The Star of Hypernotus

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"   The Star of Hypernotus   File:Amulet versus curses.png
Base item amulet versus curses
When carried
When worn
  • blocks all curses
When invoked
  • none
Base price 2500 zm
Weight 3

The Star of Hypernotus is the Madman quest artifact in dNetHack and notdNetHack, and is the prize for completing the Madman quest. Its default alignment is neutral, and its base item is an amulet versus curses made of a type of gemstone known as a star sapphire. It appears as a blue-green star-shaped stone when unidentified, or a blue-green star-shaped star sapphire if star sapphires are type-identified.


While carried, The Star of Hypernotus confers immunity to confusion, and also grants clear thoughts: This means that your character's sanity is always treated as the maximum of 100 for any harmful effects that check sanity level, and the effects of madnesses are ignored or suppressed, along with the negative effects of suddenly losing sanity. Your character's actual sanity level still changes as normal, and is treated as its normal level for all other purposes; additional madnesses can still be gained, though they will be suppressed like other madnesses. If The Star of Hypernotus is dropped or stolen, the effects of any madnesses your character currently has will immediately resume.

Wearing The Star of Hypernotus blocks all effects that curse items, such as the monster spell and the effect from sitting on a throne, as with any other amulet versus curses. The Star is engraved with a six-fold Elder Sign: applying the amulet in a given direction can scare adjacent monsters.

A Madperson picking up The Star of Hypernotus for the first time will cause the Stranger to begin stalking them.


Losing clear thoughts while at low normal sanity is very dangerous - you will want to ensure that The Star of Hypernotus does not leave your inventory if at all possible.

For Madpeople, The Stranger becomes their primary obstacle upon retrieving The Star of Hypernotus - but not only do they not need to fight it immediately, it is highly unwise to do so: The Stranger has very high damage potential, and its spell repertoire includes various mummy curses, particularly effects that can wipe out your Luck, curse items, or even shred your current HP by 23 and cause you to lose turns by screaming - thankfully, The Star blocks both screaming and item-cursing. Upon picking up The Star and then completing their quest, a Madperson must find a way to manage the Stranger's effects as it stalks them throughout the next phase of the game, while eventually preparing to confront it directly once they gain enough insight.

For characters in other roles, the Stranger will only begin stalking them if they encounter it directly, which is only possible in bones: finding The Star of Hypernotus in a bones file will not trigger any harassment, though it will still evade the grasp of non-neutral characters. Unfortunately, while neutral characters that are not Madpeople will likely consider The Star a worthwhile bones find, there is a significant chance that the bones was created by the Stranger killing its previous owner.

Walking nightmares partially block clear thoughts and treat a character's sanity loss as 45 of the loss's current value: every 5 points of sanity loss is treated as one point, e.g. 0 normal sanity is 80 effective sanity while suffering from nightmares. While afflicted with walking nightmares, the effects of losing sanity are no longer suppressed, but will also scale according to this effective sanity and last for only 15 of their normal duration (with the exception of the rage madness). This is generally most relevant for chaotic Madpeople who obtain the War-helm of the Dreaming from crowning.


The Star of Hypernotus is based on an interpretation of the Elder Sign concept as broadly applied within the Cthulhu Mythos. The Elder Sign is variously portrayed as both a five-pointed star and as an emblem engraved on star-shaped stones - the Elder Sign of dNetHack incorporates both traits, using the emblem as the basic ward and the star-shape as the six-fold ward (which is present on The Star).

Star sapphires are a specific type of sapphire that exhibit thin needle-like inclusions in the shape of a star within the stone - the gem used for The Star of Hypernotus is also carved into the shape of a star.