ARCHIVED Demos' Sludge Elf Transmuter guide

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This article contains advice from other players, which may be subjective, outdated, inaccurate or ill-advised. Read at your own risk and alter to fit your play style as necessary!

Transmuters are basically mad alchemists who entered the dungeon to perform magical experiments. Their starting spells are research-oriented, so early game survival is quite tricky for them. Sludge elves have the best aptitudes for being a Transmuter, so they're the best species to play as one.


Primary Skills:

Always keep the above skills activated.


Transmuters play like magical monks, so you'll be fighting unarmed a lot. Unarmed attacks are very fast, but start off fairly weak. This means you should probably forgo heavy armor, since it'll cripple your attack speed and lower your damage. A lightly armored transmuter will hit harder and faster than a transmuter wearing plate mail.

In 0.6, the AC nerf makes wearing heavy armor even less desirable. Shields are terrible for unarmed combat, as it will slow your attack speed and it eliminates your strongest auxiliary attack. In the early-game, pummel your enemies to death and use your potions when you might be in trouble. If an enemy can cause serious damage at close range, then summon some snakes to help you.

Once you find a way to go berserk at any time, ditch your arrows and start using Ice form against tough enemies. After awhile you should learn Blade Hands, as it's very powerful. If you want to go for all 15 runes, then you should learn Necromutation and maybe Shatter.


This is a list of good spells to use.


  • Fulsome Distillation - You should immediately learn this spell and start distilling corpses.
  • Evaporate - Learn this spell as soon as you reach LV2. It's the swiss army knife of toxic clouds.
  • Sticks to Snakes - This should be the third spell you learn, as it'll save you from some nasty early game enemies. Poisoned arrows work best and with enough arrows you can even kill a hydra.
  • Spider Form - Learn it as soon as you can, as it's great for poison stacking and for escaping.
  • Ice Form - Makes the Lair trivial, due to its innate rPois, water walking and its slowing effect on cold-blooded creatures.
  • Alistair's Intoxication - It's a great spell if you have clarity.
  • Blade Hands - Tremendously powerful. It gets a +5 boost from Chei's stat bonuses.
  • Ignite Poison - Useful in the Hive and the Snake Pits. You'll probably want to forget it after you clear those two places.
  • Dragon Form - Turns you into a gigantic, fire-breathing dragon! It's as cool as it sounds. This form is incredibly powerful and probably has the highest damage output in the game. When fully maxed-out this form deals over 80 damage per hit (berserk increases it to over 100)! The downsides? Your AC and EV take a major hit and you're vulnerable to cold attacks (rC-).
  • Statue Form - Huge HP boost, huge unarmed damage and it gives rPois, rElec and rN+. Downside? It makes you slow. Use it with Haste.
  • Shatter - Awesome spell. Does damage comparable to crystal spear to all non-flying, non-amorphous monsters near you. It also breaks walls and potions on the ground. Do not use it while in statue form.
  • Necromutation - Very powerful. It's worth learning if you are going for a 15-rune victory.
  • Dig - It's used mainly for training earth magic.

Other spells:

The following spells are either terrible or useless and should be avoided: Cigotuvi's Degeneration, Condensation Shield, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Passwall*, and Stoneskin (unless you're using Statue Form, in which case it's great, as it's a 10 point boost to your AC for 2MP)

  • Passwall can be a useful escape tool if you can get into a corridor with 1-thickness walls.


Potions are great, but don't be a pack-rat and carry over 40 of them in your inventory! Create a stash and leave most of your potions there, since you will only need 10 of each at most. If you find a Ring of teleport control, wear it and keep it on permanently. Any +5 or above Ring of slaying is also worth keeping on.

A ring of regeneration is very useful if you're a lich, since you can't quaff healing potions or use healing spells. You may want to wear an Amulet of rage, until you find a nice artifact amulet or can cast Haste.


You should increase intelligence to around 30 and focus on dexterity afterward. Increase your strength to 10 for better carrying capacity and to avoid stat death.


These are the best gods for a transmuter.

  • Sif Muna - Sif gives free spell books and channeling.
  • Okawaru - Oka gives armor gifts and the ability to use Heroism (major UC damage boost!) and Finesse. However, your Sticks to Snakes spell could cause you to lose piety.
  • Kikubaaqudgha - Kiku gives you the Necronomicon much faster than Sif does, and at full piety makes the Tomb a joke.
  • Cheibriados - Chei gives huge stat boosts increasing with piety. But you have to be able to handle the slow movement speed.
  • Nemelex Xobeh - Nemelex is a great god for all characters. Decks give you a lot of flexibility.


Early Game

Memorize Fulsome Distillation immediately and both Evaporate and Sticks to Snakes at LV2. Look for an edged weapon to use as your butchering tool. Memorize Spider Form when it becomes available.

Get to the temple and worship one of the gods listed above. Continue exploring the dungeon until you find the entrances to the Lair.

Early Branches

Create a stash in the Lair and memorize Ice Form. Then, find the rune branches and clear the Lair. Memorize Blade Hands when it becomes available. Clear the Orcish Mines and find the entrance to the Elven Halls.

Clear the Hive if you need food.

Middle Dungeon

Continue to explore the main dungeon. You'll find the entrances to the Vaults and Hell before too long. When you begin to feel uncomfortable with how dangerous the dungeon monsters are, it's time to backtrack and clear the branches below.

Middle Branches

Clear the Swamp first, if it generated in your game. If not, then clear the Snake Pit first. If the Shoals generated in your game, then clear floors 1-4. Afterward, head over to the Elven Halls and clear floors 1-6, if you have high magic resistance or Silence.

The Vaults (floors 1-7) are next. You can take some time to explore the Hall of Blades, if you can cast Airstrike or Iskenderun's Mystic Blast. You can then explore the Crypt if you have a few levels of life protection and Dispel Undead.

Branch Ends

You should now be ready to the take the bottom floor of the Elven Halls and the Vaults (and the Shoals if it's in your game). If you have Alistair's Intoxication, then Elf:7 will be easy. Make sure you have rN+ (Shadow dragons) and rElec (Titans, storm dragons) before trying to clear Vault:8. Shoals:5 should be doable if you can fly or swim. Very few enemies there can survive against a raging ice beast.

You should also go into the Vestibule of Hell, lure Geryon out (doesn't work in 0.8), kill him in the main dungeon and evoke his silver horn in Hell. After that, you should stash away the horn and bring it out of the dungeon together with runes and the Orb during your ascension.

Rest of the Dungeon

After that, finish exploring the main dungeon. Once you've cleared the main dungeon, take 3 runes and unlock the portal to the Realm of Zot.

The Realm of Zot

You should be able to clear the first four levels: they are similar to the Elven Halls and feature lots of narrow corridors inhabited by draconians instead of elves. Remember to put on an amulet of resist corrosion to deal with yellow draconians and a source of rElec for black draconians and electric golems.

End-Game Branches

After that, you may opt to do a few optional branches.

The Slime Pits are the easiest, but only enter if you have an amulet of resist mutation (or the mutation resistance mutation), an amulet of resist corrosion, and mostly corrosion-proof gear (or a disposable armor set). To easily kill the royal jelly, just dig a tunnel and fight it in the tight corridor where its ability to spawn jellies is limited.

The Tomb is filled with mummies. You should have Necromutation by this point. Wear an amulet of stasis and clear out the tomb slowly. You can make things a lot easier by casting Shatter on the north-east or north-west corner of Tomb:1, which may break down the walls, allowing you to bypass most of Tomb 2.

Hell shouldn't be too difficult if you cleared the Tomb. Before 0.6, you could just magic map each floor and teleport to the nearest staircase. Now you'll have to buff your speed and run to the bottom, which is always the 7th floor.

  • Dis:7 - Probably 2nd easiest Hell, lots of iron demons. Dispater likes to summon aid, so you may want to lure him into a corridor to kill him.
  • Tar:7 - It's filled with undead monsters. Ereshkigal will dodge half your attacks, so you may want to summon some help to gang up on her. Watch out in lichform: Though you won't get tormented, you will get dispelled!
  • Geh:7 - The hardest Hell. Max fire resistance is recommended. Asmodeus is pretty difficult, so you may want to lure him away from the rune and grab it.
  • Coc:7 - Frosty Hell. Max cold resistance is recommended. Antaeus is surprisingly easy. He's weak against fire and can be poisoned. If you worship Nemelex, then this will be the 2nd easiest Hell.

Prepare for Pandemonium. Make sure you bring a distortion weapon and all other equipment/resistances described in that article. After all this, or in case you stumble upon a portal to one while roaming Pandemonium, you can raid one or more Ziggurats.

Note that this can be extremely dangerous and the loot will be useless since you can already kill everything in the game anyway. If you haven't found a portal to a Ziggurat yet, you may be able to create one using a legendary deck of dungeons.

Failing that, just wander around Pandemonium until you find one. Finishing a Ziggurat is extremely hard: the later levels may be full of multiple Pan lords who haste themselves and summon tormenting and smiting demons. If you're using Shatter you'll want to learn Death's Door and Controlled Blink.

Once you have done all that, use your distortion weapon to banish yourself to the Abyss. If you want the abyssal rune and haven't found it yet in a past trip, wander around until you find it. Then search for a portal back to the dungeon.


At this point, if you don't have or can cure teleportitis, or you plan to randomly teleport in the Orb chamber, you can clear it now. Read Zot:5 for more details on the level itself and the strategies for clearing it.


Take all of your runes and your most valuable artifacts (to improve your total score) to D:1. It's very easy, just teleport to the nearest staircase with teleport control. Once you reach D:1, take the Orb, the runes, the horn, and the artifacts and go upstairs. Congratulations!