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 more formally 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; specifically, there is only one way for the player to be killed instantly: starvation - and the player receives a significant amount of warning before this can occur.
Dealing instadeath to monsters
There are only a few ways to kill monsters irrespective of their hit points. All of them only work in a few specific situations:
- Most monsters die if they fall in deep water or lava. Usually, this requires confusing them near such terrain.
- Arguably, Aura of Abjuration can deal a form of instadeath to summoned monsters.
- 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 0.19, instead of receiving draining every turn, players falling into deep water or lava (through flight expiring) would be subject to instadeath.
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 0.13, 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. Prior to 0.8, statdeath killed the player as soon as the stat hit zero, as opposed to being a delayed instadeath.
In addition, prior to 0.13, one could die by being level-drained to level 0 - that is, being hit by a draining attack at XL1. This was removed when draining attacks were changed to temporarily drain skills instead of permanently draining experience.