For pets in SLASH'EM, see pet (SLASH'EM).

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"pet #chatting messages need to be linked from here. Also, we need tips on how to equip your weapon/armor-using pet. [rgrn thread]"

A pet is your companion in the dungeon. By default, each character starts with a pet, though you may acquire many more.

Pros and cons of pets[]


  • They can be used to determine whether items are cursed.
  • They are useful for stealing from shops without angering the shopkeeper.
  • They can be a great help in combat.
  • They can kill peaceful monsters for you (you are never penalized for the actions of your pets).
  • They will sometimes alert you to the presence of nearby traps, by whining or by setting them off.
  • Some pets can be ridden, which is handy if the pet is faster than you or can fly.


  • Carnivorous pets often eat tasty corpses that you may want to eat.
  • Herbivorous pets are tricky to keep fed and may attack you if they are confused from hunger.
  • Pets may kill peaceful monsters that you want to keep alive. This is a particular problem if they are strong enough to kill priests and shopkeepers.
  • Pets may awaken nymphs and leprechauns that you would rather leave asleep.
  • Pets can get in the way of vital spell, wand, or ranged attack shots.
  • The more pets you have, the more tedious it becomes to keep them with you. This problem is greatly reduced if you have a magic whistle.
  • A pet that does not eat may become hostile to you because you cannot increase its tameness, which may decrease if you leave it on a different level or commit other game blunders. A hostile polymorphed Vampire lord ex-pet with equipment you gave it who is 8 levels higher than you is a terrifying sight indeed.
  • A pet gremlin near a large body of water may grow to an army of gremlins which are very troublesome.
  • Pets will erode the Elbereth engravings (with a coin on top). You might want to partition the dungeon and lock monsters away.

Acquiring pets[]

Every pet is a tame monster and every tame monster is a pet. The relative tameness of a pet is affected by how well you care for your pet.

Starting pet[]

Every hacker enters with a pet unless they have specifically set pettype:none in their configuration file. This is a kitten, a little dog, or a pony. If your role specifies a type in the table below, your pet will be of that type, otherwise it will be of the pettype you have selected (if any) or an equal chance of a kitten or little dog.

The pet may or may not have a name, depending on whether certain environment variables (catname, dogname, horsename) in the configuration file are set; in addition, certain roles have built-in default pet names if you have not specified a name. Names of pets (and other critters) can be set/changed using the call command.

New pets[]

  1. Most monster types can be tamed (i.e. made into pets) with a scroll of taming, magic harp, or spell of charm monster.
  2. Domestic animals (dog d, cat f, horse u, or a chameleon or other shapeshifter imitating any of these) can be tamed with food; just throw the food at the critter in question. Dogs and cats can be tamed with "people food" (food rations, pancakes, fortune cookies, etc.) and tripe rations, and most non-poisonous fresh meaty corpses, as well as meat items created with stone to flesh (meat balls, meat rings, meat sticks, etc.). Horses can be tamed with fruits, vegetables, and and most non-poisonous vegetarian corpses, yellow mold being one exception. For domesticated animals only, throwing a food item that the critter will not eat (including tins or rotting corpses) at it will pacify it, giving you time to find something tasty to tame it with. Do not throw foods that will "splat" (eggs and melons); this will only aggravate peaceful monsters and have no effect on hostile ones.
  3. Another way to obtain pets, if one is a werecreature, is to call one's #monster brethren (which arrive tame). This tactic can be combined with a polytrap to produce armies of high-quality pets.
  4. If a fresh monster egg hatches while being carried in open inventory, the baby monster may be generated tame (all dragon eggs; all eggs laid by the player; and for male players only, 50% chance for any type of monster egg), with an appropriate message:
    You see a guardian naga hatchling slither out of your pack!
    [If tame] Its cries sound like, "Daddy|Mommy?"
    • Note that "just an egg" eggs will never hatch (a scroll or spell of identify will tell you the type if it is a monster egg; if the post-identification type is still just "egg", it is not a monster egg). If the egg is in a bag or other container when it tries to hatch, it becomes rotten instead. Rotten eggs can be refreshed with a wand of undead turning and will again have a chance to hatch.
  5. A female hero polymorphed into an oviparous monster can lay eggs by #sitting on an empty square; they will hatch tame. (Do not keep the eggs in containers or they will go rotten instead.)
  6. If a hero polymorphed into a gremlin jumps into a body of water, new tame gremlins are created.
  7. Casting the spell create familiar will create a tame domestic animal (1/3 chance) or a tame random monster (2/3 chance, unless the randomly created monster is of an untameable type).
  8. A hero who is polymorphed into any demon other than a balrog or a foocubus, and hits a monster without using a weapon, will sometimes see the message "Some hell-p has arrived!" and receive a pet demon. One time in six, this will be a random demon of the same alignment as the hero, and the rest of the time, a demon of the same type as the current form of the hero.
  9. Quaffing a smoky potion or #rubbing a magic lamp may summon a tame Djinni. However, whether or not the djinni is tame is random, and the djinni will be as likely hostile or peaceful as tame for uncursed or blessed potions and magic lamps. (For cursed potions and lamps, the djinni is very likely to be hostile.)
  10. The way to acquire the most esoteric and powerful pets is using figurines. Even though you might face Archons and such in the dungeons, they generally resist taming. Should you want to have an Archon as a pet, you may wish for a blessed figurine of an Archon and then apply it: in 8 out of 10 cases it will be tame and in 1 out of ten cases it will be hostile. The numbers are reversed for a cursed figurine.
  11. Tame minions are not technically pets, but still fight on your side. Entering the Astral Plane, you will get a guardian angel unless generating conflict or badly aligned. In SLASH'EM, minions can also be acquired by sacrifice and (if lawful) prayer.

Restrictions on pets[]

Certain monsters cannot be made tame no matter what you do. In most cases, they will be made peaceful instead. They are:

Protect your pet[]

It is in very bad form to attack your pet. If you are hallucinating, try using the #chat command to figure out which of the strange beings around you is your pet. You should also be very careful when blinded, confused, stunned, or when wielding Stormbringer.

Pets are vulnerable, especially when young. In the first few dungeon levels it is incumbent on you to lead, not follow your pet into unexplored rooms, where pits and other traps are far more dangerous to your pet than to you; the humble falling rock trap is probably one of the most well-known culprits, hence its nickname of "kitty killer". If your pet does get trapped, try #untrapping it.

Similarly to you, pets level up by defeating monsters. However, while your character gains experience points that build towards a new experience level, pets gain one hit point for every monster killed, and their level is increased to keep it adequate to the hit points they have. That potentially allows them to level-up faster than the player. Thus, it may be helpful to allow your pet to finish off weak monsters like grid bugs or newts to quickly gain levels early on, so that it can become strong enough to survive the traps and encounters in the lower dungeon levels. See growing up for more details about pet advancement.

If your pet is killed, a wand or spell of undead turning can be used to resurrect it, but only if the manner of its demise leaves a corpse. However, it's not guaranteed that the pet will be resurrected tame - if, while your pet was alive, you abused it or were the one who actually killed it (even if accidentally), it will always be resurrected hostile. Even if you didn't abuse or kill it, there's still a chance, though smaller, that it will come back hostile. So you should have the means to (re)tame your pet ready in case you decide to resurrect it.

They say discretion is the better part of valor. Pets don't always possess such discretion, and often find themselves overpowered by opponents they take on. Although a pet will not attack a monster which could kill it in one round, this calculation takes no account of the monster's weapon or passive attack. Be especially careful about bringing dogs or cats into the Gnomish Mines, or horses into shops, especially in the deeper levels. Horses seem especially vulnerable to mimics, and have also been known to attack shopkeepers, as they reach a higher level than dogs or cats. (A pet will not attack a monster which is two or more levels higher than itself. A fully grown large cat or dog is level 9, a fully grown warhorse is level 10, and a shopkeeper is level 11.)

There are a number of subtly different messages associated with the death of a pet.

  • You hear the rumble of distant thunder... - you killed it yourself. Penalty -15 alignment and -1 Luck.
  • You hear the studio audience applaud! - same as above while hallucinating.
  • You feel guilty about losing your pet like this. - you displaced it, causing it to drown or otherwise die. Penalty -15 alignment and an angry god.
  • You feel sad for a moment. - pet starved to death.
  • You have a sad feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet died in combat or due to a trap.
  • You have a melancholy feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet (light or sphere) exploded.
  • You have a peculiarly sad feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet turned to stone.
    • (SLASH'EM) - this message also appears if your pet is hit by a gaze of death from a catoblepas or the Beholder.
  • You have a queasy feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet (purple worm, trapper, or lurker above) swallowed one of the Riders.
  • You have a strangely sad feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet clay golem was cancelled by a gremlin.
  • May (pet) rust in peace. - pet iron golem was hit by a rusting attack.
  • May (pet) rot in peace. - pet wood golem was hit by a rotting attack.
  • (SLASH'EM only) May (pet) roast in peace. - pet straw, wax, or paper golem was hit by a fire attack.

There is no special penalty for abandoning or losing track of pets, eating your pets' corpses (normal penalty from corpses of the pets' species still apply, such as cannibalism for cat and dog corpses), or (surprisingly) for genociding your pet's species or class.


Your pets follow you along stairways and portals if they are adjacent to you when you climb/descend/enter (except when they're busy eating or can't move).

Life can be frustrating if you are considerably faster than your pet. A wand of speed monster can be helpful, as can a whistle, especially a magic whistle.

Removal of items which may be cursed from corridors can't hurt, unless, of course, one of the items is a loadstone. See junk. In that case (or if a corridor is blocked by a trap), try digging a path around the item/trap in question.

If you try to walk on a pet's square, you have a 6/7 chance of swapping places with it (never if it's a long worm, you are in a shop, or punished).[1] If the pet can't move, but you otherwise would swap places, you have a 1/6 chance of swapping places anyway.[2]

Feeding pets[]

For the three cardinal domesticable species, appropriate foods for routine feeding are as for taming. Eggs (including rotten eggs) are appropriate for feeding carnivorous (and omnivorous) pets like dogs and cats, but they should be dropped with the d command, not thrown. (Eggs that pets will not eat are probably cockatrice and should be #named and saved.) Additionally, starving pets will eat some foods which they will not otherwise (e.g., starving horses will eat "people food" such as food rations).

Pets gain 2-8 times more nutrition than players from food (smaller ones gain more), but take the same time to eat it.[3]

Generally your pets (especially the carnivorous ones) will feed themselves. Sometimes they will feed you, as they will kill monsters of types that they will not eat but that you might, or you stand a chance to beat them to the corpse.

For some pet types, notably domesticated animals and intelligent monsters, it is advisable to #chat with your pet frequently. Their vocalizations change noticeably when they are hungry.

When a pet is starving (500 turns after they became hungry) they become confused and their maximum hit points is divided by 3. See "Messages", below.

Pets can be trained to more reliably drop items near you by giving them treats after they drop something; this willingness to 'fetch' is known as apport.

Every time a pet eats (no matter what they eat) their tameness goes up by 1, to a max of 20.

Pets on another level lose tameness but still burn nutrition. If a pet on a different level would have starved before becoming untame, it will become hostile. Otherwise, it will become peaceful. If you cannot find enough food for your herbivorous pet, leave it on another level and let it become untame rather than letting it starve, then re-tame it later when food is available.

Carnivorous and omnivorous pets will eat wraith corpses and gain one level for each, capped at 15 over base level. (There is no cap for gains from engulfing live wraiths.) They will also eat chameleon and doppelganger corpses, which will polymorph your pet.


  • You feel worried about your <pet>. (Your pet is starving out of sight: confused from hunger, maximum hit points 25%, 250 more turns to live[4])
  • <pet> is confused from hunger." (in sight, same as above)

Equipment for pets[]

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"Most of this isn't specific to tame monsters. It should be moved."

Monsters can use equipment like the player can, too, although there are a lot fewer things they can use.

The best way to equip a pet is to gather the items you want to give to the pet, put them in a dead end, and stand on them till your pet comes near, swap places with the pet and keep it standing over the pile till it picks up something and starts using it. If it drops something it had been using, you will need to swap places again to pick up their old stuff. For replacing equipment, the best way to do that is in a 2 long corridor with a locked door: +@A. This will take a long time as pets don't like to pick up things if you are nearby. If you just have a pile of stuff and they don't have anything that is being replaced, locking them in a closet will be faster, as pets are more likely to pick up things if you are far away.

Armor and extrinsics[]

Many humanoid monsters will pick up and wear armor. Only medium-sized monsters can wear body armor or shirts, and only medium or smaller monsters will fit into cloaks. All monsters know the enchantment of armor, and will replace one piece of armor with something that gives more AC [5] than what they are currently wearing. For example, your pet Archon will replace their +0 shield of reflection with a +3 small shield in some valkyrie's bone pile.

Generally for pets, you want to give them magic resistance, magic cancellation, and reflection. All items that work for the player also work for monsters, provided they fit into it or actually wear amulets. Large pets get MC2 only from the cornuthaum. Feel free to load up on metal armor, as it does not hinder monster spell-casting. Magicbane grants magic resistance, but monsters can swap artifact weapons, see below. Pets will not hang on to quest artifacts.

Most magical armor is not as useful for monsters as it is for players. Speed boots make monsters fast, but not very fast. An alchemy smock confers only poison resistance. Dragon scale mail and scales will grant their extrinsics to monsters. Other armor properties than those discussed do not affect monsters. After deciding what extrinsics your can give your pet with equipment, the rest of their armor should be to improve AC.


Monsters with a weapon attack will be able to pick up and wield weapons. They will ignore enchantment and BUC status of the weapon, and instead select which one to wield based on type. (Pets do not pick up cursed objects.) They prefer (in this order): any usable artifact weapon, cockatrice/chickatrice corpse, tsurugi, runesword, dwarvish mattock, two-handed sword, battle-axe, katana, unicorn horn, crysknife, trident, long sword, elven broadsword, broadsword, scimitar, silver saber, morning star, elven short sword, dwarvish short sword, short sword, orcish short sword, mace, axe, dwarvish spear, silver spear, elven spear, spear, orcish spear, flail, bullwhip, quarterstaff, javelin, aklys, club, pick-axe, rubber hose, war hammer, silver dagger, elven dagger, dagger, orcish dagger, athame, scalpel, knife, worm tooth.

Weapons in italics are two handed, and will be chosen only if the monster is strong and is not wearing a shield. A cockatrice corpse will not be chosen if it would immediately stone the monster. Stilettos and grappling hooks will never be chosen.

If a monster has a wielded artifact weapon and picks up any other, it can switch to the new artifact and drop the old, provided the artifact is not cross-aligned and the conditions for two-handed weapons are met (if applicable). "Can" here means the first admissible artifact in the game's internal list of carried object is chosen. If you want your pet to keep a specific artifact, give it to it while it is carrying as few objects as possible.

Intelligent monsters[]

Some monsters with hands will pick up and carry one unicorn horn, and apply it if afflicted. Prevent the hallucinating pet arch-lich this way!

Monsters with hands can put on amulets of life saving or reflection. They have no preference, just whatever they wore first. If you want them to remove it, you have to get a nymph/foocubus to steal it, polyself into such a stealer, or have the monster die. Your stealing attack only reduces a pet's tameness if you do not successfully acquire an object. The monster's amulet of life saving will not be used up if it was undead or had no neck.

Polymorphed monsters that were wearing an amulet will still wear said amulet. Those who want a level 49 purple worm might consider polymorphing one from an intelligent monster, as opposed to taming one. This may be time-consuming, but it will prevent any disintegration/death ray accidents.

Intelligent monsters will quaff potions of gain level. The max level they can get to is 49 (50 for named demons, but they cannot be tamed).

Equipment for pet owners[]

There is a lot of equipment that can be used to make pets more useful.

  • Magic whistles will teleport all pets to as close to the player as possible.
  • Stethoscopes will reveal information about your pet, including how injured it is, its level and max HP. Wands of probing will also give you this information and any equipment the pet is wearing, but they are less efficient due to their limited number of charges.
  • Leashes will keep pets nearby.
  • Saddles can be used to ride some pets. Riding boots and gloves will make applying a saddle easier.
  • Carried treats will cause pets to stay close to the player, this can be annoying if they're always underfoot.
  • Spells of (extra) healing for healing pets, charm monster for acquiring new pets, stone to flesh for making treats for carnivores and omnivores.
  • Spell of stone to flesh to revive stoned pets, they may revive hostile.
  • Wand or spell of undead turning to revive killed pets, they may revive hostile.
  • Spell of detect monster (or potions of monster detection) to locate pets.
  • Wand of speed monster, or potions of speed to make pets fast.
  • Eucalyptus leaves will act like magic whistles if blessed, and tin whistles otherwise; trees in Minetown may give a few if kicked.
  • Potions of healing, extra healing, full healing, restore ability, and gain ability will all restore a monster to full hit points if it hits them (wielded or thrown). Caution, this counts as abuse and may later make it resurrect hostile.
  • Potions of unholy water will cure 2-12 damage for demons, undead, and lycanthropes.
  • A key to lock your pet in a room or closet, so it can heal, or equip itself, or to have it not attack something you want kept alive.
  • A blindfold or towel if you have telepathy to locate your pets.
  • A Bag of holding (or a sack) is useful to carry all the other stuff and pet food, keep treats hidden, and to rob shops.

Preferred pets[]

The following is an alphabetically sorted list of monsters that make good pets. What pet you exactly would prefer always depends on the situation. Some players might prefer to have a dragon to saddle it and fly, while some players want a purple worm.

  • The Archon is by general consensus the best all-around pet, with a high maximum level, powerful physical and magical attacks, the ability to heal and haste itself, and its blinding gaze. They can fly, don't eat, and can wield weapons and wear some armor. Archons are difficult to tame, however, and a hostile Archon is a dangerous foe to stand idly near. A "blessed figurine of an Archon" is a common first wish for pacifist characters, and is popular in general.
  • Angels and ki-rin don't eat, can fly, and have superb attacks. The ki-rin in particular is noteworthy as it can take a saddle as well, making it an excellent mount, especially given that its high magic resistance and base level will prevent it from bucking you if you are generating conflict. They are best for a knight, as it will irrevocably lose one point of tameness each time a non-knight mounts it. Aleaxes are similar to Angels, but cannot fly.
  • Chameleon may polymorph into as well into some strong forms, as into easily tameable pet. They can die through attack when they morph into yellow lights or some other suicidal monsters, but taming one may be worth it for a while (e.g. to clear Minetown out of human beings).
  • Cockatrices can petrify many foes. They don't have much HP, however, and their low maximum level will prevent them from attacking tougher monsters. Consider using conflict to force your pet 'trice into combat (and watch your messages to be sure you aren't turning to stone).
  • Dragons can fly, can serve as a mount, and have very good attacks. Silver and gray dragons are immune to death rays; the former is also immune to disintegration blasts, while the latter is immune to polymorph and levelport traps. Yellow dragons are stoning-resistant. Note that they will only use their breath weapons in the presence of conflict, and then only in your direction.
  • Gargoyles can fly and also have decent AC and attacks; in addition, they are resistant to stoning and starvation. Note that pet dragons and winged gargoyles can be obtained by polymorphing yourself and laying eggs.
  • Jabberwocks, especially hasted, have excellent damage potential, and can fly and take a saddle. They lack resistances, though, and are thus vulnerable to being lost to traps, death/disintegration rays, and cockatrices.
  • Arch-liches can reach terrifyingly high levels, are always by your side even without the aid of a magic whistle, can heal themselves, and have a powerful freezing touch attack. They are impotent against cold-resistant monsters, however. You cannot tame master or arch-liches directly, but you can tame a lich or demilich and let it grow up.
  • A mastodon can substitute for a jabberwock as a pet. It has the same speed, and they have higher maximum level (30), which means more HP and being aggressive against more difficult enemies. Mastodons do in sum 8d8 damage instead of jabberwock's 8d10, but that's still quite a lot. They're herbivores, so you can eat most of the corpses they leave behind.
  • Mind flayers do a lot of melee damage with their tentacle attacks, and can clear out monsters from a distance with their psychic blasts, which won't damage you as long as the flayer isn't hostile. A confused pet flayer could be disastrous, however. A psychic blast could also wake the Wizard of Yendor before you're ready to deal with him.
  • Minotaurs are fast, hit very hard, and are guaranteed to appear on a maze-type level. They have 0 MR, so a scroll of taming is guaranteed to snare one on the first try (the spell of charm monster is of course dependent on your casting success rate).
  • Purple worms of high enough level can swallow and thus instantly kill almost any enemy. A pet worm can be leveled up quickly by setting it loose in a graveyard containing wraiths. Their engulfing attack is not subject to corpse-leaving odds. However, that means you need to keep them away from chameleons and doppelgangers.
  • Skeletons don't breathe, don't eat, slow monsters, wield weapons, and will resist cold, sleep, poison, petrification, and wands and fingers of death.
  • Titans fight superbly, can eat Trolls, and self-heal. One can always be found in one version of Medusa's Island.
  • Trolls have good physical attacks, and if killed may revive tame. They may also revive hostile, however, so be careful. Make sure your other pets don't eat your former pet's corpse.
  • Vampires and vampire lords don't breathe or eat, can fly, and will regenerate. They are also immune to death rays.

Cursed items[]

Pets will not pick up cursed items (but you should remember that some objects like the dunce cap and helm of opposite alignment become cursed when worn; also there is the loadstone, which, on top of being generated cursed, curses when dropped, even if you do manage to rid yourself of it). Except when there is food on the same spot, pets do not like to step on cursed items and will move reluctantly when they do. This is why cursed items in corridors can stand between you and your pet (see speed, above).

Learning from pets[]

Anthropomorphic pets can be sources of "transferable (between sessions) knowledge" in that observation of their weapon-wielding and armor-wearing preferences can yield information about the relative merits of such items, in general and in specific situations.

Observation of various pet species in combat (as well as of combat situations your pets seem to avoid) can also be very instructional. For example, if you watch your pet attack a floating eye, you will learn about their paralysis attack without experiencing it yourself.

Generally speaking, if a corpse is safe for your pet to eat, it is also safe for you. The exceptions to this rule are that it is not a good idea for you to eat your own species, dogs, cats, bats (which will stun you) or violet fungi (which will make you hallucinate). Pets will also eat corpses from monsters such as n and l that could give you the often undesirable teleportitis.

Resurrecting pets[]

If your pet died, you can try to resurrect it using a wand or spell of turn undead. If your pet was stoned, you can try the spell stone to flesh.  Trolls can resurrect themselves automatically. Alternatively, if your pet can give you a needed intrinsic, you might eat the corpse. Do not sacrifice former pets if they died tame.

See also[]

  • Apport - a measure of a pet's willingness to 'fetch'
  • Tameness - a measure of a pet's loyalty to its owner
  • Growing up - for information about pet advancement

External links[]