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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

An artefact is a unique item that can posses a wide variety of properties, making them different from "normal" magical equipment. Unidentified artefacts always carry unusual names, such as "a golden sword" or "a shimmering scale mail".

Types of Artefacts

Artefacts come in two distinct (and potentially hard to distinguish) flavours:

Properties of Artefacts

Artifacts have ego properties or brands depending on their type. Randart jewelry always has a random base piece of jewelry, which may be a useful or harmful type. Randart weapons always have a brand, and in addition may carry brands not normally generated on that type of weapon (e.g. a speed branded axe or a vampiric brand whip). Randart armours do not have an ego, although both randart and unrandart dragon armours exist.

Randarts can have, in addition, other beneficial properties:

Unfortunately, they can also have some negative properties:

  • One level of fire or cold vulnerability
  • Penalties to accuracy, damage, stats, stealth, or willpower
  • Making noise while wielded
  • Preventing teleportation
  • Preventing spellcasting
  • Causing magic contamination when unwielded/unequipped
  • Causing draining when unwielded/unequipped
  • Causing you to go berserk when attacking enemies
  • Causing you to sometimes be corroded or slowed when taking damage
  • Fragility - if unequipped, the item is destroyed

The game will auto-inscribe all of an artefact's properties when identified, allowing you to reference them at a glance.

Artefacts cannot be modified by regular means. Scrolls of enchant weapon/armour won't work on them.

Sources of Artefacts

Artefacts can come from many sources:

  • Ashenzari will turn regular items into artefacts by cursing them. They gain whatever stat bonuses the god offers, as well as an effective Fragility.
  • Some gods bestow upon favored followers gifts from time to time, including artefacts.
  • Shops may carry artefacts (identified or not). "Antique" shops are most likely to carry artefacts.
  • A scroll of acquirement may create an artefact for you.
  • Every so often you'll find an artefact lying around the Dungeon, or used by a monster.
  • Many pregenerated treasure vaults, such as in Elf:3, Vaults:5, or a trove, are weighted to produce 'high-value' items (including artefacts).


It is easy to recognize an artefact. Randarts have their names in white, and unrands have their names in cyan. All artefacts come with an inscription, such as {freezing, Int+4}. For reference, regular magical items have names in blue, and do not have inscriptions unless you add one.

Artefacts are somewhat common. You'll find them in various treasure vaults, such as in Elf:3, Vaults:5 and Slime:5. They can appear throughout the game, or be gifted by gods like Trog and Okawaru. Scrolls of acquirement generate high-value items, which often include artefacts.

Artefacts are not necessarily more powerful than a regular branded item. For example, the +3 hand axe "Yendor" {flaming, rC+, Int +5, *Corrode} would have the same damage output as a +3 flaming hand axe, which isn't very much beyond the early game. While rC+ or Int +5 may be useful for some characters, it's worse as an axe than a +3 flaming war axe.

For more details, see Randart#Strategy or the specific unrand's page, depending on the type of artefact in question.


  • Prior to 0.28, artefacts could come with evocable berserk, but *Rage generally inflicted berserk less often.
  • Prior to 0.27, artefacts could come with *Curse, cursing when they are equipped. They also had evocable temporary flight instead of permanent flight.
  • Prior to 0.19, randarts could have the *Confuse ego, randomly causing the wielder to become confused when taking damage. Each equipped randart with *Confuse would increase the chance of confusion by 1%. 0.19 replaced it with the *Slow ego.
  • In 0.18, the *Fragile intrinsic was added.
  • Prior to 0.15, artefacts were able to resist the permanent effects of corrosion.
  • Prior to 0.12, artefacts with the "Contam" property caused glow over time instead of a higher amount on unwielding them. That made artefact weapons much more useful as a situational weapon and much less useful as primary weapon.