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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 is about the player species. For the monster, see Formicid (monster).
The Formicids are a species of humanoid ants. Just like their tiny insect ancestors, the Formicids are well adept at earth work, both on the physical and magical sides. Their abilities have been used to tunnel immense underground communities and structures, many of which are tens of thousands of years old.

Perhaps unfortunately, their strong ties to earth have left them completely impervious to being teleported or hasted; Formicids are tied to the earth with a complete sense of stasis. While this is a seemingly bad property for a dungeon adventurer, stasis has the beneficial effect of preventing many types of nasty hexes and maledictions.

With the ability to lift ten times their own weight, the Formicids have strength rivaling that of Oni. This, along with the fact that they have four arms, allows Formicid warriors to equip both a shield and a two-handed weapon at the same time.

Formicids make good earth mages and alchemists, but are quite capable at both melee and ranged combat too. They are naturally bad at air magic and conjurations.

Innate Abilities

Formicids have a base Strength of 12, Intelligence of 7 and Dexterity of 9 (before Background modifiers).

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Starting Skills and Equipment

Formicids receive the skills and equipment listed for their background, with 2 special cases:

  • Formicids do not receive any headgear.
  • As they are able to wield them with a shield, Formicid Fighters may start with a quarterstaff.

Difficulty of Play


Formicids are blessed and cursed with some of the most dramatic species mutations in Crawl, resulting in a very unique play experience.

They are strong in all sorts of combat, since Formicids can use two-handed weapons with a shield. Melee brawlers can deal stupendous damage with that executioner's axe, without sacrificing much on defense. They can dig corridors and kill holes, making crowds easy to deal with. They are also great users of Ranged Weapons, since most are two-handed. Formicid aptitudes are good overall, with great aptitudes in Armour, Shields, and certain types of magic (Hexes, Earth, Alchemy).

Unfortunately, Formicids are unable to use 3 of the best emergency items in the game: blinking, teleportation, and haste. A normal character can fight for a while, then teleport away if it gets too hairy. A Formicid must play more cautiously. On the flip side, Formicids are immune to some of the nastiest effects in Crawl, including shafts, teleport malevolent force effects, and paralysis. Immunity to slow and dispersal traps is also great to have.

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 1 Armour 1 Spellcasting 0
Dodging -1
Maces & Flails 0 Shields 3 Conjurations -1
Axes 0 Stealth 3 Hexes 2
Polearms 0 Summonings 0
Staves 0 Invocations 2 Necromancy 0
Unarmed Combat 0 Evocations 1 Translocations -1
Throwing 0 Shapeshifting 0 Alchemy 3
Fire Magic 0
Short Blades 0 Ice Magic 0
Long Blades 0 Air Magic -2
Ranged Weapons 0 Experience 1 Earth Magic 2


As a Formicid, your options are limited, so it's important to carefully consider the resources you do have. As usual, you should use your abilities well before you're at the brink of death. Don't forget that simply walking away, before an impossible fight begins, is sometimes the best option you've got.

Digging - Digging allows you to create corridors and/or kill holes, at the cost of some HP drain. These can be used to fight a group of enemies one at a time. You may want to create zig-zagging tunnels (to break line of sight) in advance, near a pack of enemies. Use your antennae and high Stealth aptitude to avoid fights and lure opponents to these chokepoints.

Shafting - Shafting is a guaranteed escape from any fight, though it takes a few turns to activate. It can also bring you into a whole new can of worms. It's much easier to survive a dangerous, unexplored floor when you're relatively unscathed.

If the floors below you are clear, then shafting is a perfect escape tool. E.g. you can clear the floors below a ghost vault, and shaft if you need to escape the ghost.

Tips & Tricks

  • While Formicids can't blink normally, Passage of Golubria, Dithmenos' Shadow Step, and Uskayaw's Grand Finale are not blocked by stasis.
  • Don't overlook your Formicid's excellent Earth and Transmutation aptitudes: Passwall in combination with your innate digging ability is a panic button that only takes a few turns -- and it'll leave a wall between you and your enemies, too. Be sure to leave enough time for the spell to complete (two turns at minimum).
  • Once you're ready for the orb run, you can dig your way through the rest of the dungeon. Try to take the most advantageous shortcuts. You can also choose to leave a few blind corner tunnels to give yourself a chance to rest or Passwall around any dangerous monsters that bar your way.
  • Spells that disable enemies (Slow, Petrify, Cause Fear, and other Hexes) are excellent for letting you just outrun enemies you can't handle.
  • When pursued by an enemy you can't outrun or hex, luring it over a teleport trap or shaft is a great way to lose it if they're available. Be careful not to enter temporary teleport traps yourself -- you won't teleport, but you'll still destroy the trap.


  • Prior to 0.31, Formicids were not immune to malevolent force's shaft effect.
  • Prior to 0.30, Formicids couldn't shaft in the Tomb. Also, they were less encumbered by shields (as if they were a large species).
  • Prior to 0.29, Formicids had 6 DEX, a Shields aptitude of +2, and couldn't wield giant clubs and giant spiked clubs.
  • Prior to 0.28, digging through walls was slower (+2 auts), but did not inflict HP drain.
  • Prior to 0.26, digging used up hunger.
  • Prior to 0.25, Formicids could cast Swiftness.
  • Prior to 0.18, Formicids were able to dig even when transformed, had -2 Throwing aptitude, and could not use Okawaru's Finesse.
  • Prior to 0.15, Formicids could throw large rocks.
  • Formicids were added in 0.14.
  • During much of their development, Formicids were known as "dwants" (or dwarf-ants). They had less HP but leveled even faster than humans. In addition, they were particularly vulnerable to poison.


Tavern discussion

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