Pain (brand)

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Version 0.21: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This page is about the weapon brand. For the spell, see Pain (spell).

The pain brand allows melee weapons to inflict magically painful injuries (increased damage) on victims who lack negative energy resistance. This additional damage increases with the wielder's Necromancy skill.

Attacks have a (100×Necromancy/(Necromancy+1))% chance to add 1d(Necromancy) damage:

Chance to Activate
Necromancy 01: 50.0%
Necromancy 10: 90.9%
Necromancy 27: 96.4%

Since the change to trigger is Necromancy/(Necromancy+1) and the average damage roll is (Necromancy+1)/2, this brand adds an average damage per hit of exactly Necromancy/2.

Defenders with any level of negative energy resistance are immune to the additional damage. Weapons with this brand are considered unholy, and good gods forbid their use.

The pain brand is Kikubaaqudgha's special brand. At max piety, you can have the brand added to a weapon of your choosing.

Monster Version

For the purposes of this brand, a monster's Necromancy skill is determined as follows:

  • Default: HD/2
  • Undead or Demonic: HD
  • Animal Intelligence or Lower: 0

Tips & Tricks

  • Since the brand inflicts a flat rate of damage independent of your weapon's base damage, pain brands work best on fast weapons with low base delay (demon whips, quick blades and other short blades, spears, whips, etc.)
  • The unholy nature of this brand is rarely an issue. In practice, gods who forbid pain brands also forbid Necromancy, and thus their worshipers are unlikely to have the skill to exploit pain-branded weapons in the first place. It does make switching from Kiku to a kindlier god somewhat less desirable though.
  • Note that Trog objects to even training Necromancy, making this brand more or less useless to his followers unless they acquired the skill before converting, or are Gnolls.
  • If you're going to use Kikubaaqudgha's final ability to affix the pain brand on a weapon instead of receiving the Necronomicon, keep in mind that waiting for the perfect weapon to apply it to can be wasteful; the farther into the game you get, the fewer enemies are susceptible to its effect. Applying it earlier on offers more benefit. Later on, you can find a better base weapon to use against resistant enemies; against non-resistant enemies, you won't need it.
  • Damage output can be compared to the damage output of the Electrocution brand on a per attack basis. The electrocution brand activates 33% of the time for an average of 14 damage, which turns out to be about 4.7 average damage per successful attack. Pain will begin to out-damage electrocution at Necromancy skill level 10 (when it adds an average of 5 damage per hit), although it checks a more common resistance.


Prior to 0.13, this brand's chance to activate was Necromancy×12.5% (100% activation at 8 skill or higher).

Melee weapons AntimagicChaosDistortionDragon slayingDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHoly wrathPainProtectionReachingReapingSpeedVampiricVenomVorpal
Launchers ElectrocutionEvasionFlameFrostPenetrationSpeedVenomVorpal
Throwing weapons AtropaCurareDaturaDispersalPenetrationPoisonedReturningSilver