Orb

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Orbs are magical items in the tool class, which all share the unidentified appearance glass orb.

NetHack 3.6.0 only includes one orb, the crystal ball, so any "glass orb" you encounter can safely be assumed to be a crystal ball.

However, some historic variants contain more than one type of orb. In these variants, a randomly generated "glass orb" can be any one of these items, making activation of an unidentified orb risky—you could waste a chance to enchant a good weapon or charge an item, or you could even suffer the effects of a magical explosion!

SLASH'EM

Two variants whose code became the base for SLASH'EM, NetHack Plus and SLASH 6, feature three orbs in addition to the crystal ball: the orb of enchantment, the orb of charging, and the orb of destruction. The code for these items, and for their functions[1], can still be found in the SLASH'EM source, but has been commented out, with the note that these had "potential for abuse"[2]. This makes the orbs a deferred feature in SLASH'EM.

All orbs other than the crystal ball have a base price of 750 ZM, whereas the crystal ball is worth 60, so it may be possible to single out the crystal ball by price identification. The orbs also weigh half as much as a crystal ball (75 units, compared to 150), so in the absence of a shopkeeper you might possibly determine whether an orb is a crystal ball or not by how it affects your encumbrance. But once the crystal ball has been ruled out, the three non-crystal ball orbs can only be distinguished by identification, or by testing them.

( Crystal ball.png
Name orb of enchantment
Appearance glass orb
Base price 750 zm
Weight 75
Material glass
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

Orb of enchantment

When applied, the orb of enchantment attempts to alter the enchantment of your primary wielded weapon. This will only affect items in the weapon class, pick axes and unicorn horns.

  • If blessed, the orb will always attempt to increase the enchantment, with a 50% chance of increasing it by 1 and a 50% chance of increasing it by 2 ("Your <weapon> glows silver").
  • If uncursed, the orb has a 2-in-3 chance of increasing the enchantment by 1 ("Your <weapon> glows bright for a moment"), and a 1-in-3 chance of decreasing it by 1 ("Your <weapon> glows dark for a moment").
  • If cursed, the orb will always attempt to decrease the enchantment, with a 50% chance of decreasing it by 1 and a 50% chance of decreasing it by 2 ("Your <weapon> glows black").

The maximum for enchantment is +5. The orb will never increase the enchantment of a +5 weapon ("Nothing seems to happen."), and if the resulting enchantment would have been greater than +5 (e.g. if a weapon that was +4 would have gained 2 points of enchantment), it will cut off at +5. There does not appear to be a cutoff to lowering the enchantment.

Applying an orb of enchantment that is out of charges returns the message "This orb is burnt out."

( Crystal ball.png
Name orb of charging
Appearance glass orb
Base price 750 zm
Weight 75
Material glass
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

Orb of charging

When applied, an orb of charging allows you to select an item, which it recharges, like a scroll of charging. Its BUC status seems to affect its behavior in the same way as a scroll of charging.

The orb self-identifies when successfully activated. Applying an orb of charging that is out of charges returns the message "This orb is burnt out."

( Crystal ball.png
Name orb of destruction
Appearance glass orb
Base price 750 zm
Weight 75
Material glass
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

Orb of destruction

When applied, the orb of destruction simply explodes, destroying the orb and dealing 12d6 points of magic missile-type damage. Whether the orb is charged or not does not seem to have any impact on this effect.

NetHack brass

NetHack brass includes the orb of charging and the orb of destruction, but the orb of enchantment is replaced by an orb of maintenance, which can be used to repair a selected object, not limited to weapons and armor. An uncursed orb reduces erosion; a blessed orb completely repairs the item; and a cursed orb increases erosion.

Also, all orbs in NetHack brass, including the crystal ball, weigh 75 units. The crystal ball can still be distinguished from the other three by price identification.

References

<references> SLASH 6 objects.c line 569 SLASH 6 apply.c line 2233

  • NetHack brass, objects.c line 669
  • NetHack brass, apply.c line 3281
  • apply.c in SLASH'EM 0.0.7E7F2, line 3570
  • objects.c in SLASH'EM 0.0.7E7F2, line 858
  • Retrieved from "http://nethackwiki.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Orb&oldid=99589#Orb_of_charging"