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Quickness (QN) is an attribute that controls how quickly a character performs actions.

Some common actions include:

  • Moving
  • Attacking
  • Reloading
  • Waiting
  • Using an ability
  • Picking up an item
  • Equipping, unequipping, or using an item

The player and most other characters have a default QN value of 100. That value can be modified by a variety of factors.

Quickness can't be adjusted during character generation, and is not affected by other attributes, such as agility.

How Quickness Works

Caves of Qud is a turn-based game. Quickness determines the number of actions a character may take in one turn.

Action Points

Each turn, a character is granted a number of action points equal to ten times their quickness value. Action points are expended when taking actions.

  • The amount of action points that a skill consumes is sometimes referred to as the action cost or energy cost of that skill.
  • Turns are also sometimes referred to as rounds.

Most actions consume 1000 action points by default, which means that a character typically takes only one action per turn, such as moving one space, attacking one enemy, or equipping an item. Unspent action points are carried over to a character's next turn. For example, if a character has a quickness value of 125, they generate 1250 action points per turn. If the character attacks each turn, they use 1000 action points and carry over the extra 250 action points to their next turn. After four turns have passed, the character will have accumulated 1000 extra action points and will be able to attack two times in a single turn.

Free Actions

Free actions are special actions the player may take that do not consume any action points. Some examples of free actions include:

  • Using the look command to inspect your environment
  • Using the Juke ability
  • Applying an injector while wearing a chem vest
  • Equipping or unequipping items in the Thrown Weapon slot

Modifying Quickness or Action Cost

The number of actions a character can take per turn is affected by a wide variety of skills, mutations, items, statuses, and effects.

Generally speaking, a creature's effective quickness cannot be reduced below zero.[1]

Quickness Modifiers

These things directly modify a character's quickness, changing the number of action points that a character generates each turn, and thus the number of actions the character may take.

Name Type Quickness Effect
Adrenal Control physical mutation +10 or more temporary QN while active (increases with mutation level)
blaze injector effect +10 or +20 temporary QN while active, depending on whether the user is a mutant or a True Kin.
Cold Blooded (D) physical defect -10 permanent QN. Up to +24 temporary QN while at a high temperature/on fire.
Cold temperature effect -1 temporary QN for each two degrees that a character's temperature falls below zero.
Cooked meal effect variable temporary QN bonus while metabolizing. Attained from cider or lignen ingredients, or randomly from the Tasty effect.
Eater's flesh effect -60 temporary QN.
Famished effect -10 temporary QN.
Heightened Quickness physical mutation +15 or greater permanent QN, depending on mutation level.
inflatable axons cybernetic implant +40 temporary quickness for ten rounds when activated, followed by -10 quickness for ten rounds.
Kesil Face equipment +10 quickness bonus while equipped
leyline puppeteers equipment +30 quickness bonus while equipped and powered on.
Photosynthetic Skin physical mutation +15 or greater temporary QN from basking in the sun, depending on mutation level.
Shamed (caused by Berate) effect -10% temporary QN penalty
Shemesh Face equipment +10 quickness bonus while equipped
Tasty cooking effect bonus effect +3% temporary quickness bonus while active
Time Dilation mental mutation variable temporary QN penalty to characters that are near the user who is dilating time.
War trance effect effect +5 temporary quickness bonus while active
waxflab disease -2 to -4 temporary QN as long as the character remains infected.

Action Cost Modifiers

These things modify the action cost of certain actions, allowing a character with the same quickness to perform more or less of those actions.

Name Type Action Cost Effect
bounding boots equipment 33% additional reduced action cost of sprinting while worn. (you sprint at 3 times your normal movement speed instead of 2 times your normal speed)
Empty the Clips skill 50% temporary reduced action cost of firing pistols for twenty rounds.
Fastest Gun in the Rust skill 25% permanent reduced action cost of firing pistols.
medassist module cybernetic 80% reduced action cost of applying any tonic. Pre-loaded injectors are applied by the medassist module at no action cost.
micromanipulator array cybernetic 40% reduced action cost of Tinkering skills.
plastifer chem vest equipment 100% reduced action cost of applying any tonic.
rapid release finger flexors cybernetic 25% reduced action cost of firing pistols.
Short Blade Expertise skill 25% reduced action cost of bump-attacking while primary hand contains a short blade. Also applies to using the Hobble skill or the Shank skill with a short blade in your primary weapon hand.
Sprinting ability 50% temporary reduced action cost of movement.
steel butcher knife equipment variable reduced action cost of the Butchery skill (the action cost to butcher a corpse is divided by 1 plus the number of steel butcher knives currently equipped).
Swimming (the action) environmental +500 temporary action cost to movement while moving through any large pool of liquid.
Swimming (the skill) skill 50% permanent reduced action cost of swimming. (swimming costs only 250 extra action points, instead of 500 extra action points)
Telepathy mental mutation 90% reduced action cost of directing companions to perform tasks.
Two-headed physical mutation 20% or greater permanent reduced action cost of using mental mutations, depending on mutation level.

Movement Speed

Main article: Movement Speed

Movement is one of many actions that is influenced by quickness. Like most actions, it has a default cost of 1000 action points.

However, movement is special because it also has its own modifying attribute, called movement speed.

A character's movement speed controls the amount of action points that are required for the character to move, and thus movement speed can have a significant effect on how quickly a character moves, independent of other actions.


  1. XRL.World.Statistic