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
Base price 50 zm
Weight 50
Material iron

The helm of opposite alignment is a type of magical helm that appears in NetHack. It has a randomized appearance.


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


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.

Gods will not consider a worn cursed helm of opposite alignment as trouble, and will not uncurse a worn helm of opposite alignment as a favor, to prevent you from switching allegiance to a different god.[4][5]


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 you 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. The helm can allow characters to obtain intelligent artifacts of other alignments, including dipping for Excalibur.


In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, as well as some variants based on those 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, and it is possible for prayer to uncurse a worn helm of opposite alignment. All but the lattermost traits were changed to their current implementation in NetHack 3.6.0; praying to uncurse a worn helm of opposite alignment was removed in NetHack 3.6.1.


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.



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


In dNetHack, helms of opposite alignment essentially function as they do in NetHack 3.4.3.


In EvilHack, several mechanics related to the helm of opposite alignment are altered:[6][7]

  • In addition to not uncursing a worn helm of opposite alignment, your god will never give you the helm as a sacrifice gift.[8][9][10]
  • You cannot use the helm to obtain Excalibur or Dirge as a Knight.[11][12][13][14]
  • Attempting to offer the Amulet to a different deity while using a helm of opposite alignment has a 13 chance of your original god noticing the deception. While the game does not instantly end if they notice, you are still severely penalized - the god is angered, you take a −5 penalty to alignment and Luck, and the helm is destroyed.[15][16] Successfully ascending while converted to a different alignment using the helm will be treated as an ascension "in dishonor", with the same 23 score reduction as in vanilla; ascending while using the helm to convert back to your starting alignment grants a 1.5x score bonus, compared to the 2x bonus obtained from remaining loyal to your god.[17]
  • Infidels that wear a helm of opposite alignment are always converted to lawful, as they are typically unaligned. This allows them to make holy water while wearing the helm.[18]


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 will always result in a dishonorable ascension.


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.


In SporkHack, wearing a helm of opposite alignment halves your alignment record and inverts it: if your alignment record was positive at the time of wearing, it becomes negative, and a negative alignment record becomes positive; removing a worn helm of opposite alignment also inverts your alignment record.[19] This means that if, for example, you had an alignment record of 20 and wear a helm of opposite alignment, then your alignment record becomes -10; if you uncurse or destroy the helm immediately after, your alignment record then becomes 10.

As a result, using a helm of opposite alignment to ascend carries a significant risk: if your alignment record is not positive after offering the Amulet of Yendor (which boosts your alignment record by 10), you are denied the status of demigod(ess) and forced to escape in celestial disgrace.