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How do you handle the giant mimics in Sokoban if you only have a cat, but no conflict, charm monster or stethoscope? Other critters interfere if I engrave Elbereth gazillions of times around the mimic to protect my pet. I'd like to avoid "come back later". -Tjr 22:21, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

In the end, I left my pet on another floor, Elbereth-lured the giant mimic near the stairs, went around a corner for it to re-cloak, Elbereth-locked off everything, engraved those gazillions of Elbereths around the mimic, and whacked it as many times as a wizard mode test had determined safe. Finally, I fetched my pet and let it finish off the mimic. Same story with the second mimic. -Tjr 00:58, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

What if lost pet?

What can I do if I have lost my pet, say, to a trap? Usually, I starve or die to a wimpy monster. Only very rarely do I already have things such as controlled polymorph (for the eggs), a scroll of taming, or see a randomly generated domestic animal soon enough during my initial Sokoban dive. Locking off monsters with Elbereth + gold works only that good - I (level 1) have to be able to take a hit, sometimes monsters are too numerous or slow to let me through, and werecreatures end the game right away. How do you handle the situation? -Tjr 11:36, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Try going to the mines first instead of Sokoban. You're more likely to encounter a pet along the way. Minetown in particular often has a 2x2 room with two cats. Once you have multiple pets, losing one is not fatal. (It helps to be a gnomish healer, or at least a gnomish wizard - being a gnome makes the mines massively easier.) In fact, one of your main priorities from turn one should be to get another pet ASAP. If you really lost your pet to the proverbial first turn rock trap, there have been reports of petless pacifists on r.g.r.n., but it's way hard. djao 04:17, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, as a neutral human wizard, I can't safely go into the mines (see below). I wouldn't mind going petless for a short time, but werecreatures do not respect Elbereth, and they always seem to turn up around level 5-9, so I'm usually toast before I get a replacement pet. Often, if I do encounter a potential pet during the initial dive down, I do not (yet) have food to spare. I agree multiple pets are the best "solution", but not feasible in the early stage. I see all this is easier for a gnomish healer, but that's beside the point. -Tjr 10:39, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Your original question did not mention role, so my gnomish healer remark was not beside the point in the context of your original question. If you are now restricting the question to neutral human wizards only, then first of all, you are going beyond the bounds of my experience, as I have never succeeded at a human pacifist. But, generally speaking, I would say that if losing your pet is fatal, then the best advice is: don't do that. One thing I noticed is that you strongly imply with phrases like "Sokoban dive" and "fast-paced strategy" that you are playing fast -- presumably to avoid starvation. Unfortunately, fast playing has the side effect that your pet does not level up. This may be part of the reason why your pets die so easily. A fully leveled up pet is not easily lost to a trap.
If you are still encountering insurmountable problems, try a less challenging set of conducts. Praying for example gives you a lot more flexibility on food. If you want to ask questions specifically about the atheist conduct, go to the atheist talk page :) djao 07:36, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


I don't think the section on nutrition belongs here. None of the items discussed here are specific to pacifists. The entire section should be moved to the nutrition article. The only thing that belongs is the healer-specific advice regarding stone-to-flesh, and this can surely fit somewhere else (like in the Oracle discussion). If I don't get any comments within a few days, then I'll go ahead and move it.

At best (worst?), pacifists have only two liabilities with respect to nutrition, and both of them are extremely minor compared with all of the other problems that pacifists face. Problem number 1 is that your pet is doing all of the killing, so it is more likely to reach corpses first. (But this, by itself, is no harder than say the vegetarian conduct, and any difference between pacifists and non-pacifists is only a matter of degree.) Problem number two is that you have to keep your pet close to you, which means that it is impossible to explore fast until you get a magic whistle. Problem number two is a genuine problem, but much of the advice given in the Nutrition section does not apply to this situation -- for example, a fast-paced strategy is completely impossible without a whistle, and by the time you get a whistle or a ring of slow digestion or the ability to control polymorph, you're not generally worried about food. djao 04:17, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Starvation is the number one cause of death for my atheist, weaponless pacifists (neutral human wizards). Though I have not tried vegetarian conduct, I have never had nutrition problems other than as pacifist. That's why I put it here, and at least some mention and a pointer should stay here. Since not everyone will be atheist pacifist, it could be moved; but it doesn't fit any better on the atheist page, and eating those few corpses my fast kitten leaves to my slow wizard definitely is not vegetarian. So pacifist is probably the best page to put this.
The mines are very bad advice in my experience. My starting kitten will take on a couple of gnomes / dwarves and die within 100 turns. I have no way to stop it bar not taking it in at all. But without a pet, I'm hosed (see above). Because of the nutrition problem, there is a timer (750 turns) running on my life and I simply cannot afford wait and train it up. That means no mines until after Sokoban, and no "food is plentyful there".
Exploring fast is definitely possible, but it takes some practise how to lure the kitten around best. In the beginning, I routinely spend less than 200 turns per level. A magic whistle is of course more efficient and much more comfortable, but I cannot rely on that for my first 1500 turns.
In practice, I tend to dive to Sokoban as fast as possible, tame any random cats/dogs/horses I encounter provided I have food, and then go back up and into mine town with the stack of Sokoban food. Luckily, those animals get slower when they grow up, migitating the food problem. The real solution is usually only a polymorph trap in the lower mines or the wizard quest home level - a vampire lord is an excellent pet until about Medusa's level.
Rarely, stone to flesh is the solution: I will 1) start with / find a magic marker, and be 2) fast enough to do Sokoban, 3) find a digging implement, remove curse, and some potions, 4) dive down to mine's end, 5) get the luckstone, 6) break one of the mine's end fountains, 6) blank a blessed scroll to write remove curse, 7) make holy and unholy water, 8) reverse genocide unicorns, 9) up my luck with #named gems, 10) write stone to flesh on my blessed starting spellbook, and 11) finally be able to cast it with the priest's robe or some other spell to train up healing. -Tjr 10:39, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Your problem is that you're playing a neutral human wizard, not that you're playing an atheist pacifist. A gnomish healer atheist pacifist has absolutely no problems with hunger. The mines are a cakewalk for a gnome, and stone to flesh is a starting spell. The fact that you personally enjoy playing neutral human wizard atheist pacifists is not relevant to the vast majority of pacifists, nor is this particular case noteworthy enough to merit lengthening an already lengthy article.
Regarding the location of the section, again while it may be true that you personally have never had nutrition problems other than as a pacifist, I'm sure that a lot of other players have encountered nutrition problems other than as a pacifist. By my count, none of the points that you raise are pacifist-specific. That's why I suggested to put this information in the nutrition article. (If anything, the points you raise are atheist-specific, but I'm not suggesting to add this to the atheist article. I think it belongs in Nutrition.) djao 07:20, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I moved the material in accordance with the plan above. In keeping with your suggestion, I added a mention of the issue and a pointer to the nutrition article. djao 04:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Whew, you are quick. Specific to (atheist ?) pacifist non-gnomes is the fact nutrition is such a problem, but not the solutions. Out of context, the food tips look a bit like a solution in search of a problem. I think both articles still need a lot of editing, but I haven't made up my mind how to do this best.
And, by the way, "that you personally enjoy playing neutral human wizard atheist pacifists is not relevant" is isomorphic to "who plays conducts anyway?" At the very least, it raises the question, why "everybody" plays gnomish healers, i. e. clearly separate the gnome specific parts of the article. -Tjr 10:40, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Sure, one can ask "why play conducts", but if the article itself is about the conduct, then the "why" part is at least accepted as fact. What I'm resisting is the idea of putting every possible combination of pacifist conducts in the pacifist article. That would lead to an unreadable article. I don't think neutral human wizard atheist pacifists should merit special attention, any more than say zen samurai illiterate pacifists. Gnomish healer is a special case, because it is genuinely easier and more common than the other combinations. djao 16:34, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Gnomish healers are definitely a special case, I think some words should be lost on what is different for the rest of the world. I agree not every possible combination needs to be considered. As a rule of thumb, if the interaction between "popular enough" conducts introduces additional challenges, that should be described, but not if nothing new arises.
The interaction atheist <> pacifist introduces additional twists (nutrition) worth mentioning somewhere. Before we start arguing, there are enough rgrn posts to prove people actually play such combinations. What's unclear if this combination goes under pacifist, atheist, nutrition, or perhaps a separate "atheist pacifist" page. I feel it fits nowhere perfectly, but pacifist sounds best.
I think a separate article on atheist must exist before we can possibly make a determination as to where atheist-pacifist specific material belongs. No matter how common athiest-pacifists are, they are not more common than atheists. Right now the atheist keyword redirects to Conduct. Perhaps you could start a separate atheist article? I've never ascended an atheist so I'm not really qualified to write about it. djao 03:11, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I'm going to make an atheist article. I have to do a lot of real world work first and would like to bring "pacifist" to an end before, so this will 1-2 weeks. -Tjr 09:19, 7 July 2009 (UTC)


In the sentence "You do not lose pacifist conduct if you dig pits and monsters fall in LATER", I don't understand the reason for adding the word later. How can a monster fall in a pit that you've dug, before you dig the pit? djao 09:07, December 15, 2009 (UTC)

In wizard mode, surround yourself with wimpy monsters and wish for a drum of earthquake. You will lose pacifist if monsters fall into your pit the very same turn, but not if later. I guess that should be worded better. Tjr 17:11, December 15, 2009 (UTC)

Reverse genociding chameleons is a waste?

Disagree strongly with the claim that reverse genociding chameleons is a waste. Of course, polytraps are better, but:

  1. There might not be a polytrap in the game. There is no in-game mechanism by which your character can create polytraps.
  2. Even if a polytrap is available, you need a leash, magic whistle, amulet of unchanging, or magic resistance to use it reliably.

No one is suggesting that reverse genociding chameleons is the best option. It's dangerous, as the chameleons can easily kill you. Everything depends on the situation in that particular game. Most of the time, you won't have to do it. But maybe one game out of ten, it will be the only way forward. djao 15:34, January 7, 2010 (UTC)

I have yet to see a game without a polymorph trap. It's more a matter of finding it. I haven't done the numbers for the mines, but the wizard quest home level alone has ~60% probability of such a trap.
Using the polytrap: Admittedly, I tend to underestimate the challenge of getting magic resistance as I'm most interested in wizards. However, it is quite feasible to get gray dragon scales: DSM#Acquiring_dragon_scales shows a picture how to prepare for reverse genocide - a cursed genocide (which you have by assumption) and either a ring of conflict, level-drain artifact, or a high-level pet is really all that is necessary. Gray dragons are XP14 when summond on dungeon level 1. Getting the scales with the last dragon still around requires some more planning. Methods of getting MR I haven't tried are: lay eggs as a gray dragon, dive to the castle and walk straight to the wand of wishing as a xorn, or open the backdoor of the castle and let everyone fall down to the VoD (teleport/Elbereth-lock the remainder or such). Also, I suspect it might be possible to use the Sokoban scrolls of earth to form a boulder fort, forcing your pet to eventually walk onto the polymorph trap.
In conclusion, I think reverse genociding chameleons should be treated as a last-ditch method, on par with conflict&water demons. It's there if you need it, but you get more bang for your bucks if you can avoid it. -Tjr 17:24, January 7, 2010 (UTC)
Without a polymorph trap, I'd say the best way of getting stronger pets is taming. It's always useful to have, especially since Minotaurs ignore Elbereth and yet always succumb to taming. It's not nearly as powerful as a polymorph trap (tame Titan as early as floor 10), but it's certainly a viable option. The ink cost for a spellbook of charm monster is the same as a single scroll of genocide, or you could wish for PYEC and polypile/wish for a magic harp and end up with readily accessible taming for both emergency situations and obtaining powerful pets. I would personally prefer that to reverse genociding chameleons, which is dangerous and unreliable. With taming you know what you'll get (just not if you can actually get it easily), and with a polymorph trap you can more or less pick and choose what pet you end up with.
On the subject of polymorph traps and pacifism, I'm just going to throw out that they're very useful for gaining intrinsics. Tame a dog/cat/horse, force it into a boulder fort around a polymorph trap until you get a red/white/blue/orange/black dragon. Kick it until it stops being tame (fortunately becoming peaceful, not hostile) and have an inediate pet (vampire lord) kill it and tin/eat the corpse. This even works with giants for strength and wraiths for levels. -- Qazmlpok 17:50, January 7, 2010 (UTC)
Both replies above mention wishing. Most of the time, if I have a wish and I need a stronger pet, I'm just going to wish for a blessed figurine of an Archon. As for spellbooks of charm monster, the issue there is that you need good stats and/or experience level in order to cast it reliably. djao 18:05, January 7, 2010 (UTC)
Almost every game has a polymorph trap, but it's not always easy to find the polymorph trap early enough in the game to do any good. And, of course, not every game has a wizard's quest. I'm happy with relegating the idea to a last resort, although I'd still rank it above wand/potion of polymorph, which can end your (pacifist) game instantly. djao 18:09, January 7, 2010 (UTC)
Some clarifications: Each lower mines level feels roughly as "polytrappy" as the wizard quest home, and there are several of them. So finding one early in the game (when you need a strong pet to proceed) as opposed to late in the game (when you can do some wishing) is definitely feasible. I tend to look for unusual monster per telepathy. My neutral atheist pacifist weaponless wishless polyselfless polyitemless wizards have many troubles, but finding a polytrap is not one of them. Secondly, a spellbook of charm monster is far superior to chameleon corpses and can be obtained without wishing. Since it's fairly low-level, even Lucky non-wizards have a chance of getting this all-important book out of a magic marker. Some roles start with one, and anybody has a chance of finding one in the Mines. Of course, it is a bad idea to go to Mine's End with only domestic animals, but chucking five type-named gems at a unicorn and writing the book immediatly after sounds reasonable. I believe prayer farming for spellbooks (after checking out the VoD boxes) is out of scope here, but that would be another source of books. -Tjr 21:36, January 7, 2010 (UTC)


I don't think we need to mention every little minute detail of horns, like the fact that they can be used against Elbereth-ignoring monsters. I mean, if you're going to be so detailed, why not mention expensive cameras, which work better in most cases, because they also blind the monster? (It makes the monster unable to see Elbereth, but for an Elbereth-ignoring monster, that of course is irrelevant.) We should draw the line at material that is really specific to pacifists. The article is already bordering on information overload as it is. djao 15:34, January 7, 2010 (UTC)

OK. -Tjr 16:19, January 7, 2010 (UTC)

Team Gecko and genocide "advice"

Somebody put this gem in:

A character with plenty of scrolls of genocide available could genocide any or all monsters they consider at risk of costing them the conduct. The weakest monster that can't be genocided is the foocubus, which can theoretically spawn with as few as 5 HP (straw and paper golems have even lower difficulty, but always have exactly 20 HP). Genociding "dwarf" or "gnome" is fatal if you're that race, but in that case those monsters would normally be peaceful. Note that genociding lizards will deprive you of their corpses, putting you at risk of petrification.

This is unrealistic advice. Team gecko is only a problem in the very early game. You can get cream pies using a strong pet way before you can hope for several scrolls of genocide, let alone enough to get rid of Team Gecko. And, if you do find scrolls of genocide, you want dragon scale mail, (blessed) an escape item, Luck and horn from unicorns, intrinsic teleport control, wraith corpses and the like. Tjr 14:32, May 25, 2010 (UTC)

After the initial hurdle of securing food (Sokoban), protection (minetown), and a decent pet (usually also the mines), I consider the greatest risk to a pacifist game team gecko. Against major hurdles like the quest nemesis, leveling to do the quest, and the wizard, you can still prepare for the attack. Accidentally killing a weak monster is tiresome to prepare against and inherently over immediately; even if a nymph jumps into a polymorph trap, turns into a demon, and quickly summons Yeenoghu will give you some time to act. Furthermore, due to the nature of a pacifist game, you're in the "early game" for longer due to your low level. I'm sure that I'm just a lot more careless than the average person attempting a pacifist game, but I would still consider genociding :, r, F, v, and whatever else as perfectly reasonable choices for blessed genocide. At least until I discover a way to move easily (e.g. not pressed m and then a direction) and still not attack. And cream pies aren't enough, because they don't protect against being really dumb and forgetting to re-wield them. -- Qazmlpok 21:41, May 27, 2010 (UTC)
My solution is to use the travel command _. Simply clicking with the mouse does this on OS X tiles. Alas, I have yet to find out how to activate the mouse on NAO.
Re-wielding: just wield an entire stack, no need to do anything after one splats.
Finally, I find it easier to get cream pies than to get scrolls of genocide. Just have your goon squad waiting near the stairs down. Tjr 23:35, May 27, 2010 (UTC)

Monsters drowning in overflowing fountains

Usually, I dig down on a fountain so I have safe, non-magic pools to help dilute potions etc. Is it possible pools are created under monsters? If yes, does their drowning break pacifist conduct? Tjr 16:08, June 14, 2010 (UTC)

I just lost a pet to drinking from a fountain out of desperation. No thunder, no lost of pacifist conduct. It should be the same for digging down. -- Qazmlpok 16:31, June 14, 2010 (UTC)

No more bump-kills: Remapping the vi movement commands with screen

In a desparate attempt to eliminate bump-kills once and for all, I used the application "screen" to prefix all movement commands with m. This config lets you type k for mk, and either control + tk or control + k for a literal k. Backspace gets overshadowed. For convenience, you might want to remap the shift-lock key to control with the usual means of your operating system.

Start nethack with:

 screen -c ~/.screenrc-pacifist  telnet

The file ~/.screenrc-pacifist reads:

# defuse movement keys so they won't attack.
# Unfortunately, deactivates autopickup.
bindkey 'h' stuff 'mh'
bindkey 'y' stuff 'my'
bindkey 'k' stuff 'mk'
bindkey 'u' stuff 'mu'
bindkey 'l' stuff 'ml'
bindkey 'n' stuff 'mn'
bindkey 'j' stuff 'mj'
bindkey 'b' stuff 'mb'
# hold control down to get unmangled keys. c-z maps to y.
# Backspace (control-h) gets overshadowed.
bindkey "\010" stuff 'h'
bindkey "\031" stuff 'y'
bindkey "\032" stuff 'y'
bindkey "\013" stuff 'k'
bindkey "\025" stuff 'u'
bindkey "\014" stuff 'l'
bindkey "\016" stuff 'n'
bindkey "\012" stuff 'j'
bindkey "\002" stuff 'b'
# make control-t the unbound-prefix
bindkey "\024" mapdefault
# eliminate typo: "-" instead of intended "_".
# Important because they are mostly followed by "true" movement keys.
# They differ by the shift key on a German keyboard.
bindkey -- "\055" stuff '_'

Tjr 15:43, September 17, 2010 (UTC) This setup make inventory management annoying and disables autopickup, but that's a small price to pay for no more loss of conduct. Tjr 22:08, September 19, 2010 (UTC)

Is it possible to do the same for the numpad movement keys? I imagine that'd be less intrusive for the inventory. -- Qazmlpok 22:29, September 19, 2010 (UTC)
Technically, yes. Only repeat commands get more annoying to enter. You could even fix the common cases (n5s, ...), but not all. However, my notebook doesn't have a number pad. Tjr 16:55, September 20, 2010 (UTC)
FYI, I modified the screen bindings so you can switch them on/off while playing. This slightly mitigates some of the annoyances with inventory management and such. Details are on my user page. --Aaxelb 03:42, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Other solutions: 1) macro, 2) autohotkey. --Tjr 23:59, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

cockatrices and pets

"Most pets will not attack cockatrices unless the cockatrice hits them first."

While stoneable pets will not attack cockatrices in general, there are a few corner cases:

  1. The pet is confused, e.g. from hunger or a black light
  2. Conflict
  3. The cockatrice accidentally hits your steed instead of the invisible you. Your steed will retaliate.
  4. Not sure about a pet on your displaced or invisibly-guessed location.

Still, it's not about who hits who first. --Tjr (talk) 22:36, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

"unless the cockatrice hits them first" is misleading. If the pet is stoning resistant, they'd be willing to attack of their own accord. If the pet is not stoning resistant, then being hit by the cockatrice will turn them to stone, preventing any counter attack. Furthermore, a monster will not attack back if the attack missed. -- Qazmlpok (talk) 23:27, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

infant mode

Deep in the bowls of the internet, somebody aptly called pacifism "politician mode". I think "infant mode" is equally neat. Think about it: a baby alone can accomplish nothing. The only problem solving action it knows is to cry (magic whistle), and its allmighty parents (powerful pets) will appear immediately and solve the problem. --Tjr (talk) 11:41, 7 January 2015 (UTC)