The Heart of Ahriman

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*   The Heart of Ahriman   Gray stone.png
Base item luckstone
When carried
When slung
When invoked
Base price 2500 zm
Weight 10

The Heart of Ahriman is the Barbarian quest artifact. It is the prize for completing the Barbarian quest, and is neutral for wishing purposes. Its base item type is a luckstone.


For Barbarians, The Heart of Ahriman is always generated on the goal level of the Barbarian quest, where it is placed on the same square as Thoth Amon along with the Bell of Opening.


While carried, The Heart of Ahriman confers stealth. Invoking The Heart of Ahriman toggles controlled levitation on or off: while levitating via this effect, you can use the > key to return to the ground, as with a blessed potion of levitation. Dropping the artifact will also end levitation.

When thrown as a projectile weapon, The Heart of Ahriman has +d5 to-hit - when fired from a sling, it also does double damage to the monster it hits.


The Heart of Ahriman is considered one of the weaker quest artifacts, as most Barbarians will gain intrinsic stealth from reaching XL 15, and there is a luckstone guaranteed in Mines' End. Its increased damage as a projectile is almost completely useless—not only is the sling skill rarely used at all and restricted for Barbarians besides, but even the most outside scenarios where a player will want to fire the Heart of Ahriman carries the risk of shooting it into water or any other location that makes it difficult to retrieve.

As a source of levitation, the Heart is preferable to a supply of potions, though less desirable than the ring of levitation or levitation boots: if invoked while riding, the artifact will also levitate both you and your steed, and unlike the spell or blessed potion you will not have to re-mount them. You can also simply end the levitation at any time via > or dropping the artifact to cut down on #invoke reliance. As always, keep your eyes open for a bullwhip if you want to retrieve loot—applying a bullwhip is reliant on dexterity, an attribute Barbarians tend to be high in.

As an intelligent artifact, The Heart of Ahriman resists item-cursing effects 45 of the time, which is a useful property for a luckstone in particular to have.


The Heart of Ahriman first appears with most other quest artifacts in NetHack 3.1.0. From this version to NetHack 3.4.3, including some variants based on these versions, the Heart of Ahriman is vulnerable to the stone to flesh spell, which will turn it into a normal meatball. This is fixed in NetHack 3.6.0 via commit b0a70e81, which gives artifacts a 4950 chance of resisting the spell.

Attempting to name an ordinary luckstone as The Heart of Ahriman always makes your hand slip and gives it another name, which can be exploited to informally identify luckstones and reliably test other gray stones.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

The artifact-naming trick is fully patched per commit d886b43.


In the universe of Conan the Barbarian, the Heart of Ahriman is a powerful artifact that is reputed to allow a man to stand against the powerful wizard Xaltotun. It was also featured in the movie "Conan the Destroyer".


You feel a surge of power, but nothing seems to happen.
You invoked the Heart of Ahriman while already possessing uncontrolled levitation from another source.



In UnNetHack, the Heart of Ahriman grants displacement rather than stealth when carried, as well as faster power regeneration similar to The Eye of the Aethiopica.

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, invoking the Heart of Ahriman uncurses items as a scroll of remove curse, with Barbarians able to invoke the artifact for its blessed effect - other roles can only obtain the uncursed effect.


In dNetHack, the Heart of Ahriman is a ruby that grants magic resistance, reflection, half spell damage, drain resistance, fire resistance, and poison resistance while carried, and #invokes for curse removal, with the exact effects depending on beatitude. If cursed, it uncurses itself, and otherwise acts as a scroll of remove curse of the same beatitude.

This makes it significantly more useful in general, and the spell-casting monsters introduced in dNetHack are likely to ensure that a Barbarian (or anyone stumbling upon the Heart in one's bones) will want as many different sources of MR as they can get.


In EvilHack, the Heart of Ahriman is replaced by the Ring of P'hul. This also applies to Hack'EM.

Encyclopedia entry

The other three drew in their breath sharply, and the dark,
powerful man who stood at the head of the sarcophagus whispered:
"The Heart of Ahriman!" The other lifted a quick hand
for silence. Somewhere a dog began howling dolefully, and a
stealthy step padded outside the barred and bolted door. ...
But none looked aside from the mummy case over which the man
in the ermine-trimmed robe was now moving the great flaming
jewel, while he muttered an incantation that was old when
Atlantis sank. The glare of the gem dazzled their eyes, so
that they could not be sure what they saw; but with a
splintering crash, the carven lid of the sarcophagus burst
outward as if from some irresistible pressure applied from
within and the four men, bending eagerly forward, saw the
occupant -- a huddled, withered, wizened shape, with dried
brown limbs like dead wood showing through moldering bandages.
"Bring that thing back?" muttered the small dark man who
stood on the right, with a short, sardonic laugh. "It is
ready to crumble at a touch. We are fools ---"

[ Conan The Conqueror, by Robert E. Howard ]