The Abyss

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
The Abyss is a truly bizarre place, ever-changing and twisted. It is filled with all sorts of monsters, mostly of demonic nature, whose common aim is to feast on intruders. It is also the garbage dump for many sorcerers, who delight in sending would-be champions like you to these proving grounds of madness. Reportedly, there is some structure to the chaos, as Lugonu seems to concoct schemes around this place and its denizens.

Portals to the Abyss are found abundantly in the Depths.

The Abyss consists of seven infinite levels. The abyssal rune of Zot can be found from the third level onwards, and is more common at greater depths. Portals back to the dungeon are scattered throughout the Abyss, and are found more commonly at greater depths or while carrying the abyssal rune.

Adventurers who linger in the Abyss will find themselves drawn irresistibly deeper. Killing monsters will warp the substance of the Abyss, eventually generating a gateway out. Further persistence will wear holes in the Abyss, allowing descent into deeper layers. The Abyss remembers its visitors - once an adventurer has entered a level, future visits to the Abyss will always take them at least that far down.

A one-way gate to a demon-haunted realm, riven by chaos, its very substance impermanent and whimsical, filled with creatures out of nightmare.

Abyss entry.png The Abyss is an extra-dimensional chaotic plane without definite shape or form, inhabited by unholy horrors and ruled by Lugonu the Unformed. Whether you end up in this horrible place intentionally or as the result of sheer bad luck, dedicated explorers who manage to survive will eventually find the abyssal rune of Zot, and perhaps even a way out!

Useful Info

The Abyss is an unorthodox seven-floor branch, with each "floor" an endless plane of constantly shifting terrain. Travel within or between levels of the Abyss is made difficult by several permanent branch features:

  • Mapping the Abyss is impossible. Its terrain constantly changes out of sight; anything that leaves your sight is quickly forgotten.
  • Teleports from a scroll of teleport are delayed by an extra 5+1d9 turns[1].
  • The player will be teleported at random intervals. 20% of the time, this teleport will reset the entire map.
    • When teleporting, sometimes players will be forcefully sent deeper into the abyss, at a (XL - Depth)^2 / 2187 * 100% chance.[2]
  • Instead of regular stairs, abyssal stairs and branch exits appear randomly or after getting enough XP. You can't ever go up a floor; just down or out. Even when you re-enter the Abyss, you'll end up at the last floor you were on.
  • You may occasionally see orderly structures in the Abyss. These hand-crafted vaults often contain powerful monsters, abyssal stairs, the Abyssal rune, or even a way out. Approach these with caution, as they are usually well-guarded.
  • No items randomly spawn, excepting the rune or a vault.

Monster Spawning

Monsters spawn every 5 turns while you're in the Abyss, no matter what level you're on.[3] Levels of the Abyss from Abyss:1 to Abyss:5 have a Floor/5 chance to spawn another monster.[4] Abyss:6 will always spawn 3 monsters every 5 turns, and Abyss:7, 4 monsters.

Both Abyss:6 and Abyss:7 have a (Floor-5)/10 chance, per monster, to explicitly spawn a monster near you. Otherwise, monsters spawn in random locations, which could be close or far away.

The Abyss disables the usual spawns while holding the Orb of Zot. Cheibriados gives a 50% chance for each spawn to fail.

Entering the Abyss

There are several ways to enter the Abyss; some are voluntary, most are not.

  • Enter a portal in Pandemonium or the Depths.
    • Depths:3 always has an entrance to the Abyss; other Depths floors have a 33% chance to have a portal.[5]
  • Get banished by the monster spell.
  • Unwield a distortion weapon (25% chance).
  • Get hit by a distortion weapon (5% chance), weapons of chaos (.14% chance), or direct chaotic effects (1% chance).
  • Use Lugonu's Enter the Abyss ability (available at 5* piety and at a large cost)
  • Earn Lugonu's wrath.

When entering the Abyss, you will always enter the lowest level you've been so far. Involuntary banishment (i.e. not entering a portal or using Lugonu ability) will occasionally send you deeper. The higher your XL, the higher chance for a deeper level.

Being banished while in the Abyss will drive you down a floor.


Your main objectives are to either get out, or get the rune. You shouldn't wander around much; higher level (~XL20) characters might survive Abyss:3 easily, but the deep Abyss (A:6-7) is threatening to even 15-rune characters. Any exploration also puts you at risk of being malmutated by its inhabitants.


The Abyssal rune may generate from Abyss:3 onwards, always in a vault. It spawns at increased frequency at lower levels (maximum of A:5), but the greatly increased monster generation rate gives players little incentive to go further. Going deeper also increases the spawn of Abyssal stairs out and down. Lugonu worshipers of 5* or 6* piety are treated as one floor deeper than normal for rune generation.

If the rune has spawned, you will see its location on the minimap. When you approach the rune’s location, it'll be logged in message log.

Runelight0.pngRunelight1.pngRunelight2.pngRunelight3.png Runelight tiles indicate the presence of a rune nearby.


Delving deeper will increase the chance of an exit, and holding the Abyssal rune will cause exits to spawn much faster:

  • A:1 = 1/7250 revealed tiles
  • A:2 = 1/6000
  • A:3 = 1/4750
  • A:4 = 1/3500
  • A:5-7 = 1/2250
  • Holding Abyssal rune: 1/1000

You may also kill monsters to eventually create a gateway out; higher XP contributes more. However, going deeper than A:5 gives a (Floor-4)x XP penalty for purposes of stair creation.

Finally, altars of Lugonu are scattered throughout the Abyss, who offers worshippers an immediate way out. Most gods will inflict divine retribution for leaving them, but Lugonu may be the only option.


  • Several monsters unique to the Abyss:
t Apocalypse crab.png Apocalypse crab X Thrashing horror.png Thrashing horror X Starcursed mass.png Starcursed mass X Tentacled starspawn.png Tentacled starspawn
x Ancient zyme.png Ancient zyme * Lurking horror.png Lurking horror v Spatial maelstrom.png Spatial maelstrom * Wretched star.png Wretched star P Starflower.png Starflower

As you go deeper, more threatening monsters will spawn. Tier-1 demons go from extremely rare to quite common, both angels and profane servitors start spawning...

Tips & Tricks

  • The enemies found here are not much weaker than those found in Hell, so a full complement of resistances (particularly mutation resistance) is recommended. Getting surrounded here can be deadly, but if you can run away for long enough the level will reset, saving you from your pursuers. Having stealth may be useful, which can let you walk away from fights you just don't want to deal with.
  • Getting sent to the Abyss early (usually through Banishment) is often a death sentence, but you may be able to survive long enough to find a gate out. For almost any player, surviving the Abyss is about mobility first. Use every speed advantage you can muster to avoid every combat you can; even if you can defeat some of the weaker foes, you want to spend every possible turn exploring new tiles and generating new chances of escape. When you see a monster, you should head in the opposite direction. You can also worship Lugonu for a fast way out (at the cost of your old god's wrath).
    • A means of flying over lava or deep water and a wand of digging will help manufacture avenues of escape when you're seemingly trapped. Since teleports take a while to kick in, consider teleporting on sight when you see speedy, lethal monsters like executioners or ranged threats like hell sentinels. Blinking can get you out of a nasty corner. Summons can slow/entangle pursuers. Use quiet dead ends to regenerate HP/MP. Then, get moving.
  • Moving diagonally in an unexplored direction will uncover more tiles, making it more likely for you to find the exit. It also makes it somewhat more likely for you to find monsters.
  • The smartest way to survive the Abyss is to only enter it on your own terms. Read the page on Banishment for tips on avoiding one of Crawl's deadliest spells.


  • In 0.29, the anti-scumming measures of 0.28 were mostly reverted:
    • The Abyss gives XP and piety again (but not items); the rune no longer gives XP, and wretched stars were unnerfed.
    • You will always travel to (at least) the deepest level you have visited so far. The branch is now 7 levels deep, with new floors ramping up in difficulty.
    • Players will sense the rune's location on the map, including when it shifts or disappears. In addition, a 'runelight' will prompt you whenever you get near the rune's location.
  • In 0.28, anti-scumming measures were implemented:
    • The Abyss no longer randomly generates items. They may still spawn as part of a vault.
    • XP and piety cannot be earned normally; XP is still used to open gateways, but doesn't contribute to anything else. Instead, collecting the rune provides 2 XL's worth of experience and some skill points.
    • To compensate, gateways (both), rune vaults, and plunges are more common, and wretched stars were nerfed.
  • Prior to 0.25, if you spawned an Abyss exit without leaving/descending, you would always spawn stairs deeper by getting XP.
  • Prior to 0.23, players could find portals to the Abyss in the Labyrinth.
  • Prior to 0.22, you could not be dragged deeper into the Abyss when being teleported.
  • Prior to 0.18, killing monsters in the Abyss couldn't eventually spawn exits and down-stairs.
  • Prior to 0.15, the Abyss would often cancel any attempt at blinking.
  • Prior to 0.12, the Abyss had only one floor, and finding the rune was simply a matter of wandering it for long enough. Lava and deep water terrain could be generated.
  • Prior to 0.10, the Abyss' terrain shifting would happen at a much slower pace, and only when you weren't looking directly at it.
  • In earlier versions, the Abyss would wrap around on itself if you went too far in one direction. Also, banishment to the Abyss was one of the possible results of Hell's mystical force.


Dungeon branches
Dungeon exit.png The DungeonTemple entry.png The TempleDepths entry.png The DepthsZot entry.png Realm of Zot
Lair entry.png The Lair ( Spider entry.png Spider's NestSnake entry.png Snake PitSwamp entry.png The SwampShoals entry.png The ShoalsSlime entry.png Slime Pits)
Orc entry.png Orcish Mines ( Elf entry.png Elven Halls) • Vaults entry.png The Vaults ( Crypt entry.png The CryptTomb entry.png The Tomb)
Abyss entry.png The AbyssPandemonium entry.png PandemoniumHell entry.png Hell ( Cocytus entry.png CocytusDis entry.pngDisGehenna entry.png GehennaTartarus entry.png Tartarus)
See also: Portal