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For the monster class, see Vampire (monster class).
For the starting race in multiple variants, see Vampire (starting race).

A vampire, V, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. Vampires are human undead that are breathless, intelligent and capable of flight and regeneration, and will follow you to other levels if they are adjacent. A vampire has a claw attack and a life-draining bite attack, and possesses sleep resistance and poison resistance.

Vampires are shapeshifters and can polymorph at will into vampire bats or fog clouds: They disguise themselves as the former when outside of the player's sight, and shift into the latter to flow under locked or inaccessible doors. A vampire killed in either form will revert to their base form. Standing on any altar scares vampires, similar to standing on Elbereth or a scroll of scare monster.[1]

Players in the form of a vampire are warned of any human or elf, and will turn into vampire bats if they polymorph again or use the #monster extended command - they can decline to do so if they have polymorph control.


Randomly generated vampires are always created hostile. A vampire can grow up into a vampire lord.

In addition to random generation, vampires are a somewhat uncommon find in graveyards. At least five vampires are generated in Orcus-town on level creation - two are placed near Orcus himself, and the other three are randomly placed across the town. Vampires will appear among the servants of Vlad the Impaler resting atop the chests at the top of his tower.

The Wizard of Yendor may create a clone of himself in the guise of a vampire via the Double Trouble monster spell.[2]

A vampire can leave behind a tainted human corpse upon death.[3][4][5] Human characters killed by a member of the vampire monster class arise as a vampire instead of a ghost in any bones file that is created.[6]

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.

Vampires will grow up into vampire leaders of the appropriate gender.

The mausoleum themed room may hold a vampire within the 3×3 subroom in the center.

As of commit 3c421da7, a vampire left behind in bones will have the same intrinsics as the former character.


Vampires often make for annoying fights, due to their ability to rob you of experience levels unless you have drain resistance, e.g. from an artifact weapon like Excalibur; MC3 is the next best option in the event you lack this resistance. They can wear armor to bolster their base AC of 1, though this is usually only a concern with bones files - most vampires will approach you as a vampire bat or be found in fog cloud form, which forces them to drop any armor they would find.

Vampires that shapeshift retain their current HP between forms, making it possible to bring them to low health and wait for them to assume their humanoid forms before finishing them off. A silver weapon with decent enchantment and/or skill level can bring them low in a few hits, and the silver damage applies regardless of their current form.

Vampires of deceased players found on bones levels can be formidable opponents: their natural AC of 1 will combine with the dead character's full set of armor, resulting in a monster that can be very difficult to hit. While they are thankfully unable to wield the late player's weapons, they will use any attack wands left behind.

As pets

Vampires are decently strong as pets, and only require two levels to grow up into vampire lords. However, pet vampires will shapeshift as normal unless you are wearing a ring of protection from shape changers - in their other forms, they are weak fighters that cannot wear armor, and will not shapeshift back to humanoid form unless killed or forced back to normal by the ring. Players planning to keep vampire pets should identify this ring as soon as possible.

Though their hit dice in humanoid form are somewhat mediocre, it remains the vampire's strongest form by far: its good base AC, draining capabilities and access to all armor gives them the potential for high survivability. However, their silver weakness and lack of elemental resistances can easily work against them.

As a polyform

Vampires are a decent polyself form for players - they are strong with 12 speed, can wear the same armor as the player and allow wielding of any non-silver weapon, and you can easily compensate for the lack of elemental resistances. They are also inediate and have regeneration, flight, and breathlessness that you can readily take advantage of. The silver weakness is just as much a danger to you in this form as it is to other vampires, however, and you will need to avoid engaging certain monsters such as cockatrices in melee, lest your bite attack lead to YASD. Additionally, most players capable of controlled polymorph will usually opt for vampire lords, which are strictly better in all aspects.


The vampire first appears Hack121, a variant of Jay Fenlason's Hack, as well as Hack for PDP-11. It is included in the initial bestiary for Hack 1.0.

The vampire's shapeshifting abilities were added in NetHack 3.6.0. Some players may prefer them as pets in previous versions and some variants based on them, where they will not shapeshift out of any armor you give them.


Chatting to vampires in their humanoid form will produce various responses from them depending on the time of day, the monster's peacefulness and your current form.


Many variants add the vampire as a playable race and make some changes to the vampire monster.


Vampires are a starting race added in SLASH'EM - this means that Doppelgangers cannot polymorph into vampires, though they can still polymorph into other members of the vampire monster class. Player vampires and other players polymorphed into undead vampires can fly and do not need to breathe, but they cannot eat solid food and have to rely on fresh blood as a food source.

Player and pet vampires can drain blood from living victims or corpses, or else drink a potion of blood or vampire blood, as nutritional replacements for rations and the like; drained corpses are still eligible to sacrifice if they are not too old. Vampires in the dungeon may generate with either potion, and will drink non-cursed vampire blood to restore 2-10 HP - they gain nothing from drinking cursed potions. A non-vampire player that quaffs any potion of vampire blood will polymorph into a vampire; they will suffer a −3 alignment penalty if neutral, while lawfuls and Monks take a −15 alignment penalty and anger their god. The polymorph is "semi-permanent" and has no timeout, lasting until your HP is reduced to 0.

Monster vampires hit monsters as +2 weapons and require a +2 weapon to be hit; they are often generated with opera cloaks and can be potentially farmed for them, with the caveat of being harder to dispatch depending on the cloak. For cases where the opera cloak is the randomized appearance of a cloak of magic resistance, the acid stream spell is a good substitute for the magic missile.


Main article: Racial monster

In GruntHack, vampires are among the monsters that can be generated as one of several races.


As with SLASH'EM, UnNetHack also adds the vampire as a starting race, and randomly generated vampires are also often generated with opera cloaks. The same conditions for player and polyself vampires apply as in SLASH'EM, as do the conditions for vampires generating with potions of blood or vampire blood.

Vampire blood quaffed by non-vampire players will polymorph them depending on beatitude - an uncursed potion will turn them into a vampire, as with SLASH'EM. The same conditions and penalties apply.


In dNetHack, vampires are also a starting race. Pet vampires will drain corpses for nutrition the same way a player vampire does, with similar conditions (i.e. corpses must be less than 3 turns of age and have blood).

Vampires may appear in the court of a throne room ruled by a vampire lord. Vampires appear in the Chaos Temple variant of the Chaos Quest, where 920 of the randomly generated monsters on the Earth Temple level will be vampires.

Encyclopedia entry

He can transform himself to wolf, as we gather from the ship
arrival in Whitby, when he tear open the dog; he can be as
bat, as Madam Mina saw him on the window at Whitby, and as
friend John saw him fly from this so near house, and as my
friend Quincey saw him at the window of Miss Lucy. He can come
in mist which he create--that noble ship's captain proved him
of this; but, from what we know, the distance he can make this
mist is limited, and it can only be round himself. He come on
moonlight rays as elemental dust--as again Jonathan saw those
sisters in the castle of Dracula. He become so small--we
ourselves saw Miss Lucy, ere she was at peace, slip through a
hairbreadth space at the tomb door.
[ Dracula, by Bram Stoker ]

The Oxford English Dictionary is quite unequivocal:
_vampire_ - "a preternatural being of a malignant nature (in
the original and usual form of the belief, a reanimated
corpse), supposed to seek nourishment, or do harm, by sucking
the blood of sleeping persons. ..."


  1. src/monmove.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 154
  2. src/wizard.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 50
  3. src/mon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 147: Converting monster index of undead to corpses of their living counterparts
  4. src/mon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 171: undead_to_corpse case for vampires
  5. src/mon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 351: Undead corpses and their ages are handled with other "special" death drops
  6. src/end.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 517