Talisman of death

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
A lone finger-bone, infused with dark power through a sickening ritual. Transforms the user into an undying offense against life itself.

Foes struck by user's melee weapons or hands are weakened, slowed, and drained, and they can heal themselves by tormenting foes nearby. (Shapeshifting skill increases the effectiveness of the latter.) The user also resists cold and is immune to poison, miasma, negative energy, and torment.

The user also gains some of the more dubious benefits of having an undead body. They are vulnerable to holy damage and Dispel Undead, and cannot consume potions.

Talisman of death.png A talisman of death (death talisman) is a talisman that changes you into Death Form.

Useful Info

When eVoked, a talisman of death turns you into Death Form, which lasts until you end the form. Entering or exiting a form takes 5 turns.

Death Form has the following effects:

Combat Bonuses

  • Unarmed Combat: 9 base damage.
  • All melee attacks (including weapons) inflict drain, slow, and weakness for 3-6 turns. Nonliving monsters are completely immune, but demons, undead, etc. can be slowed and weakened.[1]
  • Siphon Essence: Active ability (20 MP). Inflicts torment to susceptible enemies within 2 tiles, then heals you for 100% of damage dealt, with a cap of (19 + 3 * Shapeshifting) / 2 (50 at max skill).[2]



Death Form keeps most mutations, does not change your size, and gives no innate bonus to HP / AC.

Death Form has a minimum Shapeshifting skill of 23, below which you get an HP penalty. Maximum skill is 27, which is the cap on Shapeshifting itself.

Vampires cannot use this item, even when alive, as they are already undead.


Death Form is most useful in the extended game. Not having access to potions is a hefty penalty, but Death Form gives immunity to two important things: torment and mutation. If you don't plan on going into extended, Death Form generally isn't worth the XP investment.

Compared to other forms, Death Form is an oddity. It doesn't give many combat bonuses, but it does let you keep all your equipment. Also, while Death Form has less damage, it is strong in 1v1 fights, as the melee debuffs are powerful. Overall, it can have some use before extended, though you'll be missing out on the raw power of Storm Form.


Previously, lich form gave +6 AC, 5 base unarmed combat damage with a draining branded attack and a spell enhancer for Necromancy, but it did not weaken/slow enemies on hit or have the Siphon Essence ability.
  • Early versions of Siphon Essence worked on undead and demonic monsters.


Talisman Beast FormFlux FormBlade FormMaw FormSerpent FormDragon FormStatue FormDeath FormStorm Form
Bad Forms Bat FormFungus FormPig FormTree FormWisp Form
Divine Shadow Form