Attack flavour

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Version 0.18: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

Almost all monsters are capable of dealing physical damage to you by attacking in melee, but many of them also cause elemental damage or inflict a wide variety of detrimental status effects. What a monster's melee attacks are capable of is determined by the monster's attack flavour. These modify a monster's melee attacks in many ways, and apply whether the monster is attacking unarmed or while wielding a weapon.

Flavour Example Description
Plain g Goblin.png Goblin No special effects.
Reaching t Snapping turtle.png Snapping turtle Inherent reaching (can melee attack from two tiles away).
Ensnare s Jumping spider.png Jumping spider If the attack does any damage, it has a 50% chance of trapping the defender in a web.
Constrict S Ball python.png Ball python Inflicts constriction (pins victim in place, dealing damage over time).
Steal @ Maurice.png Maurice Each attack steals one item from inventory (affects players only).
Shadow stab W Shadow.png Shadow When invisible and not backlit, the monster gains a boost to movement speed, 100% accuracy, and deals 2.5x damage for a single attack. If the victim has see invisible it negates the extra damage and accuracy, but not the added speed. After the attack, the monster's invisibility ends.
Fire b Fire bat.png Fire bat Adds HD + 1d(HD) - 1 fire damage.
Pure fire E Fire elemental.png Fire elemental Deals no physical damage. Consists solely of HD + 1d(HD + 1) + (HD / 2) fire damage.
Firebrand N Salamander firebrand.png Salamander firebrand Along with the same fire damage output as the fire attack flavour, each landed firebrand attack also surrounds the target with a ring of flame clouds. Said clouds will not place below any other monsters.
Cold Y Ice beast.png Ice beast Adds HD + 1d(HD*2) - 1 cold damage.
Drown m Water nymph.png Water nymph Attacks do a small amount of asphyxiation damage.
Engulf E Water elemental.png Water elemental Attacks have a chance of engulfing the target, which continuously deals asphyxiation damage and mimics the effect of silence. Asphyxiation resistance negates both effects. Moving away from the attacker will break the engulf, but takes twice as long as normal, during which time the attacker cannot engulf the target again.
Electricity Y Sky beast.png Sky beast Adds HD + 1d(HD/2) - 1 electricity damage.
Poison S Adder.png Adder Inflicts HD*2 to HD*4 poison damage, with a 1 in 3 chance to affect poison-resistant targets. See poison types for specifics.
Strong poison s Redback.png Redback Inflicts HD*11/3 to HD*13/2 poison damage, with a 1 in 3 chance to affect poison-resistant targets. See poison types for specifics.
Weakness poison 4 Orange demon.png Orange demon Attacks have a chance to inflict weakness on a target, if said target lacks poison resistance.
Paralyse y Wasp.png Wasp If not resistant to poison, the defender may be slowed, or sometimes paralyzed, for 1d3 turns.
Acid J Jelly.png Jelly The defender is hit with a level 3 acid splash.
Holy Y Apis.png Apis Does an additional 75% damage against evil and unholy targets. This is similar to the holy wrath weapon brand, but without a random component.
Pain 5 Grinder.png Grinder Inherent pain brand (deals negative energy damage based on attacker HD)
Vampiric draining V Vampire (monster).png Vampire Will heal the attacker for 1d(damage inflicted) if the defender is cold-blooded or warm-blooded. Deals normal damage, but has no healing effect, against bloodless defenders.
Drain XP z Wight.png Wight Has a 50% chance of draining the target (skill penalty vs. player, HP and HD loss vs. monsters). This only has a 3% chance of activating if the attack deals less than 6 damage, and a 33% chance if the attack normally does no damage (i.e., "touch"). In spite of the name, player experience is completely unaffected by this attack flavour.
Drain speed W Wraith.png Wraith May slow the victim if it does not have negative energy resistance.
Drain strength, dexterity, intelligence, stat 5 Quasit.png Quasit May deal 1 point of stat damage to the associated stat (33% chance per attack, or 5% if the attack did no damage. Each rank of negative energy resistance has a further 33% chance to negate the stat loss.).
Hunger W Hungry ghost.png Hungry ghost Each hit will reduce the defender's satiety by 25%. If the attack does no damage, the effect only has a 5% chance of happening.
Rot n Necrophage.png Necrophage The defender has a 33% chance of receiving 2-4 points of rot, or a 5% chance if the attack did 2 or less damage.
Blink W Phantom.png Phantom The attacker has a 33% chance of blinking after a successful hit.
Chaos 4 Chaos spawn.png Chaos spawn Changes flavour with every attack, to one of the following:
Klown p Killer Klown.png Killer Klown Randomly mimics the following flavors:
Mutate & Mnoleg.png Mnoleg Each hit has a 25% chance of malmutating the victim (or polymorphing if the defender is a monster).
Distortion v Spatial vortex.png Spatial vortex Inherent distortion brand (deals heavy irresistible damage, or causes the target to blink, teleport, or be banished to the Abyss).
Confuse s Tarantella.png Tarantella Has a 33% chance of confusing the defender, or 10% if the attack did less than 3 damage. Duration is 1d(HD + 3) / 10 turns, rounded up, with a cumulative maximum of 4 turns.
Rage y Moth of wrath.png Moth of wrath The defender has a 33% chance of going berserk, if it is capable of doing so.
MR Vuln W Phantasmal warrior.png Phantasmal warrior Has a 33% chance of lowering the defender's magic resistance by a set amount. If the defender is already so afflicted, it instead increases the duration of the effect.
Antimagic S Mana viper.png Mana viper Inherent antimagic brand (damages player MP, or causes monsters to have a spell failure chance that rises with antimagic damage dealt and decreases with time).
Scarab B Death scarab.png Death scarab Combines vampiric and drain speed.
Sticky flame u Very ugly thing.png Very ugly thing Has a 5% chance, and an additional 33% chance for attacks dealing 3 or more damage, to apply sticky flame.
Trample Y Elephant.png Elephant Has a chance to knock back the defender. The chance depends on the size difference between the attacker and defender.
Corrode 4 Rust devil.png Rust devil Corrodes the defender.
Kite 4 Red devil.png Red devil The attacker hops backward when attacking with a polearm.
Swoop 4 Hellwing.png Hellwing The attacker swoops in to perform a melee attack if far away.


0.14 contained many monster brand changes:

  • The Klown attack flavour chose from the following types: Fire, Cold, Nasty poison, Drain XP, Rot, Blink, and Anti-magic.
  • Harpies had a Steal Food brand; attacks would occasionally consume one or more food items from your inventory or on the ground, if the target was standing on any food.
  • There were Poison (stat) attack flavours. These vaguely copied the Drain stat brand: they had a 33% chance of temporarily reducing a point of a given stat if the target was not resistant to poison.
  • Poison's overhaul removed the Nasty Poison and Medium Poison attack flavours, as detailed in poison types. Each were moved to normal poison and strong poison as appropriate per monster.

As of 0.15, the retching and sickness attack flavours were removed and the sticky flame attack flavour was added. Item destruction was removed, reducing the threat from Fire and Cold attacks, as well as anything which can duplicate them (Chaos and Klown).

0.16 introduced the corrode, scarab, trample, kite, and swoop flavours.