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Version 0.22: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

Armour brands are also called egos. See the ego page for armour brands.

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:

Under no circumstances can a normal weapon have more than one brand, however the unrandart Maxwell's Thermic Engine has both the flaming and freezing brands. All randarts are guaranteed to have a brand, as do almost all unrandarts. Brands are always identified as soon as you, or an enemy in your line of sight, wields a weapon.

Brands are one of the biggest differences between unarmed combat and armed combat: an unarmed fighter can never benefit from brands (although certain mutations may augment them).

List of Brands

Melee Weapons

Brand Description
Antimagic Trog's special brand; causes monsters to fail their spells 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 unrandart 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 unrandart lance Wyrmbane.
Draining Adds an average 25% extra negative energy damage per attack, as well as draining the monster if susceptible.
Electrocution Inflicts additional electricity damage upon a successful attack (independent of the damage dealt).
Flaming Adds an average 25% extra fire damage per attack. Good against 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 skill.
Protection Gives +7 AC for a short period after hitting with the weapon.
Reaping Raises an allied zombie of slain creature if it produces a corpse. Found only on the unrandart Sword of Zonguldrok.
Speed Reduces weapon attack delay by 50%. Found only on short blades, staves, and some artefacts.
Vampiricism When attacking enemies that bleed, heals the player for a portion of the inflicted damage on 60% of attacks.
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, or Slashing, depending on the weapon's base type.

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.


The following brands can be found on launchers:

Note that ranged weapons cannot be branded with pain or distortion through Kikubaaqudgha or Lugonu.

Thrown Weapons

In general, only tomahawks and javelins may be randomly generated with brands. (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:

There is a saving throw for monsters: if 2 + 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.
  • Prior to 0.16, drawing a Blade card would apply one of several temporary brands to your weapon.
  • Prior to 0.14, there was a reaching brand for whips and demon whips, allowing them to make reaching attacks.
  • Prior to 0.10, polearms needed the reaching brand to make reaching attacks.
  • All needle types except "poisoned" were introduced in version 0.6.
Melee weapons AntimagicChaosDistortionDragon slayingDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHoly wrathPainProtectionReachingReapingReturningSpeedVampiricVenomVorpal
Launchers ElectrocutionEvasionFlameFrostPenetrationSpeedVenomVorpal
Throwing weapons ConfusionCurareDispersalExplodingFrenzyParalysisPenetrationPoisonedReturningSilverSleepSteel