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Version 0.29: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
This gateway leads to the Vestibule of Hell. Few would go there voluntarily.

The hallway to the four hells is guarded by Geryon, along with various denizens of the hells themselves.

Portals to the Vestibule of Hell are found abundantly in the Depths.

"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate." -Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia, "L'Inferno", Canto III. Circa 1315

Welcome to Hell! Please enjoy your stay.

Hell is a forbidding domain crawling with demonic entities of all shapes and sizes. It is actually comprised of five separate branches: The Vestibule of Hell and its four subbranches. From the main dungeon, all Hell portals lead to the Vestibule; it is from there that one ventures into Hell's branches.

The Vestibule of Hell

Hell entry.png You're guaranteed to find multiple portals to the Vestibule throughout the Depths (though there is a Lair:6 vault that also has a portal to Hell). The Vestibule's most famous denizen is Geryon, the three-headed gatekeeper of the Hells; he is accompanied by flocks of demons and hell knights. The unique curse skull Murray will also be there 25% of the time.

The Vestibule is generally safe to clear if you've finished exploring the Dungeon and are hardy enough to have cleared the Elven Halls and the Vaults (see the article for further strategy tips).

Hell's branches

It is not necessary to kill Geryon to enter the branches of Hell, but given the endless minions that he will spawn when using his horn, it is highly advisable. Also, if you can't kill Geryon, you probably aren't ready for any of the Hells.

There are four branches accessible from the Vestibule of Hell:

Each branch of Hell is 7 levels deep. Floors 1-6 are all about a quarter the size of a regular floor, containing only one gateway out and downstair. Notice that there isn't an upstair - instead, they are portals leading directly back to the Vestibule. While this makes stair dancing harder, it makes escape considerably easier. Should you take a nasty beating or realize you're under-prepared, simply take a portal back to the Vestibule, keeping whatever map knowledge you've had.

The final level of each houses a unique, named demon lord protecting several treasure vaults, a rune of Zot, and in some cases an unrandart weapon. These floors are often very large in comparison, even to regular dungeon floors.

Hell Effects

Each Hell will inflict a persistent effect on any who dare venture into them.

These effects last for as long as you remain in their respective Hell.

Hell's Mystical Force

In Hell's branches, every time you go down a staircase, Hell's "mystical force" will lash out at you. Potential effects include:[1]

Zin will sometimes protect you from the forces of Hell. The chance to prevent an effect scales linearly, up to a 50% chance at maximum (200) piety. In addition, Zin's mutation protection will work as normal, even if the initial prevention fails; this leads to a true rate of 62.5% to prevent an effect at max piety.


The safest strategy of acquiring Hell's runes is to ignore as many monsters as possible and dive to the next level. Every upward staircase in Hell's branches returns you straight to the Vestibule. However, beware of crowding the staircase; it's your only way back down, after all.

Fighting with monsters to get experience may be tempting, but in Hell these seeming benefits are often negated by the actions of the mystical force. It's all fun and games until your maximum HP is drained in half or you recieve berserkitis right next to monsters.

If you do plan on fighting or even staying in Hell - a pastime for powerful characters only - make sure you have high resistances to counteract each branch's element: rF+++ for Gehenna, rC+++ for Cocytus, rN+++ for Tartarus, and a little bit of everything for Dis. In addition, you'll want a means of flying and a means of blinking if you get surrounded by summoned demons.

Weapons with the holy wrath brand are effective against all manners of demons and undead too. Also, at high piety, Zin will frequently block the effects of Hell's mystical force, making Zin worshippers particularly well-suited to plumbing Hell's depths.


  • Prior to 0.29, Hell's Mystical Force happened over time, rather than when descending stairs.
  • The Hells recieved a rework in 0.28; introducing many new monsters and the unique branch-wide forces of each Hell. Prior to this version, Hell's Mystical Force was slower, but more varied, with miscasts and monster spawns. In addition, Hell's floors were normal sized, with 3 stairs in each direction.
  • Prior to 0.14, players needed to evoke Geryon's horn to access the branches of Hell.
  • Prior to 0.9, a frequent Hell effect was banishment. This was replaced with Malign Gateway, mostly to reduce annoyance to the player.


  1. stairs.cc:468 (0.29.0)