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

This page is about the item effect. For the card, see the article Curse card.

Some equipment that you come across will be cursed, rendering it impossible to unequip until you find a way to break the curse. These items will look just like any other item until you equip or identify them, unless you are following Ashenzari. Depending on the nature of the specific item, this can be a minor irritant or a major hazard. Although useful cursed items appear occasionally, most cursed weapons and armour will have negative enchantment penalties, while cursed jewelry is usually designed to harm the wearer. Because of this, it is wise to careful about equipping unidentified items.

Followers of Ashenzari receive special bonuses for wearing cursed gear, and are given abilities that make it easier to curse your gear and maintain curses.

Detecting Curses

Any wieldable or wearable item can be cursed. Items that appear magical (i.e. runed or glowing items) are somewhat more likely to be, but items that appear mundane can also be cursed as well. Identifying an item will reveal whether it is cursed. If you cannot identify an item, there are three ways to discern the curse status of an item:

  • Witnessing an enemy unequip the item.
    • Witnessing a monster wield a weapon will also reveal its brand, if it has one. Generally speaking, a weapon with a visible brand (i.e. a dagger of venom) will not be cursed, although a generic "runed" or "glowing" weapon in a monster's hand may be cursed.
  • Equipping it yourself. Make sure to have a scroll of remove curse ready if you do this!
  • Being a follower of Ashenzari.

In all cases, the game will mark the item's cursed or uncursed status, even if it is otherwise unidentified.

Uncursing Items

Item Cursing

Uncursed equipment is normally safe to equip. However, items can become cursed in a variety of ways, including:

  • A death curse resulting from killing a non-basic mummy may curse a single random piece of equipment in your inventory. (See list of mummies)
  • Some artifact items can have the "recurring curse" property - even if they are currently uncursed, they may automatically recurse themselves whenever they are equipped.
  • Worshippers of Ashenzari will always receive cursed items from scrolls of acquirement. The items will otherwise be of normal acquirement quality.
  • Miscast effects from the Charms and Hexes schools of magic will sometimes curse your items.
  • Followers of Ashenzari can consume a scroll of remove curse to curse one item in their inventory.
  • If a Curse card is drawn during Nemelex Xobeh's wrath, it will curse one or more items in your inventory.


Prior to 0.18, scrolls of enchant armour and enchant weapon would also remove the item's curse.

Prior to 0.14, curse scrolls would randomly generate throughout the dungeon. Also, cursed gloves and cloaks would prevent you from changing your rings and body armour respectively.

Prior to 0.12, the player character was unable to butcher corpses with cursed blunt weapons.

Prior to 0.11, you could read a scroll of detect curse to examine your inventory for cursed items, just like the obsolete spell.

Prior to 0.6, (and the removal of the Divinations school of magic), the Detect Curse spell allowed you to determine the cursed or uncursed status of all items in your inventory without any personal risk. This update also removed the Remove Curse spell, which uncursed any equipped items.