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Version 0.23: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Nought can Deform the Human race
Like to the Armours iron brace"

-William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence", 99-100. 1803.

Armour encompasses all clothing worn to protect against physical melee and ranged attacks (though some provide benefits against certain magic attacks as well). Armour does this by providing increased AC, GDR, SH (for shields), resistances (for certain body armours), and whatever benefits their egos provide. However, this comes at a cost to your EV and Spellcasting ability when using the heavier armours. Increasing your Armour skill improves the benefits and lowers the penalties of most armour. Shields are governed by the Shields skill.

Armour Locations

There are six armour locations in Crawl, also known as armour slots when referring to whether a player is wearing (or can wear) a given type of armour. Some species have restrictions on the kinds of armour they can wear.

  • Body armour is worn on a character's torso, and provides both AC and GDR. Its AC bonus is penalized by the Deformed mutation. Heavier ones provide larger EV penalties.
  • Gloves are worn on the hands, and are unusable with rank 3 of the Claws mutation. Certain tranformations, such as Blade Hands, will disable them.
  • Boots are worn on the feet, and are unusable with rank 3 of either the Talons or Hooves mutations.
    • In place of boots, centaur and naga characters may wear bardings on the rear portions of their bodies, providing more AC and higher potential enchantment than regular boots at the cost of a bit of EV. Centaurs cannot wear naga barding, and nagas cannot wear centaur barding.
  • Headgear is worn on the head. The Beak, Antennae, and Horns mutations all restrict the player's headgear options.
  • Cloaks and scarves are worn around the shoulders.
  • Shields are worn on a character's arm. They provide SH, but prevent the use of two-handed weapons and impede spellcasting and EV without sufficient skill.

Encumbrance rating

Most body armour has an encumbrance rating proportional to its AC and GDR. Robes, animal skins, and leather armour, being lightweight, have little or no EV penalty; at the other end of the spectrum you can find plate armour and crystal plate armour, which are cumbersome but incredibly protective. All shields and bardings also have an EV penalty.

A higher encumbrance rating:

  • Lowers your evasion
  • Makes you less stealthy
  • Reduces your accuracy
  • Reduces your spellcasting success rate

Increasing your Armour skill decreases the effect of the encumbrance rating (though never completely: -2.2% per level, so at level 27 the reduction is -60%, and no amount of skill will make you any stealthier) and boosts the total AC granted by those pieces. High strength will also help. See the encumbrance rating page for more details..

AC Calculations

If you're interested in the formulas the game uses to determine the actual AC contributions from a piece of armour, see the AC calculations page. Otherwise, here's the short version:

  • A piece of armour's base AC is always the minimum you'll receive (assuming it's not negatively enchanted and/or you aren't Deformed).
  • Improving your Armour skill increases the base AC an armour provides by about 4% per level.
  • Enchanting armour directly adds to your total AC. This AC bonus is not affected by the Armour skill.
  • The maximum enchantment possible on a piece of armour is its base AC (for body armour and barding); between 3 and 8 for shields, depending on the type; and 2 for everything else.

Guaranteed damage reduction

Any piece of armour with a base AC greater than 2 provides you with guaranteed damage reduction. This is a percentage of damage received from all physical melee attacks that you are guaranteed to ignore. The higher the armour's base AC, the higher the percentage ignored (though it is limited by your total AC). See the article on GDR for more details.

Wear and remove times

All types of armour, including shields, require 5 turns to remove or equip. Note that if you are swapping one piece of armour for another, it will take 5 turns to remove the old armour and another 5 turns to equip the new one.

Tables of Armours

Body Armour

Armour Base AC Encumbrance rating GDR Wearable
Robe 2 0 0% All
Leather armour 3 4 14% Small–Medium
Ring mail 5 7 24% Small–Medium
Scale mail 6 10 28% Small–Medium
Chain mail 8 15 34% Small–Medium
Plate armour 10 18 39% Small–Medium
Crystal plate armour 14 23 48% Small–Medium
Animal skin 2 0 0% All
Troll leather armour 4 4 19% All
Steam dragon scales 5 0 24% All
Acid dragon scales 6 5 28% All
Swamp dragon scales 7 7 31% All
Quicksilver dragon scales 9 7 37% All
Fire dragon scales 8 11 34% All
Ice dragon scales 9 11 37% All
Pearl dragon scales 10 11 39% All
Shadow dragon scales 10 15 39% All
Storm dragon scales 10 15 39% All
Gold dragon scales 12 23 44% All


Shield SH EVP Wearable
Buckler 3 1 Little–Medium
Kite shield 8 3 Small–Big
Tower shield 13 5 Medium–Giant


Headgear AC Encumbrance rating Wearable
Helmet 1 0 Small–Medium
Hat 0 0 All


Armour AC Encumbrance rating Wearable
Boots 1 0 Small–Medium
Cloak 1 0 All
Scarf 0 0 All
Gloves 1 0 Small–Medium
Centaur barding 4 -6 Centaur
Naga barding 4 -6 Naga

Armour Ego

Enchanted armour may have an ego, which gives it additional properties.

Restrictions and Mutations

  • Beaks, horns, and antennae are incompatible with helmets. Hats are allowed.
    • Horns 3 and Antennae 3 disallow all headgear, however.
  • Hooves 3 and talons 3 are incompatible with boots.
  • Claws and Blade Hands are incompatible with gloves.
    • Blade Hands is in addition incompatible with all types of shields and weapons.
  • Wisp Form is incompatible with all armour and jewellery.
  • Bat Form and Pig Form are incompatible with all armour (you can only wear amulets).
  • Spider Form, Ice Form, Hydra Form, and Dragon Form are incompatible with all armour (you can only wear jewellery).
  • Fungus Form is incompatible with all armour except headgear.
  • Tree Form is incompatible with all armour except headgear and shields.
  • Statue Form is incompatible with all armour except headgear, shields, and cloaks.


  • Scarves were added in 0.20.
  • In 0.19, dragon armours were renamed in dragon scales, and all dragon and troll hides were removed. Instead, creatures that could have dropped hides dropped the corresponding armour instead.
  • Prior to 0.17, heavy armour slowed throwing and unarmed combat attacks.
  • Prior to 0.16, light armour had no small spellcast success penalty; scale mail had an ER of 11 instead of 10.
  • In 0.15, item weight was removed from the game and removing/equipping armour was set to a flat 5 turns. Prior to that, doing so wasted AC+1 turns.
  • In 0.14, all racial armour types were removed. Gold dragon armour, crystal plate armour, and plate armour have had their encumbrance ratings reduced (27 -> 25, 24 -> 23, and 19 -> 18 respectively). Mottled dragon armour increased ER fom 4 to 5.
  • In 0.13, the evasion penalty system was changed, and the base evasion penalty was renamed as the encumbrance rating and rescaled for all armours [1]. Splint mails were removed and chain mails were increased to 8 AC.
  • Prior to 0.11, you could only train Armour while wearing equipment with an EV penalty of at least -1.
  • Prior to 0.6, body armour was divided into Light Armour and Heavy Armour. The former would allow you to train dodging, while the latter trained Armour.
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