Late Game Character Building

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Version 0.21: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This game covers basic character build strategy for players that already have at least one rune and are ready to collect the rest and finish the game with 3 runes. If you're going to 15 runes, you have enough experience and spellbooks/equipment to do whatever you want.

It is assumed you read mid-game strategy.


Wrapping up our skills for our characters...

Melee Focused

Melee focused players generally follow the same path as mid-game. Aptitudes should influence your decisions, but only mildly!


Weapon skill should go to all the way to your weapon's minimum delay and stay there till Zot. This is, for the following end-game weapons (If it's not mentioned, go ahead and go to about 18 for damage):

By Zot:5, you should probably raise these to be even higher, possibly all the way to 27 or so, but this is not necessary.

Armour & Dodging

While still not as important as weapon skill, it should close the gap after your weapon hits min delay. The most important factor to take into account here is the AC and ER of your body armour. Characters wearing armours with ER greater than 3 should prioritize Armour, and characters with low ER Dodging. Other significant factors are dexterity, size, and aptitudes.


Again, this should close the gap after hitting your weapon's min delay. However, by Zot, your fighting skill should surpass even your weapon skill in importance.

Ranged weapons

Go to about 20, and once you have the spells you want, all the way up to 27.

God skills, invocations and evocations, should be decently high if your god requires them.

Spell Skills

Again, for a melee focused player, spell skills should only be raised enough to get the wanted spells castable with decent spellpower.

Spell Focused

Spell focused characters also follow a similar path as mid-game characters


If you choose to use a weapon, your weapon should really only hit min-delay and stay there. For one handed weapons, this rarely exceeds about 12. If you have extra experience, go ahead and raise it, though, and if your character has extreme aptitudes for a weapon (+3 or 4), consider a melee focused end-game weapon.


Now that you have lots of experience lee-way, consider dumping a decent amount here. No more then the early teens, though.


Again, roughly the teens, possibly more.


If you're using a shield, get it to 15, if using a buckler, 4. This removes the penalty for medium races (which is most), if you are a different size, you will need a different level.


Spellcasting should second only your 9th level spells in importance by the end-game, if you even use 9th level spells.


All spellcasters should invest a lot in fighting by the end-game. Most characters will want to hit Zot with 180+ HP, although 140 or less is certainly doable.

Spell Skills

You will want as much spellpower as possible for your offensive spells and enough for utility spells to work properly.

Armour Level

Again, as in the mid-game, your armour should reflect how high you want to cast spells.

Spell Choice

By this point in the game, the amount of experience you have is so high that the lines between melee focused players and spell focused players gets considerably blurred. Thus, it's easiest to divide spell choice by armour level and category.

Choice by Armour

Spells by armour level:

Light armour level

Going robe/leather is the most common choice for spell-focused players, and is best for characters with no weapon or using a weapon only as emergency/clean-up. Any level of spell choice can be considered, and several high level buffs may be used.

However, 9th level spells are still an awkward choice for some species even in robes. Minotaurs and trolls, for example, should not even consider casting them. Other players may choose not to bother, using lesser attack spells like Freezing Cloud and taking advantage of a wider variety of utility spells with the spare spell slots.

Dragon Armour level

Players in fire dragon armour or heavier have generally foregone the thought of 9th level spells. Their highest level of offense is likely to be Freezing Cloud, bolt spells (and Iron Shot), and Orb of Destruction

This is a choice best for those who either were formerly melee focused and now want some escape options, for those casters who don't wish to cast 9th level spells, or for those severely lacking in resists. Additionally, some species may be forced into it for lack of equipment options even as a melee focused player if they can't find gold dragon armour

Furthermore, this is not a permanent decision, and dragon armour may be used temporarily before learning higher level spells.

Plate Mail level

Plate mail and heavier is the choice for those foregoing offensive magic and high level buffs altogether, unless they are worshiping a god like Cheibriados or are demigods themselves.

Choice by category

Spells By category:


If you choose to go with a 9th level spell, don't be picky: they are a massive investment in experience and one should really only aim for one that you already have a lot of skill experience in. Additionally, unless you worship Vehumet (and sometimes even then) you might not get a 9th level spell reliable until you're just finishing your last rune. Thus, do not invest a drop of exp into it as it will not help you survive whatever branch you're currently doing. Instead, when your mid-level offense is solid, focus on fighting or buffs.

All players relying mostly on magic for offense should learn a high level non-elemental damage spell for Zot. Iron Shot, Orb of Destruction, Dragon's Call (for summoners), and Shadow Creatures are all good choices.

Lastly, crowd control spells like elemental bolts and freezing cloud are extremely convenient, although not 100% needed.

Low level damage spells are no longer needed at this point, weapons and mana channeling completely replace them.

Buffs/Escape/Misc spells

In addition to the low level buffs mentioned in Mid Game Tips...

Aura of Abjuration: Level 5, gets rid of any unwanted demons that might get summoned.

Borgnjor's Revivification: Go from 20 HP to 180 in one cast. A total life saver. Unfortunately, it takes a bite to your max hp, but it's better to have 4 less hp than to be dead.

Deflect Missiles: A fine choice for those with terrible survivability or for those with nothing else to put experience into.

Death's Door: As a dual spell category level 8 spell, this is so hard to cast that it is of questionable use as a 3 rune escape option. In addition, it is extremely dangerous to use, by far a last resort.

Invisibility: Of questionable use for non-stabbers, but great against packs of draconians.