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*[[Excalibur]]'s [[special attack]] boosts Defence level by 8.
*[[Excalibur]]'s [[special attack]] boosts Defence level by 8.
*[[Enhanced excalibur]]'s [[special attack]] boosts Defence by 15%, in addition to healing the player by 200 lifepoints over 10 seconds.
*[[Enhanced excalibur]]'s [[special attack]] boosts Defence by 15%, in addition to healing the player by 200 lifepoints over 10 seconds.
*The [ Brackish blade ]Special attack boosts Defense level by 3 (Along with Attack and Strength)
*The [[Brackish blade]] Special attack boosts Defense level by 3 (Along with Attack and Strength)
*[[Cabbage (Draynor Manor)|Cabbage from Draynor Manor]] boosts Defence by 1 or 2 levels. This is completely random.
*[[Cabbage (Draynor Manor)|Cabbage from Draynor Manor]] boosts Defence by 1 or 2 levels. This is completely random.
* The special move of the [[Granite_Crab#Stony_shell|Granite Crab]] familiar raises your Defence level by 4.
* The special move of the [[Granite_Crab#Stony_shell|Granite Crab]] familiar raises your Defence level by 4.

Revision as of 18:30, November 21, 2012

Classic Runestone
Release date 4 January 2001 (Update)
Members only No
Minimum level
for Hiscores
as of 24 Apr 2014
Players with
as of 24 Apr 2014
Players with 120 700
Players with
200M XP
as of 24 Apr 2014
Audio options icon
Defence level up (link)

Defence (spelled "Defense" in RuneScape Classic; sometimes abbreviated as Def) is one of the primary combat skills that grants players protection in all forms of combat. For this reason, Defence is one of the skills that will raise the combat level of a player regardless of other skill levels.

The higher the Defence level, the fewer successful blows an opponent will land against the player, this applies to all combat styles used against the player. Defence is thus a vital skill for enduring attacks for long periods of time, and can be extremely helpful against opponents with high Attack, Ranged, Magic or powerful Summoning familiars.

A player's Defence level also determines which equipment he or she is able to wear, as most pieces of armour or other equipment have a Defence level requirement.

The current minimum requirement to be ranked (at approximately rank 807,923) on the hiscores for Defence is level 15. As of 24 April 2014, there are 115,619 current members that have achieved level 99 in Defence.

Gaining experience


Attack 0
A monster's Defence level allows it to resist an attack from a player.

Defence plays an important role in all forms of combat. The higher a player's Defence level, the more likely the opponent is to miss an attack, dealing 0 damage. Defence level or defence bonuses play no part in reducing damage taken from a successful blow, only damage soaking works for that purpose.

Defence can be trained in combat using any of the three combat styles: Magic, Melee or Ranged. The Constitution skill also receives some experience, but it will be equal to the damage dealt divided by 7.5 regardless of combat or attack style. For example, if a player hits a 30 with melee, then they will receive 4 Constitution experience, in addition to the 12 experience in Defence.


If a player hits an opponent while on Defensive attack style, chosen on the Combat interface, the damage dealt is divided by 2.5 and that amount of experience is given to the Defence skill. In other words, you receive Defence experience equal to 40% of the damage dealt. For example, if a player hits a 10, then he will receive 4 Defence experience. The Defensive attack style is available with all weapons besides the dwarven army axe and also when fighting barehanded.

If a player fights with the "controlled" attack style, then whatever damage they deal will be divided by 7.5 and given to the player's Strength, Attack and Defence experience.

It is worth noting that the Defensive stance gives an invisible +3 boost to Defence level, and the Controlled stance gives an invisible +1 boost to Defence as well as Attack and Strength.


Similarly to Melee, you can earn Defence experience when attacking with Ranged by using the Longrange attack style, which splits experience equally between Ranged and Defence. 2 Ranged and Defence experience will be earned for each 10 damage dealt.


Defence can be trained while training Magic when casting offensive spells by toggling the "defensive casting" option in the lower left corner of the spells menu. 1 Defence experience (as well as 1.333 Magic experience) will be awarded for every 10 points of damage dealt. The experience awarded for casting the spell will not be affected, and will only be awarded to Magic.

Experience rewards

Players can get Defence experience as a reward for completing certain quests for a total of 166,037 experience. There are also lots of quests that allows the player to choose the skill that will receive an experience reward.

Experience lamps, gained through tasks and random events can be used to grant experience to any skill. Players can also trade points gained in certain activities for experience in Defence level. Other ways to get reward experience in Defence is through the Dragonkin lamp, penguin points, Tears of Guthix and by completing Court Cases with a successful defence.

Other ways to gain experience

  • The Brawling gloves (melee) provide 50% bonus experience whilst training on any of the Melee skills (Defence, Strength and Attack) using the melee combat style. In addition, the gloves provide 300% bonus experience if players train whilst in the Wilderness. The gloves last for around 100,000 combat experience, and disintegrate after the player receives all this bonus experience.
  • Wearing any charged piece of Sacred clay equipment, a reward from the Stealing Creation activity, will grant 100% bonus experience of whatever experience you gain in Defence, Attack, Strength, Magic, Ranged and Constitution. Players will always get 24450 bonus experience per piece (including the experience gained in Constitution) no matter how many pieces they equip. If you can earn more than the bonus experience in the amount of time it takes to recharge a Stealing Creation armour piece (15-25 mins a game lasts) then training with Sacred clay equipment is innefective.
    • You don't gain any experience from combat (or from any type) during a Stealing Creation game.
  • A player can train Defence on the Catapult room at the Warriors' Guild, the player will receive 10 experience per successful defence.
  • Players receive combat experience from the damage dealt by their Summoning familiars, the skill that receives the experience varies depending on the familiar, except that Constitution always receive 13.3% of the damage done by the familiar.
Familiar Combat
Summoning level
Granite Crab 26 16
Spirit Kalphite 39 25
Bronze minotaur 50 36
Iron minotaur 70 46
Steel minotaur 90 56
Mithril minotaur 112 66
Adamant minotaur 133 76
Rune minotaur 154 86
Iron titan 220 95

"Controlled Familiars", for whom 13.3% of damage dealt is converted to Defence experience[1]:

Familiar Combat
Summoning level
Spirit Spider 25 10
Spirit scorpion 51 19
Vampyre bat 44 31
Spirit larupia 93 57
Stranger plant 107 64
Arctic bear 122 71
Giant ent 137 78
Spirit dagannoth 148 83
  1. ^ Strength and Attack also receive experience equal to 13.3% of damage dealt.

Defence and pures

Combat Pures

Some players believe that training Defence is unnecessary and instead focus on the offensive skills of their chosen style(s), such as Attack, Strength, Ranged and Magic. These players, commonly known as combat pures, generally possess better offensive capabilities than their combat levels suggest, which can be useful for player killing. Some of these players leave Defence at level 1 and wear iron armour; some train Defence up to level 20 for initiate armour, and some may raise Defence to level 30 for turmoil, level 40 for rune armour, 42 for Void Knight equipment or 45 for a berserker helm.

While potentially effective in player-vs-player combat, this approach could be dangerous for situations which involve fighting against monsters, such as completing Slayer assignments or fighting boss monsters.

Defence Pures

Rather than ignoring Defence altogether, some players train the skill almost exclusively, resulting in a very high Defence level for their combat level, but limited offensive capabilities. These players are known as defence pures or simply tanks. Some may also train Summoning in order to become Summoning tanks, or train both Summoning and Prayer in order to become Safeguard tanks. Additionally some players choose to max out their Defence level first to 99 and then aim to max out Ranged. This results in a 'Ranged Tank' Pure which can be effective in pking.


Almost every single piece of combat equipment (except for the ones that go on the weapon, cape, ring, aura and amulet slots) requires a certain Defence level to wear. Here are links to tables of armour and equipment that require a Defence level to wear:

  • Armour - For an overview on the different types of Armour.
  • Melee Armour - An overview of the different types of Melee armour.
  • Magic Armour - An overview of the different types of Magic armour.
  • Ranged Armour - An overview of the different types of Ranged armour.
  • Prayer Armour - An overview of the different types of Prayer armour.
  • Defenders - A weapon that goes on the shield slot and provides offensive bonuses while also having an Attack and Defence levels requirement.

Other features

  • You require a certain Defence level to do certain quests. The highest requirement is level 76 Defence for A Clockwork Syringe.
  • The Prayer Piety requires 70 Defence to be activated.
  • You also need a certain Defence level to complete certain Tasks, they involve, among other things, quest requirements, trying out some equipment at certain places, and the highest levelled task being to enter the Seers' Village Courthouse with the Piety prayer activated.
  • Defence is used on the Dungeoneering skill in several ways.
  • Thieving using a Maple blackjack (d) requires having 30 Defence.

Damage soaking

Main article: Damage soaking

On 14 December 2010, an update enhanced the defensive values of many pieces of armour with the property above called damage soaking. Any damage above 200 will be absorbed by the armour by the percent indicated in the equipment interface; for example, a hit of 300 melee damage on a player with 20% melee absorption will only deal 280 damage. (20% of the damage greater than 200 was absorbed). The reason the amount taken off is so small is because only the excess above 200 (in this case the excess is 100 damage) is accounted for, not the first 200 damage.

Here's a formula to show how much damage is soaked is the following:

s =(d-200)*(a/100)

s = Damage soaked d = Damage dealt a = Total armour soaking percentage

Therefore, to find the actual damage received, simply subtract the damage soaked from the total damage received.

300-(Damage soaked = (300-200)*(20/100)=20)=280

Defence cape (t) equipped

The absorption values of various pieces of armour are tied to the combat triangle, as opposed to the armour's specific bonuses. For example, Dagon'hai robes, despite giving no melee defence, absorb a small amount of melee damage.

Skill mastery

After achieving level 99 Defence, players can buy the Defence cape from Harlan the melee instructor in the building north of the Lumbridge general store. The Defence cape is light blue in colour, and has a cream trim for players who have more than one level 99 skill.

Maximum equipment bonuses

Temporary boosts

Flat and percentage Defence level bonus don't stack with each other when they add up above the base Defence level. They do, however, stack with the effective defence bonuses of prayers and equipment special effects, as they don't increase the defence level in any way but directly affect the actual chance of dodging an attack when in combat.

Defence Emote
A player wearing a trimmed Defence cape and performing the Skillcape emote.
  • Defence cape - Boosts Defence level by 1 for a short period of time after using the skillcape emote.
  • Defence potion - Boosts Defence level by 3 to 12 (3 + 10% of base Defence level rounded down).
  • Super defence potion - Boosts Defence level by 5 to 19 (5 + 15% of base Defence level rounded down).
  • Extreme defence potion - Boosts Defence level by 5 to 26 (5 + 22% of base Defence level rounded down). This item cannot be traded and the only way to obtain it is by making it yourself, this requires 90 Herblore.
  • Overload offers the same boost as the Extreme defence potion, but is refreshed every 15 seconds for 5 minutes, at which point it wears off completely.
  • Saradomin brew - Boosts Defence by 25% in addition to other effects.
  • A captured Sapphire Glacialis, one of four types of hunted butterflies, can be used on another player in a multicombat area to increase their Defence level by 4 + 15% of that player's base Defence level rounded down.
  • Excalibur's special attack boosts Defence level by 8.
  • Enhanced excalibur's special attack boosts Defence by 15%, in addition to healing the player by 200 lifepoints over 10 seconds.
  • The Brackish blade Special attack boosts Defense level by 3 (Along with Attack and Strength)
  • Cabbage from Draynor Manor boosts Defence by 1 or 2 levels. This is completely random.
  • The special move of the Granite Crab familiar raises your Defence level by 4.
  • The special move of the War Tortoise familiar raises your Defence level by 8.
  • Titan's Constitution - The special move of the Fire, Moss and Ice Titans boosts Defence level by 1 + 11%.

The following bonuses don't increase the player's current defence level on the stats tab, but allows the player to be hit less often (see above) and will therefore stack with other boosts:

  • Prayers from the standard book:
  • Prayers from the Ancient Curses:
    • Leech Defence boosts Defence by 5%, increasing to 10% over time, while draining the opponent's Defence by 10%, increasing to 20% over time.
    • Turmoil boosts Defence by 15%, plus an additional 15% of the opponent's Defence level while in combat.


  • The spelling "defense" was used in RuneScape Classic, though it is a British game and "defence" is the British spelling.

See also

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