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Version 0.21: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Torment is a nearly irresistible effect that cuts the HP of its targets by half.

Sources of Torment (Player)

You can invoke torment against all living creatures in your line of sight (including you) in the following ways:

Unless you have torment resistance, the damage you take will make this a dangerous technique. The spell Agony is a safe alternative: although it halves the HP of only one monster and can be reduced by life protection and blocked by magic resistance, it does not harm you when cast.

You can also accidentally invoke a torment effect against only yourself in the following ways:

  • Incurring Kikubaaqudgha wrath
  • Xom acting
  • High level Necromancy miscast effects, as caused by
    • Miscasting Necromancy spells very badly
    • Mummy death curses
    • Hell effects (common in Tartarus, but possible in any branch)

Sources of Torment (Monsters)

The following enemies cast Symbol of Torment:

The following enemies may be able to cast Symbol of Torment, depending on their spell set:

This monster invoke torment upon its death:

They won't cast Symbol of Torment if their target is immune to it. Friendly monsters, like the ones you can get by casting Summon Greater Demon, won't cast symbol of torment while you are in their LOS.

If a monster invokes torment, you will see the message

"The <monster> calls on the powers of darkness!"

Torment Resistance and Immunity

There are only a few sources of torment resistance or immunity, but fortunately they all stack. In order of effectiveness:

  • Being undead (mummy, ghoul, bloodless vampire, or lichform through Necromutation) blocks it entirely.
  • The spell Death's Door negates all damage from torment. It's risky to use around smiting monsters, but may be worth it.
  • The second and third level of the demonspawn negative energy resistance facet completely negates 50% of all torment attempts, but does nothing against those that hit you.
  • Kikubaaqudgha sometimes shields you from torment, blocking all torment damage 33% of the time at max piety. Kiku also provides torment resistance that rises with piety, reducing it to 1/5 of your HP lost on average at max piety.
  • Being a gargoyle or in Statue Form halves torment damage.
  • Negative energy resistance reduces torment damage by 10% (5% of your max HP) per level (so at rN+++, 35% HP loss). Do not underestimate this protection: over three torments (an unfortunate but not uncommon situation), rN+++ will leave you with over twice as much HP as you would have had without it. When stacked with protection from other sources, this takes a lot of the bite out of torment.
  • Deep dwarf damage shaving reduces torment damage by 1-11 HP (amount rises with experience level).
  • An amulet of guardian spirit converts some of the torment HP damage into MP damage.

These sources of torment immunity should be avoided:

There are also some common-sense methods of avoiding torment which shouldn't be overlooked:

  • Removing LOS from monsters - if they can't see you, they can't torment you! A scroll of fog, simply closing a door, retreating at speed or teleporting away can be the wisest option if unprepared to deal with multiple torment-capable enemies, especially if there are smiting- or damnation-capable monsters around.
  • Fighting torment-capable monsters one at a time - you can only kill one enemy at a time in most situations, so you're just giving the others time to torment you down if you fight multiple enemies.
  • Or, of course, kill the source of the torment! In most situations it's wise to prioritise killing monsters capable of tormenting you, and there's no point in spending a turn casting statue form to avoid torment if you can reliably kill all torment-capable monsters in sight with a Fire Storm.
  • Only a few sources of torment can be silenced, but if you possess reasonable melee prowess, it's often a good idea if possible. Specifically, silence will only work on mummies: mummy priests, greater mummies, Menkaure, and Khufu. Be careful doing this in Tomb, as more tormenters may show up at the edge of LOS. Careful use of terrain can minimize this risk. Note that silence does NOT work on other undead, namely curse skulls, curse toes, or Murray.


Prior to 0.13, stepping on a Zot trap could also invoke torment as a random miscast. When Zot traps were given their own special set of effects in 0.13, torment was not included.

Prior to 0.8, players could also cast Symbol of Torment as a L6 Necromancy spell. The spell would not work for players immune to torment.