Evil

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Evil (also "unholy") is a label used to describe immoral deeds, objects, forces, or beings. Evil is usually contrasted with good, which describes things that are beneficial and actively make the world a better place. In Dungeon Crawl, there are many sources of evil.

Note that the game does not shoehorn players into a "good" role. Your character has free will and may make use of evil items, magic, or gods as you please, or be completely indifferent to issues of good or evil altogether.

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Evil monsters

These monsters are invariably evil, and many gods award piety for destroying them.

These monsters take damage from holy wrath branded weapons and Holy Word.

Many hostile spellcasters (especially uniques) are considered evil in the eyes of the good gods, but do not necessarily take additional damage from the holy wrath brand. They are vulnerable to effects such as cleansing flame, however.

Evil species

The following player species are undead or demonic themselves, and often have some inborn motive to prey on other intelligent beings. Note that playing one of these does not mean you automatically have to traffic in evil (perform evil deeds, worship an evil god, etc). Nonetheless, characters of these species are banned from worshiping good gods, and are vulnerable to evil-smiting effects (such as holy wrath).

Evil deeds

Good gods will punish followers for perpetrating any of the following acts.

In addition, each good god has their own ideas of what constitutes evil behavior.

  • Zin disapproves of followers becoming mutated, glowing, casting chaotic spells (most transmutations and a few summoning spells), or eating the flesh of any sentient being (not just cannibalizing your own species). Zin also disapproves of attacking enemies while inside an invoked Sanctuary.
  • The Shining One forbids dishonorable fighting - using poison in any form or attacking (non-evil) foes who are fleeing, unable to see you, paralysed, sleeping, confused, or otherwise "helpless".
  • Elyvilon punishes followers who harm living creatures while under her Divine Protection.

Luckily, if you follow a good god, the game will prompt you before any forbidden action, asking you if you're sure you want to do that. This prevents you from accidentally violating your god's commandments (and incurring divine retribution).

Evil items

These dreaded items were either forged by demons or created through the suffering of others, and exist only to bring further misery into the world. Good gods find the use of such items to be offensive and will punish followers for intentionally using them.

Evil gods

These gods are malevolent and require constant killing and blood sacrifices to gain their favour. They often rule over demonic or undead beings, as well. Good goods will severely punish worshipers who abandon them for one of these gods.

Evil places

Otherworldly realms of evil, home to demons or the undead. Visiting these places is not an evil act in and of itself, but you are certain to encounter much evil here.

Ambiguity in the Crawl notion of 'Evil'

Although the good gods in Crawl are portrayed as adhering invariably to moral absolutes, to the extent that even the unwitting use by the player's character of items tagged 'evil' is cause for divine punishment, there is a certain degree of ambiguity in the notion of evil in Stone Soup. Consider that the ordinary practice of an adventurer is to kill and in many cases eat an entire dungeon full of living beings, many of them sapient. In other words, a player can expect, even in low-rune runs, to perform actions constitutive of genocide. Devotion to one of the good gods hardly alters this. It would not be unusual for a favored worshipper of The Shining One, for example, an ostensibly “good” god who frowns on indiscriminate slaughter, to nevertheless kill all, and eat many, of the elves, orcs and nagas in the entire dungeon.

It is unclear what if anything the various societies of dungeon denizens, who, judging by the absence of intra-monster violence within the dungeon, are wholly peaceful, have done to deserve this horrific retribution. On the face of it, the adventurer is simply seeking the Orb. Since “evil”-aligned adventurers act in essentially the same way that “good” ones do in pursuit of this goal, it is unlikely that the finding of this orb is a sufficiently good act in itself to justify the avalanche of butchery.

In the final analysis, it seems that Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup is the story of a peaceful, multi-cultural and multi-species society falling victim to a single adventurer's avarice and quest for glory. By the time the worshiper of Zin has waded through the rivers of blood he must spill in order to claim the Orb, it is more than a little difficult to distinguish him from a devotee of Makhleb.

Against the background of the game's overarching narrative, namely murder, cannibalism, genocide and theft on an industrial scale introduced to utopia, the Necromantic spell “Regeneration”, a spell anathematised as “evil” by the “good” gods, hardly compares.