Short Blades

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

The Short Blades skill denotes how adept your character is at using short bladed weapons. Although these weapons have the lowest base damage in the game, you can attack fast with them, and they do obscene amounts of damage when used for stabbing. This skill crosstrains with the Long Blades skill.

Short Blades use dexterity instead of strength for their attacks.


At Ba DE Dg Ds Dj Dr Fe Fo Gr Gh Gn HO Hu Ko Mf Mi Mu Na Op On Sp Te Tr Vp VS
-1 1 0 -1 -1 -1 0 N/A 0 -1 -1 8 0 0 3 2 1 -2 0 0 -1 1 1 -2 1 -1

List of Short Blades

Name Dam Hit Delay Min delay Hands Size Cuts Hydras?
Dagger 4 +6 10 5 (10 skill) One Any No
Quick blade 4x2 +6 12 5 (14 skill) One Any No
Short sword 5 +4 10 5 (10 skill) One Any No
Rapier 7 +4 12 5 (14 skill) One Any No


Short Blades are good at two things:

  • They receive bonus damage from stabbing. Great if your character has a consistent way to stab things. Hexes are the most obvious means to do so. Both Uskayaw and Gozag offer ways to stab things, even orbs of fire.
  • They attack quickly. All Short Blades have a mindelay of 0.5, and quick blades attack at twice that speed. They are great with flat damage procs. Slaying gives you +1 damage per swing, no matter how how strong your attack is. So the faster you swing, the more you benefit. Other than slaying, auxiliary attacks and certain brands (venom, electrocution, pain, distortion, chaos) are flat effects.
Conversely, enemy AC has the greatest impact to Short Blade damage.

Another positive is that Short Blades "require" less skill than other weapons; they are more accurate, and it takes less skill to reach mindelay.

To compensate, Short Blades have the worst base damage of all weapon types, and they are the worst against AC. For "fair combat", Short Blades are the weakest weapon types - but stabbers aren't playing fair. And, stabber or not, a quick blade of distortion can remain viable into Zot. If nothing else, you can use the crosstraining to swap to Long Blades.

An early dagger / short blade of venom can make the earlygame a lot easier, even at 0 skill.


  • In 0.29, Short Blades now use dexterity instead of strength for their attacks. Except for daggers, all short blades were reduced by 1 base damage.
  • Prior to 0.20, the Captain's Cutlass still dealt slicing damage despite all other short blades dealing piercing damage.
  • In 0.16, cutlasses were renamed to rapiers. Short swords and rapiers were changed from slicing to piercing damage.
  • In 0.14, sabres were renamed to cutlasses.
  • In 0.9, knives were removed.

See Also

Weapons Short BladesLong BladesRanged Weapons

AxesMaces & FlailsPolearmsStavesUnarmed CombatThrowing

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