Touch of death
The touch of death is a monster spell in NetHack that is cast by the most powerful spell-casting monsters in the game, such as arch-liches and the Wizard of Yendor. A monster must be at least level 21 in order to cast this spell.
As indicated, you die instantly if a monster casts the touch of death spell on you. The spell will fail if you have magic resistance, are hallucinating, or are polymorphed into an undead monster or a demon - otherwise, it can fail with a chance dependent on the monster's level, where the chance is 13⁄ML (i.e. a minimum of 8⁄21).
The Rider Death has a "deadly touch" attack, which is unrelated other than the chance of instadeath, and an identical message if it fails.
The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.Per commit 16105ad: The touch of death now does 8d6+50 damage and reduces your maximum HP by half of the damage dealt; this also applies to Death's deadly touch if it would have had the instadeath effect. However, if the resulting damage would reduce both your maximum and current HP to zero, you die immediately (with no maximum hp reduction); this is an important distinction for cases such as polyself.
- Oh no, (s)he's using the touch of death!
- The monster casts the spell. If the spell succeeds, there are no further messages; you see the standard life saving messages if you wore an amulet of life saving, or "Do you want your possessions identified?" otherwise.
- You seem no deader than before.
- The spell failed because you are undead or a demon.
- You have an out of body experience.
- The spell was countered by hallucination.
- Lucky for you, it didn't work!
- The spell was countered by magic resistance or failed by random chance.
The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.
- You feel drained...
- You were affected by a touch of death.