The Palantir of Westernesse

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(   The Palantir of Westernesse   Crystal ball.png
Base item crystal ball
Affiliation
When carried
When applied
When invoked
Base price 8000 zm
Weight 150

The Palantir of Westernesse was the Elf quest artifact that previously appeared in NetHack. It served as the prize for completing the Elf quest and defeating the quest nemesis, the Goblin King. It was chaotic for wishing purposes, and its base item is a crystal ball.

Description

When carried, the Palantir of Westernesse granted regeneration, telepathy, and half spell damage. When invoked, it tamed nearby creatures.

History

The Palantir was introduced in NetHack 3.1.0, and last appeared in NetHack 3.3.0 - it was rendered defunct along with the Elf role in NetHack 3.3.1, which introduced the ability to choose a starting race, including the elf. The role itself was given a spiritual successor in the Ranger, whose quest branch employs a somewhat similar structure and uses exact same layout for the goal level, though the quest artifact and the nemesis guarding it are much different.

The data for the Palantir can still be found within artilist.h in the code of post-3.3.0 versions.[1]

Origin

A palantír (/ˈpælənˌtɪər/; pl. palantíri) is a magical artifact from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth novels. It is an indestructible ball of crystal, used for communicating and viewing past and future events in other parts of Arda. The palantíri were made by the Elves of Valinor in the First Age - by the time of the setting of The Lord of the Rings, only a few remained in existence.

Various major characters make use of palantíri, and a major recurring theme is that users had to "possess great strength of will and of mind" to direct the stone's gaze to its full capability. Others would find the stones unreliable, since it was unclear whether the events shown were from the past or future - users with sufficient power could take advantage of this if they chose to.

Palantíri are the basis for Elvenkings in NetHack having a 2% chance to generate with a crystal ball. Elves are also the only starting race that can naturally reach an Intelligence of 20, which allows them to apply crystal balls without any chance of failure.

Variants

A few modern variants still retain and/or retool the Palantir of Westernesse in some manner.

NetHack Plus/SLASH 6

In NetHack Plus, the Palantir of Westernesse was made lawful to reflect the Elf role being lawful instead of chaotic. SLASH 6 retained this while making the Elf role open to all alignments. Their successor SLASH'EM did not retain the role or its artifact in versions based on 3.3.0 and later.

SlashTHEM

In older versions of SlashTHEM, the Elph role was a retool of the old Elf role, and the Palantir of Westernesse served as the quest artifact.

dNetHack

dNetHack retools the old Elf quest as the Elvish Racial Quest, where elven Nobles, Priests, Rangers, and Wizards face the Necromancer for the Palantir of Westernesse. The Palantir remains a chaotic, elf-favoring intelligent crystal ball - when carried, it grants x-ray vision, telepathy, warning, and reflection. Invoking the artifact can tame nearby monsters.

References