Frequently Asked Questions

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

This page lists a series of questions that players frequently ask. Crawl also has its own official frequently asked questions, which can be found in-game through the command ?Q, which are also worth reading as a new player.

To ask for advice or talk to someone about your game, you can:

  • Head to #crawl on, where there will be people around to help you out;
  • Join one of Crawl's many Discord servers, in particular the roguelikes Discord's channel dedicated to Dungeon Crawl;
  • Post information about your game on the Tavern forum, or on the DCSS reddit

In all four of these places it will be helpful to others if you post screenshots and/or a character dump, so that other players can offer specific advice about your game and answer specific questions. If you're playing offline, you'll find your character dump in the morgue directory of your Crawl folder. If you're playing online, you can press # while in-game, which will print a link to your character dump in the chat window.

As a new player, which species and background should I play?

The most commonly suggested species and backgrounds are any combination of Minotaur, Hill Orc, and Gargoyle with Fighter, Gladiator, or Berserker. These combos provide a more gentle introduction to the game, focusing mostly on weapon-based combat and largely ignoring spells or intense skill management.

If you instead want to play with ranged weapons, a Minotaur or Spriggan Hunter may be appropriate. If you'd rather play as a spellcaster, a Gargoyle Earth Elementalist or Draconian Conjurer would be a good starting point. While Deep Elves have the best magic aptitudes, their low HP and poor defensive aptitudes make them less forgiving to play.

Although these combinations are frequently suggested for good reason, you shouldn't feel restricted to them. Depending on how you approach the game and how you like to play, a different species or background might be easier for you. Some things like Mummies and Chaos Knights are notably difficult, but there's no harm in trying things that sound interesting to you.

Which starting weapon should I pick?

Firstly, you should take a look at your aptitudes. Displayed on the selection screen itself, you can also see your species' aptitudes by pressing % when selecting species/background. Positive aptitudes are better than average, while negative aptitudes are worse. Aptitudes do matter, but not as much as you may think. Small aptitude differences can be ignored, but large differences (e.g. Merfolk's Polearms/Long Blades apts are much higher than the others) do matter.

  • Axes have the very useful cleave property, allowing you to hit every enemy adjacent to you.
  • Maces & Flails don't have any special gimmick, but have better damage and don't cut hydra heads.
  • Polearms have reaching, allowing you to hit foes from an extra tile away. In many situations, this results in an extra attack.
  • Unarmed Combat is great for Trolls and Demonspawn with early Claws. Unarmed Combat starts with low base damage, making it a worse choice for most species, but the boost from Claws mitigates this.
  • Long Blades scale with dexterity instead of strength, and their damage is similar to Maces & Flails.

If you had to pick one? Axes, at least for Hill Orc and Minotaur.

How do you get a character dump?

No matter where you're playing, you can press # while in-game to find where your dump is. If you're playing offline, you'll find your character dump in the morgue directory of your Crawl folder. If you're playing online, pressing # will print a link to your character dump in the chat window. Access to a character dump will allow other players to properly understand everything about your game, and give some information about your current situation. In both of these cases it is advisable to copy and paste the file contents to a pastebin, so that the information doesn't change as you continue your game and become obsolete afterwards.

When you finish your game, a morgue file is produced, containing all the details about that particular game. This is also found in the morgue directory of your Crawl folder offline. Online, you can access it through the IRC knowledge bots (which are available on #crawl and on Discord), or through your character page on, accessed through clicking your name in the WebTiles chat window. Online morgue files may take some time to update.

What do the different text colours on items mean?

Colours can be changed using the rcfile option menu_colour. These are the defaults:

  • Light green items are the items you currently have equipped.
  • Green items are either magical staves or weapons/armour with an enchantment and/or ego.
  • Items in blue are unidentified.
  • Items in light red are (almost) outright harmful, or items cursed by Ashenzari. Items in red are hated by your god.
  • Dark grey items are useless in your current state.
  • Yellow scrolls and potions are items intended to be used in emergency situations.
  • Items in magenta are considered dangerous: there is potentially a beneficial effect to using them, but also a detrimental effect.
  • Cyan items are particularly good and rare (scrolls of acquirement and potions of experience).
  • Items listed in white are randomly generated artefacts. These artefacts have special, randomized properties.
  • Items listed in light cyan are unique, one-of-a-kind items. They include miscellaneous evocables and special "unrand" artefacts.
  • Items in light grey are identified but not otherwise notable.

For more information, see the item article.

What do the different monster colours mean?

A monster may be highlighted in certain colours, depending on their threat level relative to your level. By default:

  • "Trivial", "easy", and "tough" monsters have no highlight.
  • "Lethal" monsters have a red highlight.
  • Monsters that have unusual items, such as wands or throwing nets, have a purple highlight instead.

Difficulty values like trivial and easy are calculated automatically by the game; they may or may not be accurate to how dangerous a monster actually is. For example, a moth of wrath might be considered "trivial", but the moth's ability to berserk nearby creatures is not trivial. Regardless, if you see a monster with a red or purple highlight, you should probably pause and assess the situation.

Which branch should I visit next?

The order in which you do branches is somewhat dependent on your equipment and situation, however there is a rough order that is suitable for most characters. Specifically:

  • The first 10-11 floors of the Dungeon.
  • The Lair.
  • The remainder of the Dungeon and the Orcish Mines, which are often done in either order.
  • Your two lair rune branches out of Swamp/Shoals and Snake Pit/Spider's Nest, which can be done in either order (Note that only one of Swamp and Shoals and only one of Snake and Spider will generate in your game).
  • Optionally, Elven Halls, which can be done a little earlier or any time later. Lots of loot usually makes it worthwhile, but the Hall of Blades is incredibly dangerous.
  • The first 4 floors of the Vaults. It is strongly recommended to avoid entering Vaults:5 at this stage.
  • The Depths.
  • Optionally, The Crypt if you are feeling too weak for Zot. The third level has an entrance to The Tomb; DO NOT ENTER!!!
  • A third rune branch, which is usually one of Vaults:5, Slime Pits, and the Abyss.
  • The Realm of Zot.

The above list applies to a standard, 3-rune game. If you want to go for more runes, potentially up to the maximum of 15 runes, you will have to do:

  • Firstly, it is recommended to complete the other two third rune branches out of Vaults:5, Slime Pits, and the Abyss, as well as Zot 1-4.
  • The first "extended" branch you complete should be the Pandemonium, which contains five runes. While the other runes are possible, Pan tends to be the easiest of the bunch.
  • Then, you can get your final five runes in generally any order you wish, from:

For more information about branches and their contents, see the Branch article, and the Walkthrough.

Which stat should I choose to increase?

Every six experience levels, you get a choice to increase one of the stats -- Strength, Intelligence, or Dexterity -- by two points (Demigods get four points every three XL). Which stat you wish to raise depends entirely on your situation.

  • If you're killing most enemies with melee weapons and/or using heavy armour, you'll probably want to raise Strength, which increases your damage and reduces the penalties from your armour and shield.
  • If you're using spells, you'll probably want to raise Intelligence, to improve your spell power and reduce spell failure chances.
  • If you're using Stealth frequently to avoid monsters, are stabbing them, or you just want more evasion, you may want to raise Dexterity. Dex also boosts the power of Short Blades, Long Blades, and non-thrown ranged weapons as strength does for other melee weapons.

If one or more of your stats is extremely low -- below about 5 -- you may want to raise it. It'll reduce the chances of getting that stat to zero, which causes a few severely debilitating effects.

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