Ring of polymorph control

From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name polymorph control
Appearance random
Base price 300 zm
Weight 3
Probability out of rings 3.57%
Probability out of items in:
containers Rogue level Gehennom Elsewhere
0.179% 0.179% 0.286% 0.107%

A ring of polymorph control is a type of ring that appears in NetHack.


Wizards may have a ring of polymorph control as one of the two random rings in their starting inventory, though they will never start with the ring and a means of polymorph simultaneously.[1][2][3]


Wearing a ring of polymorph control grants extrinsic polymorph control: whenever you are polymorphed for any reason, if you are not stunned or unconscious and there is no applicable special case (e.g. polymorphing while wearing dragon scales or dragon scale mail), you will be prompted for the form of the monster you wish to change into. You will also never suffer system shock when polymorphing, but there is still a 15 chance of polymorphing into your own species each time you polymorph, regardless of what monster form you choose. Eating the ring has a 13 chance of giving you intrinsic polymorph control.

If you have lycanthropy and would change forms while wearing the ring, you are given a prompt asking if you wish to do so; declining will leave you in your current form.


Main article: Polymorph control

Controlled polymorph has a nearly endless amount of applications for players, from eating jewelry to obtaining otherwise-difficult pets, to obtaining certain intrinsics and making travel easier, to gaining an edge in fights and overpowering otherwise-difficult hostile monsters. This makes the ring of polymorph control a valuable tool in almost any player's kit, and thus a tempting target for a wish.

In the early game, if you have no other means of protecting yourself from unseen polymorph traps in the lower dungeon, the ring can be a sufficient substitute - you can at least control the outcome of most unexpected polymorphs, preserving your armor and avoiding system shocks in the process. Unfortunately, there is still the chance of a same-race polymorph occurring, which can come with undesired adjustments to your experience level or attributes.

Monks in particular may seek out a ring of polymorph control to avoid the severe to-hit penalties for wearing armor, which are only applied to their base form, and can also make use of monster forms with multiple good attacks to complement their martial arts skill.


Main article: Price identification

The ring of polymorph control is one of the safer 300zm rings, but is tricky to actually test for due to the dangers of random, uncontrolled polymorph - it is much less likely to be cursed than a ring of polymorph on average, though this may not be reliable for more cautious players. If you are willing to take the risk, you can wear-test to rule out the ring of teleport control by putting it on and then activating a teleportation trap on or close to your square; you can rule out the ring of conflict by wearing it in sight of monsters that are near each other (e.g. a pet and almost any other monster). Testing rings for polymorph control becomes much safer and easier once you have the ring of polymorph formally identified.

The odds of a ring that is price-identified and tested for beatitude being a ring of polymorph control is given in the following table:

Testing done Any BUC Non-cursed Uncursed Cursed Blessed
Any price 3.45% 4.47% 4.69% 1.13% 0%
300 zm 25.0% 32.1% 32.1% 8.3% --
300 zm, not telecontrol nor conflict 50.0% 90.0% 90.0% 10.0% --


The ring of polymorph control first appears in NetHack 2.2a along with the ring of polymorph.


The sink momentarily looks like a regularly erupting geyser.
You dropped a ring of polymorph control down a sink, and you are not blind.



In SLASH'EM, the ring of polymorph control is an even more enticing wish target for many players due to the higher amount of powerful and useful monster forms available such as the crystal golem or giant shoggoth.

The ring of polymorph control is a special goal for Doppelganger and lycanthrope players: a doppelganger that finds one before they get the intrinsic at experience level 9 can access the better monster forms much earlier, while a lycanthrope that finds the ring gains control over their otherwise-random transformation and can employ their innate abilities more strategically.


In SlashTHEM, the details from SLASH'EM still apply with one important exception: doppelgangers now gain intrinsic polymorph control at XL 25, requiring them to keep track of monsters they have eaten or grown strong enough to shift into. This makes an extrinsic source of polymorph control more useful throughout the game and all the more enticing for them. In addition, several new monsters are available that may prove to be useful polyforms.