| A large iron-shod maul specialized for dealing massively powerfull blows. Such power comes at a prize: the maul's head is so heavy it takes a great length of time to lift it up for another swing.
“This caliber should be appropriate.”
+10 maul (52 damage, -2 accuracy, 300% speed)
Wieldable by human-size creatures
A single swing from the dark maul will crush through virtually any monster's armouring for heavy damage, but even at 27 Maces and Flails skill, it will still take you 16 or 17 auts to attack; this is over twice the delay of the slowest normal weapons. Is this trade off actually worth it? At low M&F skill levels, probably not. Each of your successful attacks will likely eradicate whatever you struck, but will also effectively leave you paralyzed for two turns, and even with the +10 enchantment bonus, you might still miss often enough to leave yourself in dangerous situations. At higher M&F skill levels, this issue becomes less pronounced. Better accuracy and reduced attack delay means you'll be leaving fewer enemies alive long enough to swing at you, and those that do will have less time to capitalize on it.
This weapon is gruesomely effective in most situations, but truly shines against enemies with significant AC scores. A character with a quick blade may be able to deliver ten attacks in the time it takes an untrained character to swing the dark maul once, but if your opponent has powerful defenses, the maul will make the bigger impact. As such, it helps to know when to use the maul and when to put it away for something less overkill-prone. Try to avoid using the dark maul when facing multiple opponents at once, and if your character has found several good sources of slaying this game, you may want to ignore it entirely; slaying's value is very dependent on your attack speed. Finally, if at all possible, keep yourself hasted (or under the effect of Finesse for you Okawaru worshipers) when you find yourself facing serious opponents.
Despite its immense weight and delay, formicids can actually wield this weapon with one hand, since it is technically a modified great mace. Whether or not it is desirable for them to do so, what with their limited escape options, is a different question.
Prior to 0.16, the dark maul had only 44 base damage and a meager +6 enchantment level.
The dark maul was added in 0.14.