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For the monster class, see wraith (monster class).

A wraith, W, is a type of monster that appears in Nethack. They are a type of undead monster that are the namesake of the wraith monster class.

A wraith has a life draining touch attack, and possesses cold resistance, sleep resistance, poison resistance, drain resistance, and stoning resistance.

Eating a wraith corpse grants an experience level, but has the same 17 chance of being rotten as any other food item, which causes it to instantly "rot away completely".[1]


Randomly generated wraiths are always created hostile.

In addition to random generation, wraiths are quite common in graveyards.

Wraiths are the second quest monster for Priests, and make up 24175 monsters that are randomly generated in the Priest quest. Several wraiths are also generated on floors below the home level of the Priest quest at level creation: one is generated on the upper filler levels, three are generated on the lower filler level(s), and eight are generated on the goal level. The Priest quest also has several undead-filled graveyards that include wraiths among their ranks, and they may also appear among the monsters that are part of the second quest class for the branch, making up 6175 of the monsters that are randomly generated there - the random W placed on the goal level may be a wraith.

Wraiths also appear among the random W that are part of the second quest monster class for Wizards, making up 6175 of the monsters that are randomly generated on the Wizard quest - the random W placed on the home level may be a wraith.

Reading the Book of the Dead while it is cursed, or else while improperly performing the Invocation ritual on the vibrating square, will raise the dead and possibly summon wraiths.

Wraiths can be generated with a random offensive item, miscellaneous item and/or defensive item.

A wraith leaves a corpse 12 of the time upon death.

If a player character is killed by a member of the wraith monster class, they will rise from the grave as a wraith rather than a traditional ghost if bones are left.[2]

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.

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


Individually, wraiths are not especially strong but can be quite annoying due to their ability to drain levels - most characters will not have a means of reliably preventing this at the point they first encounter one, unless they obtain Excalibur or Stormbringer early. Other characters lacking a means of drain resistance should engage them from range if at all possible. A character that loses a level to a wraith can quickly regain it by either killing the wraith or obtaining experience through another source, such as eating a tripe ration.

The level gained from eating a wraith's corpse makes them a popular choice for reverse genocide, and the corpses provide zero nutrition, heavily reducing the risk of overeating; however, an oversatiated character can still choke on them. Wraith corpses cannot be tinned, but they can be kept fresh in an ice box. Those discovering the bones of a player killed by a W will have to contend with the tougher spirit of the former player, as wraiths can fly, use wands and read scrolls - on top of using the former inventory, the wraith can still drain levels as well.

Most players will resort to either hunting wraiths or finding/making potions of gain level in order to meet the level requirement for their Quest. Wraiths represent one of the many temptations for a Monk in particular to break vegan or even vegetarian conduct, as they may want the additional levels in order to access their quest or else obtain additional intrinsics.

Wraith farming

Main article: Wraith farming

Like all undead, wraiths killed on a level with a graveyard (or the Castle, which counts as a graveyard level for this purpose) are much less likely to leave a corpse, with a 118 chance if killed by the player or 16 if killed by anything else.[3] Players often lure graveyard wraiths up or down a stairway before dispatching it, or else level teleport or branchport via The Eye of the Aethiopica while the wraith is adjacent; the Eye is a frequently-used artifact in farming wraiths for this purpose. The cursed Book of the Dead can also be used for wraith farming.

Wizards and Priests can repeatedly cast create monster (or use a wand of create monster) on their quest's home level. Priests will generate far more wraiths on their quest overall, but due to every level in the branch being a graveyard level, they must lure them outside of the branch for the best chance of obtaining corpses. Wizards looking to farm wraiths may consider a strategic genocide of xorns so that more wraith-class monsters will generate - they will no longer have access to phasing via xorn polyform, but in return can farm wraiths freely without worrying about graveyards, especially once they retrieve the Eye. Any roles aiming to maximize their level via wraith corpses may also consider genociding other graveyard monsters such as zombies and vampires.

Either MC3 or drain resistance is highly recommended for a player transporting wraiths: Magic cancellation will not completely prevent level drain, but at worst decreases the odds that a second level is drained before the character can regain the previous level, e.g. by killing the wraith. Alternatively, graveyard wraiths can be saved for a pet purple worm, whose digestion attack is not subject to the odds of a corpse dropping; this does not work for players polymorphed into purple worms, since the gains will be lost upon polymorphing again or returning to normal.


The wraith first appears in Hack 1.21, a port of Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial bestiary for Hack 1.0.

Wraiths are sometimes used to drain for gain in NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions.


"Wraith" is a Scottish word that describes a ghost, spectre or apparition; the word has no commonly accepted etymology. It appeared in Scottish Romanticist literature, and has acquired the more general or figurative sense of "portent" or "omen"; in 18th- and 19th-century Scottish literature, it also applied to aquatic spirits. An association with the verb "writhe" was the etymology favored by J. R. R. Tolkien, whose use of the word in naming the creatures known as the Ringwraiths (or Nazgul) has influenced its later usage in fantasy literature.

The wraiths of Nethack originate from Dungeons & Dragons, where they are undead creatures born of evil and darkness; wraiths despise living things and light sources (particularly natural sunlight, which rendered them powerless) A wraith appears as a sinister, spectral figure robed in darkness and often lacking distinct features or appendages, save for glowing red eyes. Wraiths could drain the life from living creatures, turning them into new wraiths upon death; they were similar to wights, as both could only be harmed by either silver or enchanted weaponry.



In SLASH'EM, wraiths need a +1 weapon to hit, and have a 12 chance of generating with robes.[4] Wraith corpses also have different effects if eaten:[5]

Possibility Effect Message
10% You lose experience. "You feel that was a bad idea."
10% Your maximum HP and Pw decreases. "You don't feel so good ..."
20% Nothing happens. "You feel something strange for a moment."
10% Your maximum HP and Pw increases. "You feel physically and mentally stronger!"
50% You gain experience. "You feel that was a smart thing to do."


In dNetHack, wraiths can appear in the court of a throne room ruled by a vampire lord or vampire lady.

The lower filler levels of the Binder quest have a wraith in each of the three non-graveyard rooms, and wraiths may naturally appear in the graveyards themselves. Eight wraiths appear on the goal level of the Pirate quest.

In the Mordor Ruins variant of the Chaos Quest, several wraiths can appear in the Elven Forest, and one may appear on the Mordor Wall.

TNNT (the game)

In TNNT (the game), The DevTeam Office is a popular location to branchport wraiths to when farming.

Encyclopedia entry

Immediately, though everything else remained as before, dim and dark, the shapes became terribly clear. He was able to see beneath their black wrappings. There were five tall figures: two standing on the lip of the dell, three advancing. In their white faces burned keen and merciless eyes; under their mantles were long grey robes; upon their grey hairs were helms of silver; in their haggard hands were swords of steel. Their eyes fell on him and pierced him, as they rushed towards him. Desperate, he drew his own sword, and it seemed to him that it flickered red, as if it was a firebrand. Two of the figures halted. The third was taller than the others: his hair was long and gleaming and on his helm was a crown. In one hand he held a long sword, and in the other a knife; both the knife and the hand that held it glowed with a pale light. He sprang forward and bore down on Frodo.

[ The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]