Distortion

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Version 0.14: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
It warps and distorts space around it. Unwielding it can cause banishment or high damage.

Distortion is a brand that any melee weapon may have. Distortion weapons bend and tear the fabric of space-time, and generate a variety of effects when they hit:

Chance Effect
33.3% The target takes an additional 1-7 damage
22.2% The target takes an additional 3-26 damage (14.5 on average, low variation)
14.8% The target blinks
9.9% The target teleports (effective 2-3 turns after being hit)
9.9% The target is banished to the Abyss
9.9% Nothing happens

The exception to this is the blink frog (including the unique blink frog Prince Ribbit), which likes distortion energy; it is immune to all distortion effects, and has a 20% chance of being healed by them instead.

Unwielding a weapon branded with distortion will cause severe translocation miscast effects, including severe damage or even banishment (25% chance). This is a very good reason for you to avoid wield-IDing random magic and artifact weapons. Followers of Lugonu are protected from this effect. A weapon given the temporary distortion brand by the Warp Weapon spell does not suffer this limitation.

Strategy

  • Since the brand's effect is not dependent on the damage your weapon does, it works best on a fast weapon with low base delay. But remember that the nature of the brand will prolong fights by blinking enemies away from you, disperse enemies over the whole floor and ultimately banish many stronger foes for decreased experience gains. That being said, if you intend to switch weapons occasionally, you almost certainly won't want to deal with a distortion weapon's guaranteed miscast effects.
  • Note that quivering and firing a distortion weapon does not cause any miscast effects, but this may be less useful than it seems. Remember that some enemies will pick up found weapons and use them against you. Enemies don't have to worry about un-wielding distortion weapons!
  • Until you've become strong enough that a trip to the Abyss is annoying instead of lethal, you should not leave distortion weapons lying around. There are several ways to safely dispose of them:
  • Be careful about the blinking effect. It gives you no message when it occurs, suddenly leaving you with empty space where that monster used to be. If you're attacking by attempting to move into the monster, your next swing will move you instead, and that can be bad when you move out of a choke-point or into unfavorable terrain. Attacking using Tab will let you avoid this, but you may still move unintentionally if other monsters are within your line of sight.
  • Certain uniques often drop distortion weapons, notably Psyche and Sonja. They can also be found in the Hall of Blades, but of course, there you need to fight against them first! Pious followers of Lugonu can have her brand a weapon with distortion once per game, while the Warp Weapon spell can apply a temporary distortion brand.
  • Unwielding a distortion weapon can serve as a last resort to teleport you while confused, but be aware that the consequences of this can be lethal.
  • Replacing the brand via the Shining One or Kikubaaqudgha's final abilities will not incur a miscast effect, meaning it is safe to wield that demon blade of distortion you found if you just want one of those gods to change the brand. However, this is absolutely not worthwhile simply as a means of avoiding the miscast effect on a mediocre weapon you got stuck with.

History

Prior to 0.14, followers of Lugonu were not protected from the effects of unwielding a distortion weapon. Prior to 0.12, this brand was safer when found on sharp weapons, since blunt weapons didn't allow to butcher corpses.

Brands
Melee weapons AntimagicChaosDistortionDragon slayingDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHoly wrathPainProtectionReachingReapingReturningSpeedVampiricVenomVorpal
Launchers ElectrocutionEvasionFlameFrostPenetrationSpeedVenomVorpal
Ammunition ConfusionCurareDispersalExplodingFlameFrenzyFrostParalysisPenetrationPoisonedReturningSilverSleepSlowingSteel