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For the school of magic, see Enchantment spells.

In NetHack, an enchantment is the bonus (or penalty) that some items have (e.g., a +1 leather armor). A bonus (+) increases the item's power, and a penalty (-) decreases the item's power. An item that is cursed at the time of its creation is more than likely going to have a penalty - likewise, an item created as blessed will often have a bonus.


When a piece of armor is enchanted, the enchantment is added to the armor's AC rating.

You can increase the enchantment of armor using a non-cursed scroll of enchant armor. Be aware that a cursed scroll will decrease the enchantment. Other ways to decrease the enchantment include the drain life spell and disenchanters.


  • Gauntlets of power. These gauntlets increase your strength to 25 regardless of what the enchantment is. The enchantment increases the AC the gauntlets give (as with any other armor).
    • In SLASH'EM, these raise your strength to the 18/**, with further strength being given if the gauntlets are positively enchanted.
  • Gauntlets of dexterity. The enchantment on these gauntlets increases your dexterity and AC by its enchantment value.

The enchantment on all other gloves acts the same way as for armor.


A helm of brilliance increases the wearer's intelligence and wisdom by its enchantment value.


Attacking with a weapon adds its enchantment to the weapon's to-hit[1] and damage[2] values. For example, attacking with a +1 dagger would add 1 to the to-hit throw, and 1 to the damage. You can increase the enchantment of a weapon using a non-cursed scroll of enchant weapon. As with armor, a cursed scroll will decrease the enchantment. Other ways to decrease the enchantment include the drain life spell and engraving with the weapon.

Ascertaining the enchantment of a weapon can be useful, though sometimes tedious. Your character apparently can make some distinctions because weapons with different enchantments do not stack in inventory, but this doesn't tell you which stack has a better enchantment. Straightforward identification will tell you the exact enchantment of a weapon.

Ways to informally identify the enchantment of a weapon include

  • Studying the weapon's effectiveness in combat. A stethoscope is very helpful for this, although early-game characters may notice differences in their chance to hit.
  • Attempting to engrave with the weapon. Weapons which are "too dull to engrave with" are hindered by a disenchantment of -3 or worse. If you're fighting with one of these, you should consider finding a better weapon a priority.
  • Canceling a weapon will adjust its enchantment to +0.
  • Price identification can be used to find positively enchanted weapons, but it cannot be used to differentiate non-positive enchantments.
  • Noting the BUC state the weapon had when it was generated. Items which were generated blessed (ignoring bones levels) are never negatively enchanted. Items generated cursed are often negatively enchanted (though they can also be positively enchanted).

The following methods are useful for stackable weapons:

  • Altering the enchantment of only part of a stack to rank two stacks relative to each other (e.g., engraving with a single dagger from a stack of 10 until it hits -3, thereby determining the enchantment of the remaining 9 items)
  • Paying attention to how commonly the items are generated. Note that you should pay attention to the number of stacks of items generated, not simply the number of items generated. (See rne(3)).
  • Formally identifying only one item from a stack and #naming the rest of the stack.


Some rings have an enchantment value associated with them:

The enchantment determines how much the ring modifies your attributes and statistics. For example, a +2 ring of protection will lower (i.e. improve) your AC by 2. You can increase a ring's enchantment by charging it using a scroll of charging or the Platinum Yendorian Express Card.

Losing enchantment

There are many ways an item might lose enchantment:

  • Enchanting an item too much will cause it to be destroyed. See scroll of enchant armor, scroll of enchant weapon, and charging for more information.
  • Getting hit by a disenchanter will decrease enchantment on weapons and armor, and striking a disenchanter with an item will decrease that weapon's enchantment. Disenchanters remove only positive enchantment; a disenchanter will not remove negative enchantment or cause an unenchanted item to gain negative enchantment.
  • Reading a cursed scroll of enchant weapon or enchant armor.
  • Reading a cursed scroll of charging and selecting a ring as the target.
  • Engraving with an edged weapon other than a non-cursed athame.
  • Casting a spell of drain life at the item

Erosion does not affect the enchantment on an item.

This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.1. Information on this page may be out of date.

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