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I've seen the term "Crowning Gift" used multiple times in reference to ADOM (Ancient Domains of Mystery), for example:

Elves also can receive the crowning gift "artifact bow" which is pretty good

What is the crowning gift?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Crowning is a special process that can occur to a very pious character. It requires that your alignment be extremely aligned with your deity (so, L+ or N or C- as appropriate), that you have a piety level of "extremely close", and that you are not Doomed or Cursed. When these criteria are met, you may be "crowned" when making a sacrifice at your deity's altar. You can crown at any level, but the requirements for piety and alignment tend to take a while to achieve.

The rewards for Crowning are an artifact, a blessed amulet of your alignment, an intrinsic immunity picked from fire/cold/shock/acid, "Blessed" as an intrinsic, and a few bonus effects which let you pray more often, suffer less hunger issue for wearing artifacts, and also convert any altar. The important thing for your question here is the artifact, which is randomly selected from a selection of artifacts based on your class and in some cases race. In particular, dwarves and elves each get a specific artifact added to their list of potential artifacts based on class. This is what is referred to whenever "crowning gift" is mentioned.

Note that there is something similar called "pre-crowning" or "post-crowning", which is simply a way for your deity to give you artifacts. It does not provide any other benefits like crowning does, but it also isn't restricted to the same list of artifacts - these will grant you any non-guaranteed artifact. Pre- and post-crowning require that you be of extreme piety as well as be at level 8, +3 additional levels per generated artifact currently in the game. Pre-crowning occurs before you get crowned and before you are at the very edge of alignment, while post-crowning occurs after you get crowned and requires that you maintain your extreme alignment.

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Crowning occurs when making an offering at an altar when meeting certain prerequisites. It is a reward for being a faithful servant of a given deity.

See details about crowning specifically here

And about alignment and altars here

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Crowning gifts have changed in 1.2 (you have to pay for this version).

  1. your crowning gift is randomly generated at character creation. So you can't scum for the article that you want (get piety high, backup save game, crown and retry to get the item you want.
  2. in 1.1.1 the only way to get artifacts that are listed as 'crowning' artifacts is due to crowning. So if you do not get the crowning gift that you really want, you had no way of getting it other than by wishing for it.
  3. in 1.2 all crowning gifts go into the pool for pre and post crowning along with randomly generated artifacts. For many classes there are 1-2 VERY good crowning gifts and the rest are either not very good or useless.

The crowning explanation in the docs, wiki, etc... is really confusing. This is a good question.

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