Helm of brilliance

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[ Plumed helmet.png[ Etched helmet.png[ Crested helmet.png[ Visored helmet.png
helm of brilliance
Appearance random
Slot helm
AC 1
Base price 50 zm
Weight 50
Material iron

A helm of brilliance, sometimes abreviated as HoB, is a type of magical helm that appears in NetHack. It is made of iron and has a randomized appearance when unidentified; the default one associated with it is an etched helmet.[1]

The helm of brilliance is the base item for The Mitre of Holiness, the Priest quest artifact.

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.

The helm of brilliance is made of glass and has the fixed appearance "crystal helmet" when unidentified. It has a 1920 chance of resisting breakage, as does crystal plate mail.


In addition to random generation, general shops and used armor dealershops can sell helms of brilliance.

Player monsters, including those on the Astral Plane, have a 21200 chance (10.5%) of generating with a helm of brilliance as their initial helm before role-based replacements. before any role-specific changes are made.[2] Player monster healers, priests and wizards each have a 38 chance of their initial helm being replaced with a helm of brilliance, raising their effective odds of generating with one to ~44.06%.[3][4][5] Player monster barbarians and cavefolk will never receive a helm of brilliance.[6][7]


While worn, the helm of brilliance confers 1 base point of AC and modifies the wearer's intelligence and wisdom by its enchantment. Wearing or removing an enchanted helm of brilliance will auto-identify it, as will enchanting the worn helm at +0.

Though the helm of brilliance is iron, it does not hinder spellcasting.[8]


The helm of brilliance is generally useful for spell-casting: higher intelligence and wisdom stats reduce the failure rate of high-level spells and mitigates the penalties from wearing metallic armor. In addition, wearing an enchanted helm of brilliance will slightly improve energy regeneration and may give characters a significant boost to maximum power when gaining experience levels - since both are influenced by wisdom and energy regeneration is also influenced by intelligence. Characters casting high-level spells in restricted spell schools, such as a high level Priest attempting to cast polymorph, may seek out a helm of brilliance.

For a character with already-low base spell failure rates such as a Wizard, a helm of brilliance will likely not have a noticeable effect - conversely, a role with incredibly high spell-casting penalties such as a Valkyrie or Barbarian may not notice any significant gains without a robe. While the latter type of character can also use the helm for foocubi encounters, the helm may end up removed mid-interaction.

Keep in mind that the helm of brilliance does not prevent instadeath from brainlessness induced by a mind flayer, which checks for a base intelligence of 3.


The helm of brilliance first appears in NetHack 3.0.0. From this version to NetHack 3.4.3, including some variants based on those versions, using a cursed scroll of destroy armor on a cursed helm of brilliance or a cursed pair of gauntlets of dexterity reduces the enchantment of the piece of armor without altering the stats, and removing them would permanently increase your stats, allowing a character to temporarily surpass their racial maximum that way. This became known as the "hobug" (since the helm of brilliance is often abbreviated to HoB).



In SLASH'EM, upgrading a dwarvish iron helm has a 12 chance of producing a helm of brilliance, and upgrading a helm of brilliance will produce a dwarvish iron helm.

The Mantle of Knowledge is a defunct artifact helm of brilliance.


In dNetHack, the helm of brilliance grants 1 base AC, 1 base DR, and adds its enchantment to intelligence and wisdom while worn, and its weight is reduced to 30 aum. It can appear in band form as a "crown of cognizance".


In SlashTHEM, in addition to SLASH'EM details, Duri always generates with a helm of brilliance.


In notdNetHack, in addition to dNetHack details, Paimon is generated with a +3 gemstone helm of brilliance when summoned by an Illithanachronounbinder.


In Hack'EM, upgrading a helm of madness will produce a helm of brilliance, and vice versa.


  1. src/objects.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 358
  2. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 159: Default equipment; the helm is chosen from within the designated object classes inclusively in objects.c
  3. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 193: Helm replacement for healers
  4. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 219: Helm replacement for priests
  5. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 253: Helm replacement for wizards
  6. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 176: Helm replacement for barbarians
  7. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 185: Helm replacement for cavefolk
  8. src/spell.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 1737