|A desolate cavern shaped from solid ice and filled with the echoes of bestial howls. The intricate carvings and statues which once lined its walls have been warped and obscured by centuries of slow melting and refreezing.|
Ice caves can appear in various locations, signaled by a "melting archway":
- "Easy" ice caves can be found on Dungeon levels 11-13, Lair, and Orc.
- "Hard" ice caves can be found on Dungeon levels 14-15, Elf, and the Lair branches (Swamp, Snake Pit, Shoals, or Spider's Nest).
Entrances to an ice cave are often guarded by a pack of ice beasts, white imps, ice devils, or (for hard ice caves) an ice dragon. You can tell when you're near one when you see ice-covered floors and walls.
There are many possible layouts. A common simple one is a series of large rooms, each of which is defended by ice beasts or ice statues. An even simpler one tosses you into one large room filled with foes, with a teleporter bringing you to a second monster-filled room. More elaborate ice caves will have long, narrow tunnels, often choked with harmful freezing clouds and concluded with a well-defended stone structure. In all cases, the majority of the loot will be found in the very back of the cave, though lesser caches can sometimes be found along the way.
Hard ice caves feature more difficult monsters, and often have better loot.
- Fire Magic or a flaming weapon can go a long way towards killing ice-themed monsters, but you'll always want to have cold resistance. Without it, almost all enemies deal significantly more damage. Simulacra deal massive damage, walking through ice clouds is quickly lethal, and boss enemies are even scarier. "Easy" ice caves can spawn with a frost giant, while "Hard" ice caves can spawn ice fiends or even a shard shrike.
- Clouds cannot replace other clouds. If you have Mephitic Cloud and poison resistance, you can place a mephitic cloud to prevent freezing vapours from spawning. In a pinch, a scroll of fog or scroll of poison can be used instead.
- You can use wands of digging to get past areas guarded by ice statues, or to bypass freezing cloud zones. Many ice caves have rivers of deep water designed to make you walk the long way around, but flight will get you over them, allowing you to skip much of the level.
- If you start encountering powerful demons midway through a hard ice cave, be aware that an ice fiend is probably waiting for you at the end, along with a pack of simulacra and ice devils. Act cautiously from this point on! You don't want to enter melee with the Ice fiend if you have any alternative, but getting mobbed by its friends while it torments you can be just as deadly. Lure enemies into combat one at a time as best you can, and don't be afraid to run or teleport away if need be: discretion is the better part of valor.
- Characters who specialize in Hexes and Stabbing (spriggan enchanters, for instance) should bear in mind that monsters with cold resistance are immune to Ensorcelled Hibernation. Stick with Confusing Touch or use nets instead.
|Y Yak||Y Death yak||h Wolf||h Polar bear|
|Y Ice beast||k Rime drake||8 Ice statue||Z Simulacrum|
|5 Ufetubus||5 White imp||4 Ice devil||W Freezing wraith|
|u White ugly thing||p Necromancer||n Bog body|
|D Ice dragon||d White draconian|
|p Ironbound frostheart||2 Reaper||C Frost giant|
|n Bog body||u White very ugly thing||d White draconian||d White draconian knight|
|2 Blizzard demon||2 Reaper||C Frost giant||J Azure jelly|
|D Golden dragon||L Lich||1 Ice fiend||b Shard shrike|
- In 0.27, ice caves were adjusted. All maps and some entrance vaults were rebalanced. Easy ice caves no longer appear on D:14-D:15.
- In 0.14, Ice caves received fancy new ice block walls and new floor tiles.
- In 0.8, Ice caves were given two difficulty levels, depending on where they are generated in the dungeon.
- Ice caves were added in 0.5.
|Early Game||Ossuary • Sewers|
|Mid Game||Bailey • Gauntlet • Ice cave • Volcano|
|Late Game||Desolation of Salt • Wizard Laboratory • Ziggurat (Mega-Zig)|
|(Mostly) Non-lethal||Bazaar • Treasure trove|