|There are barbs embedded in your skin, and moving around will cause you to take damage. Remaining in place for a short time will allow you to remove the barbs without taking damage.|
Barbs is a status effect which causes the victim to sustain damage each time it attempts to move. The barbs remain in their target for 3-6 turns plus an additional 2-4 turns each time the target is struck by more barbs, up to a maximum of 12 turns. This duration decreases when the target remains in place (use the s or . keys). Moving while under the barbs' effect deals 2d(4+number of barbs) damage (up to a maximum of 2d6). This has a 33% chance of decreasing the duration by one turn; it is possible to rid yourself of barbs by moving, but doing so will incur significant damage.
The Barbs status effect is inflicted whenever a target is hit by the Throw Barbs spell, which the following enemies can cast:
Prior to 0.22, the duration of barbs was not reduced properly when not moving, meaning the status lasted for longer than intended.
Barbs was added in 0.14.