The athamé is a magical dagger that has a very-high chance to drain a small amount of an enemy's mana upon dealing damage. They will always appear first as a Black-Handled Dagger and are subsequently referred to as athamé once one has been identified. Athamé appear to always drop in pairs of two from battle_liches deep in the dungeon (even when the lich is wielding a small shield in their off-hand). They seem to have an increased rate of being found enchanted, as well as blessed/cursed compared to other regular weapons when dropped by the liches.
The mana-drain can still occur when the athamé is thown.
Blacksmiths pay fairly well for athamés. Due to their light weight, they are generally worth picking up in bulk to be sold later. Identifying them first is best, since the enchantment value heavily affects their value.
The mana-stealing property of these daggers can be extremely effective in prolonged fights as it can easily bring in enough mana to fuel a steady stream of healing and control spells. Athamé have particularly good synergy with characters with the Dual Wielding talent or the Courage talent.
Due to their effectiveness and apparent guaranteed drop rate — a brave player with a blessed scroll of create monster may choose to summon a battle lich as a means of acquiring the daggers early and (if low level) use a means of polymorph to turn the lich into a more manageable opponent. The daggers will not be affected by the transformation and can be looted from the body of the monster's new lesser form. Battle liches have a boosted magic resistance, so multiple polymorph attempts may be necessary (Otherwise you will most likely never find them before the battle liches natural spawn around 1500ft down).