[[[[[[[[[Black dragon scale mail.pngBlue dragon scale mail.pngGray dragon scale mail.pngGreen dragon scale mail.pngOrange dragon scale mail.pngRed dragon scale mail.pngSilver dragon scale mail.pngWhite dragon scale mail.pngYellow dragon scale mail.png
<color> dragon scale mail
Appearance <color> dragon scale mail
Slot body armor
AC 9
  • <by color>
Cost 900-1200 zm
Weight 40
Material dragon hide
[[[[[[[[[Black dragon scales.pngBlue dragon scales.pngGray dragon scales.pngGreen dragon scales.pngOrange dragon scales.pngRed dragon scales.pngSilver dragon scales.pngWhite dragon scales.pngYellow dragon scales.png
<color> dragon scales
Appearance <color> dragon scales
Slot body armor
AC 3
  • <by color>
Cost 500-700 zm
Weight 40
Material dragon hide

Dragon scale mail (commonly abbreviated to DSM) is the strongest single piece of body armor available. Its base AC reduction is 9, it weighs only 40, provides a useful extrinsic, is inherently erodeproof, and doesn't hinder spellcasting. It does not however provide any magic cancellation, and should hence be complemented by a high MC cloak.

Dragon scales are body armor that might be dropped by a dragon. They have a base AC reduction of only 3, but are otherwise identical to the dragon scale mail of the same color. They can be converted into dragon scale mail.

The most coveted varieties are silver dragon scale mail (SDSM) for reflection and gray dragon scale mail (GDSM) for magic resistance.


The following table shows the extrinsic abilities provided by each color of dragon scales or dragon scale mail:

Color Extrinsic
Blue shock resistance
Black disintegration resistance
Gray magic resistance
Green poison resistance
Orange sleep resistance
Red fire resistance
Silver reflection
White cold resistance
Yellow acid resistance

Black, gray, and silver dragon scale mail have a base price of 1200 zm, and their scales are 700 zm. Other varieties are 900 zm for the mail and 500 zm for the scales.


Polymorphing while wearing dragon scales or dragon scale mail turns you into a dragon of the same color, with the message "You merge with your scaly armor".[1] This will break your shirt and cloak, but will leave your scales or scale mail intact. However, if you are polymorphed again while in dragon form, there is a chance that you will turn into a different large monster, destroying your armor in the process.

Dragon scale mail is considered to be magical for purposes of object polymorph, whereas dragon scales are not.

Since scales and mail are never generated randomly, they cannot be obtained by polypiling.

Acquiring scales and scale mail[]

There are two main ways to acquire dragon scale mail: either wish for it directly, or obtain dragon scales and then upgrade them to scale mail.

There are two other ways to obtain DSM. The first is to find it in a bones pile, which is obviously unreliable. The other option is to kill one of the player monsters on the Astral Plane, who have a chance of wearing dragon scale mail. This method is almost completely useless, since any adventurer reaching the Astral Plane will probably have DSM already.

Making dragon scale mail from scales[]

Dragon scale mail can be easily made from dragon scales:

  1. wear only the dragon scales you wish to convert
  2. read a non-cursed scroll of enchant armor

If the scroll is blessed, the mail gains 1 point of enchantment and becomes blessed.

Acquiring dragon scales[]

Dragon scale mail is simple to acquire: kill a dragon that drops scales of the color you want and make mail out of them as described above.

The chance of a dragon dropping scales is 1/3, but this drops to 1/20 if the dragon is revived.[2]

If you want to obtain dragon scale mail by killing a dragon, here are some methods for generating dragons:

  1. reverse genocide dragons, preferrably in an Elbereth-cage
  2. polymorph into a dragon of desired variety and hatch some eggs (#sit command), grow those babies (into non-baby dragons) over time, and get them killed (possibly with a passive attack or a trap)
  3. use undead turning on a dragon corpse (but note that a revived dragon has a only a 1/20 chance of dropping scales, as opposed to 1/3 normally.[3])
  4. seek out the dragons found in the castle, in Ludios, and in some quest levels
  5. repeatedly #loot a throne while confused, carrying gold, without a chest present. Lower dungeon levels work better, minimum is 15 (Castle, Vlad's Tower).

If you reverse genocide for silver dragon scale mail, you likely don't already have reflection. Stand on Elbereth and use a ring of Elbereth squares to keep the dragons in melee range - that way, they cannot use their breath attack. In the diagram above, engrave Elbereth on the squares marked @,* and put a coin on * squares only. Under the coins, 6 intact dust-Elbereth are enough because you can smudge at most 5 letters during the one turn moving off. On the fighting spot (@), a permanent Elbereth, levitation, or at least a maximum length string of semi-permanent Elbereth is recommended (made with hard gems or some rings). As an alternative to an Elbereth cage, a 3x3 room can be used. These are trivial to hollow out with a pick-axe - the entrance can be sealed with wizard lock or an Elbereth square. 3x3 rooms with an existing door are common in Minetown.

Bad fighters and pacifists can either use a ring of conflict and tame/teleport/paralyze the last dragon, or let a powerful pet do the work. In the latter case, you want to protect your pet with semi-permanent Elbereth on all squares marked E,) in the diagram below. Use cursed objects such as darts on the ) squares to keep your pet from smuding the engraving. Your pet needs to be at least level 13 if reverse-genociding as a low-level player on dungeon level one, e. g. a pet vampire lord.


Since silver dragons breathe frost, cold resistance and a bag to store potions is also effective protection.

Gray or silver?[]

Main article: GDSM versus SDSM

Gray and silver are widely considered the two best types of dragon scale mail, but players disagree as to which is more useful in particular circumstances. Gray provides magic resistance which protects against monster spells and polytraps; silver provides reflection which protects against wands and breath attacks.


Getting dragon scale mail is a bit different in SLASH'EM. Baby dragons take much longer to grow up, and it is not feasible anymore to polymorph pets into dragons. However, there are many dragons in the Wyrm Caves, and there are the guaranteed gray dragon scales in the lawful quest and the gray dragon scale mail worn by One Eyed Sam. The last two may be somewhat difficult to liberate from their previous owners.

New Colors In SLASH'EM[]

Color Extrinsic
Shimmering displacement
Deep level-drain resistance


In SporkHack, all colors of DSM save gray and silver have some kind of secondary effect. Spork also adds an additional color, gold, which acts as a permanent light source.

Color Extrinsic SporkHack secondary extrinsic
Blue shock resistance speed
Black disintegration resistance passive blinding attack
Gray magic resistance none
Green poison resistance passive poison attack
Orange sleep resistance passive slow attack
Red fire resistance +1d6 to all melee damage
Silver reflection none
White cold resistance freezes water and lava under foot
Yellow acid resistance stun resistance

New Colors In SporkHack[]

Color Extrinsic
Gold radius 2 light