A brand is a special enhancement that weapons can have, granting them additional effects. Usually, these effects amount to increasing the damage they deal, but other effects do exist.
These are separate from enchantment levels (the -X or +X before a weapon's name), and much harder to modify. While you can increase a weapon's enchantment level by reading a scroll of enchant weapon, you can only add or modify a weapon's brand through the following methods:
- Reading a scroll of brand weapon will give a weapon a randomly selected brand, replacing any existing brand if there is one.
- Casting Excruciating Wounds or Warp Weapon will temporarily give your currently wielded non-artefact weapon the pain or distortion brands.
- Worshipers of the Shining One, Kikubaaqudgha, and Lugonu can have one weapon "blessed" per game, resulting in a permanently branded weapon of holy wrath, pain, or distortion.
- Worshipers of Xom may randomly "receive" chaos-branded weapons. However, they usually arrive in the hands of enemies in your line of sight.
Under no circumstances can a weapon can have more than one brand, though some monsters have attacks that seem to break this rule. All randarts are guaranteed to have a brand, as do most unrandarts. Brands are always identified as soon as you wield a weapon.
List of Brands
|Antimagic||Causes monster spell failure and temporarily reduces the player's maximum MP.|
|Chaos||Xom's special brand; can inflict different brand effects with each attack.|
|Disruption||Inflicts extra damage to undead. Found only on the artifact great mace, Undeadhunter|
|Distortion||Lugonu's special brand. Can have multiple damaging and Translocations-related effects upon a successful hit, including Banishment to the Abyss.|
|Dragon slaying||Inflicts extra damage to dragons and dragon-like monsters. Found only on the artefact lance, Wyrmbane.|
|Draining||Adds an average 25% extra negative energy damage per attack, as well as draining.|
|Electrocution||Inflicts additional electricity damage upon a successful attack.|
|Flaming||Adds an average 25% extra fire damage per attack. Good vs. hydras.|
|Freezing||Adds an average 25% extra cold damage per attack. Can temporarily slow cold-blooded monsters.|
|Holy wrath||The Shining One's special brand. Inflicts an average of 75% extra damage to demonic and undead monsters.|
|Pain||Kikubaaqudgha's special brand. Inflicts additional negative energy damage based on the player's Necromancy.|
|Protection||+5 AC when wielded.|
|Reaping||Raises an allied zombie of slain creature if it produces a corpse. Found only on the Sword of Zonguldrok.|
|Speed||Reduces weapon attack delay. Found only on short blades, staves, and some artefacts.|
|Vampiricism||When attacking enemies that bleed, heals the player for a portion of his or her inflicted damage.|
|Venom||Inflicts poison damage over time to affected monsters.|
|Vorpal||Adds an average 16.67% untyped extra damage per attack. Described as Chopping, Slicing, Piercing, Crushing, Slashing, or Piercing, depending on the branded weapon.|
Some brands are more desirable on certain melee weapons than others. For example, brands such as flaming or freezing add a percentage damage bonus dependent on the weapon's base damage. Others add a special effect that triggers on a successful attack, such as distortion, electrocution, or pain. As such, a flaming executioner's axe is generally superior to a flaming dagger because of its high base damage, while electrocution triggers far more often on a quickblade than a bardiche because of its low base delay. Choose branded weapons accordingly.
All added brand damage is calculated after AC reduction, and does not get further reduced by AC.
Crossbows can have flame, frost, evasion, chaos and vorpal. Artifact crossbows can also have penetration, electrocution, venom and speed.
Bows, longbows and slings can have flame, frost, evasion and vorpal. Speed and venom are possible on artifacts (the Bow of Krishna "Sharnga" has the speed brand).
Blowguns can only be generated with evasion. Artifact blowguns can have speed.
In general, only tomahawks and javelins may be randomly generated with brands, although branded large rocks may occasionally be found in ammo shops. (Exception: one of the Dungeon Sprint maps offers a large rock of returning. Naturally, it's being used against you.). Dispersal and Exploding only show up on tomahawks, while Penetration is only available on javelins.
Needles have their own brand selection; most often poisoned, but they can instead bear one of the following unique brands:
All needle types except "poisoned" were introduced in version 0.6. There's a saving throw for monsters: if 1 + 1d(4 + your throwing skill + your blowgun’s enchantment) is greater than the monster’s hit dice, the effect will be applied. You also have a straight 2% chance of succeeding for monsters with a hit dice of 14 or below.
Some statistics: with no skill you’re still at 100% to succeed on HD1 or HD2 (gnoll, D1 monsters), 75% on HD3 (Sigmund), 50% on HD4 (Duvessa), and 25% on HD5 (ogre). With 4 skill as an early Assassin, you’re up to 56% on an Ogre, or 33% on a Yak.
Prior to 0.18, ranged weapon ammo could have brands, but they would be overridden by launcher brands other than Vorpal, Speed, or Penetration.
|Melee weapons||Antimagic • Chaos • Distortion • Dragon slaying • Draining • Electrocution • Flaming • Freezing • Holy wrath • Pain • Protection • Reaching • Reaping • Returning • Speed • Vampiric • Venom • Vorpal|
|Launchers||Electrocution • Evasion • Flame • Frost • Penetration • Speed • Venom • Vorpal|
|Throwing weapons||Confusion • Curare • Dispersal • Exploding • Frenzy • Paralysis • Penetration • Poisoned • Returning • Silver • Sleep • Steel|