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Version 0.27: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
This page is about the player species. For the monster, see Octopode (monster).
These land-capable relatives of common octopuses can move about as fast as humans and yet retain the ability to swim underwater, although their dual adaptation is not as good as that of the shapechanging merfolk.

Octopodes have eight tentacle-shaped legs, and need four of them to move. While a tentacle lacks fingers, two tentacles are a rough equivalent of a human's arm where item manipulation is concerned - including wielding two-handed weapons with four. They can use no armour other than loose hats, but can handle shields just fine. Another peculiarity they have is the ability to wear eight rings, one on each tentacle.

Their natural camouflage makes them excel at stealth, and they have good knowledge of poisons as well. They are also able to use their tentacles to constrict enemies - potentially several at a time!

Innate Abilities

  • Octopodes cannot use any type of armour other than shields and hats.
  • Octopodes can wear up to eight rings at the same time.
  • Octopodes are amphibious. While in water, they can swim with no penalties, and receive a large stealth boost, equivalent to merfolk. Unlike merfolk, they don't get any bonuses to evasion or movement speed.
  • Gelatinous Body 1: Octopodes have +1 AC.
  • Camouflage 1: Octopodes have +40 Stealth.
  • Octopodes have eight tentacles, each of which may be used to constrict an enemy.

Octopodes have a base Strength of 7, Intelligence of 10 and Dexterity of 7 (before Background modifiers).


The octopode's constriction ability is passive. When attacking an adjacent foe in melee (barehanded or with a weapon), a constriction attack is automatically attempted with one of your free tentacles and, if successful, will continue for as long as you remain on your current tile. If you attack a different target, a new constriction attack is initiated while any previous constrictions continue. All constricted enemies will take damage each turn and be unable to move away from their current tile until they escape or are released. This effect continues even if you are just resting on the tile or casting spells. Once you leave the tile, however, all constrictions are lost.

Technically, wielding a weapon or wearing a shield decreases the number of total possible constrictions by two, per regular hand used. But unless you're fighting bats, attempting to constrict too many enemies at one time is generally unwise.

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Starting Skills and Equipment

Octopodes receive the skills and equipment listed for their background, save for the following restrictions:

  • Octopodes receive no body armour. Any helmets are replaced with hats.
  • Any skill points in Armour are placed in Dodging instead.

Difficulty of Play


Octopodes are a difficult race to play. While the prospect of an octopode wearing eight artefact rings with multiple intrinsics, stat boosts and bonuses sounds nice, getting there is another matter entirely. The lack of armour makes the early game risky; later on, their lack of HP gives them the semblance of being deep elves, but without the awesome magical aptitudes. Without good EV, SH, and careful avoidance of monsters you aren't ready for, engaging in melee isn't so much a last resort as disguised suicide.

On the other hand, octopodes level nearly as quickly as humans, are quite versatile thanks to their average or better aptitudes in everything (save Armour, which they can't use anyway), and can make great use of deep water to avoid monsters.

Another challenge which arises from octopodes' lack of armour slots is the all-too-common inability to obtain a resistance critical to facing a particular unique or undertaking a particular dungeon branch, willpower and poison resistance being two notable examples. In some games, the failure of the item generator to produce such can force one into prolonged monster/branch avoidance, and sometimes an eventual attempt to do without. Alternatively, some octopodes may attempt more risky means of gaining resistances (e.g. quaffing multiple potions of mutation).

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 0 Armour N/A Spellcasting -1
Short Blades 0 Dodging 0 Conjurations 0
Long Blades 0 Stealth 4 Hexes 0
Axes 0 Shields 0 Summonings 0
Maces & Flails 0 Necromancy 0
Polearms 0 Translocations 0
Staves 0 Transmutations 0
Unarmed Combat 0
Fire Magic 0
Throwing 0 Ice Magic 0 Invocations 1
Slings 0 Air Magic 0 Evocations 1
Bows 0 Earth Magic 0
Crossbows 0 Poison Magic 2 Experience 0


Skill breadth versus depth

As octopodes tend to be 'standard' across the majority of their skill aptitudes, they lend themselves well to a broad use of skills rather than an isolated focus on just one or two. This is particularly evident in the early game, when an octopode's survival strategy may well adapt itself based upon what useful items are chanced across (e.g. short-term use of various ranged weapons and/or ammo). Even in the later game, an octopode may well find itself eclectically split between magic, melee, and/or ranged combat.

Item usage

Almost any source of AC should be given more consideration than normal. Rings of protection are usually the main source, but weapons of protection are worth a little more than normal. If you find any sources of mutation, (lightly) consider rolling it up for the possibilities of scales; the AC they'll bring is vital, and if you drink potions early enough in the game, the emotional loss won't be too great if your character dies a horrible mutated death.

Given that shields are one of only two types of armour an octopode can use, many players will want to wear a shield, regardless of starting background. All the standard shield advice applies. For instance, if you begin as a fighter, you may want to consider downsizing your shield for a buckler until your shields skill has reached a higher level, in order to maintain a higher attack speed.


By playing as a transmuter, you can get around many of the limitations of playing an octopode. In Spider Form, for example, you can have an excellent EV score, making up for your almost non-existent base defenses, while Ice Form is a cheap and easy way to bring your AC up considerably. Fortunately, all available transmutations allow you to make use of all your jewellery. As many transmutations blend all other equipment into the body, octopodes have a real advantage when playing as transmuters; all resistances and stat-improvements stay with you throughout the game. Statue Form should be your end goal, giving you AC on par with well-armoured characters. Cheibriados can assist with casting and fighting in the already sluggish statue form.

Unarmed combat

Armed with an octet of grabbing, slapping, and squeezing tentacles, octopode morphology allows them to excel at unarmed combat, despite their mediocre aptitude for such. With sufficient AC and EV, (most often achieved in the mid & late game), tackling multiple foes at once becomes a much more viable (read: less suicidal) option, particularly when constriction permits attacking those foes simultaneously.

When regularly engaging in melee combat, you will often notice a significant difference between monsters you can constrict and those you cannot. As such, it's important to stay mindful of those you cannot (most often because the target is too large). Even in the late game, allowing yourself to be surrounded by medium-sized monsters you can constrict and large-size monsters you cannot can make the difference between life and death.


The octopode may have been loosely based upon the pacific northwest tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis).


Prior to 0.16, assuming Ice, Dragon, Tree, and Fungus forms would disable 6 of your 8 ring slots.

Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianPalentongaTrollGhoulGnoll
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnDjinniSprigganTenguDeep ElfOgreDeep Dwarf
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidBarachiMummy