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Insight is a feature specific to dNethack. It represents the player's ability to see beyond the veil. Players with a high insight will encounter creatures they would otherwise never see.

Methods of Changing Insight

Change Method
+1 Successfully reading the Necronomicon
Successfully reading the Book of Lost Names
Gaining telepathy from a corpse while hallucinating
Drinking a cursed potion of enlightenment
Drinking a cursed potion of see invisible (1 in insight chance)
Seeing an insight-granting monster up close for the first time
+X Killing an insight-granting monster for the first time. X is the monster's difficulty/10 - 1.
-1 Drinking a cursed potion of hallucination
-X% insight Amnesia (X is typically 10)

Insight Creatures

Creature Insight to See Creature
Bright walker 10
Lurking One 20 - 40
Blasphemous Lurker 40
Blessed 40
Mouth of the Goat 60
The Good Neighbour 40
Hmnyw Pharaoh 40
Polypoid being 40
Parasitized Doll 1 - 20
Living Doll 1 - 20
Kuker 20 - 40

Insight Merchants

In the Gulf of N'Kai in the Neutral Quest, you can encounter a number of peaceful merchants. If you chat to them while wielding an artifact in your main hand, they will offer to take it from you, giving you a "thought" in return.[1] Giving away a gifted artifact will anger the god that gave it to you.

You may have up to three thoughts in your head at once; the thoughts can be wished for, but are only active when you have sufficiently high insight (equal to the lowest possible value that could be required to see the corresponding merchant).

Merchant Symbol Insight to See Merchant Related Thought Thought's Effect
Bestial dervish X 20 - 29 clockwise metamorphosis +30% maxhp
Ethereal dervish X 20 - 29 anti clockwise metamorphosis +3 speed (+25% of normal speed), applied after all other speed bonuses
Sparkling lake P 18 - 26 arcane bulwark intrinsic magic resistance
Flashing lake P 16 - 23 dissipating bulwark intrinsic shock resistance
Smouldering lake P 11 - 16 smoldering bulwark intrinsic fire resistance
Frosted lake P 12 - 17 frosted bulwark intrinsic cold resistance
Blood shower v 14 - 20 blood rapture heal 30 hp on sneak attacks
Many taloned thing U 16 - 23 clawmark +30% increased sneak attack damage
Deep blue cube b 10 - 14 clear deeps intrinsic poison resistance
Perfectly clear cube b 10 - 14 transparent sea +30 to sanity regeneration (sanity will regenerate to 100% in most cases)
Pitch black cube b 22 - 32 deep sea +3 DR to all slots
Prayerful thing U 25 - 37 communion +25% carrying capacity
Hemorrhagic thing U 15 - 23 corruption Fast healing (+1 HP per turn) when injured below 30% hp.
Many eyed seeker e 17 - 25 eye thought 2x death drop frequency
Voice in the dark (blank) 19 - 28 formless voice +30% max power
Tiny being of light y 13 - 19 guidance heal when attacking those that hurt you
Man faced millipede s 5 - 7 impurity +3 DR to all slots for all pets
Mirrored moonflower { 10 - 14 moon +30% XP gain
Crimson writher w 14 - 20 writhe sneak attacks restore 30 energy
Radiant pyramid p 12 - 17 radiance +30% healing from any healing effect

Living Doll Merchants

Living dolls appear randomly in the Depths in the Neutral Quest. Before reaching their insight threshold, they appear as "lifeless dolls", an object that functions as a living doll corpse. Each doll has an independent threshold of rnd(20) insight. Their corpses can be transported to a more convenient location. After reaching their insight threshold, they will wake up and appear as peaceful ' that sell a variety of dolls when #chatted to. [2]

If a doll (or android given a doll tear) is killed, it will drop its items on the ground and leave a lifeless doll corpse. This corpse will revive again, following the same rules as the first awakening.

Living dolls will always sell doll tears, and 9 to 11 random other dolls from the below table. For the dolls that grant an effect for a certain number of turns, they will always add to a pre-existing timer. Each doll costs 800 zorkmids regardless of charisma; a doll tear costs 8000 zm.

Doll Unidentified appearance Effect
Effigy Effigy When applied, acts as a blessed scroll of remove curse regardless of its own beatitude.
Doll of jumping Pole-vaulter doll When applied, lets you jump immediately and gives you the ability to jump intrinsically for 100 turns.
Doll of friendship Bard doll When applied, attempts to tame an adjacent monster in the given direction.
Doll of chastity Priest doll When applied, makes you intrinsically immune to seduction attacks for 100 turns.
Doll of cleaving Berserker doll When applied, grants intrinsic cleaving for 100 turns. While cleaving is active, weapon attacks also attack monsters to the left and right of the target.
Doll of satiation Chef Doll When applied, fills your stomach to full.
Doll of good health Healer Doll When applied, cures slime, petrification, sickness, and blindness with no failure chance. Will not cure confusion, hallucination, stunning, or any other status effect not listed.
Doll of full healing Nurse doll When applied, grants rapid healing for 5 turns. While rapid healing is active, heal 1/5 of max health per turn.
Doll of destruction Dancer doll When applied, grants destruction for 8 turns. While destruction is active, all adjacent monsters take 6d6 cold, fire, or shock damage per turn. Non-adjacent monsters in line of sight have a 1/4 chance to take 4d4 elemental damage).
Doll of memory Scholar doll When applied, fully restores the memory of a chosen known spell.
Doll of binding Heretic doll When applied, refreshes the binding timeout of a chosen bound spirit.
Doll of preservation Umbrella Doll When applied, grants intrinsic preservation for 1000 turns. While preservation is active, your inventory is immune to being damaged.
Doll of quick-drawing Archaeologist doll When applied, grants quickdraw for 100 turns. While quickdraw is active, wand zaps are a free action (like stethoscope usage).
Doll of wand-charging Wandsman doll When applied, fully refreshes a single chosen wand. The recharge count is set to 0, and the charges are set to 8 for direction and 15 for non-directional wands.
Doll of stealing Thief doll When applied, steal all items, even cursed or equipped ones, from the inventory of an adjacent target monster.
Doll of mollification High priest doll When applied, mollifies your god fully, setting anger to 0. Also sets luck to 0 if it was below 0.
Doll of clear-thinking Madman doll When applied, grants clear thinking for 100 turns. While clear thinking is active, passive madnesses are suppressed and active madness effects will never trigger.
Doll of mind-blasting Squid-parasitized doll When applied, grants mind-blasting for 8 turns. While mind-blasting is active, you emanate 3d15 psychic blasts that can hit all monsters on the level. Most monsters have a 1/10 chance to be affected. Mindless monsters are immune. Telepathic monsters have a 2/3 chance of being affected, or always if they are currently blinded. The monster's study count is set to the damage taken if it is greater than its current study.
Doll tear milky gemstone Can be applied to turn an android into a doll. This android will sell all the same dolls that the living doll used to, and they will revive just like living dolls. Purchasing this returns the living doll to a lifeless doll, but one that will never revive. Androids, gynoids, operators, and commanders can be given doll abilities like this, in addition to a lifeless doll to bring the living doll back.


Kuker are peaceful angelic creatures that spawn in the Neutral Quest once your insight is high enough. They offer several services in exchange for exorbitant amounts of money. They also grudge on any undead creatures on the level they are found on, and are often not strong enough to fight too many of them. So come prepared to buy anything you want, and don't dally when going to reach them.

Service Cost Effect
Drive out curses 7 gold Uncurses all cursed items in your open inventory, and unpunishes you.
Blessing of good fortune 70 Fully maximizes your innate luck.
Bless wielded item 700 Blesses your currently wielded weapon. If the weapon's enchantment is under 3, it will be set to 3. You must be wielding a weapon.
Lift sterility curse 7000 Makes you fertile again. You must be sterile.
Sanctify your weapon 70000 Blesses your current weapon. If the weapon's enchantment is under 3, it will be set to 3. Adds the holy property, removing the consecrated property in the process. You must be wielding a weapon.