How To Acquire Pets In Nethack 3.3.1 And Slash'EM 6E4F8
This spoiler about tame monsters in Nethack and Slash'EM was written
by Eva Myers, with helpful contributions from J. Ali Harlow. If you
have any comments or corrections,
please feel free to email me.
Other spoilers about pets which may be of interest are:
About pets, minions and spell beings
There are three different types of tame monster in Slash'EM:
- Pets, which are just like pets in vanilla Nethack.
- Minions, which are granted to you by your deity, and have names like
``the guardian angel of Tyr'' or ``the hell hound of Smoke''. In
Nethack, the only way to acquire a minion is to reach the Astral
Plane and be given a guardian angel. In Slash'EM, you can also be
given minions as a reward for sacrificing, and if you are Lawful and
pray with very low hit points, your god will often send you a minion
- Spell beings, which are created by casting a spell of flame sphere
or freeze sphere, but can be polymorphed. Spell beings do not exist
in vanilla Nethack.
The main distinction between these types of tame monster is that pets
have multiple uses, but minions and spell beings are only useful for
helping you kill monsters. Here are the differences between them in
- Pets will avoid cursed items (in Slash'EM, pet demons or undead will
avoid blessed items instead). Minions and spell beings don't care
about the blessed/cursed status of an object.
- Only pets will pick up objects.
- Minions and spell beings don't eat or require nutrition, even if
they are a type of monster which would normally need to eat.
- Minions cannot be saddled or ridden.
- Minions cannot be renamed.
Since spell beings are magical manifestations of the spellcaster's
mind, you are held responsible for their activities. If your spell
being kills a monster, everything is as if you had killed it - you
gain the experience, and if the monster was peaceful, you suffer the
usual penalties. If your spell being is in its original form, and it
explodes at a peaceful monster but does not succeed in killing it,
this will anger the monster.
[The following two points about polymorphed spell beings were observed
in wizard mode, but may be bugs.]
Spell beings in their natural form are mindless and will therefore
attack anything. If you polymorph a spell being, it will continue to
attack monsters of vastly higher level than itself, even if it is
polymorphed into an intelligent monster. Also, peaceful monsters
attacked by a polymorphed spell being will remain peaceful, whether or
not the spell being succeeds in injuring them. (If it manages to kill
them, then you will still get the blame, but this seems to provide a
fairly foolproof method of killing peacefuls if you are willing to
take the penalty but unsure whether you'll survive the combat.)
What cannot be tamed
Not all monsters are capable of being tamed. The Wizard of Yendor,
Medusa and your quest nemesis are your implacable enemies and cannot
even be made peaceful.
The following monsters appear to be untameable for technical reasons:
they have their own special structures and cannot also have the
structure for a pet. They can be made peaceful, and indeed some of
them are peaceful by default.
- Divine minions (which weren't tame to begin with)
- Covetous monsters i.e. monsters who want unique items and/or
your quest artifact. The following monsters are covetous:
- The Wizard of Yendor and your quest nemesis (who are both totally
- Nightmare, the Beholder and Vecna (Slash'EM only)
- Vlad the Impaler
- Named demon lords and princes
- Master liches and arch-liches
- Gypsies (Slash'EM only)
Demons cannot be tamed unless you are polymorphed into a demon.
In addition, monsters may resist being tamed by a scroll of taming,
magic harp, or spell of charm monster or command undead. The
probability depends on their magic resistance; it is
|Monster's magic resistance|
|100 + alev - dlev|
where alev is your experience level if you used a spell or 9
otherwise, and dlev is the monster's level or 50, whichever is less.
Some monsters (e.g. the Riders) have such high magic resistance that
they can never be tamed in this way unless they are first
Taming existing monsters
There are seven ways to tame existing monsters:
- Throw food which it can eat at a domestic animal (including
horses). At night when there is a full moon, attempting to tame a
dog in this way has a 5/6 chance of failure.
- Read a scroll of taming
- Cast a spell of charm monster
- Play a magic harp
- Cast a spell of command undead (Slash'EM)
- Step on a magic trap (small chance, but monsters won't resist)
- Read the blessed Book of the Dead (tames nearby undead of your
Polymorphing yourself into a female egg-laying monster and laying an
egg is a useful technique for acquiring pets. You can also sometimes
get pets from eggs which you didn't lay, although this is probably
less useful. Any dragon egg which hatches while you are carrying it
will become a tame baby dragon. If you are male, any egg at all which
hatches while carried by you has a 50% chance of yielding a pet.
(From the source code, ``The identity of one's father is learned, not
If you have lycanthropy, or are playing a member of the Lycanthrope
race in Slash'EM, you can ``summon help'' with the #monster command.
Gremlins can multiply in fountains or by falling into water, brown
molds and blue jellies may multiply from an attacker's heat, and
puddings may divide when hit. If any of this happens to you while
polymorphed, or to an existing pet, the resulting monsters will be
Raising the dead
The Slash'EM Healer technique of revivification can be used to
resurrect any monster, and if its chance of resisting the charm
monster spell was less than 100%, it will revive tame if possible and
otherwise peaceful if possible. The Necromancer technique of raise
zombies will raise humanoid corpses as zombies and then attempt to
tame them, but they will have the same chance of resisting as if you
had cast charm monster at them.
There are other ways of resurrecting monsters, and monsters can rise
from the dead on their own (e.g. if they wear amulets of life
saving). However, only revivification and raise zombies will tame an
untame monster. A pet which rises from the dead has a chance of
coming back tame, provided that it wasn't abused while alive.
Other methods for creating pets
You can apply a figurine to create a monster. If the figurine is
blessed, there is an 80% chance that the monster will be tame, but if
it is uncursed or cursed the chance is only 10%. Some people wish for
a blessed figurine of an Archon so as to have a powerful pet.
You can also acquire a tame djinni by rubbing a magic lamp or quaffing
a smoky potion, but this isn't very useful, especially compared to
getting a wish from a djinni.
The spell of create familiar will create a pet from thin air. This
pet has a 1/3 chance of being your preferred pet type (cat or dog) and
a 2/3 chance of being a random monster. Unfortunately, create
familiar is a level 6 spell, and therefore not of much use by the time
you are able to cast it.
In Slash'EM, some artifacts can be invoked to summon pets. The Hand
of Vecna will summon undead creatures, the Candle of Eternal Flame
will summon a fire elemental, and the Storm Whistle will summon a