Expensive camera

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( Expensive camera.png
Name expensive camera
Appearance expensive camera
Base price 200 zm
Weight 12
Material plastic
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

An expensive camera is a tool found in Nethack.

Generation

Expensive cameras are always randomly generated uncursed with 30 to 99 charges. All Tourists start with an expensive camera.

Effects

When applied in the direction of a monster that has eyes, the flash will blind and often scare that monster. Affected monsters will be blinded permanently if adjacent, or for up to 13 turns if they are farther away, depending on the distance.[1] They will also flee with 75% chance, provided they are no more than 2 squares away from you.[2] The flash will also cause 1d4 damage to gremlins (this will never kill them). Sleeping monsters will be awakened instead, with no further effects; shopkeepers will never flee. A cursed camera has a 50% chance of blinding you for 1d25 turns instead when applied; this is usually only a concern for cameras found in bones piles.

If wielded and used to attack, the expensive camera is completely incapable of doing damage, but will break and be lost; it shares this property with the cream pie. As of NetHack 3.6.0, breaking a camera has a 33% chance of releasing a "picture-painting demon", which will be a homunculus 2/3 of the time and an imp the remaining 1/3. The creature so generated will be peaceful unless the camera was cursed.[3] This is a reference to how cameras work in the Discworld series of novels.

Like other tools, a camera can be recharged indefinitely.

Strategy

Cameras can be a viable method for blinding yourself via applying it at ., either in order to use your intrinsic telepathy, or else to avoid the longer blinding from a yellow light when it explodes (d25 turns v. 10d20).

Cameras are also the only way to permanently blind a monster, which is useful if you need it alive, but are unable to Pacify the monster and don't want it to chase you (often the case with foocubi). An expensive camera is the only item that can make the Riders flee from you. As with any other case, remember that blinded hostile monsters will not respect Elbereth, and may still attack you in melee while fleeing.

In a pinch, you can use a camera to wake up a sleeping monster, including your pet; this does not work on paralyzed monsters. Conversely, avoid using the camera around the monsters you don't want to wake up prematurely, e.g. in barracks.

References