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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Passwall.png Passwall
Level 3
School1 Earth
Source(s) Book of Burglary
Book of Geomancy
Casting noise 0
Spell noise 0
Power Cap 120
Range 3
Flags Escape, Not self, Target, Utility
Tunes the caster's body such that it can instantly pass through solid rock. It takes some time for the caster to attune to the rock, during which they will be helpless.

“He says the best way out is always through.”
-Robert Frost, _A Servant to Servants_. 1915.

Passwall is a level 2 Transmutation/Earth spell that allows the caster to pass through a short range of solid rock wall.

Earth Elementalists start with this spell in their libraries.

Useful Info

Rock wall can be passed in a straight orthogonal or diagonal line. The transfer is instantaneous, but requires an uninterruptible setup phase of wall depth + 1 turns.[1] The maximum range is a function of spell power and ranges from 1 to 7 squares (as shown on the spell info screen).

After direction with at least one passable wall has been selected, the MP and at least 1 turn will be spent regardless of the result. Potential failures are:

  • "You sense an overwhelming volume of rock." -- the rock wall extends to the edge of the level.
  • "Something is blocking your path through the rock." -- there is an impassible wall or stationary monster on the way.
  • "You finish merging with the rock. ...and sense your way blocked. You quickly turn back." -- This can be 2 possible situations:
    • In the Abyss, new terrain can generate that prevents you from landing.
    • If you try to passwall into a monster, the spell will try to move the monster one tile away, which will awaken it. However, if there's no room to move the monster, Passwall will fail.
  • "This rock feels extremely deep." -- there are too many walls to pass with the current spell power (or at all).
  • You may also sense deep water, lava, or other dangerous terrain on the other end, which will cancel the move if you cannot currently move through that terrain.


Passwall can be used as an escape spell, though it comes with a serious drawback. While preparing Passwall, you'll spend 2+ turns helpless in your old location - there's no way to interrupt the duration. When surrounded by monsters, wasting 2-4 turns can outright kill you. But if you take account of the delay, Passwall can be great in certain, niche situations:

  • When passing through a wall, you get to leave monsters behind, on the other side. It can be used to create a distance from enemies, or to kite melee monsters.
  • It lets you escape being trapped between monsters and a wall, if you have nothing better.
  • It allows you to travel through walls without a means of digging. You can take shortcuts or grab items behind transparent rock walls. Unlike digging, you get to leave monsters behind, so it can be useful during the orb run.

Passwall can also be used in order to set up stabs. After finishing the spell, you'll always have a chance to move before enemies. This spell is silent to cast - popping up beside a sleeping enemy will not wake it, allowing you to make a free stab.

Tips & Tricks

  • Passwall can be used to lower turn count.
  • Passwall isn't affected by movement speed, so Cheibriadites or other slow characters can use it to shave travel time or reposition.


  • In 0.31, this spell will be level 3, always have range 3, and give the player an AC bonus in transit.
  • Prior to 0.18, Passwall was a level 3 Transmutations / Earth spell, and the maximum possible depth to pass was randomized on each cast.
  • Prior to 0.15, Passwall's range was dependent on only your Earth Magic skill.
  • Prior to 0.8, it was possible to kill yourself with this spell if your destination tile contained lava or deep water.
  • Prior to 0.5, Passwall would be interrupted by attacks. As any attack would stop the process, it was much worse for escapes.
  • Prior to 0.4, Passwall took 1 fewer turns and could not be interrupted, making it much better for escapes.
  • In 0.3, a Passwall bug made the spell very risky; instant death would occur if the spell was used around certain arrangements of rock and stone walls, most often found on Tartarus:7. Because of this, going any deeper than 4 tiles was hazardous.
  • In even earlier versions, death would occur anytime you failed to travel all the way through a wall. This was considered a feature.