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Version 0.30: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

For the skill, see Armour (skill).

Nought can Deform the Human race
Like to the Armours iron brace"

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

Armour encompasses all equipment worn to protect against attacks. Armour increases your armour class (AC), which defends against melee, ranged, and most magical attacks. It can also have egos, which provide further benefit.

However, heavy body armour comes at a cost. Due to its encumbrance, it lowers your EV, lowers your stealth, increases chance of spell failure, and slows down Ranged Weapons. Both strength and Armour skill will reduce, but not eliminate, encumbrance. Only body armour and shields have encumbrance penalties; all other armour can be worn at no cost.

Shields increase SH instead of AC, but are usually considered a piece of "armour" as well.

Armour Locations

There are six armour locations in Crawl, also known as armour slots. Some species have restrictions on the kinds of armour they can wear, while many Transmutations will render pieces unusable.

  • Body armour is worn on a character's torso, and is the primary source of AC. Its AC bonus is penalized by the Deformed mutation. Heavier body armour imposes greater penalties.
  • Gloves are worn on the hands, and are unusable with rank 3 of the Claws mutation.
  • Boots are worn on the feet, and are unusable with rank 3 of either the Talons or Hooves mutations.
    • In place of boots, naga and armataur 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.
  • Helmets and hats are 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, which are unusable with demonspawn's Weakening Stinger.
  • Shields and Orbs are held on character's arm. They prevent the use of two-handed weapons. Shields provide SH, but impede spellcasting and EV without sufficient skill.

Encumbrance rating

Most body armour has an encumbrance rating proportional to its AC. Robes 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.

A higher encumbrance rating:

Increasing your Armour skill decreases the effect of the encumbrance rating (-2.2% per level, or -60% at Armour 27) and boosts the total AC granted by those pieces. High strength will also help. Stealth is always penalized the same. See the encumbrance rating page for more details.

Shields have an encumbrance rating, but it works differently from body armour. See Shields for more details.

Only body armour and shields have an encumbrance rating. Bardings have an EV penalty, but this is unrelated to ER.

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 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 source of AC 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 Wearable
Robe 2 0 All
Leather armour 3 4 Small–Medium
Ring mail 5 7 Small–Medium
Scale mail 6 10 Small–Medium
Chain mail 8 14 Small–Medium
Plate armour 10 18 Small–Medium
Crystal plate armour 14 23 Small–Medium
Animal skin 2 0 All
Troll leather armour 4 4 All
Steam dragon scales 5 0 All
Acid dragon scales 6 5 All
Swamp dragon scales 7 7 All
Quicksilver dragon scales 9 7 All
Fire dragon scales 8 11 All
Ice dragon scales 9 11 All
Pearl dragon scales 10 11 All
Storm dragon scales 10 15 All
Shadow dragon scales 11 15 All
Gold dragon scales 12 23 All


Shield SH Encumbrance Wearable
Buckler 3 5 Little–Medium
Kite shield 8 10 Small–Big
Tower shield 13 15 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
Barding 4 -6 Naga/Palentonga

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 3 and Blade Hands are incompatible with gloves.
    • Blade Hands is in addition incompatible with all types of shields and weapons.
  • Weakening stinger is incompatible with cloaks.
  • Wisp Form is incompatible with all armour and jewellery.
  • Bat Form and Pig Form are incompatible with all armour and rings (you can only wear amulets).
  • Fungus Form, Spider Form, Ice Form, Storm Form, and Dragon Form are incompatible with all armour (you can only wear jewellery).
  • Tree Form is incompatible with all armour except shields.
  • Statue Form is incompatible with all armour except headgear, shields, and cloaks.


  • Prior to 0.29, body armour encumbrance did not slow down Ranged Weapons.
  • Prior to 0.28, armour and shields would penalize your to-hit.
  • Prior to 0.27, GDR was determined based on your body armour, not total AC.
  • Prior to 0.17, heavy armour slowed throwing and unarmed combat attacks.
  • Prior to 0.16, light armour had no small spellcasting success penalty.
  • Prior to 0.15, armour took AC + 1 turns to unequip or equip (instead of a flat 5 turns).
  • Prior to 0.14, racial armour types existed. Elven armour impeded spellcasting less, dwarven armour had more AC but impeded casting more, and orcish armour was better for Hill Orcs only.
  • In 0.13, the evasion penalty system was changed. "Base Evasion Penalty" (BEVP) was changed into encumbrance rating, and rescaled for all armours (see dev wiki).
  • 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.

Changes to armour types

  • In 0.30, chain mail had encumbrance reduced (from 15 -> 14).
  • In 0.29, shadow dragon scales had its AC increased (10 -> 11).
  • Orbs were introduced in 0.28.
  • Prior to 0.26, bardings were split into naga bardings and centaur bardings.
  • Scarves were added in 0.20.
  • Prior to 0.19, dragon scales were named dragon armours. Also, trolls/dragons only dropped hides; you had to use a scroll of enchant armour on the hide to get the armour.
  • In 0.16, scale mail had encumbrance reduced (11 -> 10).
  • In 0.14, 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 from 4 to 5.
  • In 0.13, splint mail was removed.
Weapons Short BladesLong BladesRanged Weapons

AxesMaces & FlailsPolearmsStavesUnarmed CombatThrowing

Physical FightingArmourDodgingStealthShields
Magical SpellcastingInvocationsEvocations
Spell Schools AirConjurationsEarthFireHexesIceNecromancyPoisonSummoningTranslocationsTransmutations