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Why prefer level 7?

The article says: "provided you are –– level 5 at least, and level 7 for preference"

What difference does it make whether you are level 5, 6, 7, 14 or 28? --ZeroOne 22:37, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

No difference at all to your chances of getting Excalibur, but the original article author might have been thinking about your chances of surviving a potential summoned water demon. I removed the reference anyway. --Jayt 22:33, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
And, sometimes, even Level 8 isn't enough. I once got a water demon, then he summoned another water demon, and I misspelled Elbereth. Oh, well: stuff happens. Not much in NetHack is really safe. Nowadays, I make sure to always dip on the highest dungeon level with a fountain (so there's a better chance a water demon won't be hostile), and never dip without a reliable escape item.--Ckbryant 14:39, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


I can't remeber where I read it, but someone said get Excalibur, and stand near the altar fo your choice and wait for the sacrafices to come to you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 31 October 2006

I cannot see how standing near an altar and waiting for monsters to appear would be a different experience when wielding the Excalibur versus wielding something else. Although it does say "Even eyeless monsters will be able to locate you" in the NetHack artifacts spoiler, but it is not the same as aggravate monster. --ZeroOne 23:26, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Monster paparazzi

Since wielding Excalibur makes monsters attracted to you, isn't that effectively canceling out stealth? --Xercess 20:02, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I've played a lot of dwarven valkyries, so I know that it won't wake sleeping monsters. --anonymous


The article should mention that rust effects are removed when a longsword becomes excalibur, and that it is rustproof

Effects only if wielded?

The article doesn't make clear whether "monsters can find you effect" is only if the weapon is wielded or not (or is that the "(special)" entry under "when wielded?" I'm a newbie and don't know what the answer is, so someone else will have to update the entry. 17:51, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm still confused about all this "monsters can find you" stuff. Is it like when you're invisible or displaced monsters will hit you instead of missing, or like monsters all over the dungeon level walk towards you? DemonDoll 18:32, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
According to the source for Excalibur in Artilist.h, all innate effects of the sword only apply when it is weilded and it has no inventory effects. In the article's current form, it removes ambiguity from the "monsters can find you" question - a sightless monster is able to intentionally path towards you - but the artifact itself contains no flags that would let a sightless monster find the player. There must be a special case somewhere else. --FJH 06:13, May 13, 2010 (UTC)


[In Slash'EM, current stable release, no patches]

Not sure if it is an Excalibur thing, a knight thing, a crowning thing or entirely a Slash'EM thing. I dipped for Excalibur as soon as I reached level 5, while a +1 sword. I am now a level 12 knight (and unfortunately became The Hand of Elbereth around level 10, while obtaining holy water). Having yet to find any scrolls of enchant weapon, it confuses how my Excalibur became +3?

Does crowning in Slash'EM enchant Excalibur if it is already in your possession? Something happened somewhere; it seems as if this should be included in a description somewhere (of course, perhaps it is exists and I failed to find it).

--User (talk) 18:42, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Of all places, I found information on the Crowning page. Perhaps it should be place here, too? --User (talk) 15:12, 26 August 2017 (UTC)


Is the Crowning behaviour of getting excalibur true for 3.7? I recently was crowned as a Knight, while holding a non-artifact long sword and it removed rust and made it rustproof, but it did NOT turn into excalibur - which leaves me wondering if the behaviour is different in 3.7.0-66 or if there is a bone file I have missed somewhere. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Grouchy (talkcontribs)

Did you visit the Quest yet? If Excalibur was not already generated, King Arthur now generates with it when you first visit the Quest. Cathartes (talk) 20:48, 16 January 2023 (UTC)


I still think it's useful to mention that Excalibur might be fine unskilled. There are some early game circumstances where your hit rate with it is too low for it to be useful, but these circumstances go away pretty quickly. The 1d5 to-hit helps you get some hits. It's an obvious target for a scroll of enchant weapon, which helps you hit. The damage done by Excalibur is usually so much more than your other weapon that even if you hit 25% less often, you're still doing more damage by using it. Here's an example: an XL10 priest with no strength/dex/luck bonus averages more damage against a leocrotta when using an unskilled +0 Excalibur instead of an expert +1 mace. Get a luckstone, enchant Excalibur, work on your reflexes, or level up, and the gap widens. As for the wish being a "luxury", I think that a powerful artiweapon isn't any more of a "luxury" than, say, speed boots. You can certainly ascend without, but it's easier with. Sure the early lamp/throne/fountain wish should go to DSM instead of a weapon, but after you have DSM, getting a good artiweapon is a rather high priority. Chaotics often struggle to get gifted a decent artiweapon, and even neutrals might empty a bunch of wands of create monster and not get a premier weapon. The only reason why wishing for Excalibur is a questionable strategy is that if you're going to wish for an artiweapon, you're probably wishing for Grayswandir. If you have a desire for drain resistance (priest quest?) or auto-searching, then Excalibur is a great wish. Lastly, I still think it's better to say that "non-lawfuls" can use the HoOA rather than just "chaotic characters". Yes, any particular helm might not work for a neutral, but at the same time, any helm has a 50% chance, so it's still a valid strategy if you can uncurse it and you don't mind losing any divine protection. With all that in mind, I'm about to make changes to the article. Derekt75 (talk) 18:24, 24 March 2023 (UTC)

For what it's worth, expected damage value is not everything when it comes to picking a weapon. Damage variance is arguably more important in the early game. As a thought experiment, consider a weapon that has a .1% chance of hitting for 10000 damage. Its expected damage value (10/turn) is pretty decent for an early-game weapon, but any player would quickly recognize it as suicidal to use, since most monsters are going to wipe you out long before you get a hit. While obviously not that exaggerated, an unskilled Excalibur - particularly early on - starts to resemble that weapon. You're right that later on, once you've built up Dex and simply have a higher base level, this difference (somewhat) disappears, but earlier on, it matters.
Moreover, a character at the point of getting their second wish is most often a character capable of getting crowned. Sit by an altar with a luckstone, sacrifice and pray, and it'll happen sooner or later. While Excalibur is arguably the best of the three crowning gifts, I'm pretty sure that in most games I'd prefer a Basic (or better) Stormbringer or Vorpal Blade to an unskilled Excalibur. I personally think the downside of crowning is exaggerated: for non-urgent prayers (i.e. water prayers), it just means you have to sacrifice a few monsters. For urgent prayers - well, if you're regularly praying because you're in trouble past the early to early-mid-game, you're doing something very wrong.
Ironically, in my personal favorite variant (SLASH'EM), what you're suggesting is actually a better idea: drain resistance is more relevant (wands of draining), and Excalibur has a flat +8 damage bonus rather than +1d8. But in vanilla, I'd say unskilled Excalibur as a first wish is questionable at best, and by the time the second wish rolls around, there are usually better options. -Ion frigate (talk) 19:45, 25 March 2023 (UTC)
An expert +1 mace is certainly better against a killer bee than an unskilled +0 Excalibur, especially in the early game. In the mid-game/late-game, though, the average damage does matter. The leocrotta example I used I think is fair. You average fewer hits to kill a leocrotta when you're hitting with a more powerful weapon.
In the midgame or late game, why would you want a basic Vorpal instead of an unskilled Excalibur? When you hit every turn (which you should after you get your luckstone and improve your luck), the only difference between unskilled and basic is 2 damage. I don't understand why nethack players are so hung up on skill after they're hitting 100% of the time. I mean 2 damage isn't nothing, but it's a lot less than the difference between Excalibur and Vorpal. The comparison is odd, anyway, since Vorpal and Excalibur use the same skill, so if you can be Basic in one, you can be Basic in the other: Get crowned as a neutral, then wield the more powerful Excalibur. Anyway, unrestricting Excalibur or Grayswandir is a minor difference to a game, while wielding a powerful artifact weapon like Excalibur or Grayswandir can be a big difference.
Do you have any suggestions to improve the article? I think it's okay as it is, stating that Excalibur is more than sufficient for an ascension kit, even at basic or unskilled? and stating that while a non-lawful typically only gets it via bones, that it is possible to wish or use a helm? I certainly don't suggest in the article that it's a good idea to wish for Excalibur, and I don't suggest that early game priests use it unskilled, right? Derekt75 (talk) 23:57, 25 March 2023 (UTC)
Weighing in here - I've already given all the above some consideration and incorporated what I could within reason.
Far as this, I understand your general point but think the XL10 priest strikes me as a pretty bad example to use imho. Speed boots are also not that great a comparison to a wish for Excal, because extra speed is a lot less luxury compared to an artifact weapon - move movement points means more damage per turn, more reliable kills on certain monsters, more reliable escapes from tougher monsters... both are significant boosts to survival but beyond that they're on too-different levels to really compare. Basic Vorpal/unskilled Excal is also a weird comparison to make: basic skill means you could use either one, though if you're crowned as a neutral you're a bit less likely to get the Excal wish unless you either made it beforehand, which runs into the issue of "cover essentials with wishes first", or else you have a known HoOA to dip with (which, that's fine go for it).
Overall, it's easy to say you're not suggesting unskilled use by priests or spending artiwishes on Excal (and for the record, I believe you), but I think it's worth the clarification. --Umbire the Phantom (talk) 01:40, 26 March 2023 (UTC)
Actually I am suggesting unskilled use by midlevel priests(around XL10) and high level priests that can't be bothered to unrestrict long sword. I think the leocrotta example is fair. What else is dangerous in the midgame? An engulfing air elemental? Excalibur is clearly better when you're engulfed, right? A minotaur? A minotaur's AC is worse than a leocrotta, and by the time you find one, you're probably have a high luck, XL12, and can enchant your main weapon. If you have luck 10 and XL12, you're hitting every time. If you're hitting every time, the only thing better than an unskilled Excalibur is (1) Grayswandir, (2), Excalibur with higher skill. Would people feel better about using a +5 Excalibur at basic rather than a +7 Excalibur at unskilled? because they're basically identical.
I'm not sure if it's worth noting that the majority of Excalibur bones found on a public server are positively enchanted. The two classes that start with a long sword start with a +1 long sword, and lawful valkyries are a popular role. Many characters that have Excalibur and a known scroll of enchant weapon will [sensibly] use the scroll on Excalibur. This generally adds to the idea that if you find Excalibur in bones, if you're lawful or can manage an artifact blast, and if you can remove any curse on it, you should probably use it.
Anyway, I'm fine with the article as last edited by you. It's a bit long for my taste, and the idea that unskilled use is only while training long sword seems strange to me, but I think it's time I let it be. Thanks for all your improvements to the wiki. Derekt75 (talk) 21:47, 26 March 2023 (UTC)