The Eye of the Beholder

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%   The Eye of the Beholder   Eyeball.png
Base item eyeball
When carried (none)
When wielded warning (Hack'EM only)
When invoked
Base price 500 zm
Weight 1

The Eye of the Beholder is an artifact that appears in SLASH'EM, SlashTHEM and Hack'EM. It is neutral-aligned, and its base item is the disembodied eyeball of the Beholder. The Eye of the Beholder is one of the rewards for completing the Neutral Quest.


The Eye of the Beholder is only generated upon killing the Beholder in a way that would normally leave a corpse (i.e. any method minus disintegration or digesting).[1] Since the Beholder is always generated in the Neutral Quest, its Eye cannot be wished for and will always revert to its base item if left in bones.


Invoking The Eye of the Beholder has different effects dependent on the character's current luck: if invoked at -10 luck or lower, they are subjected to an instadeath, and otherwise the Eye gazes upon all non-undead monsters in the character's line of sight, reducing them to 13 of their current hit points, with a -3 penalty to luck and alignment record applied regardless of the outcome.[2][3][4] In Hack'EM, the Eye of the Beholder also grants warning while wielded and functions similarly to The Eye of Vecna in EvilHack: invoking it casts death magic upon all monsters in the character's line of sight: this significantly reduces the HP of monsters that do not resist it, and has a 320 chance of killing them outright unless they have magic resistance. This effect does not anger peaceful monsters or reduce tameness in pets, and cannot ever kill monsters directly.

Attempting to eat The Eye of the Beholder (or any eyeball) will bring up a prompt asking the player if they are sure they want to do so.[5] If a character eats The Eye of the Beholder, they take 150–199 damage;[6] in Hack'EM, the damage is increased to 250–399 if The Eye is cursed. A character can also sacrifice The Eye of the Beholder at an altar, which is treated as a maximum-value sacrifice.[7]


The Eye of the Beholder is generally the weakest of the alignment quest artifacts: it lacks any effects outside of being invoked, and the invocation effect is of mixed usefulness. It can be worth keeping around to trivialize clearing out monster-filled levels and rooms such as zoos and throne rooms, though a character should light up the room beforehand, e.g. with a scroll of light, wand of light or spell of light.

A character who finds themselves with an angry god might consider sacrificing the Eye: it is guaranteed to reduce a god's anger by 3 for non-chaotic characters, or by 2 for chaotic characters. Sacrificing high-level corpses is generally better, but corpse-leaving monsters of high enough level can take a while to generate, particularly for chaotic characters. Others who do not intend to use or sacrifice the Eye should bag it: it provides no benefit when carried, and there is always the risk of accidentally sacrificing or eating it. The Eye's low weight and moderate value make it worthwhile to bring it to the Astral Plane for scoring purposes.

In Hack'EM, the Eye of the Beholder can be wielded to detect hidden hostile monsters that telepathy cannot reveal, such as trappers and lurkers above.


The Eye of the Beholder is partly based on The Eye of Vecna, which appears in SLASH 6, an ancestor variant to SLASH'EM. The Eye of Vecna has the same effects when invoked: it turns its icy gaze on all monsters within the character's line of sight, reducing their health to a fraction of its current amount, and attempting to invoke it with a Luck of −9 or less would instead kill the character instantly; a −3 penalty to both Luck and alignment record occurs regardless. The Eye of the Beholder retains this invoke effect in SLASH'EM, though it does not have any of the Eye of Vecna's other properties.


The name of the artifact and perhaps its concept are both based on the aphorism, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".


All that remains is a single eye...
The Beholder was killed and dropped The Eye of the Beholder.[1]
The Eye turns on you!
The Eye killed you upon invoking it.
The Eye looks around with its icy gaze!
The Eye cast its gaze upon invoking it.
You feel a deep burning inside!
You took damage from eating The Eye of the Beholder.
You offer this evil thing to <your god>...
You sacrificed The Eye of the Beholder.

See also