Confusing Touch

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Confusing touch.png Confusing Touch
Level 3
School1 Hexes
Source(s) Book of Debilitation
Book of Touch
Casting noise 2
Spell noise 0
Power Cap 100
Flags Wl check, Selfench
Enchants the caster's dominant hand with magical energy. This energy is released when the caster touches a monster, and may induce a state of confusion in the monster. The caster's attacks do no damage while attempting to touch a monster in this way.

Confusing Touch is a level 3 Hexes spell which causes your melee attacks to inflict confusion.

Enchanters start with this spell in their libraries.


While the spell is active, your melee attacks focus only on touching the target - they deal 0 damage. Cleaving is disabled, but the reaching of Polearms still applies.

If you hit, your melee attacks will cause confusion if you can overcome the target's willpower. You can see your chance of affecting a particular monster by hovering over it with x while the spell is active.

Confusing Touch has a duration of 10 + 1d(power)/5 turns.[1] Casting the spell again will increase the duration. However, successfully bypassing willpower, or attempting to confuse a monster immune to confusion, will immediately end the spell (regardless of remaining duration).


While confusion stabs aren't nearly as powerful as those from Ensorcelled Hibernation, Confusing Touch has multiple major benefits:

  • Multiple confusion attempts (melee attacks) per cast. This makes Confusing Touch an MP efficient hex.
  • It uses your attack delay per hex attempt, plus 1 turn to actually cast this spell. For example, a dagger at mindelay can attempt to confuse every 0.5 turn. If you need to make multiple hex attempts, Confusing Touch is somewhat turn efficient.
  • Confusion lasts longer than sleep. Unlike sleep, confusion allows for multiple stab attempts. And, while monsters can still act when confused, they are effectively disabled. They can't spellcast and have a hard time hitting you in melee.

Overall, Confusing Touch is a fairly efficient hex. It works well, even at lower success rates. At 20% hex success, Confusing Touch may take 3 MP and 4 turns, while Ensorcelled Hibernation would take 10 MP and 5 turns. However, against low/no will opponents, Ensorcelled has an advantage - you don't need a turn to "prepare" it. Also, Confusing Touch forces you to stay at melee range.

Short Blades naturally combo with Confusing Touch. Short Blades attack quickly, thus applying the spell faster, and they make the most out of stabbing.

While both Confusing Touch and Mephitic Cloud apply the same status condition, they have their differences. Mephitic Cloud checks HD and poison resistance instead of willpower, but its clouds can also affect the caster, and it makes considerably more noise. Confusing Touch, meanwhile, requires only one spell school instead of three (and Hexes is used by many spells convenient for stabber-type characters) and is quiet enough to barely attract attention.

Tips & Tricks

  • Confusing Touch only triggers on melee attacks. If you need to do damage while the spell is still active, ranged attacks, spells, wands, and Invocations all still work.
  • Since you need to stay at melee range, be wary of dangerous threats with decent willpower. Every turn you spend failing to confuse that hydra is another free turn for it to chew on you.
  • Because Confusing Touch requires an extra turn to recast it between applications and only affects one creature, it is most effective in one-on-one fights. If you're fighting multiple opponents, try to retreat into a corridor so only one of them can reach you at a time.
  • Land-bound monsters can fall into nearby deep water or lava when confused, instantly killing them. Take advantage whenever possible. Note that this also destroys any items they were carrying.


  • Prior to 0.30, Confusing Touch increased melee to-hit by 1d(Dexterity).
  • Prior to 0.28, Confusing Touch did not automatically end if the target had infinite willpower.
  • Prior to 0.25, Confusing Touch was Level 1 and checked monster HD instead of magic resistance, making it effective on a much wider array of monsters (including many that were otherwise entirely immune to Hexes).
  • Prior to 0.23, Confusing Touch did not function when attacking with a weapon, making it much more awkward to use for most characters.
  • Prior to 0.19, Confusing Touch was a level 2 spell.
  • Prior to 0.10, Confusing Touch had a higher success rate.