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

The helm of brilliance is a magical helm that appears in NetHack. It is made of iron, and provides 1 AC when worn.


The helm of brilliance modifies the wearer's Intelligence and Wisdom by its amount of enchantment, in addition to its normal AC bonus. Wearing an enchanted helm of brilliance will auto-identify it, as will enchanting the helm at +0. Even though the helm of brilliance is iron, it does not hinder spellcasting.[1]

The Mitre of Holiness, the Priest quest artifact, is an artifact helm of brilliance.


The helm of brilliance is generally useful for spell-casting, as higher intelligence and wisdom stats reduce the failure rate of high-level spells and mitigates the penalties from wearing metallic armor. It is especially beneficial to characters who want to cast high-level spells in spell schools that they are limited in, such as a high level Priest attempting to cast polymorph using the Mitre of Holiness. In addition, wearing an enchanted helm of brilliance will slightly improve energy regeneration and may give you a larger amount of maximum power when leveling up, since both are influenced by wisdom and energy regeneration is also influenced by intelligence.

However, for a character with already-low 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 will not notice any significant gains in that regard, and will get far less use out of the helm outside of the possibility of foocubi encounters (and even then, the helm may end up removed mid-interaction).

Keep in mind that you can still die of brainlessness if brainsucked by a mind flayer with a helm of brilliance on - brainlessness checks for a base intelligence of 3.


In NetHack 3.4.3, using a cursed scroll of destroy armor on a cursed helm of brilliance or a cursed pair of gauntlets of dexterity reduced the enchantment of the piece of armor without altering the stats - after removing the piece of armor, stats would be permanently increased, and you could even temporarily surpass your racial maximum that way. This became known as the "hobug" because the helm of brilliance is often abbreviated to HoB.