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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This article is about stabbing attacks. For the removed potion, see potion of stabbing.

Stabbing can occur any time you deliver a melee attack to an enemy that is distracted, asleep, or otherwise unable to defend itself properly. These attacks deal significantly more damage, ignoring EV and SH. For a dedicated character, stabs can end combat in a single blow.

Stabbing Odds

Your chance of delivering a stab attack varies based on your Stealth skill, your skill with the weapon you are currently wielding, your dexterity, and the status effects the enemy is suffering from:

High-tier stabs
You are guaranteed to stab an opponent under these conditions:

Low-tier stabs
You have a 1 + dex + (Stealth + Wpn_skill)/2 % chance to stab under these conditions:

You cannot make stab attacks while confused, at zero dexterity, or if your target is invisible (and you cannot see invisible). The Shining One considers stabbing foes dishonorable, and prevents its followers from doing so.

50% of stabbing attempts with the Spriggan's Knife are treated as if the target is sleeping.

Monsters cannot stab. There are a few stab-like effects: a sleeping player will take bonus damage from melee attacks, and a shadow deals bonus damage if it's invisible (and the target can't see invisible). However, these are completely separate from the stabbing mechanic.

Stabbing Damage

The additional damage from a stab attempt varies based on the target's status effect, the weapon you make the attack with, your skill with the weapon, and your Stealth skill. The stab tier and your weapon are the largest factors.


  • Stabbing attacks against creatures that are sleeping, paralyzed, or petrified are high-tier stabs.
  • All other stabbing attacks are low-tier.

Short Blades are the most effective weapon for stabbing. Felid claws, or any melee attack when wearing the hood of the Assassin, are considered equivalent to Short Blades for purposes of stabbing damage. All other stabs are identical.


There are three sources of damage, listed in order of operation:[1]

  • Short Blades (and equivalent) get an innate source of flat damage. Daggers get an additional boost.
  • All weapons get a multiplier to damage, which depends on stab tier, skill, and is increased when using Short Blades. This multiplier does not account for enemy AC, but does account for slaying, Fighting, brand, etc.
  • All weapons get a flat bonus to damage on top. This is modified by stab tier only.

1. "Good Stab" bonus

  • If using Short Blades or equivalent, take base value DEX/10 × (1 + (weapon + stealth)/2). This is doubled for daggers.
  • If base value > 10 (after the dagger bonus), it is modified by 10 * log2(1 + base/10), with a maximum of 30.
  • Then, this value is multiplied by 1 + (weapon_skill + stealth)/20 if high-tier, or 1 + (weapon_skill + stealth)/80 if low-tier. This number is added to your damage.

There is a breakpoint at base value = 35 for daggers, base value = 70 for other Short Blades, where the base value is maximised. The value multiplier still increases by skill, but the increase is smaller.

2. Multiplier

The stab bonus is a multiplier of damage before AC is applied. The table below details the damage multiplier from your skills, tier, and weapon type:

Stealth/Weapon skill average Short Blades Others
High-Tier Low-Tier High-Tier Low-Tier
1 +19.2% +4.6% +8.3% +2.1%
2 +40.0% +9.4% +16.7% +4.2%
3 +62.5% +14.2% +25.0% +6.2%
4 +86.7% +19.2% +33.3% +8.3%
5 +112.5% +24.2% +41.7% +10.4%
6 +140.0% +29.4% +50.0% +12.5%
7 +169.2% +34.6% +58.3% +14.6%
8 +200.0% +40.0% +66.7% +16.7%
9 +232.5% +45.5% +75.0% +18.8%
10 +266.7% +51.0% +83.3% +20.8%
11 +302.5% +56.7% +91.7% +22.9%
12 +340.0% +62.5% +100.0% +25.0%
13 +379.2% +68.4% +108.3% +27.1%
14 +420.0% +74.4% +116.7% +29.2%
15 +462.5% +80.5% +125.0% +31.2%
16 +506.7% +86.7% +133.3% +33.3%
17 +552.5% +93.0% +141.7% +35.4%
18 +600.0% +99.4% +150.0% +37.5%
19 +649.2% +105.9% +158.3% +39.6%
20 +700.0% +112.5% +166.7% +41.7%
21 +752.5% +119.2% +175.0% +43.8%
22 +806.7% +126.0% +183.3% +45.8%
23 +862.5% +133.0% +191.7% +47.9%
24 +920.0% +140.0% +200.0% +50.0%
25 +979.2% +147.1% +208.3% +52.1%
26 +1040.0% +154.4% +216.7% +54.2%
27 +1102.5% +161.7% +225.0% +56.2%

3. Extra flat damage

All weapons get bonus damage equal to 1d<(weapon_skill + stealth_skill)/2> for high-tier stabs, divided by 4 for low-tier stabs.


"Pure" Stealth is less viable than other offensive skills. The enemy always has a chance to wake up... and training only Stealth means you can't deal with anything that wakes up. Plus, enemies often spawn in packs, and if one enemy detects you, they all wake up.

Thus, many stabbers will rely on magic to incapacitate their enemies. Hexes spells (like Ensorcelled Hibernation, Confusing Touch) as well as spells in certain other schools (Mephitic Cloud, Petrify, etc.) give you opportunities to stab. Gods like Uskayaw can work in a similar way. A wand of paralysis is a limited, but powerful way to disable enemies. And any means of having allies can let you get distraction stabs here and there.


  • Prior to 0.27, stabs would bypass some of your target's AC, depending on your Stealth and weapon skills. This was converted into a flat bonus to stabbing damage instead.
  • Prior to 0.20, The Shining One would inflict penance for stabbing intelligent foes that were not demons or undead.
  • In 0.19, four tiers of stabbing attacks were replaced by just two tiers. Stabs against distracted and petrified targets were buffed: +50% damage and +100% damage, respectively. Petrifying and net stabs got -50% to damage, and invisible stabs had their proc chance reduced.
  • Prior to 0.16, Long Blades were slightly more effective at stabbing than most other weapons, and clubs and rods could stab for special effects.
  • Prior to 0.13, Stabbing was a skill of its own, rather than being the average of your Stealth and weapon skills.


  1. (0.30.1)