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Version 0.29: 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 Ogres. 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 and venom mages, but are quite capable at both melee and ranged combat too. They are naturally bad at air magic and conjurations.

Innate Abilities

  • Antennae 3: Formicids can sense monsters within 7 tiles (even through walls) and can also see invisible.
    • Formicids cannot wear any form of headgear.
  • Four Strong Arms: Formicids have four arms. They can wield all two-handed weapons with one hand-pair (the equivalent of one hand for other species), and are even able to wield giant clubs and giant spiked clubs, though with two hand-pairs. However, they are too small to use large rocks and still have only 2 ring slots. Their multiple limbs also allow them to use shields with the same reduced penalties as large species.
  • Mandibles: Formicids can dig through walls as an innate ability. First, they have to extend their mandibles, and then move into a rock wall or iron grate to start making the tunnel. Digging takes your normal movement delay per square, inflicts slight HP drain, and makes some noise.
    • Formicids can create a shaft under themselves as an innate ability, allowing them to escape downwards. Unlike digging, this ability is silent. Note that you cannot use it on the last level of a branch, nor in the Abyss, Hell, Pandemonium, Tomb, or Ziggurats.
  • Stasis: Formicids have permanent stasis, rendering them unable to gain certain space or time altering effects. They are unable to take advantage of blinking, teleport, and speed related effects (haste, berserk, Swiftness), but are immune to paralysis and slowing (but not petrification). Okawaru's Finesse, Lugonu's Bend Space, and the Passage of Golubria spell work as normal, however.

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. Their ability to wield 2-handed weapons and shields simultaneously, coupled with their high Armour and Shields aptitudes and access to almost all armour, allows them to deal stupendous amounts of damage without sacrificing anything from their defenses. Wielding any 2-handed weapon in one hand is still a massive advantage, making a formicid with end-game quality equipment far deadlier than most.

Unfortunately, they also come with one of the heaviest handicaps of any species, making it difficult to survive dangerous encounters that would otherwise be easy to bail from. While permanent stasis does protect you from slow and paralysis effects, it also disables a wide variety of incredibly useful panic buttons. You lose three of the best escape tools available (teleport, blink, and haste), as well as berserk. Where some characters can simply buff up and plow their way through dangerous foes or crowds of attackers before disappearing if a fight starts looking unwinnable, a Formicid must play more cautiously.

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
Short Blades 0 Dodging -1 Conjurations -1
Long Blades 0 Stealth 3 Hexes 2
Maces & Flails 0 Shields 3 Summonings 0
Axes 0 Necromancy 0
Polearms 0 Invocations 2 Translocations -1
Staves 0 Evocations 1 Transmutations 1
Unarmed Combat 0
Experience 1 Fire Magic 0
Throwing 0 Ice Magic 0
Ranged Weapons 0 Air Magic -2
Earth Magic 2
Poison Magic 3


As Formicids' options are limited, careful consideration of the resources you do have is important. Your innate digging ability allows you to create choke points or even kill holes, making it much safer to fight large bands of enemies. You may want to create zig-zagging tunnels (to break line of sight) in advance, near areas where there are multiple enemies. Use your antennae and high Stealth aptitude to avoid fights and lure opponents to these chokepoints. Don't forget that simply walking away before an impossible fight begins is sometimes the best option you've got.

As usual, use abilities before you're at the brink of death. For example, your Shaft ability is a guaranteed escape from any fight, but it takes a few turns to kick in, and it's much easier to survive on an unexplored, more dangerous floor when you're relatively unscathed. Shafts can also make dangerous "locked" areas such as ghost vaults easy to handle, assuming the floor below is cleared.

Tips & Tricks

  • While formicids can't blink normally, Passage of Golubria, Dithmenos' Shadow Step, and Lugonu's Bend Space ability cause space to bend, not you, and therefore still function as normal.
  • 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.


  • In 0.30, formicids will be able to shaft in the Tomb.
  • 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.


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