The Orb of Detection

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(   The Orb of Detection   Crystal ball.png
Base item crystal ball
When carried
When applied
When invoked
Base price 2500 zm
Weight 150

The Orb of Detection is the Archeologist quest artifact. It is the prize for completing the Archeologist quest, and is lawful for wishing purposes. Its base item type is a crystal ball.


While carried, the Orb of Detection confers magic resistance, telepathy and half spell damage; invoking the Orb toggles invisibility on or off. The Orb of Detection can also be applied like any crystal ball for the same effects.


See also: Invoke § Optimum invocation schedule

Archaeologists' high intelligence let them make good use of the Orb of Detection for portal detection. The invoke effect is not useful, since sources of invisibility are common.

If you are carrying it for its magic resistance, it is recommended to find a source of worn magic resistance before challenging the Wizard of Yendor, since he can steal it.

As a lawful artifact wish, the Orb of Detection has a more useful base type than the Magic Mirror of Merlin and provides half spell damage. However, it is much heavier.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

For crystal balls in general: You can now search for dungeon features by entering any of < > _ \ # {. Doing so will find all of these features regardless of which one you entered.

The intelligence check when applying a crystal ball now uses a d8 instead of d20 if it is your own quest artifact, or d16 for other blessed crystal balls.

Crystal balls are now generated with 3-7 charges. Uncursed charging adds 1-2 charges up to the maximum of 7. Blessed charging increases the number of charges to 7 and also blesses the ball. Cursed charging removes all charges and curses the ball.

Applying a cancelled crystal ball now destroys it, regardless of whether or not it is an artifact.


Many variants implement L's Itlachiayaque Patch, which has the Orb of Detection replaced by Itlachiayaque, a lawful-aligned shield of reflection with some similar properties. xNetHack implements this patch, but additionally allows Itlachiayaque to be invoked and used like a crystal ball; EvilHack instead replaces the Orb with Xiuhcoatl, a lawful atlatl.

Encyclopedia entry

This Orb is a crystal ball of exceptional powers. When carried, it grants ESP, limits damage done by spells, and protects the carrier from magic missiles. When invoked it allows the carrier to become invisible.