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Version 0.24: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Name Arbalest
Skill Crossbows
Damage 18
Accuracy +2
Base delay (%) 19 (190%)
Min delay 10 at 18 skill
Hands 2H
Size Medium
Ranged? Yes
A large piece of machinery used for firing bolts, braced with steel and cranked with a windlass. It takes some time to load and fire.

"(TELL enters with his crossbow)
My precious jewel now, -my chiefest treasure-
A mark I'll set thee, which the cry of grief
Could never penetrate,-but thou shalt pierce it-
And thou, my trusty bowstring, that so oft
For sport hath served me faithfully and well
Desert me not in this dread hour of need,-
Only be true this once, my own good cord,
That hast so often wing'd the biting shaft:-
For shouldst thou fly successless from my hand,
I have no second to send after thee."

-Friedrich Schiller, _Wilhelm Tell_, IV, iii. 1804.
trans. Sir Theodore Martin, 1898.

This weapon falls into the 'Crossbows' category. It uses bolts as ammunition.

Arbalests are powerful ranged weapons, capable of launching bolts for high damage and with excellent accuracy. However, the complexity of their design gives them a significantly lower rate of fire than bows: it takes nearly two normal-speed turns to fire them without training, and even with sufficient skill, they'll never achieve a mindelay better than 1.0.

Unless you happen to find a very nice shield for your offhand, wielders of a hand crossbow should eventually upgrade to one of these once they get near 18 Crossbows skill, as the jump in damage output is very significant. Later switching to a triple crossbow may be worthwhile if you're willing to put a lot of experience into the skill, but is by no means necessary; an well-enchanted, well-branded arbalest is a very capable ranged weapon.

Do note that crossbows tend to be uncommon early in the game; until you start fighting yaktaurs around the Vaults, your only source of crossbow-type weapons and bolts will be those you find lying around on the floor, gifts from Okawaru or Trog, or the occasional orc or kobold.

Mundane Arbalest1.png
Magical Arbalest2.png
Artifact Arbalest3.png
Damnation Urand damnation.png


Axes BattleaxeBroad axeExecutioner's axeHand axeWar axe
Bows Shortbow (Arrow) • Longbow (Arrow)
Crossbows Arbalest (Bolt) • Hand crossbow (Bolt) • Triple crossbow (Bolt)
Maces & Flails ClubDemon whipDire flailEveningstarFlailGiant clubGiant spiked clubGreat maceMaceMorningstarSacred scourgeWhip
Long Blades Demon bladeDouble swordEudemon bladeFalchionGreat swordLong swordScimitarTriple sword
Polearms BardicheDemon tridentGlaiveHalberdScytheSpearTridentTrishula
Short Blades DaggerQuick bladeRapierShort sword
Slings Fustibalus (Sling bullet, Stone) • Hunting sling (Sling bullet, Stone)
Staves LajatangMagical staffQuarterstaff
Throwing BoomerangDartJavelinLarge rockStoneThrowing net