Upgrading objects

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In SLASH'EM, SlashTHEM and Hack'EM, items may be upgraded into other objects.


Upgrading is done by dipping an object into a potion of gain level[1] or using the gnomish tinker technique. If an object has multiple possible upgrades, each one is equally likely unless otherwise noted. Artifacts cannot be upgraded.

Upgrading objects does not break polymorphless conduct, and upgraded objects do not need to be dipped in a potion of restore ability to make the upgrade permanent as with polymorphed objects.

List of upgradeable items

Much of the information is taken from (with thanks to) Eva Myers's spoiler.[2]

Weapons and ammunition


Old Object New Object
Orcish dagger Dagger
Dagger elven dagger, or
dark elven dagger
Great dagger
Elven dagger Great dagger
Dark elven dagger

This is a good source of great daggers, since they are never randomly generated - remember that great daggers will not stack normally, and throwing or dropping any greats dagger created from an upgraded stack will not merge back.

Short swords

Old Object New Object
Orcish short sword Short sword
Elven short sword Dwarvish short sword
Dark elven short sword
Short sword
Dwarvish short sword elven short sword, or
dark elven short sword


Old Object New Object
Elven bow Bow
Dark elven bow
Orcish bow
Bow elven bow,
dark elven bow, or


Old Object New Object
Elven arrow Arrow
Dark elven arrow
Orcish arrow
Arrow elven arrow,
dark elven arrow, or

Other weapons

Old Object New Object
Knife Stiletto
Stiletto Knife
Axe Battle-axe
Battle-axe Axe
Pick-axe Dwarvish mattock
Dwarvish mattock Pick-axe
Broadsword Elven broadsword
Elven broadsword Broadsword
Club Aklys
Aklys Club
War hammer Heavy hammer
Heavy hammer War hammer



Old Object New Object
Cloak of protection oilskin cloak, or
elven cloak
Cloak of invisibility
Cloak of magic resistance
Cloak of displacement
Dwarvish cloak
Orcish cloak
Oilskin cloak cloak of protection,
cloak of invisibility,
cloak of magic resistance, or
cloak of displacement
Elven cloak


Old Object New Object
Fedora Elven leather helm
Elven leather helm Fedora
Dented pot Orcish helm
Orcish helm Dwarvish iron helm
Helm of brilliance
Helm of telepathy
Dwarvish iron helm helm of brilliance, or
helm of telepathy
Cornuthaum Dunce cap
Dunce cap Cornuthaum


Old Object New Object
Leather gloves gauntlets of swimming, or
gauntlets of dexterity
Gauntlets of swimming Leather gloves
Gauntlets of dexterity


Old Object New Object
Elven shield Uruk-hai shield, or
orcish shield
Uruk-hai shield Elven shield
Orcish shield
Dwarvish roundshield Large shield
Large shield Dwarvish roundshield


Old Object New Object
Robe robe of protection, or
robe of power
Robe of protection Robe
Robe of power

Other armor

Old Object New Object
Elven mithril-coat Dark elven mithril-coat
Dark elven mithril-coat Elven mithril-coat
Orcish chain mail Chain mail
Chain mail Orcish chain mail
Studded leather armor Leather armor
Leather jacket
Leather armor Studded leather armor
Low boots High boots
High boots Low boots

Only low and high boots are upgradable. No boots can be upgraded into their magical counter-parts.



Old Object New Object
Large box Chest
Ice box
Chest Ice box
Sack 45 chance of oilskin sack,
15 chance of bag of holding
Oilskin sack Bag of holding
Bag of holding Oilskin sack

Magical tools

Old Object New Object
Tin whistle Magic whistle
Magic whistle Tin whistle
Wooden flute Magic flute (10-14 charges)
Magic flute Wooden flute
Tooled horn frost horn, fire horn, or
horn of plenty
Horn of plenty Tooled horn
Fire horn
Frost horn
Wooden harp Magic harp (10-14 charges)
Magic harp Wooden harp
Crystal ball Magic marker
Magic marker Crystal ball (3-12 charges, unless marker had fewer)

Mundane tools

Old Object New Object
Towel Blindfold
Blindfold Towel
Credit card Skeleton key
Lock pick
Skeleton key Lock pick
Leash Saddle
Saddle Leash
Tin opener Tinning kit (70-99 charges)
Tinning kit Tin opener
Tallow candle Wax candle
Wax candle Tallow candle
Oil lamp Brass lantern
Brass lantern Oil lamp


Old Object New Object
K-ration cram ration, or
food ration
Lembas wafer
Food ration Lembas wafer
Cram ration


Old Object New Object
Loadstone Flint stone
Flint stone luckstone, or


Upgrading objects, either by potions of gain level or the tinker techinque, is the "poor hacker's polypiling"[3]. It can be used to get some good items without many of the risks of polypiling. Most of the transformations are also reversible, although polypiling in SLASH'EM is by default reversible, since objects revert after some time. Also note that most of the magical items transform into other magical items, and mundane items change into other mundane items. Thus, with a few exceptions, it is not a viable way to make more magical items for polypiling. However, many useful items can be obtained, including helms of brilliance, healthstones, tinning kits, and magic markers.

Cost and safety

One potion is used up per item (or stack of items) transformed, if using a potion of gain level. If using the tinker technique, much more time passes, using up nutrition and spawning enemies. Thus, gnomes can save on potions, but must find a safe place to tinker, so they are neither interrupted or killed. Boulder forts work well, but may be hard to come by early in the game. Shops work very well in the early game, with the door locked. If you lack a way of (un)locking the door, you can also pick up an unpaid item and let the shopkeeper block the door. Be sure not to stand in a straight line from the door, so monsters can't shoot you, and beware tunneling monsters.

Upgrading a container doesn't destroy its contents, as polymorphing does. However, if you upgrade a container to a bag of holding, it will explode if it contains an item that would cause an explosion[4].

Enchanted armor and weapons

One good use of upgrading is to get highly-enchanted armor or weapons. A +5 orcish helm may be upgraded into a +5 helm of brilliance. Also, since many transformations are reversible, the player may change a highly enchanted piece of armor from one type to another. For example, a wizard has less use of a +3 helm of telepathy than a +3 helm of brilliance. Similarly, a player could upgrade a +2 orcish dagger into a +2 great dagger, for two-weaponing with (or skill-training for) Magicbane. Additionally, Elven armor can be enchanted, fairly reliably, to +7 and then upgraded. For example, a +7 elven cloak can become something more useful like a cloak of magic resistance.


Objects may also be upgraded for use in polypiling. Most magical items transform into other magical items, and most mundane items transform into other mundane items. Thus, upgrading objects for polyfodder will often be a waste of potions or time spent tinkering. The exceptions are mundane items which transform into magical items:

  • flint stones
  • dwarvish helms
  • orcish helms
  • dented pots
  • dwarvish cloaks
  • orcish cloaks
  • leather gloves
  • robes
  • tin whistles
  • wooden harps
  • wooden flutes
  • tooled horns
  • sacks


Hack'EM incorporates the ability to upgrade items, but modifies the list to accommodate items from other variants, and attempts to fix certain logical and exploitation problems.

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"Whole section is outdated and in need of copyedit - if looking for the latest version's upgrade list, disregard this section until it is fully updated."


Old Object New Object
Quarterstaff Magical Staff
Boomerang Chakram


Old Object New Object
Robe Robe of protection, or
robe of power
Robe of protection Robe
Robe of power
Robe of weakness
Oilskin cloak/elven cloak Cloak of protection,
cloak of invisibility,
cloak of magic resistance,
cloak of displacement, or
cloak of flight
Dwarvish cloak Oilskin/elven cloak
Cloak of protection
Cloak of invisibility
Cloak of magic resistance
Cloak of displacement
Cloak of flight
Mummy wrapping Plain cloak
Plain cloak Orcish cloak
Orcish cloak Dwarvish cloak
Poisonous cloak Alchemy smock
Striped shirt Shirt
Toque Dwarvish helm, or
tinfoil hat
Helm of brilliance
Helm of speed
Helm of telepathy
Dwarvish helm, or
tinfoil hat
helm of brilliance,
helm of speed, or
helm of telepathy
Helm of madness tinfoil hat
Fedora Elven helm
Elven helm Fedora
Cornuthaum Dunce cap
Dunce cap Cornuthaum
Leather gloves Rogue's gloves,
boxing gloves, or
Rogue's gloves Leather gloves
Boxing gloves
Gauntlets Gauntlets of swimming,
gauntlets of dexterity,
gauntlets of protection, or
gauntlets of power
Gauntlets of swimming Gauntlets
Gauntlets of dexterity
Gauntlets of protection
Gauntlets of power
Gauntlets of fumbling
Dwarvish roundshield Shield of reflection,
shield of light,
shield of mobility, or
resonant shield
Shield of reflection Dwarvish roundshield
Shield of light
Shield of mobility
Resonant shield
Dwarvish boots/elven boots Speed boots,
water walking boots,
jumping boots,
stomping boots, or
kicking boots
Speed boots Dwarvish boots, or
elven boots
Water walking boots
Jumping boots
Stomping boots
Kicking boots
Low boots High Boots
Fumble boots Dwarvish Boots
  • Note that there is a distinction between Gloves and Gauntlets in Hack'EM.


Old Object New Object
Sack Oilskin Sack, or
Bag of holding
Bag of rats
Oilskin Sack Bag of Holding
Bag of Holding Oilskin Sack
Towel Blindfold
Blindfold Towel
Lock pick Skeleton key
Skeleton Key Lock Pick
Pea whistle Magic whistle
Magic Whistle Pea Whistle
Flute Magic flute
Magic Flute Flute
Tooled horn Fire horn,
Frost horn,
Horn of plenty, or
Horn of Blasting
Fire Horn Tooled Horn
Frost Horn
Horn of Plenty
Horn of Blasting
Harp Magic harp
Leash Saddle
Saddle Leash
Tin opener Tinning kit
Tinning Kit Tin Opener
Lenses Crystal ball
Crystal Ball Lenses
Flint/Healthstone Luckstone or
Luckstone/Whetstone Healthstone
Loadstone Whetstone
Land mine/Pineapple Fire bomb,
Gas bomb, or
Smoke bomb