Dungeon Crawl

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This is about the Video Game called Dungeon Crawl. For the gameplay Trope, see Dungeon Crawling.
that's what's so great about Crawl: every time, you don't even have rage at the chance of the heavens to sustain you; you know, with a cold certainty something like that of a priest who has lost his faith in God, that your death was caused by none other than yourself, and that a better man could have avoided it.
<nrook>, as quoted by the Dungeon Crawl knowledge bots under "fair."

Dungeon Crawl, or Crawl for short, is a Roguelike game. (Or, more precisely, two games - one an open-source fork of the other.)

The original was Linley's Dungeon Crawl, made by Linley Henzell in the late 1990s. It was updated a few times but development stopped in the early 2000s.

Not wanting to waste the game's potential, a group of people made an open source fork called Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (see Stone Soup on Wikipedia if you feel that's an odd title), and their version is now dominant (similar to the way Hack became Nethack). It is still updated as of 2012, with new versions released every few months.

Picture a Nethack game in which the most powerful healing potion in the game recovers about 25 HP, you can't trust your god to save you from anything, there is no Elbereth, all of your spells can backfire and hurt you, only certain species and rare mutations can provide permanent resistances, and, most importantly, there's no amulet of life saving or wand of wishing to save you anymore!

Despite all this, there are two areas where it's actually much more merciful than most roguelikes: very few hazards can even weaken your equipment, and none can destroy outright anything other than scrolls and potions. Also, (with the sole exception of statdeath from artifacts) identifying items by using them very rarely causes any life-threatening consequences, and nothing other than weapons, armor, and jewelery can be cursed. The dev team has made avoiding cheap shots one of their highest priorities, and instant kills or unavoidable deaths are nearly unheard of.

The game has a similar fantasy setting to most roguelikes, having been inspired by most of the roguelikes of the time: elves, dwarves, and orcs all make an appearance, weapons are medieval, and magic is magic. The plot is minimal: the player's task is to go to the bottom of the dungeon, get the Orb of Zot, and escape.

Where Crawl differs from most roguelikes is in its philosophy, which is explained in the manual. The main goal of the makers is to discourage grinding, which they feel bores the player. For this reason, limits are always in place. Monster generation slows down once the player has cleared a level, and so there's no point in hanging around for more experience; since the player has to eat, they have a reason not to. Shops only sell items; they don't buy, no matter how many lovely items you've picked up from dead monsters. The game is balanced as much as possible: armour protects but makes attacks less accurate and evasion more difficult, powerful spells cause magic contamination which results in mutations, and items are often mixed blessings (for example, a ring which powers up your ice spells, but reduces your resistance to fire).

Crawl is also somewhat unique in that class is nothing more than a starting package and has no effect on further advancement, which is all determined by race - a reversal of the usual state of affairs.

The emphasis is on strategy and building skills. Crawl has a skill system which is a mix between a Point Build System and a Class and Level System: players can 'spend' the experience they get in the dungeon on whichever skills they decide are important.

You can download it here or play it online. Crawl even has its own wiki and forum.


Tropes used in Dungeon Crawl include:
  • Agony Beam: Necromancy school offers two - the relatively mild Pain and the Percent Damage Attack Agony. There is also Torment, which is a multiple-target variant of Agony and is not a normally available spell.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: There's a spell which makes weapons come to life and fight alongside you.
    • If the target weapon is cursed, it comes off your hand but also becomes hostile.
    • There's a whole level, The Hall of Blades, which has nothing but animate weapons.
    • Xom can do this to any weapon he bestows upon you at any time.
    • Animated statues and mimics.
  • Animorphism: Transmuters have a few spells for self-transformation into animals, Spider Form being the most easily attainable. Vampires can also transform into bats at will if their blood level isn't too high.
    • After Stone Soup version 0.8, Draconians gain a 30% bonus to success rate of Dragon Form spell, along with enhanced breath weapons that suit the draconian's bloodline.
  • Annoying Arrows: Arrow traps are like this; you can normally shrug them off. The first time you meet a centaur, however, you'll find that arrows are not merely annoying, since centaurs really know how to use them. Add to this the fact that they are fast enough to pursue you while still firing an arrow every turn, and you’ll soon respect their ability to kill you.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game will stop you from doing certain things that would otherwise outright kill you (walking into deep water, auto-moving while starving), and will ask for confirmation on potentially risky actions (moving adjacent to deep water while confused, stepping into dangerous traps while badly injured). You're still likely to die for a thousand other reasons, but at least the game is rooting for you.
  • Anti-Grinding:
    • The limited amount of food forces the player to continue deeper and deeper instead of remaining on the same level for extended periods of time. There are a few ways to get off the food clock - mummies and people in lichform do not eat at all and vampires can survive indefinitely without blood, although this stops their regeneration.
    • If the player stays on the same level for too long, the game will detect it and start spawning disproportionately tough monsters there. If the player kills them as well, the game may stop monster generation on that level completely.
    • Grinding is possible in areas that allow infinite supplies of items to loot and monsters to slay: Abyss and Pandemonium. However, both are fairly dangerous - characters that can grind there are likely to be ready for the endgame anyway.
  • The Archer: Hunters (those which use bows), and Arcane Marksmen.
  • Arc Number: Crawl seems to have a fondness for the number 27.
  • Arrows on Fire: Crawl doesn't so much have flaming arrows as it does magical arrows which turn into bolts of flame when fired. It's also possible to get a bow of flame, which turns ordinary arrows into bolts of flame.
  • Attack Animal: Summoners can summon monsters to fight for them, and a wand of enslavement (or the spell Enslavement) can temporarily get you a really good one, if you pick the right monster...
  • Awesome but Impractical: Lehudib's Crystal Spear is the most powerful conjuration in the game. What's the problem? It has a short range (bad for spell casters), it's inaccurate, and it requires a player to train a somewhat mediocre spell school to high levels in order to cast it. Oh, and it's overkill against anything other than a few unique demon lords. Iron Shot, Crystal Spear's little brother, is cheaper, has better range, is easier to cast, and most enemies will die after a few hits.
    • Subverted with the Storm spells, as they appear to be impractical due to their high level and hunger cost. Smart players can lower/bypass the costs for casting them and it's well worth the effort to acquire one.
    • Random artifacts quite often wind up in this territory. While they're mostly more powerful than their mundane variants, they can still be useless for the player by having ruinous negative effects in addition to the good ones or simply being of a type the player's character can't use effectively.
  • Back Stab: Stabbing is a skill available to all players, even those not using blades - you can 'stab' with a mace for example, which just means you're making an attack on a sleeping or distracted enemy. Stabbing attacks do more damage, in some cases getting up to For Massive Damage levels - we're talking one-hit kills on a sleeping hydra - but it depends on your Stabbing skill, and the weapon used; short blades are the best.
  • Badass Bookworm: If one begins as a spellcaster but learns lots of fighting skills, then they've become one.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Monk is a playable class, and as you'd expect, monks have no weapon but are skilled in unarmed combat.
  • Benevolent Boss: With the exception of Xom, all of the gods are fairly lenient (the good ones give you a chance to redeem yourself, and the evil ones are perfectly okay with anything as long as you show results).
  • The Berserker: Berserker is a playable class. Like the real Viking berserkrs, berserkers in Crawl wear only animal skins to begin with.
  • Big Eater: Some species have high metabolisms and need lots of food. Ghouls also have seemingly bottomless stomachs, able to gorge themselves even (especially) on rotten meat without ever becoming full.
    • Most races can’t eat chunks of freshly butchered meat while not hungry, but Trolls, Kobolds, and Ghouls can. Other races can obtain this ability by wearing an Amulet of the Gourmand.
  • Black Magic: Necromancy is considered to be this by Zin, The Shining One and Elyvilon.
  • Blade on a Stick: Crawl doesn't have as many as Nethack, but it does have a few, all classed under the Polearms school. The spear is the simplest and most common one (and handily also doubles as a throw-able projectile), but there are also halberds, tridents, scythes, glaives, and bardiches. Polearms tend to be big on damage and short on accuracy, but can reach an extra tile to attack like whips of reaching.
  • Blood Knight: While many gods like the killing of certain enemies, a few are only happy if the player is killing everything they come across. For fighters Trog will bestow berserker strength and protect his followers from its harmful effects as long as they keep a steady stream of death and corpses coming his way. Casters have Vehumet, who doesn't even care about the corpses part, probably because his preferred methods don't leave any.
  • Body Horror: Demonspawns and their mutations can eventually become one of those.
    • Worshipping the Slime God can also result in your gaining mutations that eventually culminate in you becoming a slime monster in all but name.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The ziggurat.
  • Bonus Level of Hell: (As if the main game isn't one of these already.) Four of them, so you can pick which one your character is most likely to survive 10 seconds in, or, for the truly insane, try to retrieve the extra runes on the last levels of all four branches. All of them are, in fact, based on different parts of Dante's Inferno.
  • Boom Stick: Many magic wands are Boom Sticks, since they fire out bolts, beams and enchantments. The rods are also boomsticks, but slightly more complex; most carry their own set of spells which can be evoked by the wielder.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • Okawaru, the god of war offers only equipment gifts and two fairly non-flashy powers. Despite lacking in flavor text, though, Okawaru is often considered to be the best god for melee characters.
    • This applies to several spells:
      • Summon Butterflies (which summons butterflies) is a low-level spell that is immensely useful at blocking most enemies.
      • Conjure Flame. It deals no damage directly, but is immensely useful in early game because it can block most enemies, and later on when stronger enemies can be lured into the flames created.
      • Mephitic cloud is very low on direct damage output, but it has a chance of confusing its target, making it tremendously useful until late game.
  • Breath Weapon: most adult draconians have these, as do most dragons and some drakes. Nagas can also spit poison.
    • Demonspawns can randomly get a breath weapon as part of their demonic heritage and other races can get them if they're really lucky with mutations.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: the Swamp branch.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Mostly averted: in contrast to most other Roguelikes, Dungeon Crawl features very little special effects for eating enemies. Played straight with Gastronok, a slug who, according to his description, gained superb intelligence and magical powers by eating a powerful wizard.
  • Care Bear Stare: The healer's healing ability can pacify monsters and make them uninterested in fighting you.
  • Cap: Lots and lots of them. The main reason for caps in this game is that spells increase in power as the player becomes more skilled in the appropriate school of magic, so there needs to be a limit or players would be able to cast very cheap low-level spells (eg. the level 1 Magic Dart spell) at a ludicrously high power level.
  • Chain Lightning: Inserted as a level 8 Air/Conjurations spell in the game. There is also a less powerful spell Static Discharge, which causes an electric shock which jumps to nearby enemies. And sometimes the person who cast it.
  • Chest Monster: In older versions of Crawl, mimics stay in mimicked form while attacking you. This results in funny lines like 'the potion of healing hits you!'
  • Choice of Two Weapons: Generally in Crawl, you have several weapons that you frequently use and switch between them depending on situation. Normally this is a melee weapon and a ranged weapon, but it depends on what your skills are - for example, you might have found a really powerful polearm, but be inexperienced in fighting with them, so when it comes to a battle that you can't afford to lose, you'll probably switch to a weaker weapon that you know better.
  • Church Militant: The game is practically full of these, as many gods enjoy their followers slaying foes. Of particular note are The Shining One and Zin, who both want their followers to purge the world of evil creatures, and Okawaru, who is the god of war: his followers are Church Militants in a Military Church.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: draconians. When you begin playing a draconian, it's brown, because it's in its immature form; but once you reach level 7, it grows up and turns one of 9 different colours, each of which gives different abilities.
    • Unlike the original Crawl, Stone Soup provides various information in forms of colored text, including the types of corpses/mutations, artifact identifiers, prohibition of items(dark grey items cannot be used at all, while lavender items are prohibited by your choice of god), etc.
  • Combat Medic: The Healer class is actually pretty effective at fighting to begin with, as they begin with skill in unarmed combat.
  • Combat Tentacles: The playable octopode race can their tentacles to slap and squeeze enemies to death. This ability is also available to players who can cast beastly appendage as well as a few nasty enemies...
  • Combo-Platter Powers: The randomly generated artifacts can have any combination of effects. Thus you can have a spear which poisons your enemies, makes you resistant to fire, and lets you teleport. Quite often, one or more of the effects is either situationally or inherently negative, forcing the player to consider if the random artifact is worth using at all.
  • The Corruption: Averted and played straight: it's really more of background radiation induced by Functional Magic and it doesn't affect your alignment, but it can be annoying (having a level of 5 or above causes you to glow, which makes you easier to see and can mutate you). If you have a high level of it, there's a chance for a Superpower Meltdown. Played straight with Demonspawn, who slowly get more and more demonic as they get experience levels.
  • Cowardly Boss: Prince Ribbit will use his teleportation powers to try to escape you if he gets seriously injured.
  • Damage Discrimination: None, but enemies will try not to hit other enemies if they can avoid it. Sometimes they can't avoid it; a confused enemy can hit other enemies, and even itself. Many an ogre has killed itself with its own club.
  • Dark Messiah: Hill Orc Priests of Beogh are probably this.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: zombies are vulnerable to this, since they can't regenerate; you can hit them a bunch of times, escape, heal up, hit them some more until they die. This doesn't work on most other enemies because they heal.
    • Very relevant, however, for summoners. Even fairly weak creatures can slay powerful foes if there's enough of them.
  • Debug Room: Wizard mode, which gives you pretty much full control over your character and the game world.
  • Destroyable Items: Scrolls are vulnerable to fire damage, and potions can be shattered by cold.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Kill the Royal Jelly without being a worshiper of Jiyva? Congratulations, you've committed deicide.
  • Difficulty Levels: Winning with a Spriggan Enchanter worshiping Nemelex is pretty easy, but playing some races (Mummies, Ogres, Demigods) is, by design, much more difficult than others (Vampires, Trolls, Humans). There's also the "Wanderer" class, which starts you with a pitifully low level in a few skills chosen completely at random.
  • Divine Intervention: All the good gods will occasionally protect you from damage that would have killed you. It's not a reliable way to escape death - at most it buys you one more turn.
  • Disintegrator Ray: the wand of disintegration, which used to make monsters vaporize, and now makes them explode. (It’s especially good against brittle monsters like statues).
  • Dual Boss: Dowan and Duvessa, the elf twins! Dowan is a Squishy Wizard and Duvessa is a mighty warrior. If you find one twin, the other is sure to be on the same dungeon level somewhere.
  • Dual-Wielding: The player can only wield one weapon at a time. However, some monsters, particularly two-headed ones, are capable of this.
  • Dummied Out: The source code for regular Crawl shows a mutation that was never implemented ("Your chest, abdomen and neck are covered in intricate, arcane blue/green writing"). Supposedly, it was given by an "evil" god when a character converted to its religion.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Often necessary. Sometimes the only way to escape a monster is to run for the stairs to the next level.
  • Dungeon Shop: Played straight: shops seem to appear anywhere for pretty much no reason at all. Including the Swamp. As of version 0.7, the animal-based standard branches (Swamp and Lair) don’t get shops anymore. But they can still show up pretty much anywhere else.
  • Durable Deathtrap: Played more or less straight with basic roguelike traps, though the Bottomless Magazines aspect is averted, as projectile based traps will eventually run out of ammo.
  • Early Bird Boss: The infamous Sigmund can show up as early as the first floor, or as the first enemy for that matter. When most players are still using robes and daggers Sigmund can bring invisibility, confusion, fireballs and a massive stat boosted scythe to the party. Get used to him being the last thing you see.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Abominations, unsurprisingly, which are so weird that the game can't even attempt to describe some of them. One of them can't even be seen by most beings; it's only if you have supernatural sight that you find out it's an abomination at all.
    • There is also a spell, Malign gateway, that opens a portal to a dimension supposedly populated by these. Luckily, whatever abomination lurks on the other side, only its massive tentacle reaches through the portal.
  • Elemental Baggage: Elementalists have this with their summoning and transmutation spells: you cannot summon an elemental without a quantity of the element to form it from, which as the game notes, is not a problem for air or earth, but difficult for ice and fire. The same goes for some transmutation spells - the spell Sandblast transmutes a stone into a blast of rock shards, although it also works (but less effectively) with the ambient grit in the dungeon. The exception to Elemental Baggage is conjuration spells, since these explicitly conjure things out of nothing, so they can make fireballs without needing any element.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Crawl's elements can appear in embodied forms. The spell Summon Elemental lets the player create these, although a quantity of that element is required.
  • Elemental Powers: This is one of Crawl's few plot points. Crawl has the classical elements of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water, but in the time that Crawl takes place, Water elemental magic has somehow been forgotten. Instead, there is Ice magic, which is not the same. Water elementals do exist, however.
    • Water magic still exists in the Shoals. Aquamancers are the only monsters who know how to use it.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Played straight. Ice and Fire are opposites, Earth and Air are opposites. Fire hurts ice monsters and vice versa. Players who are skilled in Fire magic find it difficult to learn Ice and vice versa.
  • Energy Ball: Which size would you like? The small Magic Dart, the large Iskenderun's Mystic Blast or the huge Orb of Destruction?
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: It's a roguelike.
    • Spells and abilities that are supposed to summon friendly allies can potentially do the opposite.
  • Evil Is Easy: Played straight with the gods. See God of Evil below.
  • Excuse Plot: The main plot is literally a one-liner.

They say that the Orb of Zot exists deep, deep down but no one ever got to it.

  • Extreme Omnivore: Jellies. They eat any item they touch, except stones. This also means that they eat anything you throw or fire at them. AND it heals them. You'd better hope those arrows you're wasting are doing more damage than the jelly is gaining from eating them.
  • The Fair Folk: while the elves in the game are clearly Tolkien-ish, there is a spriggan race (based on the mythological Cornish fairy of the same name) that keeps all its fair-folk features. Most notably the lack of wings.
  • Fallen Angel: Profane Servitors, ex-Angels/Daevas corrupted by Yredelemnul. Has immunity to Holy damage. Mush stronger than regular Angels, complete with an aura that shields everything that tries to kill you. Worshiping Yredelemnul only protects you from the aura.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • "Orc Jesus" for Priests of Beogh. (Alternately called “Orcus Christ” by some of the more irreverent players.)
    • Some of the names in the game are notoriously difficult to spell properly, effectively forcing nicknames into existence.
    • Okawaru's role as a generic melee god is referenced by an occasionally used nickname: "Default".
    • Somewhat cryptically for new players, fans often use abbreviated forms of the races and classes. MiBe is a minotaur berserker, MfIE is a merfolk ice elementalist and so on.
  • Fantastic Racism: Beogh, god of the orcs, does not accept worship from non-orcs, seeing them as inferior. The "good" gods (The Shining One, Zin, and Elyvilon) do not accept undead or demonspawn, and Fedhas Madash, god of plants, fungi, and decay, does not accept the undead.
  • Faustian Rebellion: It is entirely possible to abandon your god if you no longer find them useful, and/or to choose a new god. This will usually make the god you abandoned angry at you; however, it is entirely possible to survive their wrath until it runs out. Doing this with the necromancy god is an explicit part of one strategy guide for a Mummy Wizard.
  • Featureless Protagonist: You get to choose your name, race, class, maybe a starting weapon, and that's about it. Crawl never asks the player to supply a gender or any other personalising details. Indeed, for the more humanoid races, the in-game description of them is 'You are rather mundane.'
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Crawl divides all the character classes in five different groups - but there is great variation within each (except maybe Adventurer):
    • Fighter - includes anything with focus on plain combat, from heavily armored warriors to Bare-Fisted Monk and stealthy assassins.
    • Zealot - includes every class that starts with a religion: priests, berserkers, healers, and knights of some evil gods.
    • Warrior-mage - includes combat-oriented magic classes, such as weapon-enchanting skalds, magical assassin stalkers and arcane marksmen.
    • Mage - includes the generic spellcaster class wizard as well as several more specialized mages.
    • Adventure - includes only two classes, the device user class artificer and the randomized wanderer.
  • Fish Out of Water: Most obviously applies to merfolk (semi-literally; they can get by just as well on land as in water), but the game makes a small plot point of some of the player species being unsuited for a dungeon (since they enter it from ground level). For example, the only playable orc species is the hill orc, while all the ones in the dungeon are cave orcs.
    • A more literal example: With Fedhas Madash's sunlight ability, you can dry up the pools of water you find in the dungeon, possibly resulting in literal fish out of water.
  • Flaming Sword: Flaming is a brand some weapons can have, including swords.
  • Forged by the Gods: Some of the gods give you gifts, which are normally highly enchanted or artifact weapons. Xom, god of chaos, likes to give gifts that are completely useless. Occasionally subverted, as the gifts aren't always special in any way.
    • And the few times they aren't useless he likes to animate them so they try to kill you.
    • "Cursed gloves? Have a ring!"
  • Fragile Speedster: Spriggans can move much faster than any other characters, but they can only get about half the already low amount of HP other characters can get. However, they can also gain Evocations skill insanely quickly (ability to use magic items,) and a Spriggan with some legendary decks of summoning gifted by Nemelex Xobeh is one of the most powerful character builds in the late game.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The healer class has the ability to pacify monsters, turning them neutral (which, for some reason, doesn't ACTUALLY turn them friendly, just neutral: they'll still attack if you're in their way. They'll also attack hostile monsters, which you can sometimes exploit.)
  • Frogs and Toads: They make appearances as regular enemies and aren't that easy, either; the spiny frog can be very dangerous for players who aren't expecting it. Blink frogs come in packs and, as the name suggests, can blink (short-range teleport). There's even a blink frog unique, Prince Ribbit (who’s technically a human in frog form, and even leaves a human corpse when you squish him, but he still counts.)
  • Funny Animal: Averted with Felids, a playable race of sentient cats. Who lack both humanoid body structure and hands, making them unique among playable characters as being unable to use wands, weapons, thrown items, or even items like "robes" or "hats" which otherwise fit everyone.
  • The Gambler: Followers of Nemelex Xobeh gain several powerful card-related abilities.
  • Gameplay Automation: As a part of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup's design philosophy, the game features several examples of automating tedious actions:
    • Automated exploring
    • Fast travel to dungeon branches, shops, altars or player-set waypoints
    • Automated travel exclusions and level annotations to remind the player of possibly dangerous or important things
    • Automated equipment shuffling - in contrast to Nethack where changing one's armor requires several commands to remove the old armor pieces first, Crawl automatically removes any armor that needs to be taken off for the change and re-equips cloaks and such afterwards.
  • Garden of Evil: Oklob plants form these. They are large plants that spit acid at the player with stunning accuracy. Staying in one's range for too long is going to hurt the player character and their precious equipment.
    • Worshipers of Fehdas Madash can plant said Oklob plants, turning the game into a turn based strategy game.
  • Gender Neutral Writing: The gods in the game are supposed to be beyond gender, and thus it's wrong to refer to them as male or female. Therefore, on the god description screens, there are no mentions of gender, even though Fanon tends to refer to Lugonu, Elyvilon, and Sif Muna as female, and the rest as male. Also applies to monsters, although there it’s more due to convenience than any in-game reason.
  • Genie in a Bottle: An efreet, actually. It doesn't give you wishes. And it might kill you.
  • Genius Bruiser: The ogre-mage is an ogre which, unlike most ogres which only know how to hit people with heavy weapons, is intelligent enough to use magic. Player ogres are something between standard ogres and ogre-mages - they are moderate at both hitting and casting. A second example of this would be fighting characters who have learned magical skill.
  • Green Thumb: Worshippers of Fedhas, god of plants, can move past plants, cause corpses to decompose into mushrooms, and cause plants to grow.
  • Glass Cannon: Many player characters are these, but the specifics vary:
    • Tengu are a bird-people race that has excellent aptitudes for combat skills but very low hit points.
    • Spellcasters are typically these - many spells are extremely powerful but spellcasters themselves tend to have lower hit points than melee characters.
    • Ogres, both NPCs and player characters. They hit hard and have some natural protection, but can't wear most armor and aren't very good dodgers due to their size, rendering them very vulnerable against stronger enemies.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The gods in Crawl only exist as long as people believe in them. Most gods don't have a problem - they have plenty of followers. However, Jiyva is special in that most of its followers are slimes, which are unintelligent and thus their belief isn't worth much. Its only major intelligent follower is the royal jelly, which is an enemy in the game and which can be killed. If the royal jelly is killed, nobody is left to believe in Jiyva and the god stops existing - unless the player is a worshipper of Jiyva as well.
  • God of Evil: Some of the gods are described by the game as evil. Whether the gods themselves agree is unknown.
    • There is a gameplay factor to this. The good gods are very lenient about punishment; even if you upset them (through depreciated acts or abandonment), they still only place you into "penance", which just means you need to perform appreciated acts to get back in their good graces. They will only seek retribution if you start following an evil god later.
      • "Good" gods also hold their followers to much higher standards, all of whom laundry lists of things that they dislike, most so called evil gods don't really care what their followers do, as long as they kill and sacrifice for them.
  • Good Hurts Evil: Reciting Zin's scripts in front of certain evil creatures often results in this.
  • Good News, Bad News: The bad news come first, and the good news are hardly comforting:

You feel nature experimenting on you. Don't worry, failures die fast.

  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Inversion: Deep Dwarves have a damage shaving feature that reduces all damage they take, but they can't regain HP by themselves. They will need magical devices, potions, divine help or magic to heal. People don't play a whole lot of Deep Dwarf Fighters.
  • Gradual Regeneration: Mostly played straight - as in most Roguelikes, characters in Dungeon Crawl regenerate their hit points and magic points over time. The deep dwarf race avert this by not being able to heal naturally.
  • Hammerspace: Crawl has the typical Roguelike variety: the player can carry anything that is not too heavy for the player to carry, until all 52 item slots are filled up. Because an item stack takes only one item slot, 20 javelins take just as much room as a single dart.
  • Healing Factor: Trolls and satiated vampires heal extremely fast, as does anyone with troll leather armor, ring of regeneration or the regeneration spell. Each of these has the drawback of speeding up one's metabolism significantly.
  • Healing Potion: Crawl uses two kinds of healing potion; one heals only a small amount of HP, but will cure you of any negative status effects. The other is pure hit-point healing, but a much greater amount of it.
    • The latter is also available in form of a healing wand. More favored than potions because they cannot be destroyed, but exceedingly rare and difficult to recharge.
  • Hellfire: Available to some demons and demonspawn. Even nastier than regular fire, as it's not subject to fire resistance.
  • Holy Halo: The Shining One's followers eventually receive one. It serves several purposes: monsters inside the halo are easier to hit, invisible creatures turn visible and one's stealth is crippled (which isn't that bad, given that The Shining One dislikes stealth attacks anyway). Holy NPCs such as angels have similar halos.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy Word spell can be granted by scroll, or by some of the powers of Zin and The Shining One, two of the good gods. It causes huge damage to all unholy monsters, and slows and scares them.
    • Pre 0.6 Cleansing Flame was essentially this, allowing devout TSO worshipers to hurl balls of positive energy over a long distance. Averted that Cleansing Flame does little damage to beast type monsters, including the original's intended target.
  • Hornet Hole: The Hive is a giant beehive, filled with killer bees.
    • Occasional bee chambers. Occuring even at the Realm of Zot. Where do they get the material for honey?
  • Humans Are Average: Mostly played straight (humans get no special abilities, and average apitudes), but they're tied with hill orcs, kobolds and halflings for fastest level gain in the game. This is a very useful thing.
  • Human Sacrifice: Several temple designs of evil gods feature these. And of course, the gods who like corpse sacrifices aren't averse to human corpses either.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Abyss is a plane of chaos, with no recognizable structure, and full of demons and awful monsters. It's a VERY dangerous place to be. It's not established whether it is Crawl's 'hyperspace' dimension, but it is associated with translocation - miscasted teleportation spells can send you here, as can distortion weapons. It's also the place where the evil god Lugonu the Unformed lives; altars to her are scattered about, and are the easiest way to escape if you don't mind the wrath of your former deity (if applicable). Followers of Lugonu can get the ability to jump in and out of the abyss at will. Banished monsters also end up here.
  • Hypno Ray: the wand of enslavement, or the spell Enslavement, tries to turn any susceptible monster into your willing slave, who you can then give a small set of commands. One useful command is 'Wait here', since if the monster happens to be a dangerous one, you probably don't want to be around when the enchantment wears off...
  • Invisible Monsters: Unseen horrors are naturally invisible. And horrible. Several spellcasters can turn invisible temporarily, but you could walk right into an unseen horror while it is asleep without seeing it.
  • It Amused Me: Xom, god of chaos. He sees his worshipers as toys (indeed, Toy is the official title of a Xom worshiper) and one moment might give you super strength, and the next moment summon a bunch of monsters to kill you.
  • Jerkass Gods: Worshipping Xom is not for those who lack the ability not to take it personally when he laughs at you for dying, which will happen extremely often. Of course, neither are roguelikes in general, really.
    • Xom is usually randomly doing good and bad things. Once he gets bored, he forgets about the good part. Unfortunately his interests range from "watching player use random and potentially dangerous item in difficult combat" to "watching player semi-permanently degenerate". A recently added feature is that Xom is almost always amused with his followers dying.
    • Averted by most other gods, however. No matter how much a god may dislike you doing something (drinking blood for the good gods, using Haste for Cheibriados, etc), they'll usually give you a pass if you haven't identified the effect that pisses them off. This is rarer in Roguelikes than you'd think.
    • Fedhas, the god of plants, will always be pleased by your contribution to the ecosystem...when you die.
    • Contrary to what the term "evil" might imply, the dark gods actually avert this-so long as you make regular sacrifices to them and don't go apostate, they'll shower you with gifts.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Crawl seems to agree. The katana is the best long blade of its kind (better than the scimitar, long sword, and falchion). The only better long blades are demon blades (which are supernatural), great swords (which are just really big swords), and double and triple swords (which are just silly, and also explicitly said to be magical).
    • Katanas were removed in later versions, however; the only remaining katana is an artifact (though a rather good one).
  • Kill It with Fire: Recommended if you're going to try to fight a hydra with a bladed weapon. A Flaming Sword will stop the hydra growing more heads. Also a good way to kill ice-based monsters.
    • Certain player characters may gain the ability to breathe fire via mutations, spells or racial abilities(Red Draconian). Demonspawns may obtain a racial mutation that allows them to hurl hellfire.
    • Almost every spell in the Fire Magic school is designed as an offensive conjuration spell, except for two spells that are used defensively.
  • Kung Fu Wizard: Transmuters get levels in unarmed combat, making them surprisingly good brawlers. This is to encourage them to use shape-shifting spells; in most non-human forms, unarmed combat is the only type of combat possible.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The scroll of amnesia is a precision tool that allows you to forget one arbitrary memorized spell. The same effect is offered by the wizard god Sif Muna.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: The Shining One demands this of any followers. In practice, this means that the character worhipping The Shining One is punished for using poison in combat and using unchivalrous stealth attacks against non-evil sapient monsters.
  • Level Drain: Wights and wraiths can drain the player's experience, as can weapons and wands of draining. But the player can also use those weapons, and learn spells to drain enemies as well.
  • Life Drain: the level 3 spell Vampiric Draining does this - it drains life from enemies and adds it to your health. Weapons can also be vampiric, healing and feeding the wielder when they hit.
  • Life Meter: nicely shows just how much damage that last hit did.
  • Light Is Not Good: Angels are mostly just as bloodthirsty as demons, and have large haloes to make finding the player easier.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: The latest version has 24 playable species, most with odd natural abilities/disadvantages (the large races, for example, cannot wear most of the armour in the game).
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Unlike a lot of roguelikes, Crawl takes this trope a little more seriously. While in most, a shield is merely considered a boost to one's armour no different from, say, chainmail or a helmet, in Crawl shields are a defensive tool. They provide no armour boost, but give the player a chance of completely blocking a hit, which increases as they increase their Shields skill.
  • MacGuffin: The Orb of Zot! It's apparently so valuable that it's held deep underground in a realm which you can't even get into without magic runes, guarded by hundreds of monsters... but nobody knows what it actually does, or what its powers are.
  • MacGyvering: Many items and spells can be exploited beyond their obvious uses. One of the best examples is Conjure Flame - while the obvious use is blocking corridors with flames that hurt anything that dares to cross them, it can also be used for creating lots of steam to break enemies' line-of-sight, clearing forests, manipulating the spread of "flood-fill" cloud attacks such as Poison Cloud and of course, killing stuff with fire.
  • Macrogame: The player may encounter ghosts of previous characters in the Dungeon. Ghosts have similar strengths and weaknesses as they had while alive.
  • Mage Killer: Berserkers and other servants of Trog. Trog despises and hates magic, and will not only reward slaying magic users, but will also gift followers with Anti-Magic perks and weapons.
  • Magic Knight: Skalds start with skills in the melee weapon of their choice and self-buff spells. Reavers get (well, got; they were de-implemented after 0.8) blasting spells instead. Transmuters frequently shapeshift and beat monsters down with their newfound natural weapons. Worshipping Makhleb allows throwing around destructive blasts of power and summoning demons without having to worry about spell failure from heavy armor (the demon may decide to eat your face, however).
  • Magic Pants: Clothing merges into a shapeshifted player's new form.
  • Magic Misfire: Of every shape and color. They range from harmless (an ice mage getting a bit frosty, an enchanter making the dirt glow) to YASD (a necromancer rotting from the inside out, a translocator getting stuck in Abyss. Even minor failures can become dangerous as magical contamination builds up in the caster, ending in a violent terminus for those too desperate or stupid to stop casting.
  • Magic Wand: Crawl does have a number of magic wands, but these in fact more closely fit the Boom Stick trope. Instead it's actually the magical staffs that are Magic Wands; for example, the staff of channeling allows the player to regenerate their magic points, the staff of wizardry makes it easier to cast spells, and there are staffs for most of the schools of magic that boost the power of spells in those schools.
  • Mana Drain: the eye of draining can drain your mana from a distance, which heals it.
  • Mana Meter
  • Mana Shield: the amulet of guardian spirit protects you from harm but consumes your magic points in doing so.
  • Man On Fire: Crawl has a Sticky Flame spell which covers an enemy in sticky, burning liquid. The mottled dragon (and mottled draconian, which you can be if you're lucky with draconian maturation) can also breathe sticky flames.
  • Master Poisoner: Venom Mages, a playable class that focuses on Poison magic.
  • The Maze: An occasionally generated optional challenge level. The maze features tight corridors that cannot be permanently mapped and that also occasionally shift. There are no enemies save for rare occurrances of hungry ghosts and the Minotaur. The real challenge is finding the way out before starving to death, but successful players are rewarded with a bunch of reasonably good items.
  • Mercy Rewarded: Elyvilon likes it when you pacify monsters instead of fighting them, although she doesn't punish you for fighting. (Unless you kill something while praying.)
  • Messianic Archetype: Playing as a Hill Orc priest of Beogh, a.k.a "Orc Jesus". However, you're far from being The Messiah; the methods of a priest of Beogh are suitably Orcish.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted. Smarter monsters will make room for their mates so they can more easily gang up on you. If you enforce this by luring them into a narrow corridor, they will try to round a corner to get back at you.
  • Multi Melee Master: Crawl's skill system allows you to train and gain experience with any weapon, so it's possible to master several weapons at once.
  • Multi Ranged Master: Similarly, players can master different kinds of ranged weapons.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • In addition to being one of the classic tricks of necromancy, the spell Animate skeleton is also a neat hands-free way of peeling the flesh off a corpse. In fact, Ashenzari's altars typically have a book of Animate skeleton near them precisely to allow their bound servants to butcher corpses.
    • Transforming oneself to an giant ice beast will be very effective against monsters not resistant to cold. However, transmuters will also use the spell to cross ponds of water with ease.
  • Nerfing: This tends to happen between versions. The most obvious nerf is for Summoners, who can summon monsters to kill for them; the rule is that any monster killed by a player's summon is worth only half the experience it would be otherwise.
    • In particular, the devs like to nerf anything that's considered obviously better than any other choice and ends up being used regardless of your play style. The recent halving of extra damage done by vorpal weapons and removal of the "Detect Creatures" spell fall into this category, as did the removal of the "Tomb of Doroklohe" spell in the first Stone Soup versions.
  • Nintendo Hard: This game is going to kill you, and when you make a new character the ghost of your dead character is going to kill him.
  • Nitro Boost: the potion of speed.
  • Nominal Importance: The unique enemies have names, and when you see one you know you're in for a more difficult battle than normal.
    • The randomly generated artifacts are a slight aversion of this, since they have real-looking names, but are not guaranteed to be important, or even worth having at all. It's not uncommon to find artifacts with abysmal stats or negative attributes, and many are cursed.
    • As a hill orc of Beogh, your orcish followers will gain names if they survive and kill for long enough. They can still die like any other orc, but it is potential fuel for Video Game Caring Potential.
  • Non-Elemental: Crawl's normal weapons are less immediately powerful, but more versatile than elemental (branded) ones, since there are several weapon enchantment spells that won't work on already-branded weapons. Similarly, there are several elemental staffs which, unlike the regular quarterstaff, have the additional problem of being impossible to enhance (they can only ever have the damage and accuracy stats of a normal quarterstaff).
    • For magic attacks, the most obvious non-elemental one is Magic Dart, which is simply a dart of pure irresistible magic that never misses its target. (magic resistance in Crawl only applies to enchantments, not magical energy) Elemental attacks can be resisted by appropriately elemental monsters.
    • Eventually the game reaches a point where monsters are almost immune to any attacks that are not non-elemental. Fortunately for mages, all earth magic, a bit of air magic and three pure conjurations spells are non-elemental, and a few other spells are only partly resistable.
  • Odd Job Gods: Jiyva, the god of slime, and Cheibriados, the god of slowness.
    • Cheibriados is the god of time, he just wants his followers to take it easy and enjoy every single second. Trying to speed up insults him, since you obviously don't appreciated it if you are moving as fast as you can. Jiyva fits this to a T however.
  • Oh Crap: Xom (The God of Chaos who sees you as his plaything) is getting BORED.
  • One Size Fits All: Averted. Some races are so tiny they can't wear armour at all, or wield large weapons. Some races are so huge they need enormous armour.
    • But played straight in the case of the many varieties of dragon armour, which magically fits on every race.
    • And robes, though one can amuse himself with mental images of a spriggan whose robe trails three feet behind him or an ogre whose robe doesn't reach his knees.
  • One-Handed Zweihander: Larger races can wield some two-handed weapons as one handed weapons, but they're still more effective when used with two hands. Also inverted with the smaller races - they may need two hands to hold a weapon which the larger species can hold with just one.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Intelligence for any characters that desire any magical capabilities. The other two basic stats have little to no point unless you're a transmuter or your character is totally magic-free.
  • 1-Up: Felids get an extra life every few levels - very unusual for a roguelike, but then Felids are an unusual race.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels are present as monsters that are typically quite tough to deal with - especially if one is undead and relies on black magic to kill stuff. Angels and their tougher cousins Daevas are very aggressive, unless the player is a very zealous follower of a good god in which case they'll be indifferent.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: And playable. They're fast, and deadly archers, but they don't get much protection from armor, and they need to eat more food than most due to their size.
  • Our Demons Are Different:
    • And playable. Demonspawn are a Jack of All Stats race not much unlike humans, with special mutations and the inability to worship the three good gods.
    • In addition to playable demonspawn, there are dozens and dozens of NPC demons ranging from minor imps to large abominable devils with unpronounceable names.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: But not directly playable, save for the Dragon Form spell. Draconians (human/dragon hybrids) are, however, playable, and get breath weapons (of a random type) when they hit level 7 and have "matured."
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Not quite, but still playable. Deep Dwarves are tough and capable necromancers and priests, but they lack natural regeneration. The Mountain Dwarves that were present in earlier versions resemble the traditional dwarves more.
  • Our Elves Are Better: And playable. High Elves are pretty standard, Deep Elves are cave-dwelling Squishy Wizards with incredibly magic power and laughable resilience, and Sludge Elves are jungle-dwelling Kung Fu Wizards.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: And playable. Spriggans are ugly little blighters with a distinct Fair Folk flavor; they're one of the most popular species, since they're fast, skilled at magic, and don't need to eat much. But they're painfully frail and physically cannot eat meat in a game where enemy corpses are the only reliable source of food.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: And slayable. A player character who dies may leave a ghost that carries on most of the deceased player's abilities and weaknesses as well as a fair share of hatred towards anyone attempting to complete the Orb quest - that is, new player characters.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: And playable. They have to eat a lot of meat to prevent themselves from rotting, but can tear enemies to shreds with their claws, and have a nice set of immunities.
  • Our Goblins Are Wickeder: But not playable, unless you count kobolds, who have incredible stealth skill and a usually beneficial carnivorous diet.
  • Our Halflings Are Different: And playable. Fast XP gain, good stealth, good with shields. In previous versions, they were a Joke Character race, but this has improved.
  • Our Liches Are Different: And playable - not as a race, but as a form. The player can learn the Necromutation spell which will result in a temporary transformation into lich form. As a result, the player gains improved stats, a fairly potent draining touch and the various resistances and vulnerabilities associated with being undead. In addition, they lose the ability (and the need to) eat.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: And playable. They're of the "tails transform into legs" type, and as capable on land as any other race. In water, they're nearly unstoppable.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: And playable. They're big, brutal, and able to eat rotten meat, and possess great XP gain. They're also looking for their messiah; orcs following Beogh can become what has been nicknamed "Orc Jesus," complete with walking on water. Of course, a lot of killing is needed to earn that title.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: And playable. They're not Smash Mooks, however, but Glass Cannons due to their combination of massive strength and inability to wear armor. Some are competent mages as well.
  • Our Trolls Are Different: And playable. Their regeneration is amazingly fast, and they can eat pretty much anything... which is good, considering that their regeneration gives them a hyperactive metabolism that requires them to consume massive amounts of food.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: And playable. They can survive indefinitely without blood. How much they have in their system determines how "undead" they are, but they need at least some blood to regenerate.
  • The Paladin: Paladin used to be a playable class, but is no longer a class after changes in version 0.8. A martial follower of the Shining One is still very paladin-like, however.
  • Palette Swap: Stone Soup introduces an odd variation of this: Weaker versions of an enemy are always dark ASCII colors. Stronger, but otherwise similar, enemies are the lighter shade of the same color.
  • Partial Transformation: The Blade Hands and Beastly Appendage spells; the former turns the caster's hands into scythe-like blades, while the latter gives them a random temporary mutation -- arms to tentacles, horns on their heads, talons on their feet, et cetera.
  • Percent Damage Attack: Agony.
  • Plot Coupon: You need at least 3 Runes to enter this place.
  • Poisoned Weapons: quite a few. Most of the melee weapons can be venom-branded, which gives them a chance to poison enemies that they hit. The spell Poison Weapon temporarily applies this brand to a short blade. Arrows, bolts, darts, and needles may also be poisoned as well.
  • Poison Mushroom: This being a Roguelike, some potions are "unidenfitied" and could be anything, including poison. They do have one or two positive uses, however, for some players....
  • Power Floats: Tengu, the bird people race, don't have wings, but they get the ability to magically fly at level 5, and get permanent flight at level 15.
  • Power Nullifier: Some weapons have the antimagic brand, which is able to prevent monsters from casting spells. The scroll of vulnerability cancels all enchantments nearby and reduces the magic resistance of everyone nearby.
    • The Silence spell prevents sounds from occurring within an area for a limited time, so while it doesn't actually nullify magical power, it nullifies the ability to use magical powers, since spell words can't be spoken and scrolls can't be read. It's no good for stealth, because the unnatural silence immediately warns enemies that you're there.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: one of the weapons some fighting classes may choose to begin with is a spear, but for merfolk, this is replaced with a trident. Gladiators also get to use the trident, since they did in real life.
  • Random Number God: Xom is a god of Chaos that grants you rewards and punishments that are largely random. He's also possibly the only deity in anything that literally calls himself the Random Number God. (Some of the time, at least. He can be referred to by several different titles, one of which is periodically chosen randomly.)
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Like most Roguelikes, Crawl features there. Levels are created using several different templates and are often spiced up with hand-crafted rooms with special features or monster vaults, making them even more varied than in most Roguelikes.
  • Rare Candy: Potions of Experience and Gain <Stat>, as well as the treasured Experience card found in some decks.
  • Real Time Weapon Change: It takes time to wield a weapon; the more cumbersome it is, the longer it takes.
  • Religion Is Magic: There's not much difference between magic and religion (and there are gods of magic)... some religious powers even use up magic points. However, religious powers tend to be more powerful and accessible than magic (no need to learn spellcasting and all the magic schools, no need to wear light armour).
    • Religious powers tend to be more costly and less versatile than magic. The most powerful blasting powers are only accessible to spellcasters and followers of Nemelex - god of cards - who doesn't directly grant the powers, just magical decks of cards, which can contain cards of blasting.
  • Religion of Evil: Since some of the gods are evil, their followers are required to be as well; some gods require you to kill as often as possible.
  • Required Secondary Power: If PC is invisible, but can't see invisible, he's penalized for not seeing what he's doing.
  • Rewarding Inactivity: Before the version 0.10, the three good gods used to grant piety slowly over time, in contrast to other gods who required activity for increasing and preserving piety.
  • Road Runner PC: Spriggans and centaurs are faster than ordinary enemies, but at a price. Both races are limited in their armor (centaurs need centaur barding, spriggans are limited to robes and animal skins). Centaurs need to eat a lot of food due to their large size, and have poor melee skills. Spriggans, while small enough that they rarely need food, are painfully fragile, and worse, herbivores who can't eat slain enemies.
  • Scaled Up: The Dragon Form spell, which the player can obtain and use at high levels of transmutation magic.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: The AI director vascillates between being a Monty Haul and (much more frequently) Killer Game Master, with the consistency of a manic ten yea old on pixie sticks. Sometimes you get a dragon hide on the first floor, sometimes you get a dragon on the first floor. Some days its all rings and randarts, sometimes the AI just decides to spawn fifty jellies. Players learn to laugh about it, or cry.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: You only need 3 runes to unlock the endgame, but many players go for the bonus levels, collecting upwards of 20 or more. When this wasn't enough the developers started adding clearly uncompetitive joke builds. Enjoy your Felid Wanderer of Xom.
    • Some players may also go for speed runs(lowest number of turns, fastest real time), or ascend with the lowest level humanly possible.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Vampires can change into bats, giving them increased dexterity. If, however, they have their dexterity drained while in bat form, it's possible to end up such that turning back into a vampire would leave them with zero or less, which would kill them. Therefore they're stuck in bat form until they can regain it.
  • Shout-Out: The spell Maxwell's Silver Hammer, used to make blunt weapons more deadly, is a direct reference to a Beatles song of the same name about a man who murders people with a hammer.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Edmund is jealous of his older brother Sigmund, and for a reason: Sigmund is a notorious killer of junior adventurers while Edmund is more like an average brute with an expensive flail and a good ability with sums.
  • Sidequest: Crawl has lots of dungeon branches and you're not required to enter all of them. Most have a rune at the bottom, but you only need three to enter the Realm of Zot and get the Orb of Zot. A self-imposed challenge is to get all the runes and escape.
  • Simple Staff: Played straight with the quarterstaff, which is just a stick. Averted with the lajatang, which is a real-life weapon, a quarterstaff with added blades.
  • Skippable Boss: All of them. The recommended strategy on almost every unique is "Run away unless you KNOW they can't ruin your day, and come back when you're ten levels higher." The uniques considered most deadly are the ones who are hard to run away from", either by being fast, having ranged attacks or casting debiliatingstatus effects.
  • Sleazy Politician: According to the player's title, they become one when they maximize their stabbing skill.
  • Squad Controls: any allies you have can be given simple commands with the Talk button, like 'follow me', 'wait here', 'attack target', etc.
  • Squishy Wizard: Played mostly straight: wizards tend to be squishy, and so do most of the races which make good wizards. Ogres are an exception.
  • Status Buff: Zin's Vitalisation skill buffs all three of your stats.
  • Stat Death: If any one of your stats drops to zero and you don’t fix it within a certain number of turns, you're dead. In earlier builds, it was instant death.
  • Stat Grinding: Almost none - the game deliberately tries to avoid this. It was finally stamped out in version 0.9. To train skills, you have to gain experience - however, it doesn't matter how you gain that experience. For example, you could focus all your training on spellcasting, and you'll level up in that even if you're killing enemies in melee combat. It's a little weird, but it completely solves the grinding problem, while leaving the decisions entirely in the player's hands as to how they actually want to fight.
  • Sucking-In Lines: Unlike most spells which hit the enemy instantly the Orb of Destruction spends its first turn hovering stationary in front of the caster. On turn two it takes off, rapidly gaining speed and power before enveloping the target in a tender 9d50 embrace.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Almost any creature in Crawl will attack the player, even if the odds aren't exactly in its favor.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Unless you're Merfolk. Crawl's interface stops the player walking into deep water, but levitating players can still drown if their levitation wears off over water.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: Even a mere kobold with a dagger of distortion can banish the player to the Abyss.
  • Superpower Lottery: The Demonspawn's racial hat. While all of their mutations are theoretically useful developing a power like hollow bones or magic mapping has led to a practice affectionately known as "gnoll time".
  • Superpower Meltdown: Have a high enough level of The Corruption, and there's a chance you might spontaneously explode.
    • Yet it's possible to have enough HP to survive.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: the elf twins. Duvessa has the Sword, Dowan is the Sorcerer.
    • Random artefact weapons can (very rarely) be generated with a "noisy" attribute, causing them to be very, very chatty while they are wielded.
  • Taken for Granite: There's a Petrify spell which turns enemies to stone for a short time, and also a spell to turn the player into an animate statue (which makes them invulnerable to lots of kinds of damage). Statues are also pretty formidable enemies in the game, despite being unable to move. In the new version, there's a new unique enemy called Roxanne, who is the sapphire statue of a mage whose experiments with transmutation magic went horribly wrong. She can't move, but that doesn't stop her from casting spells...
  • Talking Weapon: Crawl has an artifact sword that sings. Don't worry, it's very rare, you're not likely to see it very often.
  • Tarot Motifs: The decks of cards are very similar to Tarot cards, and can be used to evoke various powers.
  • Teleport Spam: imps, blink frogs, and Prince Ribbit (who is a blink frog) will do this.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Dowan and Duvessa.
  • The Unpronounceable: Crawl is notorious for featuring gods and monsters with names that are hard to spell correctly and often equally hard to pronounce: Kikubaaqudgha, Yredelemnul, Neqoxec, Ynoxinul, Ilsuiw... some of these names were reportedly created by allowing a cat to walk on the keyboard.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Draconians are fairly lousy to begin with; they're quite strong, but their bodies are the wrong shape for most armour, and their dexterity is terrible. Then they advance to experience level 7, mature into their adult form, and suddenly they have a breath weapon that's only limited by their hunger and the few turns it takes to recharge it. (And for yellow draconians they don't even have to wait; they can spit acid at will.)
  • Transformation Ray: the wand of polymorph other can transform a monster into another monster. This is actually quite risky, since it's very possible to create a worse threat than the original. The wand is supposed to transform a monster into a monster of similar threat, so a rat will never turn into a dragon, but even so, what the game considers a 'similar threat' is often quite unpredictable. The best use for this wand is to change a monster that you are poorly equipped to fight - for example, an ice beast when you only have ice spells.
  • Trick Arrow: In 0.6 a variety of new projectile kinds have been added; for example, arrows of reaping which, if they kill a monster and that monster leaves a corpse, turns that monster into a loyal zombie. (...which were pulled right back out in 0.7. Oh well.) In 0.7, there was a new class, the Arcane Marksman, who can use magical enchantments on his bow to fire different kinds of magical arrows, but this was removed for 0.8
    • And put back in in 0.10.
  • Trickster God: Possibly Xom, who uses his powers to amuse himself... in game, however, this title is given to Nemelex Xobeh, a god who appreciates trickery and gambling, and gives his followers magical decks of cards to use.
  • Turn Undead: The undead are vulnerable to weapons of holy wrath (blessed by The Shining One, god of not-liking-unholy-stuff), and the Dispel Undead spell is essentially Crawl's version of Turn Undead - it is, however, a necromancy spell, meaning that any characters who want to be holy can't use it.
  • Twin Telepathy: Dowan and Duvessa, the elf twins, have a psychic link, and either one of them knows instantly when the other is killed.
  • Turns Red: Kill one of the elf twins and the other will go berserk upon seeing you.
  • Undignified Death: If the player loses too much of an attribute (Strength, intelligence or dexterity) they will eventually die in an unceremonial fashion:
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Felid race can gain "extra lives" which revive them somewhere (theoretically) safe if they die.
  • Universal Poison: Played straight. There is only one poison status, and a potion of healing will cure it. However, there are a few kinds of poison, which add more effects on top of being poisoned. Curare, for example, slows you as well.
    • There's also a spell - Poison Arrow - which can't be fully resisted by living creatures.
  • Unskilled but Strong: Some races, such as trolls and demigods, have poor skill aptitudes but compensate by having good stats and other attributes to begin with.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Berserk status gives significant bonuses (doubled speed, enhanced damage, temporary extra HP) with a period of fatigue and a risk of passing out afterwards. Put it this way: a Felid is a sentient housecat. A Felid Berserker of Trog (whose powers support your rage) can rip apart a herd of elephants with its claws and teeth.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted: you can pick up and use any equipment dropped by an enemy that you're capable of wielding or wearing, and this is a common way to acquire new stuff (especially since the enemy will likely have obligingly demonstrated the equipment's capabilities while attacking you). However it IS kind of true in reverse; there's some equipment which the player can use, but which the enemies can't... often because it's a difficult feature to code for. For example, enemies don't use the wand of enslavement on the player because there's no artificial intelligence or interface to handle being enslaved.
  • Vampiric Draining: the name of a level 3 spell which does exactly this. See the example for Life Drain.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Elyvilon, god of healing, has a neat punishment for too sadistic players; being a god of pacifism, she blunts your weapons.
  • Video Game Lives: Felids get an extra life every few levels, which is rare in modern games and even rarer in roguelikes. It even says 'Extra life!'.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: the reason why Dungeon Bypass works (sometimes). If you can't kill Sigmund the first time you meet, come back after you've levelled up (or else found something which will make it easier to kill him).
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: There's a school of magic which specializes in this, and vampires can change into bats. Merfolk transform their legs into mermaid-style tail when in water and back into feet when on land.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: The first unique you meet. At this point in the game you probably haven't identified potions of healing or scrolls of teleportation. It's teaching you probably the most important lesson of Dungeon Crawl: pick your fights (especially if it's out of depth) and have an escape plan (scrolls of teleportation should not be a first choice for escape). It also teaches the second lesson: don't be afraid to fight. You’ll probably have to face them eventually, and if you just run through levels not fighting anything you’ll eventually meet something faster and stronger than you.
  • Walk It Off: Most characters and monsters will gradually heal from almost all wounds. Some creatures can't regenerate - deep dwarves will never gain passive healing and vampires need blood to do so.
  • Walking on Water: an ability given only to the most faithful worshippers of Beogh.
  • Wall Crawl: some monsters have the ability to cling to walls. This allows them to pass over obstacles like deep water.
  • Weak but Skilled: In a way, this is a Dungeon Crawler's normal mode of operation - there is rarely a point where you're powerful enough to be 'safe' from attack. It's especially true at the very start of the game, where a couple of hits from even the lowest level monsters can finish off a weak character. Wanderers are probably the best example; they begin with a random skill set and random equipment, and are thus in a worse position than any other class upon entering the dungeon, since they are literally not equipped to fight.
  • Whip It Good: Whips are fairly swift weapons that are good in the early game but pack fairly little punch against tougher foes. However, some whips are demonic or heavenly in origin, and are extremely devastating weapons.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The need to eat (the "food clock") and the lack of dungeon level regeneration constantly pushes the adventurer forward and down in search of sustenance. Though it’s worse for magic users, as most forms of magic increase hunger to the point where a ring of sustenance is a prized possession.
    • Mummies, however, don't need to eat, although they have rather terrible skill aptitudes and can’t use potions (including healing potions).
    • Vampires don't need to consume food, either - though when completely bloodless they do not heal over time, so you will likely still want to drink some blood every now and then.
    • Spellcasting hunger can be eliminated in various ways, including the staff of energy, being a mummy, vampire or in lich form, or just having sufficient intelligence and Spellcasting skill (though this last solution scales much more slowly than spell hunger).
    • The ones who get it worst, however, are berserkers, since their signature ability costs a huge amount of nutrition in exchange for a huge but double-edged boost in combat, and can only be used when well-fed enough that it isn't life-threatening. If they rely too much on the ability and aren't from a "carnivorous" race they're almost guaranteed to starve.
  • Womb Level: Cigotuvi's Wizlab
  • Zerg Rush: A fairly good strategy for a player with good summoning spells, as well as the favorite trick of many enemies. Some spells are used almost exclusively for Zerg Rushing - this is how Summon Small Mammals acquired its Fan Nickname "spammals".