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Version 0.21: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
This gateway leads to the Vestibule of Hell. Few would go there voluntarily.

The hallway to the four hells is guarded by Geryon. Heroes who prove their worth in the vestibule and blow Geryon's horn may explore the different regions of Hell: Dis, Gehenna, Cocytus and Tartarus.

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 the Vestibule of Hell! 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'll find multiple portals to the Vestibule in the Depths (though one possible Lair end vault contains one behind a temple filled with demons, as well as rarely on the bottom of the Orcish Mines). The Vestibule's most famous denizen is Geryon, a cowardly three-headed demon, with whom you'll also find 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 shouldn't enter any of the hells anyway.

There are four branches accessible from the Vestibule of Hell:

Each branch of Hell is 7 levels deep. The final level of each houses a unique, named demon protecting several treasure vaults, a rune of Zot, and in some cases an unrandart weapon. A unique feature of the Hell branches is that there are no stairs leading upwards; all exits from a given floor are stairways leading farther down or portals leading directly back to the Vestibule. While this means that you can't make use of stair dancing like you could in other areas, it makes escape considerably easier. Should you take a nasty beating or realize you're underprepared, simply take a portal back to the Vestibule; once you've recovered, you can resume exploration from the top of the branch. You'll retain the maps of the levels you've made so far, making it easier to find your way back down.

Besides the vaults on the final level, items and food in Hell are almost nonexistent, generally only acquired if dropped by a slain monster (e.g. a potion of blood from a vampire, edible corpses from an ice dragon or iron giant, or weapons from red devils or skeletal warriors). This gives you yet another reason to move through the Hells as quickly as possible.

Hell's Mystical Force

In Hell's branches (but not the Vestibule), resting is difficult. Every 20 turns, there is a chance that a "mystical force" may lash out at you. This usually just selects a random miscast, but may also summon demons or level appropriate monsters. Potential effects include:

  • Random miscast effects:
    • Slowing you for a few turns
    • Confusing you for a few turns
    • Making you berserk for a few turns
    • Petrifying you
    • 1-7 stat drain
    • Rotting
    • Opening a Malign Gateway to summon an eldritch tentacle.
    • Blasting you with a branch-specific attack (e.g. clouds of freezing vapour in Cocytus, sticky flame in Gehenna)
    • Blasting you with magical energy -- irresistible damage
    • Giving you very significant levels of magical contamination, enough to give you 5-10 malmutates and explosions of magical energy around you.
    • And assorted other nasty things
  • Spawning demons or other monsters around you, up to and including fiends. These are not summons: they cannot be abjured and are worth experience.

Arguably, the first two miscast effects are the most dangerous; being slowed or confused while surrounded by freshly summoned demons (or when fighting one of the demon lords on the last level) can be deadly. However, over a period of time, stat drain can become quite onerous, particularly if the same stat is drained repeatedly.


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 anyway, so you don't even have to face the monsters twice. 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 you're helplessly paralyzed or suffer two successive -7 hits on one of your stats.

If you do plan on fighting 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, Abjuration, a means of blinking if you get surrounded by summoned demons, and plenty of food (unless you're in lichform or are a mummy/bloodless vampire). 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 0.14, 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.