Choosing a god

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This article contains advice from other players, which may be subjective, outdated, inaccurate or ill-advised. Take advice as you see fit, and read at your own risk!

In Crawl, one's choice of god has a significant impact your game. Along with species and background, god choice is considered a defining feature of your character.

How Do I Choose a God?

In game, there are two ways to choose a god. The quickest is to begin the game with a background that worships one by default: Berserkers, Chaos Knights, and Cinder Acolytes all begin the game serving a particular god.

Alternatively, you can find an altar dedicated to a god along the way, stand on it, and pray (with either '<' or '>' keys). When asked if you want to join its religion, press y to accept. They can be found as follows:

  • Most gods will have an altar in the Ecumenical Temple, a peaceful branch located between Dungeon floors 4 and 7.
  • A faded altar can spawn between floors 1 and 3, giving you access to a random god (chosen from 3).
  • If the temple lacks a particular altar, it is guaranteed to be located between floors 2 and 10, with the following exceptions:
    • Beogh's altar can be found in the Orcish Mines, but having a conscious (i.e. not asleep, paralyzed, etc.) orc priest or orc high priest in view grants hill orcs the ability to convert to Beogh on the spot.
    • Ignis's altar very rarely appears in the Ecumenical Temple or as the result of converting at a faded altar, but most often you'll need to start as a Cinder Acolyte.
    • Jiyva's altar can be found on the 5th floor of the Slime Pits, often in the Lair (just in front of Slime's entrance), and very rarely in the Temple, Dungeon, or Sewer as an early jelly vault.
    • Lugonu's altar can be found in the Abyss or occasionally in Abyss-themed vaults or a corrupted version of the Ecumenical Temple.

What if my desired god hasn't shown up yet?

Going in with a mindset of picking "the absolute best" god for your character may not always be the best idea. Sometimes it may be better to worship any god early on rather than wait for the perfect god to show up.

For example, let's say you decide to start with Okawaru. D:3 provides an altar to Nemelex Xobeh, an unconventional, yet perfectly usable god. Meanwhile, Okawaru's altar may not spawn until D:9. By the time you find Okawaru's altar, you could have ** to **** piety with Nemelex, along with abilities that could've easily saved your life - or your items - several times over.

That said, it's still perfectly possible to wait until you find your preferred god's altar if you have your heart set on a particular strategy (after all, Demigods have to get through the entire game without worshipping a god). Assess your character's equipment and capabilities, and make your decision based on how well you're progressing through the early Dungeon.

When should I switch gods?

In general? You shouldn't, unless you really know what you're doing.

You can only follow one god at a time; if you abandon your god, you will generally incur divine retribution ("wrath"). With a few exceptions, wrath is quite dangerous at best.

  • The good gods (Elyvilon, The Shining One, and Zin) will not punish you unless you swap to an evil god (as well as chaotic gods for Zin). Following one for a while before switching to a neutral god can be a perfectly valid strategy.
  • Ignis is designed to be switched away from as its powers run out, so its wrath is weaker than normal.
  • Abandoning Ru incurs no overt punishment (but you also won't get back anything you sacrificed)
  • Xom's wrath is not much worse than dealing with a particularly bored Xom. If you can survive following Xom at its worst, you can probably manage switching away from it.

In addition, every god (possibly barring Ignis and Xom) can be a viable choice if all you plan to do is get three runes, get the Orb, and get out. It's only when you start getting to post-game areas like the Hells or Pandemonium that certain gods start falling off in power. Characters that wish to switch gods should do so only when they are confident they can survive their former god's wrath and when the benefits of a different god will outweigh the punishment.

God overview

  • Ashenzari: Gain skill boosts by cursing your equipment, along with divine knowledge of the Dungeon.
  • Beogh: God exclusive to Hill Orcs; get permanent orcish allies that promote with exp.
  • Cheibriados: Slows your movement (no running away), compensating with great stats & powerful escape tools.
  • Dithmenos: Increases stealth, providing abilities useful for both combat and escaping it.
  • Elyvilon: Heal yourself, or heal enemies to try and pacify them.
  • Fedhas: Creates deadly, debilitating (and stationary) plant allies.
  • Gozag: A Midas touch; spend all the gold you'll be getting on potions, shops, or bribes.
  • Ignis: A powerful starting god, designed to be abandoned once its powers burn out.
  • Hepliaklqana: Grants an everpresent ancestor that fights alongside you.
  • Jiyva: Tons of ('good') mutations, regeneration, and the slimy rune -- but 'leftover' items get eaten.
  • Kikubaaqudgha: For (future) necromancers; summon undead-rising fodder, gifts knowledge of necromantic spells.
  • Lugonu: God of the Abyss; banish monsters in, get yourself out (and back in, again).
  • Makhleb: Heal on kills, with ranged attacks and summons.
  • Nemelex Xobeh: Stack decks of cards, with many strong, varied effects.
  • Okawaru: "Generic" god for physical combat; forbids allies, making your prowess strong enough to live without.
  • Qazlal Stormbringer: Provides an array of calamitous abilities, followed by a very loud storm.
  • Ru: Sacrifice aspects of your being (like one of your hands) for overwhelming power.
  • Sif Muna: "Generic" magic god; channel MP, and eventually get access to (and cast) every spell in the game.
  • Trog: Go berserk at will and summon incredibly strong allies - but no spells allowed!
  • Uskayaw: Grants increasing power as fights go on, quickly fading outside of combat.
  • Vehumet: A god of destructive magic; gives and buffs offensive spells, including MP gain on kill.
  • The Wu Jian Council: Provide martial arts that allow you to attack while moving around.
  • Xom: Randomness incarnate. Somewhat more likely to be helpful if you're being entertaining (Note: Xom has a terrible sense of humour). Good luck!
  • Yredelemnul: Allows you to raise a horde of undead, which can be converted into powerful effects. No magic necessary!
  • Zin: Defensive priest, with many strong abilities to save your skin.
  • The Shining One: God of light and holy wrath. Particularly excels against the forces of evil common in the later game.

Primary Melee Fighters

These gods work best for characters who primarily kill monsters with weapons rather than with spells.

Trog the Furious

Trog is the most offensive-minded melee fighter's god. Piety is gained by killing living monsters, demons, holies and especially spellcasters. Their abilities are tremendously useful throughout all stages of the game. These abilities are based off of piety, not Invocations, giving you leeway to invest into other skills. Trog is one of the few gods who can be worshipped from the beginning of the game, and one of the fewer gods that also gives you a strong early ability. Trog is a great god for a player new to Crawl, or for any melee character who plans for a three- or four-rune run.

As a Berserker's god, Trog allows you to Berserk -- which temporarily provides massive boosts to damage, speed, and HP. However, the status prevents you from using many kinds of items (including throwables, potions, and scrolls). Doing anything but attack will also cause berserk to quickly wane. Once it ends, you'll be slowed down. Before activating Berserk, try to avoid attracting more monsters, or otherwise have a means of escape (most often, a staircase). Berserkers start with the 1* of piety required to berserk immediately.

Berserk is best in the early game, where there's few other options to save your skin. However, Trog's kit remains useful for the entire 3-rune game:

  • Trog's Hand gives temporary regeneration and willpower, even during -Regen. Less exciting than the other two abilities, but lets you recover quickly and is useful against monsters who would otherwise banish or paralyse you.
  • Brothers in Arms summons always-friendly, always-berserk ogres, trolls, bears, and giants. Berserk gives monsters an even stronger buff to damage; in small numbers, they are more than a match for nearly every enemy in the game, including orbs of fire! Summon brothers early, and summon often; losing piety is much less dangerous than your life.

Learning, training, or casting magic of any kind will offend Trog. Note that Trog doesn't mind use of "magical" scrolls, potions, or wands.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Any character with zero short term interest in magic. Trolls, Minotaurs, and Hill Orcs will have the easiest time due to their excellent melee aptitudes. Berserk and Brothers in Arms are both such strong abilities for a starting god that even Deep Elf Berserker is a strong (albeit not recommended) choice.

Okawaru the Warmaster

Okawaru is the "default" god for melee characters. You gain piety by killing; high-HD (strong) monsters are more rewarding. Okawaru's main quirk is that it forbids allies.

Oka's simple, straightforward effectiveness has made it one of the most popular, yet criticized, gods in the Crawl pantheon. It provides two active buffs and one ability to its worshippers:

  • Heroism, obtained at 1*, gives a +5 bonus to every non-magic skill. Somewhat expensive. But don't hesitate to use this in a fight you'd have trouble in.
  • Finesse, obtained at 4*, doubles your attack speed. Approximately 8 Invocations is required to get a decent success rate; but failing costs nothing but MP and a turn. Double attack speed is very strong, potentially stronger than even a Berserk, with none of the immediate downsides. This can turn many otherwise dangerous fights into a cakewalk.
  • Duel, gained at 5* piety, can force a single strong-enough enemy into a single combat arena with you. This is most useful as an escape tool. You will only have to fight 1 monster in a duel. After you defeat your opponent, you'll have ~15 turns to rest, buff up, and prepare for what's outside.

Okawaru also provides gifts of weapons, armour, shields, and throwing ammountion. Many individual items will be of little permanent use, but by the endgame you will likely find yourself using plenty of god-given equipment. While Trog will also provide weapons, Okawaru is the only god who bestows armour, ammo, and shields as gifts. These gifts are one of the few ways to get a decent supply of Throwing implements; most Okawaru followers should take advantage of this fact.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Most melee and ranged characters not already worshipping another god. Any character who desires rare equipment, such as quick blades or specialized darts. Hybrid magic knight builds who would be discouraged by Trog, such as Gnolls, Transmuters, and Warpers.

The Shining One

The Shining One (TSO) is a slightly more defensive-minded god who crusades against evil. It will protect you from negative energy and may intervene to save your life. You'll gain piety from destroying evil, undead, and demonic monsters. Consequently, undead and demonic players are unable to worship TSO.

Immediately, you'll be surrounded by a halo that increases in size as you gain piety. It increases accuracy, reduces stealth, and prevents anything from going invisible within its radius. TSO also prevents followers from stabbing unaware or helpless enemies.

What shines about TSO is that he restores your HP and MP when killing unholy monsters. Along with (eventual) rN+++ and holy attacks, TSO ends up being tremendously useful for the Hells, Pandemonium, and Tomb. But in addition, The Shining One provides a plethora of useful active abilities:

  • Divine Shield is obtained from 1* piety, which grants temporary SH. It's low-investment and cheap, but not as cheap as many other gods.
  • Cleansing Flame is provided at 3* piety, which hits every enemy in a 2 tile radius around you. It only becomes effective at high Invocations, and only really against evil casters, demons and undead, but it is a ridiculously strong AOE tool once you get there. Even if you get constantly tormented, TSO's HP and MP on kills means you can keep spamming Cleansing Flames until enemies around you are dead.
  • You gain the ability to Summon Angels and Daevas at 5*, and they are strong summons. Angels are fast, use holy-branded weapons, and have late-game stats; able to compete in Zot and the extended game easily.

Because of the aformentioned abundance of unholy monsters, TSO piety is gained extremely rapidly in the extended game.

At 6* of piety, you gain the ability to bless a weapon, increasing its enchantment and giving it the holy wrath brand; use it on the best non-artifact weapon you've got. Blessing Demon whips, Demon tridents, and Demon blades will turn them into their respective holy variants, making them acceptable for the good gods.

Although a great choice for undead and demon-infested late-game, gaining piety with The Shining One is slow early on. Many players start off with a different god to get up to Zot, then switch to The Shining One when they are about to enter the branches where their holy powers are most useful. Once you are ready to take on the Hells or Pandemonium, switch to The Shining One and head for the Crypt, where you can quickly gain large amounts of piety. You will likely suffer wrath of your former god, but you should be able to survive at this point (Blinking and running away are always useful).

The Shining One also enforces a few 'knightly' conducts. Your halo will prevent you from going invisible, you will be unable to stab your opponents, and you will not be able to use Necromancy - including ever-useful spells like Borgnjor's Vile Clutch and Necromutation.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Characters, especially melee, with dreams of obtaining the runes that lie in undead/demon heavy branches, such as Tomb, Pandemonium, and the Hells. Those with good Invocations aptitudes, such as Hill Orcs and Merfolk, are particularly well-suited. Summoners also like TSO's halo accuracy and summon boosts.

Makhleb the Destroyer

Makhleb is the god of violent death. Followers earn piety by killing enemies for the Destroyer.

Doing so will soon grant you a chance to heal some HP when killing your foes. This creates synergy with anything that can kill, and kill fast - Axes come to mind. Makhleb also comes with some strong invocations:

  • Minor (2*) and Major Destruction (4*) are decently strong ranged attacks. The former only costs 1 HP, while the latter costs 6 HP and occasionally 1 piety. Greater Destruction is particularly notable for its piercing bolts, many of which are exclusive to Makhleb.
  • Summon Lesser (3*) and Greater Demon (5*) are both strong summons, if you can afford to invest in Invocations. Lesser demons can take out mid-game threats like hydras, while Greater demons remain respectable for the rest of the game. Allies in general are strong, with these demons being no exception.

However, it takes quite a bit of Invocations skill to use all these abilities, especially to keep the summoned demons from spawning hostile.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Most melee characters. Special synergy with those with hampered regeneration: Vampires and Ghouls. Makhleb's invocations are often redundant with actual spells, and casters rely on MP mid-combat like they do HP... except for Djinn, who like Makhleb if they desire to cast as much as (in)humanly possible.

Primary Spellcasters

On the other hand, if magic is your character's planned forte, you'll find Sif Muna, Vehumet, or Kikubaaqudgha more to your liking. All three gods will make certain spells available, no matter how the dungeon RNG feels about you.

Sif Muna the Loreminder

Sif Muna is the "default" god for spellcasters. Of the three, Sif is the most conventional. Piety gain is straightforward: kill most monsters, gain piety.

Sif's major appeal comes from spellbook acquirement: as you gain piety (from 5* on), it will gift you spellbooks; each book is guaranteed to have at least one spell you haven't yet found, and weighted toward your current magic skills. Eventually, you will have access to every spell in the game.

  • Sif's other main feature is Channeling; a 1* ability that grants greatly increased MP regeneration for several turns. Don't worry about running out of mana in rough situations -- or do, since it still costs time and piety.
  • At 3* piety, you may forget any spell you know, similar to a scroll of amnesia. If you have any such scrolls, use them first (since scrolls cost no piety), but this ability is handy if you run out.
  • Divine Exegesis, acquired at 4*, allows you to cast any spell in your library using your Invocations skill instead of the associated spell schools. Spells like Malign Gateway and Dragon's Call are amazingly strong for large portions of the game, and Shatter can break through walls. Exegesis is a very expensive ability, but if you don't need any more spells, then you can afford to be at low piety.

Sif Muna starts off slow, but the power of MP channeling remains consistent throughout the entire game. And you still retain access to your wide spell library, even if you leave.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Many sorts of magically inclined characters, though those with strong proficiency in many schools (such as Deep Elves) benefit most from the variety of spellbooks. Vehumet and Kiku give more direct bonuses to their specific schools, giving more predictable spells quicker than Sif.

Vehumet the Battlemage

Vehumet is the god for purely offensive mages; piety is awarded by killing monsters (via magic or otherwise).

Vehumet provides solely passive abilities, making it a strong, low-management god that requires no investment in Invocations. However, the lack of passive abilities means you must rely entirely on your own (bolstered) skills in combat -- casters that have run out of MP will have to retreat or resort to alternate ways of killing enemies.

Fortunately, from 1* of piety onwards, Vehumet may restore your MP every time you kill a monster. This allows you to keep blasting away, or possibly recover your magic by attacking with a weapon (like a magical staff). In addition, Vehumet will provide direct boosts to your 'destructive spells', which includes all conjurations and a number of non-conjuration spells:

  • At 3* piety, your chance of miscasting destructive spells is significantly reduced, allowing you to make use of powerful spells much earlier than usual, or in heavier armor than usual.
  • At 4* piety, the ranges of your destructive spells are extended by 1 tile (with a few exceptions).

Like Sif Muna, Vehumet will gift you with destructive spells. Unlike Sif, you "only" get 15 spells; but they start as soon as you hit 1* of piety, and scale in power with divine favor. Like Sif, these spells are inclined to what you've already trained. The last 3 spells will always be 3 level 8 or 9, available as long as you still worship Vehumet.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Conjurers and dedicated nukers of all kinds. Focused species like Earth Gargoyles and Demonspawn. Tengu, with good aptitude for Conjurations, are especially well-suited for Vehumet. For backgrounds, Hedge Wizards and Venom Mages like the immediate focus into other spell schools, though any mage background benefits.


Kikubaaqudgha is the god of the necromantic arts. Spellcasters who dabble in darker domains can opt to worship Kiku. This demon-god appreciates the slaying of most things. Unlike other gods, the Necromancy skill determines Kiku's strength.

Kiku provides two unconditional spell gifts to followers: at 1* and 3* piety, Kiku will grant assortments of Necromancy spells. These are slightly randomized, including powerful crowd spells in Animate Dead and Death Channel. Other spells to watch out for are Borgnjor's Vile Clutch, a great utility and damage spell alike, and Simulacrum for extremely powerful, but frail and single-target, undead.

  • At 1* piety, followers of Kiku can Unearth Wretches scaling in quality Necromancy. Wretches will die in a few turns (activating all undead spells), giving you a chance to quickly create a legion of undead. This ability is cheap for how much undead you can create.
  • At 5* piety, you may invoke Torment yourself against everything within line-of-sight.

Kiku will protect its followers from Torment, starting from 2* piety. Torment is rather common in late-game areas like the Hells, Pandemonium, and especially Tomb. This protection stacks with the protection granted by having negative energy resistance, allowing Kikubaaqudghites to far more easily endure Torment.

And at 6*, Kiku offers a choice between another assortment of the rarest and most powerful Necromancy spells (Infestation, Haunt, Necromutation, Borgnjor's Revivification, Death's Door, and Haunt) or the ability to bless a weapon, increasing its enchantment and applying the pain brand (which grows more powerful as you increase your skill with Necromancy).

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Any character aspiring to become well versed in Necromancy, for differing reasons, and any magic user who wants a reliable mass of undead. Undead species especially profit from an easy way to torment your enemies without hurting themselves.

"General" Gods

Instead of choosing a god who will simply enhance your character's specialization, you can also go with a god that shores up your weaknesses, one that provides some emergency help, or one that is just plain powerful.

Dithmenos the Shadowed

Dithmenos' most obvious perk is improving your stealth, but this isn't all this god is good for!

Specifically, Dithmenos immediately gives you an umbra, decreasing enemy accuracy and eventually doubling your stealth. This umbra will eventually grow to cover your entire LOS.

Shadow Step, given at 3*, will blink you within one space near an enemy within your umbra. This can be used to nail a stab within as few turns as possible... or you can use it to escape, or get into a hallway with only one monster near it.

Dith's other abilities continue to help both the intentionally stealthy and a more conventional character:

  • Shadow Mimic will copy your attacks up to 50% of the time at maximum piety -- great for spamming Hexes, Conjurations, or even just melee attacks. An effective 25% damage increase, this passive alone should give Dithmenos some respect for any character.
  • Bleed Fog at 4* will provide sight-prohibiting fog clouds any time you take sufficient damage. Useful for enemies with any sort of ranged attack, particularly the manifold sources of torment.
  • The 5* Shadow Form halves damage taken (and dealt), giving any character an escape. Using the ability, as well as taking damage while a shadow, gives temporary HP drain, but it's an ability that lets you be fairly secure in your escape.

Recommended race and class combinations: Characters looking for some unique escape tools and power; that preferably benefit from extra stealth. Ultra stealthy, ultra low level Spriggan challenge runs looking to sneak runes like in the Lair rune branches and the Abyss deserve a special mention.

Note that classically stealthy characters - Spriggans, Vampires, etc., don't particularly need Dith's help to do what they do. If playing by the normal XP curve, they will have all the stealth they'll need without the help of a god.

Gozag Ym Sagoz the Greedy

Gozag Ym Sagoz is the god of money. In order to join Gozag, you have to spend a service fee. Followers gain no piety. Instead, they turn corpses into gold -- including corpse drops like dancing weapons -- and spend it on Gozag's invocations. This gold can often distract enemies, bedazzling them with riches (an easy passive to underrate).

If you have 400 gold, you are able to call in a Potion Petition. Each petition calls in 3 random sets of potions; but the potential to pop heal wounds, haste, and resistance at the same time is a rather strong panic button. Use it when you have to, preferably before you are one turn away from dying, as potions are still random. Note that this ability's costs are based on the potion set itself, and works even if you can't normally drink potions.

With at least 800 gold, you can call in a shop directly at your location. Shops can give you a great spellbook, weapon to train in, or armour and jewellery to prop up your resistances. However, nothing is guaranteed, and the cost of each successive shop is increased.

With 3000 gold, you can Bribe Branch - turning enemies neutral, or even into your allies! Difficult levels, such as the Tomb or Zot:5, are made into jokes by bribing once or twice.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Gozag is a strong god choice for any character, but especially those who want the ability to ignore some of the most difficult floors in the game, or who have limited access to potion effects like mummys and vine stalkers. Finding an early shop with a powerful but expensive artefact is also a good reason to worship Gozag, as you will be able to afford it much sooner. Characters looking to dive through multiple Ziggurats may want to worship Gozag; where the mass of gold will always keep enemies distracted while allowing you to gain permanent haste through Potion Petition. Gozag is somewhat less desirable on species like trolls that want to wear dragon scales (which Gozag will turn into gold), but shops can make up for this.

Elyvilon the Healer

Elyvilon the Healer... what else do you need but healing? Ely piety is gained by exploration, and partially retained if you switch to or from TSO or Zin. A particularly spectacular feature is Ely's lifesaving; while the other good gods may save your life, Elyvilon is guaranteed to at 5* of piety, with a piety-based cooldown. And like the other good gods, Ely will forgive abandonment, unless you then worship an evil god.

As you would expect, Elyvilon provides a plethora of healing and buffing abilities:

  • At 1* of piety, you gain the ability to Purify yourself from various status conditions. Many poisonous creatures exist in the Lair and before, and confusion is a pervasive threat throughout the game. Petrification is another noteworthy status. One of the few ways to cure draining and restore lowered stats.
  • At 2* piety, you can Heal Others, potentially pacifying them. Keep in mind who it targets; animals, such as Hydras, are the most likely to be pacified, and mindless creatures, such as slimes, can't be pacified at all. In spite of the name, this is effectively a smite targeted instant death ability, and is very powerful with high Invocations.
  • At 3* piety, can you Heal Self. It's as strong as you'd expect healing to be, and no more or less.
  • And at 5*, you gain access to Divine Vigour, which increases your max HP and MP by respectable amounts.

Elyvilon's tools are plain, but powerful. Healing can turn the tides of battle, give you enough healing to escape, and save your life. Almost nothing can outdamage 50+ hp per turn.

Recommended race and class combinations: Elyvilon rewards high Invocations and is best on characters who can afford it, but heal self is useful even with minimal investment. Heal Other is particularly good for characters that lack a strong ranged option and have a high Invocations aptitude.

Lugonu the Unformed

Lugonu is the god of the Abyss, with every ability revolving around its dominion over the eldritch plane.

When banished to the Abyss, Lugonu will provide an immediate way out. This costs a decent amount of piety, but is definitely worth your safety. If you've abandoned another god to escape, then Lugonu will partially protect you. Whenever godly wrath triggers, Lugonu will banish random monsters.

But what's generally more useful than getting out of the Abyss, is getting things in:

  • A 2* worshipper gains the ability to banish any enemy. If it succeeds against enemy willpower, the target will be banished - essentially killed. If it fails, it inflicts malmutate, which significantly lowers AC and also lowers willpower.
Dangerous uniques are no more - and with the help of a scroll of vulnerability, even the Royal Jelly can be sent to the Abyss! Keep your distance and watch your piety. Banish, like other hexes, doesn't have the greatest success rate, and is somewhat redundant with spell magic.
  • You can banish yourself too. This is an incredibly costly ability: ten MP, a large chunk of your HP, a huge piety cost, and the Abyss still isn't exactly safe. But the Abyss may well be less dangerous than the middle of the Orb Chamber on Zot:5 or a Ziggurat, so it can give you a relatively safe space to recover from a hectic late-game battle.

Despite its relatively high piety cost, worshippers should never be too stingy with banishing monsters. Lugonu's other invocations are quite useful, though never a staple of your kit:

  • The Corruption ability, given at ****, makes many levels, including Zot:5, easier. Not only do you break otherwise impassible stone walls, but the swarms of neutral, high level monsters will duke it out with natural inhabitants. You can only corrupt once per level, but that's all you (should) need.
  • Finally, you can bless a weapon at 6*, increasing its enchantment and giving it the distortion brand. Distortion is a somewhat risky brand as it may blink your enemies away from you. However, it provides bonus damage, regardless of base damage, making it particularly good on small and fast weapons.

Recommended race and class combinations: Characters seeking alternative means for dealing with particularly meddlesome monsters and levels, particularly those focused on melee. Characters already banished to the Abyss who desperately need a way out. Notably, Lugonu is difficult to find outside the Abyss itself or starting as an Abyssal Knight.

Zin the Law-Giver

Zin is the god of order. Piety is largely gained from gold donation, which hurts on your shopping supply. However, gaining piety with a late-game character with enough gold is a quick task. Piety can also be obtained by killing the chaotic, demonic, and undead (thus, demonspawn and undead players are unable to worship Zin).

Zin hates chaotic actions, and therefore any form of mutation. Therefore, the law-giver provides resilliance from mutation; at 6* of piety, you get complete immunity, so potions of mutation now rinse you free of them. Late-game characters looking for a way out of deadly malmutations might desire Zin for this purpose. Zin also blocks 50% of Hell's mystical effects (as well as all mutations).

The main draw of Zin, however, ithe plethora of largely defensive active abilities:

  • Recite is a free 1* piety ability. It is particularly helpful in dealing with particularly dangerous demons, undead, or priests, but can affect a wide array of intelligent monsters. Recite triggers three times over the course of three turns; anything that requires the use of your mouth (such as reading a scroll or drinking a potion) will interrupt Recite, but can still be performed if necessary.
  • Another buff, though not free, comes from Vitalize (2*). This ability isn't as powerful as a dedicated combat god like Okawaru, but it protects you from many status effects, such as poison and petrification.
  • Zin also provides ability to Imprison dangerous monsters (3*). Use it on the many uniques you have to run from; many mid and late-game uniques are still very threatening to your character.

However, Zin's most notable ability is Sanctuary; obtained at 5*, it scares monsters within a 9-tile radius and prevents almost all attacks. It is nigh-absolute. Almost every situation, every mistake, can be solved by using Sanctuary and a few items, especially near a staircase. If you don't have stairs, at least you can heal or teleport away! Just be mindful of Silence and the 9 MP cost.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Zin works well for any strong character looking for safety against incredibly dangerous situations and mutations. Zin is a decent swap for already well-developed characters due to its money-reliant piety gain.

Hepliaklqana the Forgotten

Hepliaklqana is the god of memory. You will gain piety when exploring.

Reaching 1* of piety will give you access to your (customizable) ancestor -- and a loss of 10% maximum HP used to manifest it. Soon comes the ability to give them a class: knight, battlemage, or hexer.

  • Knights are well armoured, and well suited for tanking damage for a vulnerable mage or cat. From XL15, they start to get a branded broad axe and tower shield of reflection.
  • Battlemages are offensive. They will fire various offensive spells, though their staff will still provide good damage in melee.
  • Hexers, well, hex. For zero-cost, they'll spam Slow, Confuse, and more as you level up. They also come with a draining brand melee, upgraded to antimagic at XL24.

The ancestor will gain power and even some new equipment as you level up. They are strong enough to fight many battles on its own, though fighting together is always stronger! Even if its just you firing behind your ancestor (or vice versa), as neither being will block the other's projectiles. Remember that enemies benefit from corridors as much as you; try and find areas where you can 2v1 enemies without allowing them to swarm you. Or, you can use your ally as a distraction to run away (without attacks of opportunity), which includes igniting them with an Inner Flame first.

Transference comes at 3*, giving you various clever repositioning techniques. You can tell your ancestor to retreat, then swap yourself for an easy escape tool. You can swap a monster with the ancestor in order to get a stab off. From 5* of piety onwards, using this ability will drain enemies affected. But Idealize (4*) is really the star of the show: For a medium piety cost, you will instantly heal and strengthen your ancestor; allowing it to win dangerous fights all by itself.

Recommended race and class combinations: Hepliaklqana might not be the best for naturally strong characters - Minotaurs, Troll, etc. But for those who struggle with combat, and want a god that can explicitly carry them through fights later in the game - think Octopode, Mummy, or challenge runs - benefit most with Hep. However, any character can greatly appreciate Hep's ancestor.

Fedhas Madash

Fedhas Madash is the god of plants, allowing you summon plant allies to aid you in battle. Fedhas appreciates your contributions to the ecosystem (i.e., killing non-plant monsters).

From 0*, you gain the ability to pass and shoot through plants; even a Fireball won't hurt them. Plus, all plant enemies (such as oklob plants and thorn hunters) will turn neutral. Enemies will struggle getting through plants. More specifically, you can create a wall of thorny briar patches with your 2* ability. Use this to get away, or to do some safe chip damage. Briars do not block projectiles, however.

Fedhas' strongest invocations are the rapid-fire ballistomycetes and oklob plants, obtained at 3* and 5* respectively. Ballistomycetes need care; they will summon explosive spores, which will confuse and damage anything in caught in its blast (including you!). Oklob plants are stronger, shooting acid (inflicts the ever-useful corrosion) at your opponents. Both are stronger than their enemy counterparts, and like any summon, will support a Fedhas worshipper through and through.

In addition, you gain the ability to create overgrowths in walls (4*). This ability will overwrite even stone walls with various flora; allowing you to bypass stone-locked areas such as Slime:5 and Zot:5.

Your plant abilities will become truly impressive at high Invocations. But, even at low-medium Invocations, they can inflict devastating status effects.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Characters who can afford to invest heavily into Invocations; especially Hill Orc and Demonspawn, who have a high aptitude. Characters with a good ranged option will be able to use briars most effectively (and will have less trouble avoiding ballistomycete spores), but even pure melee characters work well with Fedhas.

Nemelex Xobeh the Trickster

Nemelex Xobeh is the god of the draw. As you explore, not only do you get piety, but Nemelex also provides you with a set of three decks (Destruction, Escape, and Summoning) and cards to fill them up.

Destructive cards do what's on the tin; they destroy. These cards often replicate conjuration spells, like corrosive bolts and orb of destruction. Escape cards can give you space; from sight-blocking fog to solid walls to conventional healing over time. Summoning cards let you create a mass of allies, of decent to pandemonium lord quality. All three sets of cards scale strongly with Invocations skill; their combat effects are improved by it.

Cards are drawn randomly, and you can store a maximum of 52. But as the dealer, you get the ability to stack the deck. Literally - as a 5* power, you can stack a deck of 5 cards to use separately. Nemelex also provides a few other manipulative abilities:

  • You can Triple Draw at 3* - allowing you to pick one of three cards -- the other two are discarded. Great when you need that one specific card, or when drawing cards like Degeneration would be harming.
  • You can instead play 4 cards, all at once, at 4* of piety. You'll most likely be in a much safer spot when you do 4 escaping effects at once -- or even just 4 cards of pure damage. Of course, this is heavy on your card count.

Recommended race and class combinations: Characters with good Invocations aptitude can make the best use of Nemelex, but most any character will appreciate the variety of powerful effects that cards can offer.

Exotic/Challenging Gods

The following gods either:

  • Have unique piety systems that you must take into account,
  • Have quirks that make them potentially dangerous to follow,
  • Are simply weaker than average,
  • Or just provide a different playstyle, unique from any heathens.

Ignis the Dying Flame

Ignis, as the name suggests, is a god of fire. And, just like a lit fuse, it'll soon burn out entirely. Ignis worshippers, namely Cinder Acolytes, start with 5* of piety, but can not ever gain piety. On the plus side, you won't lose piety over time -- though it'll be depleted through ability use.

Ignis comes with the proactive Fiery Armour, and the overall powerful Foxfire Swarm. The former gives you some AC and retaliatory damage, useful for fairly tough (but not too tough) early enemies -- think adders and bullfrogs. The latter creates a ton of foxfires, which are incredibly powerful early, but do not scale. Both powers are lost once you get below 1* of piety.

Rising Flame is a 'capstone' ability; available for free at any piety level, but only once. You will rise up to the floor above in 2-4 turns; effectively a better, always safe teleport. It is incredibly strong no matter when or where you use it (except the Abyss), but make sure you consider the other two invocations first!

Even with piety fully depleted, Ignis will always provide rF+. However, it is desirable to switch to another god sooner or later -- Ignis' unusually weak wrath encourages this. Gods like Yred or Zin both have piety systems that let you catch up without prior worship, though any god will work. Consider switching after finishing the Lair or the Dungeon branch, though when exactly to leave is ultimately up to you. Just beware of fire elementals and shafting!

Recommended race and class combinations: Cinder Acolytes are the only class that can use Ignis at best time in the game, or the very first few floors of the dungeon.

Any species who has trouble with the early game - aka, any character - benefits from Ignis. Species that would really like a consistent early game, like Barachim and maybe Mummy (who also likes rF), benefit the most. Species like Hill Orc and Minotaur, that can handle the 'weak spot' before you get another god, like the incredible consistency provided by Ignis.

Beogh the Brigand

Beogh can only be worshipped by Hill Orc characters. In exchange, it grants the ability to convert fellow orcs into allies!

Orcs will join you when they see you, when you nearly kill them, or when you would have killed them. You get a better conversion chance with higher piety and experience level, so waiting to complete the (now extremely easy) Orcish Mines is recommended. Your Orcs can take out even Zot, if by your help and sheer numbers, but struggle in the extended game. Beogh's orcs, being one of the few permanent allies in the game, can take up to half your XP for killing a monster -- the god will also distrbute bonus XP for free. In turn, they will eventually level up into Orc warlords, and can be gifted equipment. Polearms are very useful for your army, able to hit behind you and other orcs for extra damage.

Beogh also gives you access to a powerful Smite. It is quite expensive in piety - but there's nothing else quite like it. It is a guaranteed hit on any enemy within LOS. Take out threatening uniques in just a few turns, or an an annoying boggart, opposing orc high priest, or vault warden.

Beogh's other active, Resurrection (6*), is really if you care about a specific orc. Normally, it's better to use all your piety on Smiting -- there's nothing else to use it on! To complete the Abrahamic connections, Beogh allows passive water walking at 5*, which is a small consideration for Swamp or Shoals.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: As stated, only Hill Orcs may worship Beogh - Hill Orc Monk is a decent combination. HO is a fairly strong species, but Beogh gives a chance of salvation if you're about to die from an orc priest. Beogh's ally play is redundant with Summonings and Necromancy, and orcs may get in the way of some destructive Conjurations.

Ru the Awakened

Ru is the god of sacrifice... not of corpses or items, but yourself.

When you explore, Ru will occasionally grant the option of 3 different sacrifices. This can be as extreme as cutting your hand (removing two-handed weapons, shields, and a single ring), to as simple as losing a little Strength. Stronger sacrifices will be justly rewarded, and during the dangerous early game, you might want Ru's extreme power. Your sacrifices suffice; there is no need for Invocations skill.

Ru's powerful aura will soon come and protect you - dissuading attacks, stunning your enemies, or even reflecting attacks back. While even at max piety, there's "only" a 15% chance to do something, your aura still gives a noticeable combat buff for any character.

Ru's actives all come with a theme. They cost no piety; instead, they have a cooldown (exhaustion status), and potentially drain you of temporary max hit points:

  • Draw Out Power will immediately replenish HP and MP, while curing a plethora of status effects. A (nearly) free healing potion isn't to be scoffed at.
  • Power Leap, similar to a barachim's hop, lets you accurately pick a nearby tile to land near. Great when surrounded, or just about any situation you need to bail on (but beware of noise!). It deals quite a bit of damage, and doesn't even drain you!

But Ru's most impressive ability comes from Apocalypse. Given at 5* of piety, it will brutalize every enemy in line of sight. Anything that somehow survives is given a debilitating status. From taking out hydrae to nuking an alarmed floor full of monsters, this ability is incessantly powerful, and should be used in dangerous situations often. While it does heavily drain you, killing packs of enemies will give you the experience needed to mitigate, or even fully negate, the draining.

Recommended race and class combinations: Melee characters naturally face more attacks for your aura to negate, benefit from more "sacrifices" you wouldn't use (such as magic schools, Love, and stealth), and appreciate an MP-expensive, full LOS attack the most. However, any character who is willing to give in to the sacrifices is a good pick for Ru -- and if you don't like any of them, you can leave Ru with no penalty (other than sacrifices you've already made).

Jiyva the Shapeless

Jiyva is the slime god - fittingly, only guaranteed to spawn in the Slime Pits. Assuming you can find them in the Temple or Lair, they are respectably strong. Exploring (outside of Slime) will rapidly give you piety. As the slime god, Jiyva will make jellies and slimes (and eyeballs) neutral to you, provide resistance to corrosive effects, and immunity to slime-covered walls.

The most notable thing about Jiyva are it's constantly summoned jellies. Jellies will constantly devour items, and Jiyva itself will slowly consume items on already explored floors. To compensate, a 1* Jiyva will provide massive regeneration: starting at 0.8 HP and 0.25 MP / turn, ramping up to double that at maximum piety.

Your body will constantly be changing with bursts of (usually) good mutations, while naturally clearing bad ones. These "good" mutations might prevent you from wearing equipment or lower your AC, but come about as quickly as they go.

Slimify (5*) is Jiyva's most impressive ability. Thanks to Jiyva's fast piety gain, it is spammable, and Slimify turns any threatening enemy into a neutral within 2 turns. (barring already insubstantials, including the orb of fire). Oozemancy (3*) is another, cheaper invocation, turning the walls into corroding acid walls. Use this to inflict the ever-deadly corrode debuff.

Finally, at 6* piety Jiyva will unlock the Slimy Rune for free (though the slimes will devour most of the loot in the rune vault). If you chose to kill the Royal Jelly for that rune earlier, Jiyva will die. But embrace the Royal Jelly (5*), and you'll reflexively create high-level slimes on a sufficiently damaging hit.

Jiyva is hard to recommend, if only because Jiyva altars are often found so late. Elyvilon or Ignis are potential gods to chew on before you find Jiyva's altar. Later on, you'll have had plenty of chances to spawn and save consumables.

Recommended race and class combinations: Going into a game expecting to use any god is a bad mindset, and this couldn't be more true for Jiyva. However, characters who struggle with strong monsters and all three of the 3rd runes, such as Felids or Spriggans, benefit most. Trolls, Vine Stalkers, and Vampires all have faster regeneration - aka, less time wasted before jellies eat your items. Cinder Acolytes can afford the time to wait until Lair or Slime, and (should) waste less consumables during the early game.

Uskayaw the Reveller

Uskayaw is the god of the (combat) dance; like a ritual, piety comes and goes extremely quickly. Expect to get your piety to 6* in a long fight - but after a couple of calm turns, it'll fall down to 1* again.

  • Stomp (1*) allows worshippers to deal guaranteed, percentile damage to your opponents, while Line Pass (2*) gives extra mobility by crossing through and confusing a line of monsters.
  • This is before Uskayaw will paralyse your enemies, giving you the chance to stab or otherwise obliterate your foes.
  • If the fight lasts long enough, Uskayaw will put your enemies in a pain bond (4*); attacks that hurt one enemy will hurt others nearby. Axes will hit multiple times to hit multiple times again; that is, if you or the monsters can last that long.
  • You can end if off with a Grand Finale, instantly killing any foe in the game (success determined on piety and Invocations). It uses up all your piety, but it's both a teleport and a way to eliminate a particularly tough enemy.

Recommended race and class combinations: Characters who can afford to invest well into Invocations, more specifically axe fighters (more damage) and stabbers (so many distractions!). Mages (other than Enchanters) might want to stay away, as magic simply isn't as good at sustaining Uskayaw's dance.

Xom the Unpredictable

Xom is an interesting god that'll likely cause you to die in a hilarious way. Most of his actions are either harmful, flavourful, or somewhat helpful. Eventually, Chaos Knights will end up with a large amount of beneficial mutations, but a god that'll still kill them on a whim.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Chaos Knights start off worshipping Xom. This is considered a "challenge class", and the game does not recommend it for any race.

Cheibriados the Contemplative

Cheibriados is the slow god; eventually, worshippers will accrue up to a 10 aut penalty to movement speed (movement takes twice as long for most species). Being slow is a huge disadvantage; repositioning yourself risks taking multiple attacks, and running away is generally flat-out impossible without using consumables. But Cheibriados happens to be a god who provides said resources; and might even help you stop those situations all together.

As piety rises (by killing faster creatures), you will gain increased stats. At 6* piety, this equates to +15 Str, Int, and Dex. Chei worshipers can wear heavier armour while casting stronger spells and dodging more. For example, they can easily cast Translocations to supplant Chei's slowness. But these stats start as slow as Chei itself; the slowness you vulnerable to many normal speed threats in the early dungeon without much compensation. It starts out small: Chei will immediately slow down the effects of poison, giving you more time to regenerate off it. Useful for killer bees and Lair.

From 1* of piety, you gain the ability to Bend Time, Slowing creatures down. This ability requires a fair bit of Invocations investment, though reducing an enemy's combat and chase potential is still quite useful.

Slouch is a powerful, 4* invocation that always hits every enemy within LOS. Threatening screens can just be completely negated, if expensive. Slouch is particularly effective against faster enemies, and particularly effective against packs of enemies such as killer bees, spiders, and caustic shrikes. Those same enemies will give you piety back, though Slouch too expensive to be net-even. Damage is based off movement speed and XL, not Invocations.

Step from Time is a potentially stronger ability - but one that's entirely defensive. Unlocked at 5* piety, it allows you to hide for hundreds or thousands of turns; by then, your foes would have scattered, looking for you. This benefits from large spaces; monsters will wander away in due time, giving you at least the space to escape.

Cheibriados worshipers are punished for making a mistake. A single move can give every enemy 2-3 turns. While Chei's later invocations help mitigate mistakes, you would rather not spend tons of piety to fix a common error. Being slow changes how you play Crawl in its entirety. Being flexible by playing slow - literally and figuratively - is a must.

Recommended race and class combinations: Characters and players who can play around the move speed penalty; preferably ones that can use every stat Chei offers. Slow move speed is usually most dangerous when you first join Chei, so characters that can gain piety quickly like monks, slow species (like Nagas and Barachim, or anyone with ponderous), and characters with an amulet of faith will have an easier time worshipping Chei. Even with faster piety gain, its important to keep in mind that by worshipping Chei, you are giving up near term strength for future strength.

Yredelemnul the Dark

Yredelemnul is the dark god of undeath. Followers gain the power to rouse the dead by channeling Yred's power (not through Necromancy magic). The resulting undead horde is both a useful aid in combat and the fuel for Yred's powers.

By worshipping Yred, you will automatically create zombies and spectres whenever you kill. Useful in their own right, though they will dissipate if you leave the level at all. As long as you can see them, you can exchange zombies for various perks. (And you can recall them if you don't see them). They can be converted to various powers:

  • For 2 souls, and at 2* piety, you can summon a stronger, temporary ally. Respectable allies such as Profane servitors and Bone dragons may spawn at high piety and invocations.
  • For 3 souls and 3* piety, you can drain the life from living creatures. Healing is always great for emergencies, even if the damage isn't all that great.
  • And at 5* piety, you can bind a creature's soul to eternal service. It'll retain the same abilities and equipment it had in life, while having similar (noticeably stronger earlier on) stats and now-draining attacks. Unlike the rest of the zombies, these souls can travel between levels.

Notably, Yred's wrath is relatively light (especially after 3 runes), making a switch rather easy.

Recommended Race and Class Combinations: Characters who can afford to 'get the ball rolling' each floor with a heaping of undead. Important abilities are redundant to Necromancy or Summoning, and get in the way of Conjurations, meaning it is more often melee characters who favor Yred.

Note that Yred's corpse raising removes the ability to obtain troll leather armour or dragon scales from slaying their respective monster. Trolls, Ogres, and Spriggans are discouraged from rousing the black torch.

Ashenzari the Shackled

Ashenzari is the bound god of Divination, and gives players the ability to curse your items. In fact, this is the only way to gain piety; and once they're cursed, you can't remove them without losing the item forever, or even enchant them. In exchange, each curse will grant a selection of skill point buffs.

As you curse more and more, each individual buff only gets stronger - and Ashzenzari starts giving multiple passives. First comes more knowledge - instant identification of every item (1*), detection of items and monsters, and even the detection of portals. See invisible, Clarity, and the ability to scry through walls follow. Passives are the key word here - Ashenzari followers have to avoid deadly situations with their enhanced skills and knowledge.

Ash also makes the Abyss much easier. You can see gateways in and out of the hellish landscape from far away, you can see walls and flooring that signifies a rune vault, and you can see the monsters coming in advance. This helps for characters that would otherwise struggle with getting a 3rd rune.

Recommended race and class combinations: Ashenzari works well for characters that could use a boost in their abilities. From casting high level spells, to getting that executioner's axe reasonably fast, to just dealing with out of depth enemies. Mummies like both clarity and some bolstered skill levels.

Qazlal Stormbringer

Qazlal is the bringer of storms - it expects you to be loud, be proud, and decimate your competition.

Qazalal will slowly improve your storm shield. This increases your SH and surrounds you with damaging clouds. However, this comes at the extreme cost of being loud, attracting a huge swath of monsters at high piety. The storm shield will continue to improve (and continue to get loud) - granting you the otherwise rare Repel Missiles, and giving you extra resistances as you get hit.

To compensate for the sheer amount of monsters you'll face, Qazlal gives you some devastating Invocations. Upheaval (2*) will call in a smite-targetted blast that easily kills early threats like two-headed ogres and hydras. Disaster Area (5*) will clear a huge portion of the screen (but will never hit you, and tiles adjacent to you are discouraged). Elemental Force (3*) summons powerful but short lived elementals, including air elementals that are capable of paralyzing most enemies in the game. Requires significant Invocations investment to truly show their power.

Recommended race and class combinations: High Invocations is very important, and Qazlal is best on characters that can start investing in it early. Being able to face large encounters brought on by the noise is also important, but luring and Qazlal's own abilities usually do a good job of handling this. Qazlal's passive SH and repel missiles help to mitigate the drawbacks of not having a shield, and a high damage two handed weapon helps kill the enemies drawn by noise before they overwhelm you, so Qazlal may be particularly desirable for characters that plan to use a two handed weapon. Qazlal's abilities are practically Conjurations of their own - so casters will find the god's abilities a bit redundant.

The Wu Jian Council

The Wu Jian Council are ascended martial artists; worshipping and killing in their name will give you some strong techniques.

You'll get 3 movement based attacks early on, which avoid attacks of opportunity. Lunge deals extra for approaching an opponent, Whirlwind will damage adjacent enemies when moving sideways, and Wall Jump will give extra mobility with a wall. It's up to you to make the most of these abilities, even if they aren't that strong to begin with. All three skills will activate at the same rate as your movement speed (Wall Jump takes 2 moves), though your weapon speed determines how many attacks you actually do.

In addition, the council will provide two active abilities. Serpent's Lash (3*) will give you two instant movements. While the ability does boost martial attacks, it isn't limited to them -- for example, you can dash straight towards the stairs. Heavenly Storm (5*) will create obscuring clouds and massively boost damage and EV, as long as you keep move-attacking.

Recommended race and class combinations: Obviously, only those comfortable in melee benefit from most of Wu Jian's abilities. From those, fighters who can afford to stay out in the open can decide to pick Wu Jian. Characters reliant on stabs, especially Kobolds (where lunge takes half of their LOS), appreciate the effective rampaging that Lunge provides.


Of course, you can choose to just not to worship a god. Whenever for roleplay reasons, or as a challenge, picking no god is a perfectly valid option. Stone Soup is designed around a god to ease up difficult situations... but then again, the game's also designed with a species forlorn from any divine help.

Recommended race and class combinations: Demigods are too proud to put any "god" before them. Of course, anyone can decide to go godless, whenever it'd be for tournament points or simply for fun.

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