Shock serpent

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

For a list of all snakes, see list of snakes.

shock serpent SShock serpent.png
HP 36-74
HD 10
XP 828
Speed 15
AC 2
EV 15
Will 40
Attack1 20 (bite: electricity)

Resistances rElec+++
Vulnerabilities None
Habitat Land
Intelligence Animal
Uses Uses nothing
Holiness Natural
Size Medium
Type snake, shock serpent
Flags Cold-blooded
A sinuous serpent whose body crackles with volatile electricity. Its electric shroud can discharge when struck, inflicting a painful shock on any nearby foes.

“The latter lived in the country, and before his house there was an oak, in which there was a lair of snakes. His servants killed the snakes, but Melampus gathered wood and burnt the reptiles, and reared the young ones. And when the young were full grown, they stood beside him at each of his shoulders as he slept, and they purged his ears with their tongues. He started up in a great fright, but understood the voices of the birds flying overhead, and from what he learned from them he foretold to men what should come to pass.”
-Pseudo-Apollodorus , _Library and Epitome_, 1.9.11. circa 150 BC.
trans. Sir James George Frazer, 1913.

“A snake, with mottles rare,
Surveyed my chamber floor,
In feature as the worm before,
But ringed with power.”
-Emily Dickinson, “In Winter In My Room”. circa 1860.

Useful Info

Shock serpents are snakes which can release a powerful electric discharge when hit, striking the attacker. They are also able to shoot highly accurate electrical bolts. They can be found in the Snake Pit.

When hit by an attack that dealt more than 4 damage, and if the attacker is within range 3, it retaliates with 3d(4 + damage/8) electric damage.[1][2] This activates for all attacks, melee or not. It even works if the shock serpent is disabled (paralysed, petrified, etc.) or can't see you. As BEAM_ELEC damage, it ignores 1/2 AC.


Spell set I
Slot1 Electrical Bolt (3d13) Natural flag

Tips & Tricks

  • Without rElec, shock serpents can deal lots of damage. Electrical Bolt's 3d13 might not seem like a lot, but serpents are fast (they can fire twice/player turn), and in the correct position, each bolt can doublezap (hitting you twice). In addition, electric damage ignores 1/2 of your AC, and Electrical Bolt is noticeably more accurate than Lightning Bolt. And since they're fast, it's hard to escape from one.
    • Try to avoid doublezaps whenever possible - see the doublezap article for more details.
  • Even if you have rElec, attacking them (at close range) will inflict significant damage over time. Attack from a distance if you can.
  • Shock serpents don't have great willpower. A wand of polymorph will often change them into something more manageable.


  • In 0.30, shock serpent retaliation damage was reduced by 25%.
  • Prior to 0.22, shock serpent retaliation didn't check rElec properly.
  • Prior to 0.18, when they took more than 4 points of damage, they lost all the accumulated charge dealing some minor damage to any creature near them.
  • Shock serpents were added in 0.14.