Mid 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 character build strategy for players that already have a god but have yet to attain more than one rune.


At this stage of the game, your skills no longer reflect your background and rather reflect your general strategy, species, and god choice. Note: Stabbers have such a unique skill set that they should use the Spriggan Enchanter Guide instead.

Melee focused

While nearly all players should have some spells (except berserkers), melee focused players tend to wear heavier armour, and thus are limited to lower level spells.


Your weapon class should by far still be the most focused skill. Your goal is to reach "minimum delay" for your weapon. For most weapons, this minimum delay is 0.5 to 0.7 auts, and will take between 8-26 skill levels to reach this delay. Every 2 levels in the weapon skill reduces the Weapon Delay by 0.1 aut; getting more levels beyond this does not benefit the weapon's attack speed, but the skill level is a factor in damage.

Long Blades, Maces & Flails, Polearms, and Axes have two categories of advanced weapons; fast, but lesser base damage weapons (double swords, demon blades, demon tridents, demon whips), and slower, but higher base damage weapons (triple swords, bardiches, eveningstars, giant clubs). The faster weapons are generally more popular, since it takes much less experience to get to minimum delay and high damage potential with, with the heavier weapons requiring massive investment (sometimes up to 26 skill levels) to get to their optimal speeds, while not appearing to be very efficient for experience. If you are already using a shield and have trained the shields skill, it's usually best to stick with one handed weapons.

Ranged Skills

It is highly suggested that melee focused players should have some sort of ranged option. Players with a highly damaging god should get some invocations and those without should consider crossbows or longbows (or slings for halflings). Still, it is quite possible to win without any ranged skills.


Of high importance, but still less important than your weapon skill, is your fighting skill. While mostly ignored in the early game, this should be just under your weapon skill.


Armour skill is of medium importance, and should raised to the teens at this point in the game. Weapon skill and fighting should take priority

Spell skills

Heavily armoured characters should not cast very high level spells. What spells they do have should not be focused on, just be made reliably castable.

Spell focused

Players wearing light armour tend to be spell-focused.


Casters tend to use weapons to clean up lesser foes and deal with resisting enemies. Just as common, especially by the mid-game, is to use no weapon at all! Casters using weapons should not pour lots of experience into their weapon skill.


Stealth is only marginally useful. Getting your nukes and general survivability up is much more important. Only a small amount of experience should be put into stealth, unless you are a stabber.


Dodging is useful, but far less useful than getting nuke spells up. Still, some is good, maybe up to 8-10 or so depending on your dexterity.


Most players will want a buckler, and thus should choose to put at least 4 into shields skill to offset the EV penalty (which affects spellcasting). Finding a superb shield could warrant upgrading to a regular shield, but rather than fully offsetting the shield penalty by going to 15, one should probably only level up to 10 shields to offset 2 EV points.


Spellcasting should be raised when you need an extra spell but don't have enough slots and to improve the spellpower of multi-school spells. As a side effect, spellcasting improves your spell hunger levels.


Even spellcasters should invest in fighting, especially those whose species makes them fragile. This becomes more important after the Lair branches, when you start facing more ranged attacks and conjurations.

Spell skills

Get any utility spells level 4 and under to great or excellent. Aim to get bolt skills to very good by about the time you defeat Lair. After bolt skills are at very good, spell skills are much less important in the mid-game, although eventually they should be great.


Armour level

Armour level is generally dictated by what level spells you wish to cast by the end game.

8-9 level spells: Robe only

7 level spells: Up to dragon armour

6 level spells: Up to storm dragon armur

4-5 level spells: Up to plate mail

1-3 level spells: Anything

This is a rough guide, however, and there are exceptions.

Spell choice

By now you have enough experience to branch into whatever magical path you wish to take.

Melee focused

Melee focused players really only want low level spells at this point. Animate Skeleton, Summon Butterflies, Blink and Apportation are all useful, as are Regeneration and Spectral Weapon.

Spell Focused

One of the biggest issues for spellcasters is running out of magic points. Sublimation of Blood is a big help. Low level translocations are useful for escaping. Your focus should still be on spells that allow you to damage monsters as efficiently as possible.

Damage spells

Generally speaking, your damage spells will reflect your background choice. If you have focused on one element, you should have some way of dealing with resistant enemies. This can be Iskenderun's Mystic Blast, summons or even Stone Arrow or Throw Icicle. Dispel Undead is great, but does not work on demons. You could also focus on a weapon or branch into a second element.

As far as your regular damage spells, choose whichever you like! Try to find one high level and one low level one. In the mid-game, uber-spells like Fire Storm and Tornado are out of the question.