Helm of opposite alignment

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

The helm of opposite alignment is a magical helm that appears in NetHack.

Generation

Helms of opposite alignment have a 90% chance of being generated cursed.[1]

Description

As indicated by the name, a helm of opposite alignment will switch you to the alignment opposite your current one when worn - this will autocurse the helm, remove any divine protection you have acquired and set your alignment record to zero (even if it was previously negative).

Removing the helm will restore your original alignment and remove any protection obtained under your temporary alignment; wearing or removing the helm will never restore any lost points of protection or alignment record. Attempting to put one on while in the Quest branch will always fail and give a specific message[2] - this will still remove any divine protection, but does not affect your alignment record.

A lawful character donning the helm will become chaotic, and a chaotic character donning the helm will become lawful. For neutral characters, there is a a 50/50 chance of the helm switching them to lawful or chaotic, and each individual helm will always switch to the same alignment. While the helm does not change the alignment of monsters, aligned priests and minions (whose alignment is linked to their god) will refuse to put it on.[3]

If your god was angry with you prior to wearing the helm, your "new" god will retain the previous god's anger status. Ascending while wearing a helm of opposite alignment will cut your score by 23.

Strategy

Helms of opposite alignment are among the many reasons that randomly use-testing unidentified helms is a bad idea - they also share the same base cost as the useful helm of brilliance and helm of telepathy. However, most such helms will generate cursed and can be avoided with relative ease, especially through methods such as pet-testing. Even so, be sure to formally identify a suspected helm of opposite alignment as soon as possible - it has a 10% chance of generating noncursed, which may prove a nasty surprise for an early-game player, since they usually lack any forms of curse removal and prayer is rendered unreliable.

One primary use of a helm of opposite alignment is for lawful characters to weaken the mysterious force during a speed ascension, since chaotic characters are not teleported by as many floors when using staircases. Another is on the Astral Plane, where a character willing to use the helm effectively has a 23 chance of ascending on the first altar they find - this is naturally less reliable for neutral characters compared to other alignments.

The helm has some niche applications as well - for example, a chaotic character may become lawful to safely traverse the Gnomish Mines in the early game.

History

In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, a neutral character would randomly become lawful or chaotic each time they wore the helm, with the result not tied to the individual object. Wearing or removing the helm also did not alter your alignment record.

Messages

Your mind oscillates briefly.
You put on a helm of opposite alignment and changed your alignment.
You narrowly avoid losing all chance at your goal.
You attempted to put on a helm of opposite alignment while in your Quest branch, which will always fail.
You are suddenly overcome with shame and change your mind.
As above, but your alignment was already permanently converted through other means.

Variants

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, a chaotic or neutral character can take advantage of the helm of opposite alignment to get lawful minions from sacrificing - including devas, ki-rin, archons, planetars, and solars.

FIQHack

In FIQHack, wearing or removing a helm of opposite alignment now causes you to gradually lose 1 point of alignment record per turn - once your alignment reaches −100, your alignment converts as would normally occur with the helm behaves in vanilla NetHack. Taking the helm off after a complete conversion from it also causes you to gradually lose alignment in the same way until you regain your original alignment.

Having your alignment completely converted in either case resets your piety (which FIQHack uses to determine gift threshold and crowning) and protection, incurs a −3 Luck penalty and increments prayer timeout by 300 (more) turns.

EvilHack

In EvilHack, you can no longer uncurse a worn helm of opposite alignment via prayer. As of version 0.3.2, you cannot use the helm to obtain Excalibur or Dirge, and as of version 0.6.0 your god will also never give you the helm as a sacrifice gift.

Starting from version 0.4.2, attempting to ascend using a helm of opposite alignment has a 13 chance of the god noticing your deception - if they do, they are angered, you take a −5 penalty to alignment and Luck, and the helm is destroyed. Successfully ascending using a helm of opposite alignment will be livelogged as the player having "ascended (in dishonor)", with the same 23 score reduction as in vanilla.

xNetHack

In xNetHack, the helm of opposite alignment will autocurse as normal if a monster wears it, allowing players to identify one this way - the monster will still not change alignment, and aligned priests and minions will never wear one.

Ascending using a helm of opposite alignment is livelogged as "ascended (in dishonor)".

References