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Version 0.30: 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, nor can they cast Animate Armour.
  • Octopodes can wear up to eight rings at the same time.
  • Gelatinous Body 1: Octopodes have +1 AC.
  • Camouflage 1: Octopodes have +40 Stealth.
  • Tentacles: Octopodes have eight tentacles, each of which may be used to constrict an enemy.
    • Octopodes can tentacle-slap (equivilent to an offhand punch), even when their 'offhand' is occupied.
  • Nimble Swimmer: Octopodes are amphibious. While in water, they can swim with no penalties, with a +50 stealth boost. (Unlike merfolk, they don't get any bonuses to evasion or movement speed.)

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


Whenever you make a melee attack, you automatically attempt to constrict an enemy.

  • You must have a free tentacle to constrict with, each constriction takes one. Octopodes start with 8, but lose 2 per hand occupied (2 per one-handed weapon/shield, 4 if two-handed weapon).
  • The enemy must be the same size as you (medium) or smaller.

Constriction greatly reduces enemy EV and causes passive damage over time. Once it's successful, you'll continue as long as you remain on your current tile, even when waiting/casting spells. If you attack a new target, you constrict if you have a free tentacle. It ends if you move or if the enemy escapes. In general, enemies won't intentionally escape constriction; batty enemies will, and properties like trample and the Blink spell can move you/them.

Attempting to constrict 8 enemies at once is generally considered 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. With reduced health and without much armour, Octopodes are frail and play riskily for nearly the entire game - without the speed of a Spriggan or aptitudes of a Deep Elf. This can eventually be compensated for by a shield, higher level Transmutations, or those aforementioned rings, but these all take time to develop.

On the other hand, Octopodes are quite versatile thanks to their average or better aptitudes in everything (save Armour, which they can't use). Constriction makes your melee attacks quite powerful, which in turn makes the first few floors somewhat easy. Even Conjurations-focused characters will find melee strong very early on. But without careful avoidance of monsters you aren't ready for, engaging in melee isn't so much a last resort as disguised suicide. Regardless, they can make great use of deep water to avoid monsters.

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
Maces & Flails 0 Shields 0 Summonings 0
Axes 0 Necromancy 0
Polearms 0 Invocations 1 Translocations 0
Staves 0 Evocations 1 Transmutations 0
Unarmed Combat 0
Experience 0 Fire Magic 0
Throwing 0 Ice Magic 0
Ranged Weapons 0 Air Magic 0
Earth Magic 0
Poison Magic 2


Skill breadth versus depth

As octopodes tend to be fairly standard across their skill aptitudes, they lend themselves well to a broad use of skills rather than an isolated focus on just one or two. Octopodes can't wear armour, so spellcasting is rarely encumbered. Meanwhile, their melee constriction is a very useful (and damaging!) tool to have. 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. For example, they could use various ranged weapons in the short-term. Even as you progress through the game, an octopode may well find themself eclectically split between magic, melee, and/or ranged combat.

Item usage

Almost any source of AC should be given strong consideration. 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 useful, 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. You'll still lose your winstreak, though.

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.

Melee combat

Armed with an octet of grabbing, slapping, and squeezing tentacles, Octopode morphology allows them to excel at melee, despite their bland 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.

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.


By playing with Transmutations, you can get around many of the limitations of playing an Octopode - namely, your nonexistent base defenses. The Transmuter start is a good demonstration. Spider Form provides a great EV boost, even raising AC for hatless folk. Ice Form is a more robust form, with damage and AC to match. Octopodes sport a great advantage over other Transmuters; most regular armour is melded, but fortunately, all eight of your rings retain their effects. However, most -Form spells still have a cost - they meld shields and prevent constriction.

Statue Form should be your end goal, giving you AC on par with well-armoured characters, while maintaining your unencumbered EV, constriction, and hat/shield slot. Cheibriados can assist with casting and fighting in the already sluggish Statue Form, though surviving long with Chei while being frail and without armour is a bit dubious. If you want to go further, both Storm Form and Dragon Form have their own uses, too.


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.
  • Octopodes were introduced in 0.10.
Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleArmataurDraconianTrollGhoulGnoll
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnDjinniSprigganTenguDeep ElfOgreBarachi
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidMeteoranMummy