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Protection is the name of a number of effects which reduce your AC by magical means.

If you have any source of protection, you will receive the enlightenment message, "You are protected." (If your protection is negative, the message reads, "You are ineffectively protected.")

Extrinsic protection

The following are sources of extrinsic protection:

Starting in NetHack 3.6.0, extrinsic protection from equipment is also associated with higher magic cancellation. The cloak of protection is the only item that naturally grants MC3, and rings of protection and extrinsic protection from artifacts increase your effective magic cancellation by one point. So a robe or mithril coat (both MC2) worn with a ring of protection, the Mitre of Holiness, or the Tsurugi of Muramasa will give you MC3, the same as a worn cloak of protection.

The MC bonus is non-cumulative. Two rings of protection or two protection artifacts equipped with a leather armor or any other MC1 item will only give you a magic cancellation of 2, not 3.

Intrinsic protection

Main article: Intrinsic protection

The following are sources of intrinsic protection:


All of these types of protection stack; you can buy protection from a temple (more than once), wear two rings of protection, and cast the spell, if you need a large temporary AC boost.


SLASH'EM adds natural protection to the Monk class and to the doppelganger and lycanthrope races. These bonuses stack for doppelganger Monks. Monks have their AC lowered by level/2 + 2, with a maximum of 11 bonus AC at level 18 if they are not wearing a shield, body armor (robes are allowed), and are not wielding a weapon. Doppelgangers and lycanthropes have their AC lowered by level/4 + 1 if they are not wearing any body armor (robes are not allowed), even if they are in a form that would not be able to wear body armor anyway (and thus would likely have lowered natural AC already to compensate).

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