sex as your steed, an encounter with a foocubus of the appropriate gender can be undertaken without hazard. However, you usually don't know the sex of your steed, so it's better to stay away from all foocubi in such a situation.
- Females should be similarly cautious when using a ring of levitation on their left hand, wearing a second ring, and carrying a ring of adornment; an incubus may replace the ring of levitation with the ring of adornment.
- Avoid wielding footrice corpses around foocubi unless you have charisma of 20 or more; they may remove your gloves.
- Characters at experience level 1 should stay well away from foocubi, as one of the possible negative outcomes is a level drain. In practice, this means that low-level characters should not kick sinks.
- Be sure to put back all of your clothing (armor) once you and the foocubus are done.
- When entering Medusa's chamber, having a foocubus immediately seduce you and remove your only source of reflection or blindness will likely prove fatal. For this reason, redundancy is always good.
Removing cursed items
Foocubi can remove any armor, including cursed armor; succubi can also remove cursed rings of adornment from male characters. Incubi can remove any cursed ring from female characters wearing two rings and carrying an additional ring of adornment. This provides an alternative to nymphs for ridding oneself of such items.
Prior to NetHack 3.6.1, the outcome calculation used uncapped attributes, making it possible to guarantee a positive result with a combined IN and CH of at least 34.
The incubus and succubus are male and female versions of the
same demon, one who lies with a human for its own purposes,
usually to the detriment of the mortals who are unwise in
their dealings with them.