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A ghoul is summoned when you engrave on a headstone. Another ghoul will not be generated when you engrave on the same headstone again.

Tame ghouls eat only "old" corpses.[1]

There was a bug where one could repeatedly generate ghouls by engraving on the same headstone over and over again (with no limit).[1] [2] This bug was fixed in NetHack 3.4.0.

Encyclopedia entry Edit

The forces of the gloom know each other, and are strangely
balanced by each other. Teeth and claws fear what they cannot
grasp. Blood-drinking bestiality, voracious appetites, hunger
in search of prey, the armed instincts of nails and jaws which
have for source and aim the belly, glare and smell out
uneasily the impassive spectral forms straying beneath a
shroud, erect in its vague and shuddering robe, and which seem
to them to live with a dead and terrible life. These
brutalities, which are only matter, entertain a confused fear
of having to deal with the immense obscurity condensed into an
unknown being. A black figure barring the way stops the wild
beast short. That which emerges from the cemetery intimidates
and disconcerts that which emerges from the cave; the
ferocious fear the sinister; wolves recoil when they encounter
a ghoul.

[ Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo ]


In SLASH'EM, ghouls have been made slightly more dangerous, paralyzing for 1d6 turns and doing 1d4 damage. A ghoul is also the starting pet for a necromancer.


  1. Dog.c#line665

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