Crysknife

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) Crysknife.png
Name crysknife
Appearance crysknife
Damage vs. small 1d10
Damage vs. large 1d10
To-hit bonus +3
Weapon skill knife
Size one-handed
Base price 100 zm
(+10/positive
enchant)
Weight 20
Material mineral

A crysknife is a weapon produced by enchanting a worm tooth. It has a +3 to-hit bonus and does d10 damage against both small and large monsters, making it a nice choice for #twoweaponing. However, if it leaves your possession, it may revert back into a worm tooth.

Crysknives count as throwing weapons, so they get a to-hit bonus when thrown. Because of their reversion property, throwing them is typically not a good idea.

Creation

Crysknives aren't randomly generated. Aside from wishing and bones, the only way to create one is to wield a worm tooth and read a non-cursed scroll of enchant weapon. This will uncurse a cursed worm tooth, but won't increase the enchantment; thus, it's safe to re-sharpen a tooth regardless of how highly-enchanted it already is. A stack of worm teeth will merge into a single crysknife; to create multiple crysknives, you must split up the stack and enchant each one individually.

Reversion

If a crysknife leaves your person, it reverts to a worm tooth. Exceptions are if it goes into a container in your inventory or is stolen by a monster, but in those cases it will revert if the container leaves your inventory or the monster dies. The worm tooth retains the crysknife's enchantment.

Erodeproofing a crysknife will "fix" it. A fixed crysknife will only revert 10% of the time. Dropping a stack of crysknives will make a single roll for the entire stack, but throwing multiple knives will roll for each of them. A crysknife that reverts also loses its fixing.

Throwing

Crysknives can be thrown with a multishot bonus, and with their +3 to-hit and d10 base damage, are more powerful than even the rare shuriken and cumbersome boomerang. However, the material cost of creation and maintenance is generally prohibitive. It takes one scroll of enchant weapon to sharpen each worm tooth into a crysknife, plus one more scroll to fix the stack. Each crysknife will then last an average of 10 throws before having to be sharpened and fixed again. Most roles which can advance in knife skill have better ranged combat options. One possible exception are Healers, who can only reach multishot 3 with knives. It would take some serious polypiling to make this work, though, and magic missile is much more practical and potentially more powerful.

SLASH'EM

SLASH'EM changes the damage for crysknives to 1d20 against small and 1d30 against large. The Ice Mage, Flame Mage and Necromancer roles can gain Skilled in knife, Healer can gain Expert, and Yeomen can gain Basic. A healer can benefit seriously from the Crysknife; since they have little weapon choice other than darts, but still can achieve expert in knives, this can be the most lethal weapon (see below) for a healer in Slash'EM.

In SLASH'EM, crysknives (and worm teeth) do not stack, so it is not possible to multishot them.

Average damage calculation

NetHack

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Average damage
+0 crysknife \frac{1+10}{2}=\bold{5.5}
+7 crysknife \frac{1+10}{2}+7=\bold{12.5}

SLASH'EM

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Small monsters Large monsters
+0 crysknife \frac{1+20}{2}=\bold{10.5} \frac{1+30}{2}=\bold{15.5}
+7 crysknife \frac{1+20}{2}+7=\bold{17.5} \frac{1+30}{2}+7=\bold{22.5}

Because of this increase in damage, the SLASH'EM crysknife compares favorably even to artifacts such as Excalibur. Against large monsters, it actually does more damage than the similarly enchanted Excalibur.

Mythology

The crysknife and the concept of worm teeth are from Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune.

This includes its fabrication from worm tooths and requiring "proximity to a human body's electrical field to prevent disintegration".

Encyclopedia entry

[The crysknife] is manufactured in two forms from teeth taken
from dead sandworms. The two forms are "fixed" and "unfixed".
An unfixed knife requires proximity to a human body's
electrical field to prevent disintegration. Fixed knives
are treated for storage. All are about 20 centimeters long.

[ Dune, by Frank Herbert ]