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[   cornuthaum   Conical hat.png
Appearance conical hat
Slot helm
AC 0
Base price 80 zm
Weight 4
Material cloth

The cornuthaum is a magical helm that appears in NetHack. When unidentified, it appears as a conical hat, an appearance it shares with the dunce cap.


When worn, a cornuthaum provides MC1. Wizards wearing a cornuthaum gain 1 point of charisma and extrinsic clairvoyance; non-Wizards lose 1 point of charisma and have all instances of clairvoyance blocked (whether by intrinsic or by spell). Wizards can enchant cornuthaums to +7, but others can only enchant them to +5.


As the cornuthaum and the autocursing dunce cap are both conical hats, picking up and wear-testing a conical hat at random is a Bad Idea. They can easily be distinguished by price, with the cornuthaum having a base cost of 80 zorkmids.

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

For a Tourist, 13 of conical hats can be read. A cornuthaum will be labeled "WIZZARD".


Cornuthaums are among the best helms for a Wizard to use, but are often overlooked in favor of the helm of brilliance, since a potential +4 or +5 bonus to intelligence and wisdom has far more applications in most situations than the cornuthaum's +1 charisma bonus. Since a cornuthaum is made of cloth and does not protect from falling rock traps, Wizards finding one close to the start of the game may even prefer an orcish helm until they can gain a few levels and raise their HP.

However, from that point on and up to the mid-game, a cornuthaum may be much more preferable over a helm of brilliance, since the clairvoyance property is quite useful for navigating the Gnomish Mines and difficult to obtain elsewhere; the only other permanent source of clairvoyance is the Amulet of Yendor. Most early game Wizards also already have enough innate intelligence to cast low-level spells often (especially elven Wizards), and will lack the power regeneration to make much higher-level spells viable for frequent use before obtaining The Eye of the Aethiopica; they may also be able to raise their intelligence via alchemized potions of gain ability if necessary.

Orcish Wizards have infravision and may prefer the helm of brilliance from the beginning to boost their intelligence past the racial maximum for hungerless casting, but this is not strictly necessary since even 16 Int will suffice for a majority of scenarios.

While the ability for Wizards to safely enchant a cornuthaum to +7 similar to an elven leather helm makes it more enticing, the scrolls of enchant armor required are better spent elsewhere in their mid-to-late game, especially after obtaining the Eye. The cornuthaum's lack of base AC means that a +5 helm of brilliance can provide the benefits of boosted intelligence and wisdom at only 1 less AC than a +7 cornuthaum; patient Wizards can also polypile their way to a +6 or +7 helm of brilliance using the aforementioned scrolls and readily-available elven armor.

The cornuthaum is the only MC-granting armor that isn't a cloak or suit, and thus the only way an intelligent humanoid pet too large for body armor (e.g., a titan or centaur) can gain MC. Archons can wear cornuthaums, but inherently have MC1 and thus gain no further protection.


"Cornuthaum" seems to be a term coined in NetHack for folklore's "wizard hat". Cornu is Latin for "horn", and thauma (θαῦμα) is Greek for "miracle, wonder".

The stereotypical wizard hat is a conical blue hat with yellow stars and crescent moons; these shapes are possibly derived from old cabalistic symbols. Variations are seen in folklore, but the hat stays at least vaguely conical. The notion of a thinking hat possibly derives from ceremonial conical hats, or even true thinking hats, making it only natural that wizards wear one.


The cornuthaum is introduced in NetHack 3.2.0.

In NetHack 3.4.3 and variants derived from that version, cornuthaums had an MC of 2, making them useful as Archon hats.


In variants derived from NetHack 3.4.3, including SLASH'EM, cornuthaums generally provide MC2.

Encyclopedia entry

He was dressed in a flowing gown with fur tippets which had
the signs of the zodiac embroidered over it, with various
cabalistic signs, such as triangles with eyes in them, queer
crosses, leaves of trees, bones of birds and animals, and a
planetarium whose stars shone like bits of looking-glass with
the sun on them. He had a pointed hat like a dunce's cap, or
like the headgear worn by ladies of that time, except that
the ladies were accustomed to have a bit of veil floating
from the top of it.

[ The Once and Future King, by T.H. White ]

         "A wizard!" Dooley exclaimed, astounded.
         "At your service, sirs," said the wizard. "How
perceptive of you to notice. I suppose my hat rather gives me
away. Something of a beacon, I don't doubt." His hat was
pretty much that, tall and cone-shaped with stars and crescent
moons all over it. All in all, it couldn't have been more

[ The Elfin Ship, James P. Blaylock ]