Alignment quest

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The alignment quests are a set of three alignment-themed quests found in SLASH'EM, dNetHack, SlashTHEM, and Hack'EM. These quests yield alignment keys and alignment artifacts, with the former being required to progress through the game.

Common properties

The quest branches share some common properties in all variants:

  • They are all accessed by magic portals found in the main dungeon; two alignment quest portals will never be found on the same level, nor on the same level as the main quest.
  • Unlike role-based quests, they have no quest leaders or quest guardians.
  • There is no alignment-based restriction - rather, a specific alignment key is found in each one, and neither they nor the alignment quest artifacts can be wished for; the wish will be wasted as if you wished for your own quest artifact. ("For a moment, you feel something in your hands, but it disappears!")


In SLASH'EM, portals to each quest are found between levels 15 and 19. Each quest has only one floor with a unique, covetous enemy that must be killed to retrieve their alignment key; each unique enemy will be surrounded by minions of similar type and/or alignment, and will also drop a unique artifact when killed unless they are disintegrated, petrified or swallowed whole. The alignment keys are used to open the central six doors in the top level of Vlad's Tower, which have been made indestructible. The configuration of the doors ensures that you will always need at least two of the keys to reach Vlad.

However, it is still possible to obtain the Candelabrum of Invocation without the alignment keys. There are two main ways to do this:

  • Wake up Vlad yourself: Similar to waking up the Wizard, one can do this with a charged drum of earthquake or a polyselfed or pet mind flayer's psychic blast. Vlad is covetous, and so will teleport to meet the player.
  • Let somebody else do your dirty work, specifically the Wizard of Yendor: he wants the Candelabrum as much as you do, and so will teleport to meet Vlad if you lure him up to the top level of Vlad's Tower. However, he cannot get past Vlad's +3 enchantment resistance, but he will at least wake him up for you. Alternately, filling the area with pets via a combination of create monster and confused taming, or by simply spamming flame sphere or a similar spell, it's possible for a pet to end up next to Vlad and wake him up.


The Chaotic Quest sees you fighting Vecna for The Hand of Vecna and the Key of Chaos. He is surrounded by an army of undead (L, V, W and Z) and has a very high base level himself, making the Chaotic Quest the hardest of the alignment quests. It is also the most rewarding of the three, given that the level also contains a large number of chests, scrolls and spellbooks. Be aware that the portal might take you right next to Vecna himself, so be prepared with a means of creating a permanent Elbereth.


The easiest quest but also the least rewarding, the Neutral Quest is filled mostly with gas spores and a few random monsters, with the Beholder guarding the Key of Neutrality at the end. Be sure to have magic resistance, reflection, or a source of blindness before entering the level, and be mindful of the fact that the Beholder has the same glyph as his "attendant" gas spores. A ranged weapon is also advisable, although it is not an absolute necessity for a strong character. The reward, the Eye of the Beholder, is not terribly useful overall in comparison to the others.


The Lawful Quest is designed vaguely like something out of a horror movie, and is filled with numerous "illusions" - deceptively #named objects made to look like useful items or artifacts, doors which lead nowhere, a false temple, and more. Beneath its illusions, it does always contain a coaligned altar and cursed -9 gray dragon scales, and you have a chance of finding an amulet of flying as well - you may have to fight the arch-lich to obtain the scales, making stoning very handy. Once obtained, you can cancel the scales to uncurse them and zero out their enchantment. The quest nemesis, Nightmare, inflicts surprising amounts of damage but is otherwise unremarkable. She drops the moderately useful Nighthorn and the Key of Law when killed.


The inclusion of alignment quests in dNetHack was inspired by the alignment quests in SLASH'EM, but the quests themselves are quite different. In dNetHack, the alignment quests have dedicated branch levels that are multiple floors long and divided into roughly three parts; portals to each are found between dungeon levels 12 and 20. Multiple unique creatures serve as guardians for each quest, and all contain multiple artifacts related to the theme of the quest, most of which are associated with one of the unique enemies.

The quests each have three alignment keys associated with them, but the precise means of obtaining the keys varies between quests. The keys are required for the three doors in the Valley of the Dead; they have been made indestructible in dNetHack, and each requires an alignment key to open. Any alignment key can be used to open any of these doors, but the key is destroyed in the process, and three of the nine total alignment keys are needed for access to Gehennom. Note that it is impossible to level teleport past the Valley in dNetHack before descending into Gehennom via the Valley stairs. This means you need to either fully complete a specific alignment's quest or partially complete any combination of multiple alignment quests.


There are three versions of the Chaos Quest:


The Neutral Quest is a hybrid quest inspired by D&D and the Cthulhu Mythos, and sees you traveling across the Outlands, and then descending through the Lethe Waterway and the Gulf of N'Kai, which are based on the Lethe patch and its revisions of Gehennom. The unique quest enemies are the Center of All, argentum golems, the alhoons, and Great Cthulhu. The Outlands portion of the quest contains a branch to the shrouded dispensary, where Illurien of the Myriad Glimpses can be found. There are also numerous map inclusions that are eligible for generation in the Outlands portion of the Neutral Quest, some of which contain unique artifacts.


The Law Quest is inspired by D&D, and sees you traveling up through the Paths of Law, across the woodlands of Arcadia, and then ascending a fortress and tower (note that the quest branches into two paths here). The unique quest enemies are Axus, the Arsenal, and Lady Oona. In dNethack 3.16.1 and later, there are also numerous map inclusions that are eligible for generation in the Paths of Law and Arcadia woodlands portions of the Law Quest.