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You may be crowned as a result of prayer if you are at least piously aligned and extremely lucky. Crowning[1] involves receiving a title, an additional skill slot, several intrinsic resistances, and possibly a gift, at the cost of a greatly increased prayer timeout.


Which title you receive depends on your current alignment:

Alignment Title
Lawful Hand of Elbereth
Neutral Envoy of Balance
Chaotic Glory of Arioch


The following intrinsics are granted[2]:

  • cold resistance
  • fire resistance
  • poison resistance
  • sleep resistance
  • shock resistance
  • see invisible

As of NetHack 3.6.0, an additional skill slot is also granted, as if the player gained an experience level.[3]

Alignment gift

A gift is given, based on the following algorithm:

  • Wizard[4]
  • Monk[5]
    • If not wielding an artifact or carrying a spellbook of restore ability, the gift is a blessed spellbook of restore ability.
    • If you received the book but already know the spell, see Exceptions
    • Otherwise, see Others
  • Others
    • Lawful[6]
      • If wielding a non-artifact long sword (or as primary weapon if using two-weaponing) and Excalibur does not exist in the game, the long sword is changed into the blessed rustproof Excalibur. Its enchantment is set to +1 if it had been less than +1.
      • Otherwise, see Exceptions
    • Neutral[7]
      • If Vorpal Blade does not exist in the game, it is given as a gift.
      • Otherwise, see Exceptions
    • Chaotic[8]
      • If Stormbringer does not exist in the game, it is given as a gift.
      • Otherwise, see Exceptions
  • Exceptions: If none of the previous rules apply, the player's current weapon (if any) is blessed, increased to +1 if below that, and made unrusted and rustproof, and its corresponding skill class is unrestricted, regardless of player class.

Additionally, the following skill classes are always unrestricted based on the player's alignment:

Alignment Alignment gift skill
Lawful Long sword
Neutral Long sword
Chaotic Broadsword


If you already have the crowning gift or it was an artifact that has already been generated in your game, then you do not receive a gift object. The message depends on what you are wielding: "You feel unworthy" if nothing, "Your Vorpal Blade goes snicker-snack!"[9] for neutrals, or your weapon "hums ominously!"[10] for chaotics. You will always unrestrict long sword skill for lawful and neutrals, and broad sword skill for chaotics. This holds even if you get a spellbook, or nothing at all.

For characters who already have the crowning weapon and that proficiency, crowning is usually a bad deal. But firstly, foodless heros might want the intrinsics. Secondly, you can unrestrict any weapon of your choice if you are wielding it and arrange not to get a crowning gift (or already know the spellbook). Elven non-wizards don't need the gift because they can force Stormbringer to be their first sacrifice gift.

There are three ways to avoid being crowned. You can pray only when in trouble and not at an altar, or you can make sure your Luck is at most nine (see that page for ways to do so), or you can make sure that your alignment record is at most 19 (ie. not piously aligned), which you can easily check if you have a stethoscope.

Prayer timeout

The downside of getting crowned is that the player's prayer timeout is greatly increased permanently. Players that depend heavily on prayer may find themselves crowned earlier than those that do not, by sheer statistics. Unfortunately, it is these players that are hurt by being crowned, as the increased prayer timeout means they must go longer without praying. If the player does not need the benefits listed above, being crowned is not necessary, though ascending with a title is a nice aesthetic bonus.

It is possible to compensate for the increased prayer timeout by making a large number of sacrifices.


"I crown thee... The Hand of Elbereth!"
You, a lawful character, were crowned.
"Thou shalt be my Envoy of Balance!"
You, a neutral character, were crowned.
"Thou art chosen to steal souls for My Glory!"
You, a chaotic character, were crowned.


In general, no additional skill slot is granted.


In slash'em, no additional skill slot is granted.

Also for lawful characters only, Excalibur or other wielded weapon is enchanted to +3 instead of +1, or given additional +1 if already at +3 or above. This works safely for over-enchanted weapons as well.


In DNetHack, the player's Luck stat needs to be at least 11 for crowning to happen, that is, the player must have a noncursed luckstone in open inventory. Players who don't want to get crowned can avoid it by putting the luckstone away before praying. Also, crowning will happen as soon as the player has fulfilled all of the requirements and has completed the quest (that is, brings the artifact to the Quest leader. There are also quite a few more titles to be, instead of just the three generic ones.