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Version 0.30: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

The term instadeath can have several definitions, either in Crawl or in roguelikes in general. Of course, many people use it to describe a death which occurs instantly or very quickly, e.g. an early ogre killing a low-level spriggan in one shot.

However, the term is often used to describe deaths which occur regardless of a character's current HP, even if the death itself is not instant (so-called 'delayed instadeaths'). Such instadeaths are extremely rare in Crawl.

Player Instadeath

As of 0.30, the only way a player can involuntarily die is if they are reduced (by direct damage) to 0 HP. As mentioned, this doesn't mean you can't die from a single attack.

You can also escape the dungeon or quit the game, which are considered deaths as far as the game is concerned.

Dealing instadeath to monsters

There are a few ways to kill monsters irrespective of their hit points. They all require specific setups to work:

Banishment (through Lugonu's ** ability or a weapon of distortion) works regardless of a monster's current HP, although said monster may again be encountered in the Abyss.


  • Prior to 0.30, the Zot clock would instantly kill players that were drained below 10% of their max HP.
  • Prior to 0.29, the Zot clock would instantly kill regardless of drain status.
  • Prior to 0.26, players could face starvation and die, as opposed to the Zot clock.
  • Prior to 0.19, players falling into deep water or lava (through flight expiring) would be subject to instadeath, instead of draining every turn.
  • Prior to 0.17, it was possible for confused players to accidentally walk into deep water or lava. Intelligent monsters used to be immune to this type of death, but no longer are.
  • Prior to 0.15, it was possible to sometimes scramble out of deep water or lava.
  • Prior to 0.13, one could suffer statdeath: after a few dozen turns of a stat being at zero, the character would die. Presently, being at 0 in a stat will just apply some penalties. In addition, one could die by being level-drained to level 0 - that is, being hit by a draining attack at XL1 (removed due to the removal of XP draining)
  • Prior to 0.8, statdeath killed the player as soon as the stat hit zero, as opposed to being a delayed instadeath.

Instantkills on monsters has its own history: