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For head armor in general, see helm.
[ Plumed helmet.png[ Etched helmet.png[ Crested helmet.png[ Visored helmet.png
Appearance random
Slot helm
AC 1
Special (none)
Base price 10 zm
Weight 30
Material iron

A helmet is a type of helm that appears in NetHack. It is made of iron and has a randomized appearance; the default one associated with it is a plumed helmet.[1] It appears as a kabuto for Samurai.


Knights start each game with a +0 helmet.[2] All other martial roles - Barbarians, Monks, Samurai, and Valkyries - begin the game with knowledge of its randomized appearance.[3][4][5][6][7]

Any elven, orcish or dwarven player character that would start the game with a helmet will start with an appropriate racial helm instead, but there are no applicable roles where this substitution would occur.[8][9][10]

In addition to random generation, helmets often appear in general, armor and weapon shops. Mercenaries are often generated with helmets.[11]


When worn, a helmet grants 1 base AC plus any additional properties from its randomized appearance. As a metallic helm, it hinders spellcasting, but also protects from most damage inflicted by falling objects, such as a read scroll of earth or a triggered falling rock trap.


Standard helmets are the most unremarkable of the randomized helms: they are sufficient as a basic source of AC and head protection, but players will often encounter the almost-identical orcish helm or the lighter dented pot first before they see a regular helmet. It may still provide a viable replacement for an existing helm if it is generated with a positive enchantment and/or has the appearance of a visored helmet, which offers eye protection.

Like most early helms, helmets are usually replaced by an elven leather helm or any of the other randomized helms due to the additional perks they offer - even a dwarvish iron helm is a suitable substitute due to offering more base AC.


Helmets can easily be distinguished from other randomized helms by price and weight: they are the only ones to have a base cost of 10 zm, making price identification in a shop trivial even without buying or selling one. Helmets also weigh 30 aum, while the other randomized helms weigh 50.


The helmet first appears in Hack 1.0.


In variants where item weight is shown, helmets are somewhat easier to identify.


In SLASH'EM, Undead Slayers can start the game with a +0 helmet unless they are elves or orcs, who will start with the appropriate racial helm in those cases.


In SpliceHack, a helm of telepathy can be created at a furnace by combining a plain helmet and an amulet of ESP.


notdNetHack adds The Crown of Berith, a golden artifact helmet than protects against brain-sucking attacks while worn and can be safely enchanted to +7. Berith himself is generated with this helm when summoned by an Illithanachronounbinder.


In EvilHack, giant Barbarians and Cavemen receive a helmet in place of the role's standard armor.

Flinds have a 14 chance of generating with a helmet, and shopkeepers have a 14 chance of generating with a helmet; Croesus has a 12 chance of generating with a golden helmet, and Kas is always generated with a helmet. Mercenaries will often generate with helmets unless they are drow, elves or orcs, and the helmet also appears in the kits of various player monsters, particularly lower-level ones.

A helmet can be created at a forge by combining a dented pot and a dagger. Helmets can be used to forge several items:


In SlashTHEM, in addition to SLASH'EM details, Paladins start the game with a helmet unless they are elves or dwarves, who will start with the appropriate racial helm in those cases.


In Hack'EM, tortle Undead Slayers receive a toque in place of the standard helmet.

Padawans and Jedi trainers have a 14 chance of generating with a helmet. All details from SLASH'EM and EvilHack are applicable.

Encyclopedia entry


The kabuto is the helmet worn by the samurai. It was characterized by a prominent beaked front which jutted out over the brow to protect the wearer's face; a feature that gives rise to their modern Japanese name of 'shokaku tsuki kabuto' (battering-ram helmet). Their main constructional element was an oval plate, the shokaku bo, slightly domed for the head with a narrow prolongation in front that curved forwards and downwards where it developed a pronounced central fold. Two horizontal strips encircling the head were riveted to this frontal strip: the lower one, the koshimaki (hip wrap), formed the lower edge of the helmet bowl; the other, the do maki (body wrap), was set at about the level of the temples. Filling the gaps between these strips and the shokaku bo were small plates, sometimes triangular but more commonly rectangular in shape. Because the front projected so far from the head, the triangular gap beneath was filled by a small plate, the shoshaku tei ita, whose rear edge bent downwards into a flange that rested against the forehead.

[ Arms & Armor of the Samurai, by Bottomley & Hopson ]