Confusing Touch

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Version 0.29: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Confusing touch.png Confusing Touch
Level 3
School1 Hexes
Source(s) Book of Debilitation
Book of Misfortune
Casting noise 2
Spell noise 0
Power Cap 100
Flags Wl check, Selfench
Enchants the caster's dominant hand with magical energy. This energy is released when the caster touches a monster, and may induce a state of confusion in the monster. The caster's attacks do no damage while attempting to touch a monster in this way.

Confusing Touch is a level 3 Hexes spell which causes your melee attacks to inflict confusion.

Enchanters start with this spell in their libraries.


While the spell is active, your melee attacks focus only on touching the target: they deal 0 damage, and to-hit is increased by 1d(Dexterity). Cleaving is disabled, but the reaching of Polearms still applies.

If you hit, your melee attacks will cause confusion if you can overcome the target's willpower. You can see your chance of affecting a particular monster by hovering over it with x while the spell is active.

This spell can be cast multiple times, which increases its duration. Every unsuccessful confusion attempt reduces the remaining duration by a random amount; successfully bypassing willpower, or attempting to confuse a monster immune to confusion, will immediately end the spell regardless of remaining duration.


While confusion stabs aren't nearly as powerful as those from Ensorcelled Hibernation, Confusing Touch has the major benefit of having multiple confusion attempts (melee attacks) per cast, which saves a lot on MP. The confusion status itself also lasts much longer than sleep. Short Blades combo well with Confusing Touch; they attack quickly, thus applying the spell faster, and they make the most out of stabbing.

Successfully confusing an opponent will effectively take it almost entirely out of the fight for some time. Use it to shut down dangerous spellcasters or prevent powerful physical fighters from effectively targeting you; this can give you enough time to either kill them while they're disabled or make an escape.

While both Confusing Touch and Mephitic Cloud apply the same status condition, they have their differences. Mephitic Cloud checks HD and poison resistance instead of willpower, but its clouds can also affect the caster, and it makes considerably more noise. Confusing Touch, meanwhile, requires only one spell school instead of three (and Hexes is used by many spells convenient for stabber-type characters) and is quiet enough to barely attract attention.

Tips & Tricks

  • Confusing Touch only triggers on melee attacks; if you need to do damage while the spell is still active, ranged attacks, spells, wands, and Invocations all still work.
  • Since you have to be at point-blank range in order for this spell to function, be wary of trying this on dangerous threats with significant willpower. Every turn you spend failing to confuse that hydra is another free turn for it to chew on you.
  • Because Confusing Touch requires an extra turn to recast it between applications and only affects one creature, it is most effective in one-on-one fights. If you're fighting multiple opponents, try to retreat into a corridor so only one of them can reach you at a time.
  • If you can, try to confuse land-bound monsters while they're standing next to deep water or lava; they may blunder into the hostile terrain and kill themselves. Just be aware that this will generally result in you losing access to any useful items they might have been carrying.


  • Prior to 0.28, Confusing Touch did not automatically end if the target had infinite willpower.
  • Prior to 0.25, Confusing Touch was Level 1 and checked monster HD instead of magic resistance, making it effective on a much wider array of monsters (including many that were otherwise entirely immune to Hexes).
  • Prior to 0.23, Confusing Touch did not function when attacking with a weapon, making it much more awkward to use for most characters.
  • Prior to 0.19, Confusing Touch was a level 2 spell.
  • Prior to 0.10, Confusing Touch had a higher success rate.