The Iron Ball of Liberation

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0   The Iron Ball of Liberation   Heavy iron ball.png
Base item heavy iron ball
When carried
When used (none)
When invoked
Base price 5000 zm
Weight 300

The Iron Ball of Liberation is the convict quest artifact in the convict patch and UnNetHack. It is the prize for completing the Convict quest. It is neutral for wishing purposes. Its base item type is a heavy iron ball, but it weighs only 300; this still makes it the heaviest quest artifact.

When carried, the Ball confers warning, displacement, magic resistance, and automatic searching. When invoked, it allows its user to phase through walls, but at the cost of chaining itself to the user.

A scroll of punishment may increase the Ball's weight. If the player is a convict, touching the Ball will erodeproof it and set its weight back to 300; this is an addition in UnNetHack.


This unique artifact power essentially gives the player the ability to phase as if they were polymorph into a xorn, earth elemental, ghost, or shade. The player and all equipment may pass through otherwise solid material. Of course, water, lava, traps, etc. are still dangerous.

"Your body begins to feel less solid."
Phasing has commenced.
"Your body is beginning to feel more solid."
This is a warning that the phasing is about to time-out.
"Your body is solid again."
The player is no longer phased.

Please note that every time you do this, the ball will be chained to you if it isn't already.


The major problem with this artifact is obvious: it is extremely heavy. The weight is so much of an issue that many choose to abandon the ball and use other means for acquiring the benefits.

If you decide to carry the Iron Ball of Liberation, there are some very interesting uses.

  • It makes a very decent one-handed weapon. If you are using a shield (for reflection probably) instead of two-weaponing it does more damage than an unenchanted Luckblade. Convicts most likely already have at least basic skill in flail, meaning that it can be wielded and used effectively immediately.
  • Once you get beyond unskilled at flail, throwing the ball pulls you several spaces. The higher your skill, the further you go. This can be very convenient when trying to get over traps in your way. But be careful when crossing water!
  • When chained to you, the Iron Ball of Liberation can be thrown and then retrieved by backing up. This is very useful against sessile monsters (like blue jellies).