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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Monks have a head start with the divine. They start with only a simple weapon of their choice, a potion of divine ambrosia, a robe, and an orb of light to guide them. However, when they worship a god for the first time, their spiritual training gives them a piety boost.

Preferred Species

Hill Orc, Merfolk, Gargoyle, Troll, Demonspawn and Armataur are the recommended races if you pick a Monk Background.

Racial Restrictions

Demigods cannot be Monks, as they refuse to worship a god.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Starting Skills and Stats

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Monk adds 3 to your starting Strength, 2 to your starting Intelligence and 7 to your starting Dexterity.


Monks do not start with a god, but automatically gain ** piety when they first convert to a god.[1] The following gods have special properties with monks:

  • Ashenzari: Monks are provided the first set of curses much sooner.
  • Gozag: Monks skip the entry fee.[2]
  • Ru: Monks are immediately given a set of sacrifice options to make upon conversion.
  • Xom: No effect.
  • Yredelemnul: Create multiple allied derived undead to reach ** piety.

The Monk bonus does stack with that of a faded altar.


The main appeal of this background is the piety boost you gain upon choosing a god, especially when worshiping a god who offers bonuses at 1* or 2* of piety, such as Okawaru or Nemelex. On the other hand, surviving until you find a suitable god to worship can be more challenging than with better-equipped backgrounds like Fighter or Gladiator.

The orb of light will reveal invisible enemies nearby and increase your to-hit (i.e. accuracy). However, it also lowers your stealth and prevents you from going invisible. Note that the orb doesn't increase enemies' accuracy against you, though.


  • Prior to 0.30, Monks did not start with an orb of light, but started with 2 Stealth skill.
  • In 0.29, Monks received a potion of ambrosia; most other backgrounds also gained an extra consumable.
  • Prior to 0.19, monks could not choose a starting weapon - instead they always started with unarmed combat.
  • Prior to 0.10, there was no piety bonus gained upon choosing a god.


Warriors FighterGladiatorMonkHunterBrigand
Zealots BerserkerChaos KnightCinder Acolyte
Warrior-mages WarperHexslingerEnchanterReaver
Mages Hedge WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistAlchemist
Adventurers ArtificerShapeshifterWandererDelver