Elven leather helm

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[   elven leather helm   Elven leather helm.png
Appearance leather hat
Slot helm
AC 1
Special (none)
Base price 8 zm
Weight 3
Material leather

An elven leather helm is a type of helm that appears in NetHack. It appears as a leather hat when unidentified, and is naturally made of leather.


Any elven player character that would start the game with a helmet will start with an elven leather helm instead - currently, there are no applicable roles where this substitution would occur.[1]

Elves of various types have a 12 chance to receive an elven leather helm in their starting inventory.[2]

Player monsters have a 78 chance of receiving a random helm, and a 325 chance for that helm to be an elven leather helm - effectively a default 10.5% chance before any role-specific changes are made.[3] Healers, priests and Wizards have a 34 chance that their helm will be replaced, with the replacement being a helm of brilliance for wizards and either a helm of brilliance or helm of telepathy for healers and priests - this reduces the effective odds of them remaining with an elven leather helm to ~2.63%.[4][5][6]


The elven leather helm grants 1 AC when worn. Being a non-metal helm, it doesn't interfere with spellcasting; however, it also provides no protection from falling rock traps or scrolls of earth.

Like all elven armor, the elven leather helm can be enchanted from as high as +5, whereas most other armor may be destroyed if enchanted while above +3.


The elven leather helm is the lightest available helm that does not impede spellcasting. Early in the game, a metal helm of some sort is usually preferable for non-spellcasters in order to avoid falling rock traps, and may be temporarily removed as needed in order to cast depending on the spell. Monks and Priests can get away with metal helms thanks to the spellcasting bonus from their robes, but Healers and Wizards might find the elven leather helm their best option for a long time.

Elven leather helms make excellent polyfodder since they can be enchanted safely from +5; they are also likely to be part of a spellcaster's kit from the mid-game on, and may even make it into their ascension kits - the helm of brilliance and cornuthaum (for Wizards) are difficult to find, and all other useful helms interfere with spellcasting. There is a high risk that your leather helm may be burnt in Gehennom, though you will only lose 1 point of base AC, making it usually optional to fireproof.


The elven leather helm first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


In variants with object materials systems, the elven leather helm may be referred to as simply an elven helm, and may appear as a hat when unidentified.


In dNetHack, the Ruined Temple of the Chaos Temple Quest contains an uncursed +0 leather elven helm in one of its chests.

The half-elf ranger of the rebel leader's party that servers as quest nemesis for the default Noble quest generates with an elven helm.


In EvilHack, shopkeepers have a 12 chance to generate with an elven helm.

Elven helms have a base material of leather, and can also be made of cloth or rarely dragonhide; a cloth elven helm with the oilskin object property is an incredibly popular wish for an EvilHack ascension kit, as it provides stellar protection against brain-eating attacks from the revamped zombies as well as mind flayers, some shambling horrors and the especially threatening alhoons.


  1. src/u_init.c in NetHack 3.6.6, line 199: Race-based substitutions for initial inventory
  2. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.6, line 227
  3. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.6, line 159: Default equipment; the helm is chosen from within the designated object classes inclusively in objects.c
  4. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.6, line 193: Helm replacement for healers
  5. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.6, line 198: Helm replacement for priests
  6. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 253: Helm replacement for wizards