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One decaAut (deca-aut, sometimes referred as a turn) is equal to 10 aut, or 10 arbitrary units of time. It is the time it takes for an untransformed, unstatused human to wait (with s or .) for one turn. It is also just the 'standard' time for an action, and thus useful as a general measurement for gameplay. For example, decaAut (in the form of turns) is used to measure the game's Zot clock.

Most species and monsters take 1 decaAut to move, and it is the time it takes for all species in their natural form and condition to do many actions (like reading scrolls, quaffing potions, or casting the vast majority of spells). A primary exception is attack speed, which is often measured by delay; weapons can take from 0.7 to 3 decaAut to swing, before modifiers like shields and skill.

DecaAut are often considered turns, but they are still technically distinct measures. The Time counter in the status bar only measures decaAut; the actual turn counter measures the amount of commands, irrespective of game-time. For example, a Naga normally moves at 1.4 decaAut, but technically takes only 1 turn. It'll still take 1.4 "turns" of the Zot clock, though.