The Sceptre of Might

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)   The Sceptre of Might   Mace.png
Base item mace
Damage vs. small 1d6+1 ×2
Damage vs. large 1d6 ×2
To-hit bonus +1d5
Bonus versus cross-aligned
Weapon skill mace
Size one-handed
When carried


When wielded
When invoked
Base price 2500 zm
Weight 30
Material iron

The Sceptre of Might is the Caveman quest artifact. It is the prize for completing the Caveman quest, and is lawful for wishing purposes. Its base item type is a mace.


When wielded, the Sceptre confers magic resistance; it has +d5 to-hit and deals double damage against monsters with a different alignment than the Sceptre. Invoking the Sceptre toggles conflict on or off; if the Sceptre leaves your main inventory, it will also stop causing conflict. Conflict caused by the Sceptre does not cause the usual nutrition drain.


See also: Invoke § Optimum invocation schedule

Thanks to its alignment-based double damage, the Sceptre is one of the best weapons in the game versus cross-aligned monsters, and your quest artifact is always co-aligned. Since most monsters in the game are either neutral or chaotic, for lawful characters the Sceptre is a great weapon, comparable even with a similarly enchanted Grayswandir against most non-silver hating monsters. However, the Sceptre is a somewhat weaker artifact for neutral Cavepeople; this becomes particularly noticeable in Gehennom. Erosion-proofing is recommended in either case, as quest artifacts are not generated damage-proof like sacrifice gifts; a backup source of magic resistance is also recommended, as the Wizard of Yendor can steal the Sceptre from you.

The magic resistance, damage bonuses and conflict toggle also make the Sceptre of Might a viable (though optional) artifact wish for Knights and lawful Priests that have an early one to spare.

Average damage calculation

The average damage calculations in the following table do not include bonuses from weapon skills, strength, or from using a blessed weapon against undead or demons.

Weapon Coaligned to the Sceptre Cross-aligned to the Sceptre
Small monster Large monster Small monster Large monster
+0 Sceptre of Might \frac{1+6}{2}+1=\bold{4.5} \frac{1+6}{2}=\bold{3.5} \left (\frac{1+6}{2}+1 \right )\times{2}=\bold{9} \left (\frac{1+6}{2} \right )\times{2}=\bold{7}
+7 Sceptre of Might \frac{1+6}{2}+1+7=\bold{11.5} \frac{1+6}{2}+7=\bold{10.5} \left (\frac{1+6}{2}+1+7 \right )\times{2}=\bold{23} \left (\frac{1+6}{2}+7 \right )\times{2}=\bold{21}


The Sceptre of Might is introduced along with most of the other quest artifacts in NetHack 3.1.0; from this version to NetHack 3.1.3, its base item type was a quarterstaff.

In NetHack 3.4.3, earlier versions and some variants based on them, the Sceptre of Might's magic resistance was conferred when carried.


You feel like a rabble-rouser.
You invoked the Sceptre of Might and are now causing conflict.
You feel the tension decrease around you.
You invoked the Sceptre of Might (or it left your main inventory), and you are no longer causing conflict.
You feel a surge of power, but nothing happens.
You invoked the Sceptre, but you were already causing conflict by other means.



In SLASH'EM, The Sceptre of Might confers its magic resistance while carried, but its bonuses are significantly lowered to +3 to-hit and +5 bonus damage versus cross-aligned monsters, making it much weaker as a weapon.[1] Artifact blasts also do far more damage at 8d10 (or 6d10 with magic resistance).

The Sceptre is still a solid artifact for its magic resistance and hunger-less conflict invoke, but is heavily outclassed in terms of damage by other artifact weapons such as the Sword of Justice and The Stake of Van Helsing; The Crown of Saint Edward and the Magic Mirror of Merlin are also comparable candidates for lawful artifact sources of magic resistance.


In xNetHack, The Sceptre of Might is the Priest quest artifact, replacing the removed the Mitre of Holiness; it confers drain resistance when wielded, and invoking it provides an energy boost instead of toggling conflict. Cavemen have a new quest artifact called Big Stick, which confers magic resistance when wielded and can be invoked for conflict akin to the vanilla Sceptre.


In EvilHack, the Sceptre of Might has its base item type changed to a rod, which is made of gemstone and deals slightly more damage against large monsters than a mace (1d8), making the Sceptre a significantly better weapon. Of note is that the Wizard of Yendor is capable of weapon attacks in EvilHack, and will use the Sceptre against you should he steal it.

Encyclopedia entry

This mace was created aeons ago in some unknown cave, and has been passed down from generation to generation of cave dwellers. It is a very mighty mace indeed, and in addition will protect anyone who wields it from magic missile attacks. When invoked, it causes conflict in the area around it.