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So I was a lawful human Valkyrie...just picked up Excalibur a few floors prior, and had started working through the Gnomish Mines.

I hadn't done anything to anger Tyr, I was simply cutting away some rock in the mines to make it easier to get between staircases. I was stressed from just picking up some dwarvish gear, and all of a sudden I was blasted by Excalibur when I equipped it.

What what what happened?

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Are you still a lawful human Valkyrie? – Grace Note Aug 15 '11 at 15:49
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Either you were not Lawful or you had a negative alignment record (from displeasing your god) at the time you attempted to equip the artifact. See the linked article for a list of the numerous ways you can piss off a deity.

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Could also be being polymorphed into a demon, since Excalibur is anti-demon. – Grace Note Aug 15 '11 at 16:05
@Grace - Good call. Forgot about that. – sjohnston Aug 15 '11 at 16:09
I was a lawful Valkyrie. This action actually ended up killing her...the report at the end didn't give me much to go on (basically I was the same alignment as when I started). – espais Aug 15 '11 at 16:51
@espais: The messages after death should have included something like "You strayed/sinned/transgressed". Do you have a dumplog? – Wooble Aug 15 '11 at 17:01
I don't actually...I've since restarted. I don't remember seeing anything like that, but who knows, maybe I missed it. This answer seems the most reasonable. – espais Aug 17 '11 at 13:21

The only character that does not get blasted by excalibur when you equip it is a Knight. He's the only one having any business wielding it anyway... Not that it stops me from using it if I'm a lawful character. You just need to make sure your hit points are up when you equip it.

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In vanilla Nethack, there's nothing class-prohibitive about Excalibur. I've run countless Samurai and Valkyrie games and gotten Excalibur without being blasted. – Grace Note Jan 24 '12 at 22:48

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