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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

Aptitudes are a measure of how fast you can advance in a skill - the higher the aptitude, the faster you'll learn the skill. Aptitudes are determined by your species, where each species has a separate aptitude rating for each skill. Therefore, some species will prefer certain skills over others. For example, Deep Elves have an easier time learning magic, and Hill Orcs have an easier time learning melee combat. Taking advantage of your species' aptitudes is key to winning the game.

You can view your species' aptitudes at any time by opening the skill menu (m). You can also press ? % in-game to see the big table of races and aptitudes, or you can check each each species' individual pages on the wiki.

Useful Info

Aptitudes are rated from -5 to +11, with 0 being the baseline.

Aptitudes are determined almost entirely by your species; there are very few ways to modify them during a game. A manual will increase your aptitudes by +4 until it runs out. Also, you can willingly lower your aptitudes as part of a Ru sacrifice.

Higher aptitudes are faster because they require less XP. The relative amount of XP required for a given aptitude is tabulated below:

Aptitude Skill Cost Description
-5 (238) abysmal aptitude
-4 (200) very poor aptitude
-3 (168) poor aptitude
-2 (141) bad aptitude
-1 (119) slightly disfavoured aptitude
0 (100) standard aptitude
+1 (84) slightly favoured aptitude
+2 (71) strong aptitude
+3 (59) very strong aptitude
+4 (50) outstanding aptitude
+5 (42) exceptional aptitude

E.g. a species with -5 aptitude would require 238/100 = 2.38x as much XP as a species with 0 aptitude.

If an aptitude is listed as "NA", it means the species is completely unable to learn that skill. For example, Felids can't wear armour, so they can't gain any levels of the Armour skill.


If you have an aptitude of n, you'll need 2^(-n/4) as much XP to gain a level of that skill, compared to a species with aptitude 0. Example: a Vampire has a +4 aptitude in Hexes, while a Human has an aptitude of 0. If a Human would require 100 XP to advance a level, it would take the Vampire 100 * 2^(-4/4), or 50 XP, to advance that same level.

This means that, for every interval of +4 aptitude, you'll require twice/half as much XP per level. So a +8 aptitude requires half as much XP as a +4 aptitude, a +1 aptitude requires half as much XP as a -3 aptitude, and so on.

Note that half the XP cost ≠ twice the amount of levels, since XP cost rises for each level you have of a skill. So if a Human had 10 levels of Hexes, a Vampire wouldn't have 20 levels of Hexes (in practice, the Vampire would have ~14 Hexes).


Aptitudes are important - you should take advantage of your species' good aptitudes when it is reasonable.

That being said, you shouldn't dismiss a skill just because you have a poor aptitude. When deciding to train a skill, you should also consider your stats and available gear/spells as well. For example, if you find an amazing randart demon blade early on, you should probably use it, even if you have a -2 aptitude for Long Blades.

Also, note that a difference of ±1 aptitude isn't a big deal. Training a skill at -1 aptitude is not much slower than training at 0 aptitude, and +1 aptitude isn't that much faster than 0 aptitude either. See the below table for how aptitude affects skill levels:

0 Aptitude -1 Aptitude -2 Aptitude
Level 5 Level 4.5 Level 4.12
Level 10 Level 9.16 Level 8.36
Level 15 Level 13.8 Level 12.75
Level 20 Level 18.49 Level 17.08
Level 27 Level 25.04 Level 23.23

For most types of skills, the difference between, say, level 15 and level 13.8 is small. Going from 13.8 to 15 levels of Dodging only results in a gain of 1-2 EV (for regular size species); going from 13.8 to 15 levels of a weapon skill is rarely relevant.


The table below shows the average aptitudes of all currently playable species. Due to their skill training restrictions, Gnolls' aptitudes and Djinn's magic aptitudes are not included. Of the Draconian variants, only base Draconian is included.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 0.200 Armour -0.636 Spellcasting -0.833
Dodging -0.120
Maces & Flails -0.667 Shields -0.333 Conjurations -0.708
Axes -0.625 Stealth 1.400 Hexes -0.125
Polearms -0.625 Summonings -0.458
Staves -0.625 Invocations 0.583 Necromancy -0.417
Unarmed Combat -0.120 Evocations -0.120 Translocations -0.500
Throwing -0.625 Shapeshifting -1.043 Alchemy -0.208
Fire Magic -0.750
Short Blades -0.083 Ice Magic -0.500
Long Blades -0.375 Air Magic -0.875
Ranged Weapons -0.708 Experience -0.360 Earth Magic -0.417


  • Prior to 0.7.0, aptitudes were expressed in numbers smaller or larger than 100 (average), as in the Skill Cost table above.