The Treasury of Proteus

From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(   The Treasury of Proteus   Chest.png
Base item chest
When carried
When applied
When invoked (none)
Base price 2500 zm
Weight 150

The Treasury of Proteus is the quest artifact for the Pirate role, incorporated into dNetHack, SlashTHEM, and Hack'EM. Its base item is a chest, but it weighs just 150 units—the same as a crystal ball—which is one-quarter of the weight of a regular chest. The Treasury grants magic resistance when carried and acts as a luck item. In dNetHack and Hack'EM, its weight is just 50 units.

The Treasury has the unique property of occasionally polymorphing items that have been placed inside it, according to the rules for polypiling objects. (This never creates golems, but items still can shudder or merge as usual.) This offers users a means of polypiling items without a wand, spell, or potion. While carried, the Treasury protects items in the player's inventory (just like Magicbane when wielded). The explanation given for this is that the Treasury itself is so heavily and intrinsically cursed that it sucks in lesser curses like a black hole. (Indeed, the Treasury is generated cursed.)

In dNetHack, the Treasury is guaranteed to absorb curses if it is blessed or uncursed (although it will become uncursed or cursed in the process), or if owornmask is set on the Treasury (meaning it is wielded, offhanded, or quivered). Otherwise, it only has a 95% chance of absorbing curses, like Magicbane.

The Treasury of Proteus is chaotic for bones and wishing purposes. As a quest artifact, it is intelligent and will blast non-Pirates who touch it.

King of the Hill

Carrying the Treasury causes hostile pirates to appear as part of the random monster generation. If the player is not in Gehennom, the Elemental Planes, or the Astral Plane, skeletal pirates may be randomly generated. While the player is in Gehennom, these will be replaced by demonic damned pirates, and when the player reaches the end game, astral githyanki pirates will begin to appear. These pirates are generated instead of other monsters, rather than in addition to them, are not particularly difficult for the areas in which they appear, and attack other monsters and fight among themselves even as they pursue you. Overall, then, this is a beneficial effect.

In the Pirate patch code, having the Treasury in open inventory sets a flag named "ukinghill". A comment explains that this means that the player is "king of the hill", so implicitly the other pirates are pursuing the player in order to kill them and take the treasure. The Treasury's curse-blocking and polymorphing properties also depend on this flag. In Hack'EM, this flag is only set for Pirates, which means they don't function for non-Pirates.


You hear distant waves.
You hear distant surf.
You hear the distant sea.
You hear the call of the ocean.
You hear waves against the shore.
You hear flowing water.
You hear the sighing of waves.
You hear quarrelling gulls.
You hear the song of the deep.
You hear rumbling in the deeps.
You hear the singing of Eidothea.
You hear the laughter of the protean nymphs.
You hear rushing tides.
You hear the elusive sea change.
You hear the silence of the sea.
You hear the passage of the albatross.
You hear dancing raindrops.
You hear coins rolling on the seabed.
You hear treasure galleons crumbling in the depths.
You hear waves lapping against a hull.
Any one of these messages indicates that the Treasury has just polymorphed its contents.
You feel a malignant aura surround the cursed treasure chest.
The Treasury has just blocked a curse.


When the Treasury absorbs a curse, it becomes uncursed if it was blessed or cursed if it was uncursed. Pirates should carry an extra luckstone once they acquire the Treasury, to prevent it from negatively impacting Luck.

In Hack'EM, the Treasury's only working properties for non-Pirates are slotless magic resistance and extra luck. It's not even practical as an ordinary container, being much heavier than a bag and blasting you with each use. Therefore, a wish is better spent elsewhere.


Proteus is a god in Greek mythology who is associated with the sea. He is known for his ability to change form as desired, which he often uses to escape mortals who seek him for his ability to foretell the future. Hence the Treasury's property of polymorphing objects entrusted to it.


Reference: Chris's Pirate Patch