Unarmed Combat

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Version 0.28: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

The Unarmed Combat skill determines the effectiveness of all attacks made with your character's fists (or tentacles in the case of octopodes). It increases the damage, accuracy, and speed of your unarmed attacks. It does not boost auxiliary attacks except for the off-hand punch done without a shield.

Your fists do not normally benefit from weapon brands and defintely don't have artefact properties. However, training Unarmed Combat gives a special bonus to base damage (see Base Damage) instead of the normal skill bonus. And they are one of the few weapons to hit minimum delay at the maximum skill level of 27. High level unarmed combat is defintely competitive with weapon-wielding, especially when boosted by transformations, though is noticably weaker early on. Also, some species have natural aptitudes or innate mutations that make unarmed combat a much more tempting choice.


Ba DD DE Dg Ds Dj Dr Fe Fo Gr Gh Gn HO Hu Ko Mf Mi Mu Na Op Og Pa Sp Te Tr Vp VS
1 -1 -2 -1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 1 0 0 1 1 -2 0 0 -1 0 -2 1 0 1 0

Attack Delay

Unarmed combat starts out at 1.0 decaAut attack delay, but requires much more skill to improve. It takes roughly 5.4 skill levels to reduce delay by 0.1, reaching the minimum delay of 0.5 at UC skill 27.

Other Factors

Characters in bat form attack at 60% of the normal time, though at a significant penalty to damage. Other effects that can influence attack speed (such as Haste, Slow, Statue Form, etc.) apply as normal, with a hardcoded limit at 0.3 decaAut which you cannot exceed.

Final Calculation

Finally, your attack delay is rounded to the tenths place. If your calculated speed falls between two decimal place numbers, the game will round up or down based on the remainder (0.72 would have a 20% chance of being rounded to 0.8 and an 80% chance of being 0.7).

UC Avg delay UC Avg delay UC Avg delay
0 1.0 10 0.81 20 0.63
1 0.98 11 0.80 21 0.61
2 0.96 12 0.78 22 0.59
3 0.95 13 0.76 23 0.57
4 0.92 14 0.74 24 0.56
5 0.91 15 0.72 25 0.54
6 0.89 16 0.7 26 0.52
7 0.87 17 0.68 27 0.5
8 0.85 18 0.67
9 0.83 19 0.65

Base Damage

The base damage of your primary unarmed combat attack is determined through the following factors:

Condition Damage Special
Base damage 3 -
Claws mutation +2 × Claws ranks Wearing gloves negates this
Ghoul 5 Negated by gloves
Felid 5 Works well for stabbing
Troll 9 -
Spider Form 5 Venom
Lich Form 5 Draining
Tree Form 12 -
Ice Form 12 Freezing
Statue Form 12 -
Blade Hands 22 -
Storm Form 2 + spell power/3 Cleaving, Electrocution
Dragon Form 38 -
Pig Form 1 -
Bat Form 1 60% Attack Delay
Vampire Bat Form 2 60% Attack delay
Wisp Form 5 Effectiveness based on XL instead of Unarmed Combat
Fungus Form 12 Confusion

Your base damage is then increased by 1 for each skill level in Unarmed Combat. In Bat Form or Pig Form, damage from skill is divided by 5. This base damage is then further modified by your strength, fighting skill, and other factors. The normal weapon skill bonus does not apply.

Off-hand punch

Offhand punches are significantly less powerful, using the following calculation:

Condition Damage
Offhand Punch 5 + (UC / 3) + (1d3 × Claws ranks) + (6 if Blade Hands)

Most species are unable to use the off-hand punch unless their offhand is empty, which means not wearing a shield or wielding a two-handed weapon. Octopodes get tentacle slaps instead of offhand punches, and may slap even when their offhand is occupied.


  • Prior to 0.17, unarmed combat attack delay was penalized by armour. Also, trolls' claws could inflict the now-removed bleeding status.
  • In earlier versions of Crawl, Unarmed Combat improved the performance of your non-punch auxiliary attacks, giving all melee fighters a reason to train it.
Melee Short BladesLong BladesAxesMaces & FlailsPolearmsStavesUnarmed Combat
Ranged BowsCrossbowsThrowingSlings
Physical FightingArmourDodgingStealthShields
Magical SpellcastingInvocationsEvocations
Spell Schools AirConjurationsEarthFireHexesIceNecromancyPoisonSummoningTranslocationsTransmutations