|Base item||long sword|
|Damage vs. small||1d8 +1d10 (2–18)|
|Damage vs. large||1d12 +1d10 (2–22)|
|Weapon skill||long sword|
|Base price||4000 zm|
- 1 Generation
- 2 Description
- 3 Strategy
- 4 History
- 5 Origin
- 6 Messages
- 7 Variants
- 8 Encyclopedia entry
- 9 References
Excalibur cannot be randomly generated or granted as a sacrifice gift, though it can still be left behind in bones. Excalibur's entry in the artifact code indicates that it would be the first sacrifice gift for Knights if it were able to be gifted.
Excalibur can be obtained if a lawful character is either crowned or creates the artifact by dipping a single unnamed, non-artifact long sword into a fountain while they are at least experience level 5.
Each time you dip a long sword as a lawful character, there is a 1⁄6 chance that instead of normal fountain effects, the sword will be transformed into Excalibur: This will exercise wisdom, bless and rustproof the sword while removing any rust or corrosion, and carry over its previous enchantment, but this does not unrestrict the long sword skill. Dipping for Excalibur when not lawful instead has a 1⁄6 chance of removing erodeproofing and cursing the long sword, as well as abusing wisdom. The fountain will always disappear after either event.
If a lawful character is crowned while wielding a non-artifact long sword in their primary hand, and Excalibur has not yet been generated, the sword will be transformed into the blessed and rustproof Excalibur as the crowning gift. This auto-identifies the sword and unrestricts the long sword skill if applicable; if the sword has no positive enchantment at the time of crowning, its enchantment is set to +1.
Excalibur adds +d5 to-hit and +d10 damage against all monsters, and confers drain resistance, automatic searching, and an enchantment-based bonus to manual searching for secret doors and secret corridors (up to a maximum of +5). However, while wielded, demon princes will be generated hostile, and every monster can track your location whether it has eyes or not. - though due to how monster pathfinding works in NetHack, the impact of this is negligible.
If Excalibur is wielded when a demon prince is generated, the demon prince will be generated as hostile rather than peaceful. If you are wielding Excalibur when a demon prince warps to you and wants to demand a bribe, they will also turn hostile.
Excalibur is an excellent weapon against all monsters and is generally only outperformed by a highly-enchanted Grayswandir, making it more than sufficient for an ascension kit at Basic skill level; in the later stages of the game, even unskilled use of Excalibur can provide sufficient offense while training the skill, particularly with scrolls of enchant weapon.
Generating Excalibur is easy for Knights and lawful Valkyries, who both start with an enchanted long sword. It is also a stellar weapon for Samurai, who can create it once they find a long sword and will already have the skill available. Lawfuls restricted in long sword can unrestrict the skill and receive Excalibur via crowning, which can be done fairly early (usually before the Quest) if they are not reliant on prayer; they can also receive another artifact long sword as sacrifice gift to unrestrict the skill.
Though Excalibur is an intelligent artifact, it is not a quest artifact and so will not evade the grasp of non-lawful characters, allowing them to make good use of it if they can manage the artifact blasts. While bones are the typical means for a non-lawful character to acquire Excalibur, they may also consider either wishing for Excalibur or using a helm of opposite alignment to temporarily become lawful and dip for it. For dipping, chaotic characters are capable of reliably using the helm of opposite alignment, where neutral characters may need to try a few helms before finding one that turns them lawful.
The rare drain resistance property and bonuses to damage and to-hit make Excalibur an enticing artifact for non-lawfuls with an extra wish to spare; chaotic characters in particular have a relative dearth of quality artifact wishes compared to other alignments. However, for a weaker character early wishes are typically best spent on covering the essentials, and crowning for Vorpal Blade or Stormbringer may be a preferable alternative to obtain a reliable weapon.
Acquiring Excalibur as soon as possible is generally a good idea, but the chance of obtaining it is only 1⁄6 for each dip. You should be prepared to deal with water demons, water nymphs, water moccasins and newly-made moats in the meantime. Some people prefer to wait until at least XL 7 before making the attempt: Knights, Valkyries and Cavemen gain intrinsic speed at level 7, which allows them to outrun water demons.
Your sword will also rust on each dip that does not transform it into Excalibur. Though succeeding will repair and rustproof the sword, it is best to wait if the long sword being dipped is your primary weapon - once you have found a few fountains, you can backtrack to them and try each one in turn rather than continue searching new floors with a thoroughly rusted long sword as your only weapon.
Generating Excalibur successfully will always make the fountain that was used dry up and disappear. In Minetown, there is no warning for this and the watch will immediately be angered, making dipping out in the open a Bad Idea. If you somehow do not have access to any other fountains, consider using a pet to kill the guards in advance, or lock them up in rooms where they cannot attack you.
The Oracle level is a popular place to dip for Excalibur; characters often arrive there at about the time that they are capable of escaping fountain hazards, and having four adjacent fountains means you will likely succeed without having to travel much further to find more.
Average damage calculation
|Weapon||Small monster||Large monster|
Excalibur first appears in NetHack 1.3d. In this version and NetHack 1.4f, you can name a long sword Excalibur and then dip it in a fountain, for a 2⁄15 chance of the Lady of the Lake blessing the sword - this Excalibur lacks special properties, but creating it this way raises the enchantment of the sword to +5 (if not already higher), rustproofs it and removes any curses. The modern dipping method for obtaining Excalibur is introduced in NetHack 2.2a.
- From the murky depths, a hand reaches up to bless the sword.
As the hand retreats, the fountain disappears!
- You successfully transformed your dipped long sword into Excalibur as a lawful character.
- A freezing mist rises from the water and envelopes the sword.
The fountain disappears!
- As above, but you were not a lawful character, and you "successfully" cursed the sword instead.
In SLASH'EM, bonus damage rolls for artifact weapons are converted to a flat bonus, giving Excalibur +10 to damage. This makes the already-good artifact weapon even better, and the abundance of life draining methods and attacks introduced in SLASH'EM make its drain resistance even more valuable.
In SporkHack, only Knights can obtain Excalibur by dipping; other lawful characters must use one of the other remaining methods. This makes Snickersnee, which can be randomly generated, somewhat more useful in comparison.
In dNetHack, Excalibur adds +1d20 to-hit and deals an extra 3d7 damage to demons and undead if blessed. In addition, Excalibur inherits the weapon and material properties of the sword it is made with; players may want to put off dipping for Excalibur until they obtain a desirable base sword. Outside of wishing, sources of such swords include:
- A barrow wight's guaranteed long sword has a 1⁄5 chance to be silver (which adds 1d20 silver damage) and a 1⁄5 chance to be gold (which adds 1d20 holy damage). In addition, 5% of barrow wight long swords will be lesser holy (+1d8 holy) as well.
- Oona's long sword has +1d8 elemental damage, +1d8 damage vs. chaotic and neutral targets.
- The Sword of the Deeps is a +12 deep long sword found in the last level of the Lethe Waterway.
- King Arthur has an axiomatic long sword (double damage vs. chaotic and neutral targets), though it cannot be obtained normally unless you are a Knight willing to attack and possibly kill him.
- Nazgul are always generated with an unholy long sword (double unholy damage).
In xNetHack, obtaining Excalibur by dipping a long sword into a fountain will set its enchantment to +0 if it was negative, and will always convert the sword's object material to iron. Obtaining Excalibur by crowning sets its enchantment to +3 if it was lower than that.
In EvilHack, only lawful Knights can dip for Excalibur as in SporkHack - other lawful roles can only obtain Excalibur through crowning, bones or wishing, and the helm of opposite alignment cannot be used by chaotic Knights to dip for it. There is the added a risk of the long sword rusting away completely when dipping it, as with any sufficiently-eroded object. Orcish and elven long swords cannot be used to create Excalibur in either instance.
A long sword that is successfully transformed into Excalibur is stripped of its object properties, and its object material is always converted to iron.
At first only its tip was visible, but then it rose, straight,
proud, all that was noble and great and wondrous. The tip of
the blade pointed toward the moon, as if it would cleave it
in two. The blade itself gleamed like a beacon in the night.
There was no light source for the sword to be reflecting
from, for the moon had darted behind a cloud in fear. The
sword was glowing from the intensity of its strength and
power and knowledge that it was justice incarnate, and that
after a slumber of uncounted years its time had again come.
After the blade broke the surface, the hilt was visible, and
holding the sword was a single strong, yet feminine hand,
wearing several rings that bore jewels sparkling with the
blue-green color of the ocean.
- include/artilist.h in NetHack 3.6.7, line 47: the flag following alignment governs which role receives an artifact as a first gift
- src/fountain.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 372: the case accounts for polypiling (e.g. a stack of daggers) that can produce a stack of long swords
- src/fountain.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 385
- src/fountain.c in NetHack 3.6.6, line 375
- src/fountain.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 401
- src/do_wear.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 418
- fountain.c in NetHack 1.3d, line 242
- src/fountain.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 389
- src/fountain.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 377
- Compare SLASH'EM 0.0.7E7F2/artifact.c#line799 to artifact.c#line843