Player ghost

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Version 0.29: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
The apparition of an unfortunate adventurer.

A player ghost is generated when your character dies, unless your character is undead or you die in one of the following areas: Dungeon level 1 or 2, the Ecumenical Temple, the Abyss, a Wizard Laboratory, or the Desolation of Salt[1].

Ghost Vaults

All player ghosts spawn locked inside ghost vaults, which can only appear in the following branches:[2]

Each of these floors has a 10% chance to spawn a ghost vault, which contains one or more ghosts from a player that previously died on that floor and possibly other monsters defined by that specific vault. Ghost vaults will never spawn on floors with floor-wide "encompass" vaults, such as Vaults:5. A variety of different ghost vaults exist, which can be found in the ghost.des file of the source.

These ghost vaults also often contain loot, dependent on how far into the dungeon the vault generates and the difficulty of the vault's monsters. The monsters and loot are always found behind either a transporter or runed door, and will be visible through transparent walls, allowing the player to make an informed decision about when they wish to tackle the vault.

Player ghosts can also spawn in a Ziggurat negative energy floor, though out and about rather than in a vault.

Ghost Selection

When a ghost vault is generated, up to five ghosts are placed (depending on the vault). These ghosts are selected as follows:

  • If there is an available ghost file for that floor, from a previous death on the same installation (offline) or the same online server, use that ghost file. If the player subsequently kills this ghost, the ghost file is deleted.
  • Otherwise, if there is a ghost file available for that branch in the "permastore", use that ghost file. The permastore consists of a number of generic ghosts that were initially taken from deaths on some online servers in 0.22 — ghosts generated from the permastore always have randomly generated names. The permastore stores ghosts by branch, not by floor.
  • In extremely rare cases, if no ghost is available from the ghost files for that floor or permastore for that branch, use a clone of the player with the properties described in the below Ghost Properties section. If this happens, the ghost's description will include the text, "It looks just like you. Spooky...".

Ghost Properties

When your ghost is created, its stats are defined as follows:

  • Its max HP, AC and EV are equal to yours when you died.
  • Its number of hit dice is equal to your experience level.
  • Its cold, fire, and electricity resistances are equal to yours when you died.
  • It becomes undead, gaining immunity to poison, negative energy, and torment, as well as vulnerability to holy attacks and Dispel Undead.
  • It becomes insubstantial, gaining immunity to constriction and Sticky Flame.
  • If you were able to see invisible, so can the ghost.
  • Its base speed is equal to 10, regardless of the species you were playing.
  • Its damage is determined by the weapon you were wielding and your skill levels:
    • If you had a weapon in hand, the base damage is equal to the weapon's base damage, increased by 4% per skill level you had for this weapon. In addition, the attacks will have the weapon's brand (unless you were wielding a weapon of chaos, in which case no brand will be used).
    • If you had no weapon in hand, the base damage is 4 plus your Unarmed Combat skill, plus your experience level if you were a Troll.
    • This base damage is then increased by 3.3% per level of Fighting skill, then increased by 0.25 times your Strength. Total base damage is capped at 50.
  • If you knew spells, the ghost will be able to cast some of your spells as per the algorithm below.

The experience level of a ghost is indicated in their description with one of the following adjectives:

Ghost description Experience level
weakling 1 to 3
amateur 4 to 6
novice 7 to 10
journeyman 11 to 15
adept 16 to 21
veteran 22 to 25
master 26
legendary 27

Spell Selection

Player ghosts copy spells from the player if a monster version of the spell exists and the spell isn't flagged as a non-ghost spell. The chance of a ghost having a spell is based off the player's spell success rate: ([50-failure]/50)^2. For example, a spell with a 20% fail rate is ([50 - 20]/50)^2, which is 900/2500 or a 36% chance of being added to your ghost. A spell with a 0% fail rate will always be added, while spells above 50% chance of failure cannot be added. Player ghosts can learn any number of spells in this way.

Additionally some spells change slightly when learned by player ghosts: Dragon's Call will change to Summon Dragon and Swiftness will change to Sprint.

Tips & Tricks

Ghost vaults and the player ghosts within them can be extremely dangerous, often on a par with the most dangerous uniques for a given dungeon depth. There are a number of strategies for dealing with them:

  • First and foremost, don't open the runed door/enter the transporter of a ghost vault until you are ready to fight the ghost(s) and other enemies in the vault. Once you open the door, you will have to deal with the ghost, who like normal monsters can follow you through transporters or stairs. You can always come back to a ghost vault later in the game to retrieve the loot when you have much better HP, equipment and damage.
  • You can examine the ghost to get its species, class, HP, defenses, resistances, damage, weapon brand and spells before you enter the vault. This will help you decide how difficult the ghost will be to fight, and to weigh up when it is safe to enter the vault.
  • If you have it, Dispel Undead will make short work of ghosts, bypassing their defenses entirely. This can be particularly useful against later ghosts, who will often have much higher defenses than most monsters. Some ghost vaults are also themed around undead; the other enemies in these vaults can also be made significantly easier with this spell.
  • Look at the loot in the vault to see whether it could be worth it to use a consumable or two to fight the ghost vault. If there's a scroll of acquirement or artefact weapon or armour that you really want in it, it could be worth it to enter the ghost vault prematurely and use a few consumables to fight it. If, on the other hand, there's just a few stones and useless items in the vault, it's a lot less likely to be worth entering anytime soon.
  • You can check the morgue of the dead character if you wish to see exactly spells/abilities/defenses a ghost has. On local games, just search through your /morgue folder to find it; on public servers, you can usually use one of the IRC bots to find the morgue.
  • If you're worshipping Xom, be very careful around ghost vaults with runed doors, as Xom is likely to open them if you approach them, letting the ghost out. Use the exclusion tool if you need to.


  • Prior to 0.25, there were no player ghost-themed floors in ziggurats.
  • Prior to 0.23, followers of Elyvilon could pacify player ghosts.
  • 0.22 overhauled the ghost system. In previous versions, ghost vaults did not exist and player ghosts spawned unenclosed on floors, with a 33% chance to spawn a ghost on any valid floor with an available ghost file. This made ghosts much more common in the early dungeon and Lair than anywhere else, since most players die there and most ghost files are created in the early part of the game. Additionally, ghosts could not use stairs. No "permastore" of ghosts with random names existed, which meant that if no ghost files were available, no ghosts would generate. (This was most commonly the case on a fresh install of the offline game.)
  • Prior to 0.21, player ghosts' speed was affected by the player's species, and ghosts could wield chaos weapons.
  • Prior to 0.20, ghosts of adult draconians had a draining breath weapon.
  • Prior to 0.17, Deep Dwarf player ghosts did not regenerate.