Headstone is a dungeon feature represented by |.

When the player character dies and leaves a corpse, a grave is created with the tombstone bearing the character's name and manner of death.

Graves may also be randomly generated, in which case grave-robbing may be worthwhile. Those in a graveyard are empty.

Graves can only occur on an open, non-trapped floor square.


Bad effectsEdit

Digging into a grave may result in an alignment penalty[1]:

Samurai -1 if lawful, +1 if chaotic "You disturb the honorable dead!"
Archeologist -3 if lawful, +3 if chaotic "You have violated the sanctity of this grave!"
Other -1 if lawful and alignment record > -10 "You have violated the sanctity of this grave!"

The owner of the grave may be[2]

2/5 A very old Corpse "You unearth a corpse."
1/5 A Zombie "The grave's owner is very upset!" (if hallucinating: "Dude! The living dead!")
1/5 A Mummy "You've disturbed a tomb!" (if hallucinating: "I want my mummy!")
1/5 Empty "The grave seems unused. Strange...."


Graves from dead players never contain treasure (the treasure is left on top of the grave).

Randomly generated graves may contain treasure if you dig for it. Treasure is generated this way in the same way as the rest of the level,[3] except it is cursed.[4]

  • 1/3 chance of a pile of gold
  • 0-4 randomly generated objects


You cannot engrave on a grave with your finger. Engraving with a hard object generates a Ghoul (once per grave), "you disturb the undead!" Engraving this way abuses wisdom.[5] Elbereth is ignored on headstones; this is to prevent cheeky players from naming themselves Elbereth in order to leave behind a permanently warded square when they die.


Player graves are inscribed with the cause of death. Randomly generated grave inscriptions include (NAO adds custom epitaphs):

  • Saved by the bell. (There is also a bell on top of the grave)[6]
  • Go away!
  • 1994-1995. The Longest-Lived Hacker Ever
  • Be careful, or this could happen to you!
  • Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice
  • Beware of Electric Third Rail
  • Caution! This grave contains toxic waste
  • Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go. (Thurmont, Maryland)
  • Here lies Ezekiel, age 102. The good die young. (East Dalhousie, Nova Scotia)
  • Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon me for not rising (Ruidoso, New Mexico)
  • Here lies my wife: Here let her lie! Now she's at rest and so am I. (John Dryden's epitaph for his wife)
  • Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake. Stepped on the gas instead of the brake. (Uniontown, Pennsylvania)
  • I made an ash of myself. (Julian Skaggs of West Virginia, who was cremated)
  • Look out below!
  • Made in Taiwan
  • Note -- there are NO valuable items in this grave
  • Og friend. Og good dude. Og died. Og now food
  • He always lied while on the earth and now he's lying in it
  • Please don't dig me up. I'm perfectly happy down here. -- Resident
  • Postman, please note forwarding address: Gehennom, Asmodeus's Fortress, fifth lemure on the left
  • Mary had a little lamb/Its fleece was white as snow/When Mary was in trouble/The lamb was first to go
  • Rest in peace
  • Rest In Pieces
  • R.I.P.
  • Soon ripe. Soon rotten. Soon gone. But not forgotten.
  • Soon you'll join this fellow in hell! -- the Wizard of Yendor
  • Sum quod eris ("I am what you will be"--dead, that is--in Latin.)
  • The Grave of the Unknown Hacker
  • We weren't sure who this was, but we buried him here anyway

Source code Edit

  • make_grave generates a headstone with a (random or given) epitaph. Graveyards and bones files call this function directly.
  • mkgrave may generate treasure and the "saved by the bell" grave. Randomly generated headstones call this function.

Encyclopedia entry (for "Grave") Edit

"Who'd care to dig 'em," said the old, old man,
"Those six feet marked in chalk?
Much I talk, more I walk;
Time I were buried," said the old, old man.

[ Three Songs to the Same Tune, by W.B. Yeats ]

References Edit

  1. dig.c#line769
  2. dig.c#line782
  3. mklev.c#line1397
  4. mklev.c#line1402
  5. engrave.c#line532
  6. mklev.c#line1395, mklev.c#line1409
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