Negative energy

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

Negative energy is one of the most common elemental forces you will encounter as you explore the Dungeon. Both players and monsters can take advantage of negative energy through spells or specially branded weapons, though some monsters also possess innate negative energy abilities.

Negative Energy Sources

The effects of negative energy are more complicated than most other elemental types, as each source functions in a different way.

  • The pain brand and Pain spell simply deal damage to the target.
  • Bolt of Draining, the draining brand, and other "draining" attacks deal damage and also inflict the drain status.
  • Vampiricism deals no damage, but only steals HP if the target isn't resistant to negative energy.
  • Torment and Agony cut the target's current HP in half, with rN+ having a far smaller effect than usual. See the torment article for more details.

The Necromancy school offers an extremely diverse variety of uses, such as healing, direct damage, and undead creation/destruction.

Any character that worships a good god should avoid using negative energy, as these gods are offended by it.

Negative Energy Resistance

Negative energy resistance (also known as life protection, rN+, or rNeg+) reduces or completely negates the effects of negative energy attacks you receive.

For players, negative energy damage is reduced by 50% at rN+, 75% at rN++, and 100% at rN+++. Draining and enemy vampirism are also reduced by this much. Torment works differently. Each level of rN+ only reduces torment damage by -5% of your current HP,[1] so rN+ reduces it to -45% current HP, rN++ to -40% current HP, and rN+++ to -35% current HP.

Monsters that are not natural or plant holiness are immune to negative energy and torment. In addition, monsters with any level of rN+ have 100% immunity to negative energy damage (but not torment). Very few monsters spawn with only rN+ or rN++ (fenstrider witches being the only example), though they can get it from equipped items.


All sources of negative energy resistance stack (up to rN+++):




  • Prior to 0.28, plant monsters and forms had rN+++.
  • Prior to 0.27 the first rank of the Black Mark demonspawn mutation provided rN+.
  • Prior to 0.26 draining lowered your skills instead of your maximum HP.
  • Prior to 0.13, draining attacks had no effect on your skills. Instead, they would permanently reduce your experience, potentially forcing you to lose levels. Also, ranks of negative energy resistance were somewhat less effective at reducing damage (33%/66%/100%). Finally, several bugs related to the implementation of rN+ for monsters were fixed.

See Also

List of negative energy resistant monsters


  1. Technically, each level of rN+ reduces torment damage by 10%. Torment always deals (50% of your max HP - 1), so each level of rN+ reduces damage by 5% of your current HP (before rounding).