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"When "demon" behaviour is referred to, this usually means the monster attribute M2_DEMON (this is what the is_demon() macro checks for example). "demon" could also refer to the classes "imp or minor demon" (S_IMP) or "major demon" (S_DEMON). This page needs to disambiguate these cases.

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Demons are a class of monster mostly found in Gehennom. The class is not synonymous with the monsters represented by the & symbol: the riders and djinn are not demons (although NetHack itself is inconsistent on this point; asking for information on a rider will identify it as a "Major Demon"), and the i class is comprised of minor demons. The mail daemon is technically a member of this class, but is not generally viewed as an actual monster.

Characteristics of demons[]

Although minor demons are not a significant threat, major demons are quite strong opponents, and can summon other major demons and demon lords. (Foocubi and balrogs cannot summon, but other demons can summon them.) Sacrificing your own race can summon a demon lord, as can angering a chaotic god when on an altar (by praying with negative alignment, converting a chaotic altar, amongst other effects).

All major demons resist fire, poison, level drain, and death rays, although they are still considered living creatures. Major demons cannot be tamed unless you are polymorphed into a demon yourself.

Types of demons[]

The minor demons are

SLASH'EM adds these minor demons

The ordinary major demons are

SLASH'EM adds these major demons

Unique demons[]

The named demons are divided into two ranks: the lower demon lords, and the higher demon princes.

The demon lords are

The demon princes are

Of these, Juiblex, Orcus, Baalzebub and Asmodeus have lairs within Gehennom, and are guaranteed to appear in every game (SLASH'EM gives every unique demon a lair). The others must be summoned, and will not necessarily appear in a given game.

Nemesis demons[]

There are two quest nemesis demons. They can not be summoned by other demons. They can cast summon nasties, but since they are outside of Gehennom, will probably not summon other demons.

Demon summoning[]

Every major demon has a 1/13 chance of summoning another major demon for each attack hitting you. The difference between demons, demon lords, and demon princes lies in which other demons they can summon, and how often. See the Demon summoning spoiler for details.[1] The flag "generated only in Gehennom" is ignored. Demons will never summon demons while attacking other monsters, therefore tame demons will not normally summon other demons (which would be hostile, anyway).

Summoning while polymorphed[]

If you are polymorphed into a major demon that can summon, and you hit a monster with bare or gloved hands, there is a 1 in 13 chance of summoning a tame demon at your side, announced with the message "Some hell-p has arrived!"[2]. This is done on a per-attack basis, so demons with many attacks, such as a marilith will be more likely to summon a demon. You will never summon a demon lord.