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Version 0.30: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

This page is about the weapon brand. For the removed card, see Venom card.

It poisons victims.

The venom brand inflicts poison on the target, dealing damage over time.

Poison works differently for players and monsters. Each attack from a venom weapon has a 75% chance to do the following, depending on target:

  • Players attacking monsters: The venom brand deals 1 + (4 + 1d8 + 1d<1.5 * dam>)/7 "stacks" of poison, for dam = damage from the weapon itself.[1][2] For example, a 1 damage hit can inflict 1-2 stacks of poison. Monsters can be affected by a max. of 4 stacks at a time. For more detail on poison stacks, see the Poison article.
  • Monsters attacking players: Inflicts poison equal to 4 + 1d8 + 1d(1.5 * dam) HP. There is no stack system - by the time the poison ends, you'll lose the listed amount of HP.

The base chance to inflict poison is 75%. Poison resistance gives a 66% chance to negate the poisoning entirely (a net 25% to poison); having rPois doesn't reduce the amount of poison otherwise. Poison immune creatures, like the undead and the nonliving, are completely unaffected by this brand.


Very strong for the early game, since poison doesn't care much about weapon strength. For reference, a +0 dagger can inflict maximum poison in 2-3 hits. Daggers, short swords, and whips of venom are great, moderately common weapons. Even with minimal skill investment, a weapon of venom is effective at killing most early game, non-resistant enemies.

However, venom falls off by mid game. While poison is great in Spider, in branches like Snake and Swamp, poison resistance is common. And, since poison damage doesn't care much about weapon strength, it starts to feel weak by Vaults and Depths.

Tips & Tricks

  • Against melee enemies, inflicting max poison, then backing off, is a strong tactic - even when considering attacks of opportunity. Ways to kite enemies are valuable as a result. Swiftness and Blink allow you to escape from melee range, avoiding the extra attacks.
  • Combos well with Ignite Poison, a spell that converts poison into instant fire damage. You can attack a few times with venom, reach max poison stacks, then cast Ignite Poison for 8d13 AC- and EV- ignoring damage.


  • Prior to 0.18, poison resistant monsters were completely immune to the venom brand.


Melee weapons AntimagicChaosDistortionDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHeavyHoly wrathPainProtectionReachingSpectralSpeedVampiricVenom
DisruptionDragon slayingReapingSilver
Launchers AntimagicDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHeavyPenetrationSpeed
Throwing weapons AtropaCurareDaturaDispersalPoisonedSilver