Scroll of fear

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Type Scroll
Name scroll of fear
Icon Scroll of fear.png
A scroll that causes great fear in those who see the one who reads it, even if the reader is invisible. Allies of the reader will remain unaffected. Monsters that are non-living, undead, plants, berserk, or frenzied cannot be feared.

Reading a scroll of fear causes most natural, demonic, and holy monsters in the reader's view to become frightened and flee for a few turns. This will not affect friendly targets, such as summons. This effect can be resisted by the monster's willpower. A scroll of fear always has a chance of failing the willpower check, even against 0 Will monsters.

The following monsters are immune to fear:

Reading this scroll has the same effect as casting the Cause Fear spell with 200 spellpower. This equates to 96 "enchantment power".[1] The higher the monster's willpower, the less likely the scroll is to succeed. See the Willpower article for more details.

Strategy

Scrolls of fear are an effective "get off me" button. In the early/mid game, it's great against all sorts of dangerous monsters. Whether it be an untimely orc priest, a pack of killer bees, or a large crowd of nagas / spiders, it has a high (but not guaranteed) chance of success. Great escape tool, but can also be used to thin out a crowd.

As you enter the late-game, the value of these scrolls wane, as monsters gain willpower. However, fear is still useful against groups of moderate will enemies. For example, while you probably won't scare Tiamat, you'll have a great chance (90%) to fear any non-purple draconians and moths of wrath around her. Even if you have a 50% chance to fear each enemy, scaring half the group can make a big difference.

Consider your positioning, as well as the monsters' position, before using this scroll. Try to give your targets a suitable path for which to flee; if a fleeing monster finds itself cornered, it will turn around and fight.

Tips & Tricks

  • You can use a scroll of vulnerability to greatly increase the success chance. As an extreme example, it'll make Tiamat go from 16% to 72% success. Just beware of the usual risks of vulnerability.
  • Even in the late game, there are many dangerous enemies that have low will. Floating eyes (98%), moths of wrath (90%), and ettins (90%) are good Depths-tier / Zot-tier targets. In extended, both hellions and tormentors have moderate will.
  • You can check the chance of affecting nearby monsters yourself by quivering a scroll of fear. Press Q* to open your inventory, then select the scroll to quiver it. Press f to highlight susceptible monsters and activate targeting mode where you can move the cursor and check the chance.
  • You can use fear to scare monsters into dangerous clouds, like those from a scroll of poison.

Success chance

The chance of fear succeeding is tabulated below:

Willpower Success (%)
0 99%
40 90%
60 73%
80 64%
100 47%
120 29%

History

  • Prior to 0.30, fleeing monsters would not run into harmful clouds (recklessly).
  • Prior to 0.28, the spell couldn't affect demonic and holy monsters.
  • Prior to 0.27, fleeing enemies could use scrolls of teleportation and blinking as emergency items. Also, fleeing monsters would use "emergency" flag spells rather than "escape" flag ones. This caused black bears and polar bears to be practically immune to fear; they would immediately berserk when inflicted with fear, which ended the fear.

References

  1. beam.cc:7106 (0.31.0)
    Equivalent to 35 * log2(1 + 200/35); stepdown function can be found at stepdown.cc:14 (0.31.0).
    While Cause Fear has a x1.5 enchantment power multiplier, the scroll reaches the cap of 200, so this has no effect.
Scrolls
AcquirementAmnesiaButterfliesBlinkingBrand weaponEnchant armourEnchant weaponFearFogIdentifyImmolationNoisePoisonRevelationSilenceSummoningTeleportationTormentVulnerability