Weeping angel

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Weeping angels are monsters originally added in UnNetHack. They also appear in dNetHack and SlashTHEM. UnNetHack also includes a more powerful form, the weeping archangel.

Weeping angels have a unique property when it comes to movement: they are only able to move if they are not visible to the player. If they are visible, they become sessile and cannot move until the player loses sight of them, although they are still able to attack and use items. Detecting weeping angels via telepathy does not count as seeing them.


In UnNetHack, weeping angels have melee attacks that drain spellcasting energy, drain experience levels, and teleport the victim to another dungeon level, all of which are affected by magic cancellation. They also have a gaze attack that exercises intelligence (the weeping angel's "reflection in your mind weakens you"), but is completely nullified by reflection (the weeping angel "is covering its face").[2]

If two Weeping Angels attack each other under conflict, they will turn to stone ("The weeping angel and the weeping angel are permanently quantum-locked!")

Weeping angels have 33% chance to generate with a potion of blindness, allowing them to blind the player and approach them.[3]

Weeping archangel

UnNetHack also includes weeping archangels, which are more powerful than ordinary weeping angels. They are only generated in Gehennom and Sheol.[5]

Weeping archangels have a 33% chance to be generated with a wand of lightning and amulet of reflection, allowing them to blind the player to approach them and protecting them from ray attacks, including their own wands.[6]

Weeping archangels become extinct after seven have been generated.[7] This is a likely reference to the seven archangels in some Christian traditions.


In dNetHack, weeping angels move significantly faster, but are limited to one attack per game turn. While they are immobilized from observation, their AC is greatly amplified. They will stay in rooms and not venture into corridors, to avoid forcing the player into a permanent standoff in a dead-end corridor.

Their angel's touch attack teleports the character to a higher dungeon level, and drains experience levels based on how many dungeon levels up the character is moved. The angel's touch attack can be blocked by both teleportation control and drain resistance.

Weeping angels are dangerous to look at, however. Viewing a weeping angel without reflection may inflict weeping angel contamination, in which the remembered image of a weeping angel begins taking over the characters mind, eventually converting them into a new weeping angel. Characters contaminated by a weeping angel gradually lose wisdom to abuse. Once wisdom goes below 3, the character dies and rises from the grave as a new weeping angel.

Weeping angel contamination can be removed by:

  • any means of curse removal, such as a scroll, the spell, or an effigy. Using an effigy to remove weeping angel contamination will create another weeping angel next to you.
  • a source of amnesia (though this of course has significant drawbacks and should only be used as a last resort)
  • praying on a coaligned altar while in good standing with your deity. Weeping angel contamination is considered a major trouble, but only while praying on an altar.

During the endgame, weeping angels will enter corridors. Their touch attack also no longer teleports you and is no longer resisted by teleport control.


Weeping angels are inspired by a race of creatures from the BBC television series Doctor Who, which disguise themselves as inanimate statues in order to prey on the energy of other living creatures. A common method of feeding involves sending their prey into the past. To keep up their disguise, weeping angels in Doctor Who do not move while observed, but can move rapidly when not being observed.

The weeping angel's method of feeding, and avoidance of moving when observed, have been incorporated into its NetHack counterparts in various ways.

Encyclopedia entry

Lonely assassins they used to be called. No one quite knows
where they came from, but they're as old as the universe. Or
very nearly, and they have survived this long because they
have the most perfect defense system ever evolved. They're
quantum locked. They don't exist when they're being observed,
in the moment they are seen by any other living creature
they freeze into rock. No choice, it's a fact that their
biology, in the sight of any other living thing they literally
turn to stone. And you can't kill a stone. 'Course a stone
can't kill you either, but then you turn your head away.
Then you blink. And oh yes it can.

Doctor Who, "Blink"

"This whole book, it's a warning about the weeping angels, so
why no pictures? Why not show us what to look out for?"
"There was a bit about images. What was that?"
"Yes. Hang on.... 'That which holds the image of an angel
becomes itself an angel.'"

Doctor Who, "The Time of Angels"