An artifact weapon is a rare unique weapon, often with special properties. It may be acquired by sacrifice, by finding in a bones file, by finding in the dungeon, by wishing for one, or at the end of a quest. Excalibur may be acquired by dipping an ordinary long sword, provided you are lawful and level 5 and it hasn't already been generated. Excalibur, Vorpal Blade, and Stormbringer may be acquired by praying with very good Luck; this is known as crowning.
Any artifact weapon given to you by your god will be noncursed and erodeproof, and you will be unrestricted in the appropriate weapon skill if necessary. Certain roles are guaranteed to receive a particular weapon as their first gift: Valkyries receive Mjollnir, Barbarians receive Cleaver, Wizards receive Magicbane, and Samurai receive Snickersnee.
Sunsword and Demonbane might be created in the possession of a humanoid angelic creature; Archons are sure to be generated with one. Sting and Orcrist may be created by #name'ing an ordinary elven dagger or elven broadsword.
Like all other objects, you may wish for an artifact weapon. There are some caveats:
- If two or more artifacts have already been created, there is a chance that wishing for another will fail.
- You cannot wish for your own quest artifact, and wishing for another class's quest artifact is only useful if it is of the same alignment as you - otherwise you will be unable to pick it up. If it is of your alignment, you can use it but it will blast you.
- More generally, an artifact of the wrong alignment has a chance of blasting you every time you attempt to pick it up or wield it. Being blasted is not dangerous unless you are low-level (it only causes a small amount of damage) but it prevents you from picking the item up if it is intelligent. (To be precise, damage is 4d10 if the artifact is intelligent and 4d4 if not intelligent.)
List of artifact weapons
- Cleaver (Neutral battle-axe)
- Demonbane (Lawful long sword)
- Dragonbane (Unaligned broadsword)
- Excalibur (Lawful long sword)
- Fire Brand (Unaligned long sword)
- Frost Brand (Unaligned long sword)
- Giantslayer (Neutral long sword)
- Grayswandir (Lawful silver saber)
- Grimtooth (Chaotic orcish dagger)
- The Longbow of Diana (Chaotic bow)
- Magicbane (Neutral athame)
- Mjollnir (Neutral war hammer)
- Ogresmasher (Unaligned war hammer)
- Orcrist (Chaotic elven broadsword)
- The Sceptre of Might (Lawful mace)
- Snickersnee (Lawful katana)
- The Staff of Aesculapius (Neutral quarterstaff)
- Sting (Chaotic elven dagger)
- Stormbringer (Chaotic runesword)
- Sunsword (Lawful long sword)
- Trollsbane (Unaligned morning star)
- The Tsurugi of Muramasa (Lawful tsurugi)
- Vorpal Blade (Neutral long sword)
- Werebane (Unaligned silver saber)