Beast talisman

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Transforms the user into a monstrous, furry were-beast, limbs pulsing with ferocious energy. Shapeshifting skill increases the killing power provided. While transformed, any gloves, cloaks, headgear and boots are melded.

Beast talisman.png A beast talisman is a talisman that changes you into Beast Form, a wild, hulking form that grants bonuses to melee.

Shapeshifters start with this item, and start the game in Beast Form.

Useful Info

When eVoked, a beast talisman turns you into Beast Form, which lasts until you end the form. Entering or exiting a form takes 5 turns.

Beast Form has the following effects:

Combat Bonuses

  • Unarmed Combat: 3 base damage (no boost).
  • Slaying Bonus: adds 0-4 slaying to melee combat (including weapons), throwing and ranged weapons, increasing your damage and accuracy. Scales linearly with Shapeshifting skill.[1] (+0.57 slay per level)


Beast Form does not block any mutations, does not change your size, and gives no innate bonus to HP / AC.

Beast Form has no minimum Shapeshifting skill. It has a maximum skill of 7; further skill has no further impact.


Note that Beast Form sets your base Unarmed damage to 3 - it does not boost your base damage by +3. Thus, Beast Form has identical UC damage as your base form. The only boost comes from the slaying, which applies to all melee, including weapons. Therefore, don't hesitate to use any strong weapons you find. For example, if you find a dagger of venom on D:2, it's probably worth using.

Skill Analysis

Even Shapeshifters might not want to train Shapeshifting skill right away. When considering Beast Form alone: each level of Shapeshifting offers less return than a level of Unarmed Combat, but more return than a level of weapon skill.

Benefits of each skill:

  • 1 Shapeshifting skill, assuming Beast Form, gives +0.57 slay per level, equivalent to +0.57 damage and accuracy.
  • 1 Unarmed Combat skill gives +1 base damage, +0.5 accuracy, and slightly faster attacks.
  • 1 weapon skill will give benefits depending on the weapon itself. Examples:
N.B. Base damage is somewhat more effective than slaying, since the former benefits from skill and stat bonuses. However, in the early game, these bonuses are too small to matter: 0.16 base damage is not better than 0.57 slay.

Therefore, early levels of Unarmed Combat are more important than the same levels of Shapeshifting. As levels get more expensive, eventually a level of 2 of Shapeshifting becomes more cost-effective. A similar comparison can be made with Shapeshifting and weapon skill.

If you decide to abandon Shapeshifting, a weapon skill is the more lasting choice. But if you want to go for Flux Form, Shapeshifting is obviously more important.


  • Beast talismans were introduced in 0.31, along with talismans themselves. Beast Form is analogous to Beastly Appendage.


Talisman Beast FormFlux FormBlade FormMaw FormSerpent FormDragon FormStatue FormDeath FormStorm Form
Bad Forms Bat FormFungus FormPig FormTree FormWisp Form
Divine Shadow Form