Ascension kit

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The ascension kit is the nickname given to a set of items that are virtually required for a successful ascension. Most often, they are chosen for their attributes: reflection, magic resistance and cancellation, and similar. Most kits include: a unicorn horn, escape items, a Luck item, a source of levitation, some ranged attacks, a source of conflict, portal detection (for the Elemental Planes), and perhaps augmented attributes, either intelligence and wisdom, dexterity, or strength. Complete your ascension kit before taking on the Wizard of Yendor.

This page contains some common suggestions for ascension kit components. You will not need everything on this page (many of the items listed are mutually exclusive), but (unless attempting an unofficial conduct) should make sure that you cover all the major attribute listed above in the items you select.

Common items[edit]

Armor[edit]

Cloak[edit]

You do not need an oilskin cloak if you have MC3. Instead, you can simply teleport the water monster or couatl away immediately when it wraps itself around you. You have one turn before it drowns you. Break the wand if you are stunned or confused. If you are burdened, it's your own fault - you may not get to act on that turn. Make sure to keep one wand fully identified as having charges; an un-ID'd wand may be empty, resulting in your death.

Body armor[edit]

Dragon scale mail, usually silver or grey: This provides either reflection or magic resistance, 9 base points of AC, and does not hinder spellcasting. Yellow dragon scale mail is another lesser possibility, as it provides an acid resistance which cannot be gotten intrinsically.

High-level Monks can hit accurately enough to overcome the -20 to-hit penalty for wearing body armor, but most Monks can get by without.

Boots[edit]

Every bit of speed helps, even if you cannot jump. You want to get through the endgame as fast as possible, without fighting much.

Gloves[edit]

  • Gauntlets of power, if not a spellcaster: they provide strength 25 (+6 to damage) and 1 point of base AC. Valkyries in particular can benefit from gauntlets of power, since this allows them to throw Mjollnir and catch it again.

Helmet[edit]

  • Helm of opposite alignment: for switching alignments at the last minute.
  • Helm of telepathy: for characters who wish to use telepathy while non-blind.
  • Helm of brilliance: does not hinder spellcasting and increases intelligence and wisdom by its enchantment, along with providing base AC 1 and protecting your head from falling objects.
  • Elven leather helm: does not hinder spellcasting, provides base AC 1, and can be safely enchanted up to +7, giving a higher potential AC boost than any other helm. Its weight of 3 is also much less than the others' 50.

Any enchanted, greased piece of headgear will do. You should grease it to help protect against mind flayer attacks.

Shield[edit]

  • Shield of reflection: If you are not wearing SDSM or an amulet of reflection, you need another source of reflection; otherwise lightning attacks can explode rings and wands, cold attacks can freeze potions, etc. The shield is a good choice for non-spellcasters, cannot rust or corrode, and provides 2 base AC.
  • Elven shield: If you already have reliable reflection from one of the other sources and are not a spellcaster, this may be a good choice. It has a base AC of 2, and can be safely enchanted to +7, giving it the highest generally feasible AC of any shield. It is also the lightest shield out of those with base AC 2 (barely).
  • Small shield: Can be great for spellcasters who are wearing a robe. Provides base AC of 1, but can be safely enchanted to +5. You might also want to fireproof this wooden piece of armor.

Shirt[edit]

  • T-shirt or Hawaiian shirt, the only choices. They are, in practical terms, identical and both provide an extra piece of armor to enchant, for lower AC. Unenchanted, they provide 0 AC reduction.

Rings[edit]

Amulets[edit]

  • Amulet of life saving : If you die while wearing it, you come back with full HP instead, unless the cause of death would still kill you afterward. While not necessary, this item is quite useful. Chiefly, it lets you take on more risk in the Endgame, reducing resource consumption. It's also useful for clumsy or inattentive players.
  • Amulet of reflection : Some playstyles would prefer to gain reflection via the amulet - you may wish to free the left hand for #twoweapon instead of the shield of reflection, or keep a robe to enhance spellcasting instead of a cloak of magic resistance (gaining magic resistance from GDSM instead).

Tools[edit]

Wands[edit]

Scrolls[edit]

Cursed scrolls of gold detection show all traps as $. This is useless on the Plane of Fire, which is full of fire traps. Also, traps detected as gold will vanish from the screen once they are in sight.
You could also use a crystal ball, but it freezes you for d10 turns and has possible negative effects; you could use a wand of secret door detection or the unreliable Amulet of Yendor, but it only helps if you are within eight squares of the portal.

Weapon[edit]

  • Weapon : You likely want some weapon, unless you are a conduct player. Most players choose an artifact weapon. Grayswandir, enchanted to +6 or +7, is usually considered the best. #Twoweapon with a blessed silver saber makes it even better. A comprehensive discussion on weapon selection is beyond the scope of this page.
  • Athame : Its ability to engrave Elbereth in one turn can be helpful.

Potions[edit]

  • Holy water : Used to bless items that are unblessed or cursed by the Wizard of Yendor, liches, and other foes. While there are a number of techniques for un-cursing your items, holy water is the only convenient route to re-blessing items that you need to be blessed (a bag of holding, perhaps?). It is advisable to carry at least five holy water.
  • Blessed potions of full healing : Quickly restores your hitpoints by a large amount in case of emergency. It also cures sickness, blindness, and hallucination. A reliable way to cure sickness is vital on the Astral Plane because of the Riders (read: a blessed unicorn horn might not be enough).
  • A potion of acid : For curing stoning.

Comestibles[edit]

  • K-ration and C-ration. Often dropped by the Yendorian military members, these rations provide 400 and 300 points of nutrition respectively, both are consumed in only one turn making this type of food very useful when facing Famine; both weigh 10.
  • Lembas wafers provide 800 points of nutrition each and are eaten in 2 turns, weigh 5. Can be very effective while still running to the planes.
  • Royal jelly found in giant beehives provides 200 nutrition, but weighs only 2. These can actually heal you up to 20 HP at a time when eaten. Non-cursed royal jelly also increases strength by 1 and heals wounded legs. Cursed jelly decreases strength and does not heal wounded legs.
  • Blessed tins of nurse meat. Consuming one restores you to full hit points. A useful item for healing yourself, with some advantages and some disadvantages relative to potions of full healing. First and foremost, consumption of nurse meat is cannibalism for human characters! Unlike potions, tins never explode or dilute, so are always safe to carry in main inventory, even in such hostile environments as the Plane of Fire. On the other hand, even a blessed tin will take two turns to heal you (one to open and one to consume), which is slower than quaffing a potion in main inventory and no faster than retrieving a potion from a bag before quaffing. A (non-cursed) homemade tin will always provide 50 nutrition, and can cause you to choke to death if you are satiated; this is never the case with a potion. Finally, a full healing potion can only restore a maximum of 400 hit points; nurse meat always restores you to your maximum, however high that is (although it is rare to attain (or need) over 400 hp without alchemy or any farming in the first place).

Luck item[edit]

Armor combinations[edit]

Reflection and magic resistance are considered essential properties for the end game. Other desirable properties are life saving, displacement, two weaponing (when available), magic cancellation of 3, and a slippery cloak (oilskin being the only foolproof option). The following table summarises the tradeoffs:

Body armor Cloak Amulet Shield Other Advantages Disadvantages For whom?
SDSM magic resistance life saving Gives life saving
Allows twoweaponing
Wizards, or any character who has found a cloak of magic resistance
GDSM displacement reflection Displacement
Safe switching to robe or oilskin cloak

Allows twoweaponing

No life saving
Magic cancellation of 2 instead of 3
GDSM displacement life saving reflection Gives life saving
Gives displacement

More AC from shield

No twoweaponing
Magic cancellation of 2 instead of 3
Classes that cannot do two-weapon combat: caveman, healer, priest, ranger
Rogues who want backstab damage

Genocideless conduct players who want maximum protection from ;

GDSM protection life saving reflection Maximum AC
Gives life saving

Safe switching to oilskin cloak

No displacement
No twoweaponing
Those who need AC: speed ascenders, illiterate conduct players
GDSM robe reflection Maximum spellcasting
Artifact not required
No life saving
No displacement
Those who need help casting spells: Archeologists do well with this
SDSM robe life saving MR artifact such as the Eye of Aethiopica Best spellcasting
Gives life saving
Must wish for artifact or wield Magicbane
No displacement
Classes that need help casting spells but can be powerful casters: knights especially (due to doubled magic missile damage; note they cannot obtain the Eye unless they convert themselves to neutral after the quest and wish for it)
Those willing to wish for artifacts
none robe reflection MR artifact such as the Eye of Aethiopica No body armor
Best spellcasting
Must wish for artifact
No life saving (though can use shield of reflection instead)
Monks who are not wearing body armor because of the to-hit penalty
Other quest artifacts confer MR but don't enhance spellcasting as much
other
or
none
magic resistance reflection No body armor
No wishes required
No life saving
Monks who don't want to wish for an MR artifact
Players attempting wishless conduct
Vegetarians looking for an additional resistance

Variants[edit]

SLASH'EM[edit]

For the most part, the ascension kit in slash'em stays the same, with some differences.


  • If two-weaponing is possible. Wielding two artifact weapons at the same time is allowed.

Sporkhack[edit]

One of the main design goals of Sporkhack was to do away with the notion of a clear-cut ascension kit, instead forcing the player to make hard and interesting choices.

For example, the other colors of DSM might be useful as well, due to their secondary effects.

UnNetHack[edit]

UnNetHack offers Chromatic Dragon scale mail, which provides multiple resistances including stoning.

dNetHack[edit]

The dNethack ascension kit is similar to, but more inclusive than, the vanilla ascension kit.