Arcane Marksman

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Version 0.28: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Arcane Marksmen are Hunters who use debilitating spells to assist their ranged attacks. They are particularly good at keeping their enemies at a distance. They begin the game with a ranged weapon of their choice, some spells to support its use, and a robe.

Arcane Marksmen are ranged combat specialists who complement their attacks with debilitating Hexes.

Preferred Races

Formicid, Deep Elf, Kobold, Spriggan, and Troll are the recommended races if you pick an Arcane Marksman Background.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Available Spells:

Arcane Marksmen start with the Slow spell memorised.

Starting Skills and Stats

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Arcane Marksman adds 2 to your starting Strength, 5 to your starting Intelligence and 5 to your starting Dexterity.


Arcane Marksmen are fragile, and dependent on a limited ammo supply to get them through tough fights. The first floors of the dungeon often have extra ammunition lying around, so make sure to look for it. If you're low on ammo, the most effective strategy is to use a melee weapon in easy fights, while you keep training your ranged combat skill. Reserve your ammo for nastier stuff like gnolls and adders. It's generally a priority to train weapon skill first, then your Hexes (not both at the same time).

Okawaru is a decent choice for playing it safe since the ammo gifts will help ease the strain until you can build up a big surplus, and you'll eventually earn a well-enchanted fustibalus, longbow, or arbalest. If you find yourself running low on ammo, dive deeper into the main Dungeon or head for the Vaults: centaurs and yaktaurs are eager to help you reload.

Spell Details

Slow everything you don't clearly overpower, regardless of whether you're shooting or going hand-to-hand. Slowing reduces monster speed by 33%, meaning you get hit 33% less often. It may sometimes take several castings to apply, but it enables a kiting strategy for things you can't melee safely.

Portal Projectile is perfect for sniping particularly dangerous monsters like orc priests, without having to first fight your way through all their friends. It greatly increases accuracy, though not a priority to train up.

Inner Flame can be tricky to pull off without blowing yourself up, but is very effective against groups. It combos well with the other two hexes: Slow gives you space to avoid the explosion, while Portal Projectile allows for creative sniping.

Cause Fear is both a great panic button and good offensive tool. It's an infinite use scroll of fear, which is about as powerful as it sounds... though the scroll starts with high spellpower. It doesn't work on undead or demons, but is effective in the Lair and its non-Slime branches.

Look for Blink and Swiftness -- those are fantastic utilities for a ranged player throughout the entire game. Eventually, you'll also want to be able to cast other utility spells like Metabolic Englaciation or Leda's Liquefaction. That's really all you need to sweep through most branches: an enchanted bow, a big stack of arrows, and a handful of spells. You'll have a lot of experience left over, so pour it into Fighting, Armour/Dodging, and Stealth.


  • Prior to 0.28, Arcane Marksmen started with the Corona spell memorized. Slow was moved down to level 1 to compensate.
  • Prior to 0.27, Arcane Marksmen had the Book of Debilitation, and started with Leda's Liquefaction.
  • Prior to 0.20, the book of Debilitation had Gell's Gravitas instead of Portal Projectile.
  • Prior to 0.17, teleport control combined with the blink spell allowed for semi-controlled blinks which was super useful for kiting even fast enemies.
  • Prior to 0.15, Arcane Marksmen starting with javelins didn't get any throwing nets.
  • Prior to 0.14, Arcane Marksmen started with 2 levels of Spellcasting.
  • In earlier versions of the game, ammunition for launchers was much less common in the early game. This required careful ammo management until supplies were found deeper in the dungeon. In addition, AM started with spells that branded ammo, such as Poison Ammunition.
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Warrior-mages EnchanterTransmuterArcane MarksmanWarper
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