The minotaur, H, is an especially deadly NetHack monster. Minotaurs are notoriously difficult to kill and deal out incredible amounts of damage, leading to many deaths by their hands even by experienced players. They are also infamous for being one of the few monsters to ignore Elbereth.
Fortunately, they are never randomly generated. There is always at least one generated on each maze level and one on the Ranger quest home level. They can also be summoned by the Summon nasties monster spell.
To estimate how badly you can expect to be stomped, see armor class.
Minotaurs are carnivorous. They cannot wear armor or wield weapons. They will open unlocked doors, but are stopped by locked doors and boulders, and, as they do not fly, all traps will affect them. Since they are not intelligent, they cannot make use of unicorn horns, amulets, potions of gain level, or unlocking tools.
Some minotaur-repellent ideas, roughly in decreasing order of effectiveness (the last three options are virtually last-ditch efforts):
- Taming, by whatever means, is guaranteed to work. Minotaurs have zero magic resistance.
- A minotaur is a worthy candidate for a wand of death charge. If not magic resistant or reflecting, be careful where you aim - fire in a panic and you might eat the rebound.
- If a minotaur has interrupted your dig for victory, zap a wand of digging straight down (unless on the Castle level).
- A very fast spellcaster, preferably armed with jumping, might be able to keep a distance and pick the minotaur apart. Be careful not to get backed into a corner.
- An expert archer or dagger-thrower can do the same thing.
- Attack wands are another option; watch when they run out of charges. If the minotaur is in a maze, use rebounds to deal double damage, but only if you are resistant.
- If you have free action, wield a potion of paralysis and smash it over the minotaur's head, buying yourself a few (approximately 3-12) turns to kill it, run, or prepare some of the other options mentioned here.
- Build a boulder fort and pick it apart.
- Build an acid blob fort to buy yourself time to either dig down or combine inventory items (performing alchemy, or writing a scroll of taming).
- Zap the minotaur with a wand of sleep and run/dig/teleport. You will probably have to deal with the minotaur later, though.
- Zap the minotaur with a wand of sleep and try to kill it in melee before it wakes back up. Make sure you have an escape item in case this doesn't work.
- Engage the minotaur head-on. Unless you're well-kitted, this is probably a bad idea.
- Throw a potion of paralysis at the minotaur, buying yourself a few free hits or a few turns to run. Thrown potions are quite likely to miss.
Minotaurs can easily be tamed, but do not make viable pets by the time you encounter them. On the upside, they have strong attacks and can get up to 22 hit dice with 176 hit points. On the downside, they cannot make use of any equipment, have no resistances, can be swallowed by digesters, and will eat shapeshifter corpses. However, a spellcaster that can reliably cast charm monster may want to tame minotaurs simply to avoid fighting them.