Luckstone

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* Gray stone.png
Name luckstone
Appearance gray stone
Damage vs. small 1d3
Damage vs. large 1d3
To-hit bonus +0
Weapon skill sling
Size one-handed
Base price 60 zm
Weight 10
Material mineral

A luckstone is a type of gem that appears in NetHack. It is a magical item that modifies a player's base Luck and Luck timeout while carried, and appears as a gray stone when unidentified.

The luckstone is the base item for The Heart of Ahriman, the Barbarian quest artifact.

Luckstones are the subject of a few rumors.

Generation

Luckstones can be rarely found randomly within the walls of the dungeon and its branches, and are always generated uncursed with the exception of bones files. There is a guaranteed luckstone in each of the three variants of Mines' End.

Player monsters generated on the Astral Plane have a 115 chance to be generated carrying a luckstone.[1]

Description

A noncursed luckstone adds 3 Luck, and can exceed the ordinary maximum of 10 in this way; and a cursed luckstone subtracts 3 Luck. Luckstones carried in containers (e.g. bags) have no effect on Luck. A cursed luckstone prevents the timeout of negative Luck, blessed ones prevent the timeout of positive Luck and uncursed ones prevent both. For example, if you have a blessed luckstone and jump a lot in Sokoban, your total Luck will eventually time out to three. While carrying the Amulet of Yendor, Luck times out more rapidly unless it is prevented from timing out by a luckstone.

A handful of other objects in the game, typically artifacts, can also function as luckstones (e.g. The Tsurugi of Muramasa and the The Orb of Fate). Multiple luckstones and/or luck items have no cumulative effect: you will get the blessed luckstone effect if you have strictly more blessed than cursed luck items in your open inventory, you get the cursed effect if you have more cursed luck items, and you get the uncursed effect if you have an equal amount of blessed and cursed luck items or all of them are uncursed.

Strategy

You should formally identify the beatitude of your luckstone, i.e. via altar or identifying it, as soon as possible so you can see when it gets cursed. An uncursed luckstone tends to be sufficient as long as your Luck is not below its baseline value;[2] however, blessing it additionally allows any bad Luck you accumulate to reliably time out, and acts as a buffer against item-cursing effects.

A backup luckstone carried in a container or left in a stash may be useful in case your primary luckstone becomes cursed, especially assuming means of uncursing are limited; keeping spare named blessed luckstones in your inventory can help you retain positive luck after facing a curse-slinging monster, especially in Gehennom. Cursed luckstones are considered a minor trouble like most cursed items - though cursed items are usually higher priority than other minor troubles, the bad Luck makes prayer much less reliable compared to other forms of curse removal.

Identification

If you find a gray stone, do not pick it up right away. First, make sure it is not a loadstone by kicking it; see the article linked above for more details). If it is, #name or #call it on the floor (if you can) and leave it alone. If not, and you are an Archaeologist, you can safely use your own starting touchstone to identify it.

For non-Archaeologists, the second test is to rub it on an iron item: a touchstone will produce a "scritch, scritch" noise. Non-Archaeologists will want to keep a touchstone, as a blessed one is useful for identifying gems.

If both tests are negative, the gray stone is either a luckstone or flint stone. You should pick it up and type-#name it until you get two different kinds or have a chance to price-id it: luckstones cost 60 zm, while flint doesn't interest shopkeepers. If a monster with the attribute "likes magic" picked it up, it's not flint.

As long as you don't know whether it is a luckstone or flint stone, treat it as a luckstone. Luckstones are generated uncursed, so unless you have bad Luck or found it in a bones file, they are safe to carry around.

Maximizing Luck

Luckstones are typically vital to any ascension kit. Once you have a known luckstone or other similar item to prevent Luck timeout, you want to max out your Luck, ideally best done before you go to Gehennom. Good ways to increase your Luck are:

  • Throwing precious gems to co-aligned unicorns; formally identified gems give 5 Luck each, while type-named ones give 2.
  • Sacrificing powerful monsters on a coaligned altar; you gain 5/24 of the value in Luck, and the value is usually equal to that monster's difficulty, with a few exceptions.

Most players will want to keep their luckstone in their main inventory at all times once they have maxed out their Luck, though there are notable exceptions to this max-and-keep Luck strategy - a cursed luckstone is generally best kept in a container, as does any luckstone found on a bones level until you can verify its beatitude. There are some notable exceptions, however:

  • Altar work requires Luck of at most 9 to avoid getting crowned when praying, so that it can remain readily available; this is typically the most significant Luck-based scenario for many players. Crowning significantly lengthens prayer timeout, though it does provide several benefits in return (e.g. most of the core resistances and an artifact weapon).
  • An uncursed luckstone in Sokoban may be worth putting away temporarily in order to allow Luck penalties from any "illegal" moves you make to time out.

For those seeking to avoid premature crowning or manage their Luck for other reasons, the easiest method is to keep your luckstone out and max out your Luck, then lower it by:

    • Beaking mirrors
    • Squeezing through boulders or jumping in Sokoban
    • Breaking eggs laid by you
    • Kicking a cross-aligned altar.
  • If you don't mind the tedium and are very conscientious, it is somewhat safer to bag it and take it out only when it prevents Luck timeout: this is on turns divisible by 600, or by 300 if your god is angry OR if you are carrying the Amulet of Yendor (although you could just drop the Amulet).
    • Alternately, if your Luck is below its baseline value,[2] drop or bag all non-blessed luckstones until you can either fix it or wait it out; the conservative-yet-tedious option is to do so specifically on each 300th or 600th turn, as above.
  • Blanking scrolls and potions by stepping into water becomes inefficient with high Luck.

History

The luckstone is introduced in NetHack 3.0.0.

From NetHack 3.1.0 to NetHack 3.4.3, including some variants based on these versions, it is possible to determine if any given gray stone was a luckstone by trying to name it "The Heart of Ahriman" - if the stone was a luckstone, your hand would slip and give it another name, and if the stone is any other type, the attempt would succeed. This is called the "naming artifacts" exploit.

This was fixed in NetHack 3.6.0: attempting to name any unidentified gray stone "The Heart of Ahriman" will fail, regardless of the stone's actual identity.

Origin

A luckstone, or "stone of good luck", is one of the many items derived from Dungeons & Dragons, where it is among the treasures listed in the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide. A stone of good luck is a rough piece of polished agate or similar mineral that grants its holder +1 (+5% where applicable) on all dice rolls involving potential bad outcomes; the luck it bestows does not affect rolls for to-hit, damage or spell failure. Additionally, it gives the holder a +1-10% bonus on rolls for determination of magic items or division of treasure (at the owner's discretion).

Variants

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, upgrading a flint stone has a 50% chance of turning it into a luckstone.

ZAPM

In ZAPM, the rabbit's foot is roughly analogous to a blessed luckstone.

UnNetHack

In UnNetHack, evil eyes have a Luck-stealing gaze that can be resisted 34 of the time with a blessed luckstone, or else resisted completely if you are wielding a non-cursed weapon that acts as a luckstone (i.e., Luck Blade or The Tsurugi of Muramasa). Evil eyes are also instantly killed if hit with a blessed luckstone, but healed if hit with a cursed one.

dNetHack

In dNetHack, a luckstone can be found at the head of the Lethe river in the Neutral Quest. The Heart of Ahriman's base item type is now a ruby instead of a luckstone.

Either a luckstone or the bonus Luck from a full moon is required for crowning. Convicts have a cap on Luck benifits from luckstones, and carrying more luckstones raises that cap - they also only get +1 Luck per luckstone, up to a maximum of +3.

SpliceHack

In SpliceHack, you can combine a luckstone with a scroll of identify at a furnace to create a crystal ball.

EvilHack

In EvilHack, a luckstone no longer prevents Luck from timing out, but instead heavily slows Luck timeout dependent on its beatitude; which beatitude affects the timeout of good and/or bad Luck is unchanged from vanilla NetHack.

Items with the "excellence" object property act as luckstones when worn or wielded.

References

  1. src/mplayer.c in NetHack 3.6.6, line 283
  2. 2.0 2.1 This is 1 on full moons, -1 on Friday the 13th, 0 with both of the above, and 0 otherwise.