Amulet of life saving
The amulet of life saving is a valuable amulet in NetHack. If you are wearing one and you die, the amulet literally saves your life and restores you to full hit points. Having your life saved breaks the survivor semi-conduct, with more details explained below. It cannot be eaten for intrinsics (nice try, though).
There is a 7.5% chance that a randomly-generated amulet will be an amulet of life saving, making these amulets fairly rare. However, there is a guaranteed amulet of life saving on the middle level of Vlad's Tower.
If you die while wearing the amulet, it will save your life. The amulet disintegrates and becomes identified, and the following things (mostly good) happen to you:
- You lose 1 constitution point.
- If your hit point maximum is low, it is reset to either 10 or twice your experience level, whichever is higher.
- Your hit points are restored to the maximum.
- Your nutrition is restored to 500, if it is less than this.
- If you died from choking over your food, your nutrition becomes 900.
- If you are sick and going to die immediately, you become cured.
- If you are trapped in lava, you become untrapped.
The beatitude of the amulet does not change its effect in vanilla NetHack. If you die by self-genocide or brainlessness, you will die again immediately, making the amulet moot. If you teleport to a negative dungeon level, it will save your life but not your game - instead of dying, you will simply escape the dungeon.
If you are killed by a drowning attack, you will be resurrected, but remain held.
Forfeiture through trickery does not count as death, so it ignores the amulet entirely.
Living monsters can wear amulets of life saving as well; they will come back to life after they die, using up the amulet but also identifying it for you, provided you saw the revival happen. The amulet cannot protect monsters from genocide, although the amulet will still activate and be destroyed if a monster is wearing it when genocided. Non-living creatures (undead, golems, vortices and manes) cannot use the amulet. Monsters do not suffer brainlessness, and so can be saved from death by monsters with intelligence drain attacks.
Enlightenment will give the message "Your life will be saved."
- But wait... Your medallion begins to glow! You feel much better! The medallion crumbles to dust!
- You died but were resurrected and the amulet is used up.
- But wait... Your medallion feels warm! You feel much better! The medallion crumbles to dust!
- As above, while blind.
- Unfortunately your brain is still gone.
- You died and were resurrected, and then die from brainlessness.
- Unfortunately you are still genocided...
- You died and were resurrected, and then die from genocide.
- An energized cloud of dust begins to coalesce. Your body rematerializes, and you gather up all your possessions.
- You were resurrected after teleporting to dungeon level 0.
- But wait... <monster>'s medallion begins to glow! <monster> looks much better! The medallion crumbles to dust!
- A monster died wearing the amulet. The amulet is identified.
- But wait... <monster>'s medallion begins to glow! <monster> reconstitutes! The medallion crumbles to dust!
- A monster exploded wearing the amulet. The amulet is identified.
- Unfortunately <monster> is still genocided...
- A monster died and was resurrected, and then dies from genocide.
- Maybe not...
- You killed a life-saved monster out of direct sight. The amulet is not identified.
For an early character, an amulet of reflection may be a better choice, as reflection can save your life many times over; being life saved after a winter wolf cub's frost blast, for example, is little consolation if the winter wolf is still around.
The most common reason for an amulet of life saving not working is if you forgot to put it on.
Some players consider life saving an essential part of the ascension kit, but others call it the "amulet versus YASD" and point out that another amulet is much more useful with various armor combinations. It also increases the level of risk you can afford, which lowers resource consumption (particularly in the Endgame).
It can be extremely aggravating having your amulet of life saving stolen by a nymph; once she puts it on, killing her will save her life, disintegrating the amulet. In addition to monsters wearing the amulet, you may spot a known amulet on the ground near one. Once a monster wears an amulet, it will not give it up voluntarily. Before that however, the amulet is simply a normal item, and can be retrieved. If this happens, there are three ways you can retrieve the amulet:
- Kill or tame the offending monster. Nymphs in particular do not currently wear things immediately after stealing. She will wear it the next time she picks any item up, or if she polymorphs, assuming the new form can put amulets on. If you kill her before either of these things happen, you can retrieve it. Alternatively, you can tame her; monsters drop any unused inventory items on taming, and this should include the amulet if unworn. Pets can use amulets, however, so you'll need to get it back before she can.
- Polymorph into a nymph and steal it back. This has the added advantage that a nymph will not steal from you while you're in that form.
- Polymorph the nymph or other monster to be wearing an amulet of life saving until it becomes an undead creature, a golem, a vortex, or a manes. This is done easiest by using a nearby polymorph trap after taming the nymph; the other means of polymorph risk killing her by system shock and using up the amulet. Once the non-living monster is destroyed, the amulet will be dropped.
You will not gain any experience for "killing" a monster whose life is saved, but it will still break pacifist conduct.
NetHack keeps track of how many times your life has been saved by amulets of life saving. If this number is zero, and you end your game without dying (i.e. by ascending, escaping or quitting), your end-of-game attributes list will include the line “You survived.” This is referred to as the survivor semi-conduct. If the number is not zero, the line will instead read “You survived after being killed [n times].”
Surviving is usually an indicator that the player was lucky or skillful enough not to die during a particular game. In particular, survivor can add prestige to a foodless ascension, because it removes one of the game's alternative sources of nutrition. Exploiting the polyself bug to raise maximum HP is incompatible with surviving.
In UnNetHack and SporkHack, a cursed amulet of life saving is not guaranteed to save your life; it will do so with a 3⁄4 chance in UnNetHack and with a 1⁄2 chance in SporkHack. Additionally, if you are not life-saved in SporkHack, your death will be logged as "killed by a cursed amulet of life saving" instead of your actual killer.
- But ... the chain on your medallion breaks and it falls to the <floor>! You hear homeric laughter!
- A cursed amulet of life saving did not save your life in UnNetHack.
- The chain on your medallion breaks, and you hear a faint giggling! Your medallion suddenly falls off! It doesn't look like you're going to make it after all...
- A cursed amulet of life saving did not save your life in SporkHack.