Attack speed

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

See Weapon Speed for tables summarising this information.

Attack speed is how fast a player can attack with melee weapons, ranged weapons, or Unarmed Combat.

Your attack speed is usually measured in the form of "attack delay". A normal action takes 1.0 decaAut, or 10 aut, of time. The more aut you take, the slower you act. So if you have a smaller attack delay, you will attack faster.

Weapon Attack Delay

The following conditions are applied in order:

Base delay

All weapons, including ranged weapons and Throwing implements, have a base attack delay. When looking at the weapon in the 'i'nventory, you'll get the base attack delay (in decaAut). For example, a dagger has a base delay of 1.0 decaAut (10 aut).

The Weapon Speed page has a complete table of every weapon, in aut.


For every 2 levels in the corresponding weapon skill, your attack delay is reduced by 0.1 decaAut. There is a limit - every weapon has a minimum delay, where skill cannot reduce attack speed any further.

A weapon's mindelay is usually the smaller of base delay / 2 or 0.7 decaAut. For example, a dagger has a base delay of 1.0, so it has a mindelay of 0.5. A large rock has a base delay of 2.0, but its mindelay is still 0.7 decaAut. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as rapiers and triple crossbows.

Unarmed Combat works differently. For every 5.4 Unarmed Combat skill, attack delay is reduced by 0.1 decaAut.[1] It otherwise works similarly to weapons.


Weapon brands can modify speed, applied after accounting for skills.

  • The speed brand reduces your weapon delay by x66%.
  • The heavy brand increases your weapon's delay by +50%.

Body Armour

If you are using a "Ranged Weapon" (which does not include Throwing weapons), then body armour will slow down your attack speed (after brand). Body armour slows down attacks based on its encumbrance rating.

The formula is (encumbrance^2 / 2250) * (90 - 2 * armor_skill) / (3 + str) decaAut.

Values for armour encumbrance can be found on the Armour page. Unlike shields, the penalty cannot be fully eliminated with skill.


Shields encumber their wielder, slowing down weapon speed (after brands are applied).

For EV penalty = 0.4 * encumbrance^2 / (5 + str) * (27 - sh_skill) / 27, shields slow down attacks by 1d(EV Penalty) / 10 decaAut.[2][3] If EV Penalty is not an integer, it is rounded in a weighted fashion before the dice function is rolled.

The values for shield encumbrance can be found on the Shields page. The shield penalty can be reduced to zero with a maxed out shield skill of 27.


  • Haste (including from berserk) reduces all action delays by a factor of 2/3
  • Okawaru's Finesse ability reduces weapon delay by half. This does not stack with haste.
  • Statue Form, Petrifying, and Slowness increase all delays by a factor of 3/2. These conditions do stack with haste and with each other.

Finally, there is a hard limit of 0.1 decaAut, which no action can go under.


Spells can be used for attacking, and are thus included on this page. The vast majority of spells have a base delay of 1.0 decaAut. It can be modified by statuses (Haste, Statue Form, Slow...).

A few spells attack with your weapon:

Also, Sandblast is cast at 1.5 delay, instead of 1.0.

Movement Based Attacks

Some attacks are combined with movement. Even if the actual attack delay is not changed, they are mentioned here for completeness.

Martial Arts Attacks

The Wu Jian Council allows the player to make attacks based on movement.

Under normal circumstances, movement takes the usual amount of time, and make attacks based on that time. For example, lets say you move at 1.0 decaAut. If you have a weapon delay of 0.7, you'll always perform 1 attack on a move (taking 0.7 / 1.0 of the time), and have a 3/7 (0.3 / 0.7) chance for a 2nd attack. As an extreme example, a Naga (1.4 move delay) with a quick blade (0.3 attack delay) would attack 4 times per move, with a 50% chance of a 5th attack.

Serpent's Lash treats your movement delay as 1.0 decaAut, regardless of your actual movement delay. Wall Jump counts as 2 actions, so doubles your movement delay.


The rampaging ego lets you take a free step before attacking. If you are 1 space from an enemy, you'll move instantly and then attack at your normal attack delay.

Detailed Calculations

The formulas above give you a very close approximation to the average attack delay. However, each individual attack can be subject to multiple sources of randomness:

  • If your weapon delay (post-skill, post-brand) is in fractional aut, then it is rounded in a weighted fashion. For example, if you "average" attack is at 5.1 aut (0.51 decaAut), then you have a 10% chance to attack at 6 aut, and 90% chance to attack at 5 aut.
  • If you wear a shield, the shield's penalty is also rounded in a weighted fashion. The EV penalty (2/5 * encumbrance^2 / (5 + str) * (27 - sh_skill) / 27) is calculated, then roudnd.
  • If you are using a ranged weapon, then the penalty from body armour is also rounded in a weighted fashion, then added to delay.

This can result in a wider range of attack delays than the averaging of fractional delays would imply.


Take a human wielding a short sword and buckler. The human has a short blade skill of 7.5, shield skill of 4, and strength of 15. The buckler's encumbrance is 5.

  • The short sword has a base delay of 11 aut, which is reduced to 7.25 aut from skill. -> (75% for 7 aut, 25% for 8 aut)
  • The shield gives a penalty of 1d(0.40) -> (40% chance of +1, 60% for +0).
Source 7 8 9
Post-skill delay 75% 25%
Shield penalty (75% * 60%) (75% * 40%)
(25% * 60%)
(25% * 40%)
Final 45% 45% 10%

Average delay = 7.6 aut. Looking at the average alone, you may think that you can only swing at 7 (40%) or 8 (60%) aut. However, there are 3 possible delays - 7, 8, and 9 aut - as shown above.


  • Prior to 0.31, there was a hard minimum attack delay of 0.2 decaAut.
  • Prior to 0.29, body armour did not penalize Ranged Weapons.
  • Prior to 0.28, the shield penalty formula was different. Certain skill thresholds (4 skill for buckler, 15 for kite shield, 25 for tower shield) negated it.
  • Prior to 0.27, the shield attack penalty was smaller (equal to the smaller of {1d(EV_penalty), 1d(EV_penalty)}).
  • Prior to 0.16, the amount of skill required to negate penalties for wearing a shield was more complex.