Recently, while I was playing Nethack, I drank from a fountain and it created a water nymph, which then paralyzed my and stole almost all of my items. I followed it further into the dungeon, but, when attempting to attack it, it simply stole another item and teleported away.

So, how should I deal with a water nymph? Are there any optimal ways of killing her or escaping from her?


Each time you attack, as long as you actually hit you are doing damage and so it will eventually die if you just followed it around.

However, there's a few other things you can try - sometimes the Nymph might attack a floating eye and be frozen, allowing you to attack it freely.

  • If you have a pet, and they attack first, this can sometimes allow you to do enough damage before they then manage to freeze you too.

  • Wands with projectile attacks allow you to attack from a distance, meaning it can't freeze you, or you could polymorph/teleport the nymph away too.

  • If you're carrying a mirror (?) then the nymph will always take this first and depending how quickly you unfreeze then you maybe able to kill it immediately after it takes this.

  • Also you could go extreme and just genocide all the nymphs, tho I believe they do drop some useful items.

The most obvious tip tho, is to not drink from fountains, until you're ready to take on everything that can spawn from them...


I like to zap them with a spell or wand of sleep and then kill them safely. Another good option is a poisoned projectile weapon. Besides, nymphs are weak, so a cat or dog can actually finish them off alone, you just wait and watch from a distance. As a side note, I think if you can it's best to leave them alive, just avoid them, because they may become handy to steal a cursed item you accidentally wear or wield (not in this case though, since she already stole some useful items from you).

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