Vlad the Impaler (dNetHack)

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In dNetHack and notdNetHack, Vlad the Impaler is much different than his NetHack incarnation: his stats from NetHack 3.4.3 are used as a baseline for the changes made to his attack routine, properties and other qualities. Vlad the Impaler is covetous and wants the Amulet of Yendor, the other invocation items, and the quest artifact of the player character's role - his effective AC is also slightly improved, with all 14 points of AC in the 'natural' category. Most of his other basic qualities are unchanged.

Vlad the Impaler has a single-target active gaze that can seduce targets like foocubi, a single weapon attack, and a vampiric bite attack. He possesses cold resistance, sleep resistance and poison resistance, as well as drain resistance and death resistance from being undead as in vanilla NetHack.


Vlad the Impaler is always generated hostile, and is not a valid form for polymorph.

Vlad the Impaler is always generated on a throne at the top floor of the Windowless Tower, with his wives Carmilla, Ilona Szilagy and Mina Harker generated in the same central room.

Vlad will always hold the Candelabrum of Invocation, and is always generated with a scimitar, a roundshield, a helmet, plate mail, a ruffled shirt, gauntlets, and armored boots - he also has a 18 chance of generating with a cloak that has the randomized appearance of an opera cloak. As Vlad is a prince to his kind, any weapons he generates with will be at least +1, and all armor will at least be +0.


Generally speaking, though an enterprising player could easily slay him, Vlad the Impaler should not be fought early in the game. Due to the insignificant early-game rewards for killing Vlad himself, coupled with the risk for an underprepared player, the best strategy is to loot the Windowless Tower when possible and save Vlad and his entourage for somewhere down the road. The Silver Key or another source of branchporting can be used to quickly return to the Tower for the Candelabrum of Invocation later.

An engagement ring is recommended regardless of a character's specific approach, and is practically mandated if you lack the ability to inflict enough burst damage on Vlad and each of his wives in a single round. Vlad and Carmilla have seduction gazes, but Mina Harker also has a seduction theft attack a la nymphs, and Ilona Szilagy casts magical spells. Despite being individually weak, they have the ability to fill the room quickly and turn a winning scenario into an unfortunate situation.

With all of the above in mind, Vlad the Impaler only has around 100 HP, deals minimal direct damage, and can easily be slain in a round or two by a mid-game character. The main reason to do so is for access to the scrolls of antimagic in the chest within his room if you lack a better source of magic resistance, but this requires that a character have the aforementioned engagement rings and potentially even drain resistance.

Even without slaying Vlad, there are other things to claim from the Windowless Tower: The blood potions dropped from the vampires in the closets and coffins surrounding Vlad can provide enough potions to dilute into a stock of holy water that can last the entirety of the early game, especially when combined with the guaranteed 4 potions holy water from the floor below. Be careful that wands of striking or fire are not zapped at the doors to Vlad's room, which will wake him up early.


Vlad the Impaler is a vampire that features heavily in many fictional works - he is based mostly on Bram Stoker's literary vampire, Count Dracula. Dracula and Vlad are both based on Vlad Drăculea, the Romanian name for the non-fictional Vlad the Impaler: Known as Vlad III or Vlad Dracula, he was a 15th-century Romanian prince, serving Voivode of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death in 1476/1477. He is often considered one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history and a national hero of Romania.

Vlad's moniker is derived from his invasion of Wallachia and subsequent conflict with the Saxons that inhabited Transylvania. When Vlad invaded Wallachia with Hungarian support in 1456, he fought and killed Vladislav II, his second cousin who had been installed as voivode by regent-governor of Hungary John Hunyadi nearly a decade prior. Vlad then began a purge among the Wallachian boyars to strengthen his position; the Transylvanian Saxons threw their support behind his opponents, Dan and Basarab Laiotă (who were Vladislav's brothers), and Vlad's illegitimate half-brother Vlad Călugărul. Vlad plundered the Saxon villages, taking the captured people to Wallachia, where he infamously had them impaled; peace was eventually restored in 1460.

Vlad also had two envoys of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II impaled, after the Sultan had ordered Vlad to pay homage to him personally - Vlad would then attack Ottoman territory in February 1462, massacring tens of thousands of Turks and Muslim Bulgarians. Mehmed launched a campaign against Wallachia to replace Vlad with Radu, Vlad's younger brother; the campaign met with some success, and more and more Wallachians deserted to Radu following a failed attempt by Vlad to capture the Sultan at Târgoviște during the night of 16–17 June 1462. When Vlad went to Transylvania in late 1462 to seek assistance from Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, Corvinus had him imprisoned. During his captivity in Visegrád from 1463 to 1475, anecdotes about his cruelty started to spread in Germany and Italy - this led to books describing Vlad's cruel acts becoming some of the first bestsellers in German-speaking territories after Vlad was killed in battle in or before January 1477.

In Russia, popular stories suggested that Vlad was able to strengthen his central government only by applying brutal punishments, and many 19th-century Romanian historians adopted a similar view. Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula was the first book to make a connection between Dracula and vampirism, but the titular character's portrayal is more directly based on the blood-sucking vampires of Romanian folklore than Vlad himself or his legendary cruelty. Stoker borrowed the name from "scraps of miscellaneous information" about the history of Wallachia when writing his book about Count Dracula - his main source described the historical Vlad as a wicked man, based on the aforementioned German stories (which the source considered reliable).

Encyclopedia entry

Vlad Dracula the Impaler was a 15th-Century monarch of the Birgau region of the Carpathian Mountains, in what is now Romania. In Romanian history he is best known for two things. One was his skilled handling of the Ottoman Turks, which kept them from making further inroads into Christian Europe. The other was the ruthless manner in which he ran his fiefdom. He dealt with perceived challengers to his rule by impaling them upright on wooden stakes. Visiting dignitaries who failed to doff their hats had them nailed to their head.