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

A helm of opposite alignment is a type of magical helm that appears in NetHack. It is made of iron, and has a randomized appearance when unidentified.


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

Helms of opposite alignment have a 910 chance of generating as cursed.[1]


As indicated by the name, a helm of opposite alignment will switch your character's alignment to the opposite one while worn - this will autocurse and auto-identify the helm, remove any divine protection and set alignment record to zero, even if it was previously negative.[2] 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 an equal chance of the helm switching them to lawful or chaotic, and each individual helm will always switch to the same alignment.[3] Removing the helm will restore that character's original alignment and remove any protection obtained - 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, with a specific message depending on if you are permanently converted or not, and auto-identify the helm[4] - this will still remove any divine protection, but does not affect alignment record.

If your character's god was angry prior to wearing the helm, your "new" god will retain the previous god's anger status. Gods will not consider a worn cursed helm of opposite alignment as trouble, and will not uncurse a worn helm of opposite alignment in order to prevent switching allegiance to a different god.[5][6] Ascending while wearing a helm of opposite alignment will cut your final score by 13.

Monsters can wear this helm, which will autocurse as it does for the player but does not change their alignment[7] - aligned priests and minions, whose alignments are linked to their god, will never put one on.[8]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Per commit 0c9e3483 and commit cd047809, if a character wears a helm of opposite alignment, their alignment is abused and they are confused for a few turns. A roll versus their current alignment abuse is also made prior to shifting alignment - an erinys is summoned if the roll fails, and one will always be summoned if the helm is worn while on the Astral Plane.


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: the 10% chance of one generating noncursed can prove a nasty surprise for an early-game player, who usually lacks any forms of curse removal and will find prayer 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 other 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. While pets can wear the helm, their actual alignment will not change, so it serves no useful purpose to give a pet one.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Erinyes are significantly buffed to further resemble their inspirations in the Furies: their ability to appear upon a character wearing the helm represents a major hazard to both stronger characters that actively plan to use the helm and unlucky ones that put on the non-cursed and unidentified helm. They can also gain additional traits, properties and even attacks based on your character's alignment abuse, and the confusion from switching alignments via the helm makes them them more difficult to fight and/or escape as well; attempting to make them extinct through repeated uses of the helm will only make existing and newly-generated erinyes stronger.

Erinyes that are empowered enough to gain teleport control are even more difficult to get rid of: commit 10a1befc makes it so that a teleported erinys has a 1213 chance of appearing on a square adjacent to you as with the Riders, and commit 6d29efcf makes it so a character cannot sacrifice while confused. Combined with the above, this may completely scupper attempts to ascend on a cross-aligned high altar, since you will need at least one turn to clear confusion, which gives the erinys and other monsters time to strike and a chance for larger ones to knock your character off the altar.


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.

The mechanics for neutral opposite alignment and alignment record are changed to their modern implementation in NetHack 3.6.0, while prayer uncursing 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, identifying the helm.
You narrowly avoid losing all chance at your goal.
As above while in your Quest branch; this will always fail.
You are suddenly overcome with shame and change your mind.
Alternate Quest branch message for perma-converted characters.



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 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.[9] For example, if you have 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 in terms of score, as well as perceived legitimacy: 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.


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


In FIQHack, wearing or removing a helm of opposite alignment 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 xNetHack, ascending using a helm of opposite alignment will always result in a dishonorable ascension.


In EvilHack, it is now possible to convert alignment while already converted through other means. Several mechanics related to the helm of opposite alignment are also altered:[10][11]

  • In addition to not uncursing a worn helm of opposite alignment, your god will never give you the helm as a sacrifice gift.[12][13][14]
  • You cannot use the helm to obtain Excalibur or Dirge as a Knight.[15][16][17][18]
  • 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, incurring many severe penalties: your original god is angered, you take a −5 penalty to alignment and Luck, and the helm is destroyed.[19][20] As in NetHack, successfully ascending while converted to a different alignment using the helm will be treated as an ascension "in dishonor", with a 13 score reduction, and 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.[21]
  • 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.[22]