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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

This page is about the dungeon feature. For the obsolete card or spell, see Portal card or Portal (spell) respectively.

A portal is a (generally) temporary gateway to a special level. Each such level has multiple possibilities for its exact layout and inhabitants, but always follows a specific theme. You will almost certainly encounter some of these in every game, but it is extremely rare to ever find all of them in a single run-through. In the console version of Crawl, portals are represented by the glyph.

Useful Info

Portals are either timed and announced, or silent and permanent. The majority of portal levels are announced.

Regardless if a portal is announced or silent, you may only enter a portal once; exiting it will close the portal for good. If you have a full inventory, it is recommended to leave excess items outside, so you don't have to leave stuff permanently behind. Except for Ziggurats, portals will always have an exit very near to the entrance, so it is usually safe to enter a portal and then decide whether you can take it on.

Timed portals

Announced portals are timed, and give a warning when you first enter their floor. They will eventually close if you do not get to them fast enough. They continue to count down even if you are on a different level. Every 500 auts (reduced to 250 auts when there are less than 900 auts remaining), the portal gives a "sound", indicating roughly how far the portal is (ignoring walls)[1]

Adjective Distance (tiles)
Very nearby 7–13
Nearby 14–20
Distant 21–27
Very distant 28+

and also how much time it has left, according to the table below. Each portal starts with 6000–8000 auts on its clock, except for Gauntlets which have a shorter timer of 4000–6000, and Bazaars, whose timer increases with depth. The final message is guaranteed to play and gives a resting on the portal entrance a last chance to enter. When an announced portal times out somewhere out of sight, you get the message "The walls and floor vibrate strangely for a moment!"

Portal Timer description Time remaining (auts)
5001+ 4001–5000 2501–4000 1501–2500 101–1500 Final message (1–100)
Sewer Rusting of a drain Slow Brisk Quick Rapid You hear the drain falling apart.
Ossuary Hiss of an avalanche of sand Slow Brisk Quick Rapid The hiss of flowing sand is almost imperceptible now.
Bailey Creaking of a portcullis Faint Steady Quick Loud The portcullis has been lowered almost to the ground.
Gauntlet Beating of a drum Faint Loud Quick Thunderous After a thunderous strike, the drumbeats cease.
Volcano Rumble of an avalanche of rocks Slow Brisk Quick Rapid The sound of falling rocks suddenly begins to subside.
Ice Cave Crackling of a melting archway Faint Steady Quick Loud The crackling of melting ice is subsiding rapidly.
Bazaar Tolling of a bell Stately Brisk Urgent Frantic You hear the last, dying notes of the bell.
Desolation Whistling of a wind Faint Quiet Loud Ear-piercing The wind is rapidly growing quiet.
Wizlab Crackle of a magical portal Stately Brisk Urgent Frantic The crackle of the magical portal is almost imperceptible now.

Silent portals

Treasure troves and Ziggurats are silent, permanent portals, and Bazaars have a small chance to be silent and permanent instead of being timed as above. These portals won't ever time out, remaining until you enter them, even if you leave the level.


The following comprises all portal levels, with their in-game description and a brief explanation:

Early Game

Ossuary portal.png A sand-covered staircase
Zombies and mummies and traps, oh my!
The Sewers
Sewer portal.png A glowing drain
Wade through rat- and snake-infested waters. Mind the kobolds.

Mid Game

Bailey portal.png A flagged portal
A shooting match and/or slugfest with orcs, gnolls, and/or goblins (sometimes even elves).
Gauntlet portal.png A gauntlet entrance
Choose a set of arenas, if you dare. You'll win prizes, but you'll also have to face a minotaur!
Ice Cave
Ice cave portal.png A frozen archway
Assorted frigid monsters and ice statues abound. Bring cold resistance.
Volcano portal.png A dark tunnel
Everything is on fire. Including you, if you forget your fire resistance.

Late Game

Desolation of Salt
Desolation portal.png A ruined gateway
An open expanse of salt containing some heavily guarded treasure.
Wizard Laboratory
Wizlab portal.png A magic portal
The private laboratory of any one of several strange characters.
Ziggurat portal.png A gateway to a ziggurat
The ultimate challenge: a gauntlet of 27 floors of increasing madness. If you survive to the end, you can do it again, but harder. No portal timer.


Bazaar portal.png A gateway to a bazaar
Shopping trip! Hope you have some gold saved up. Sometimes does not have a portal timer.
Treasure trove
Treasure trove portal.png A portal to a secret trove of treasure
A collection of treasure customized for your character... at a specific, peculiar price. No portal timer.


  • In 0.32, permanent bazaars will be removed, making all bazaars timed.
  • Prior to 0.28, portal levels could be a mimic, with the same announcement, but simply did not allow entry. Also, you could enter the portal of a Malign Gateway, assuming the tentacle wasn't already there. Entering it would blink you and deal minor damage.
  • Prior to 0.27, there were only three levels of portal distance sounds.
  • Labyrinths were replaced by the Gauntlet in 0.23.
  • Desolation of Salt was added in 0.19.
  • Prior to 0.14, a shorter timer would be started upon first seeing the timed portal.
  • Prior to 0.13, many timed portals were not announced.
  • The Spider's Nest was upgraded from a portal level to a full-fledged dungeon branch in 0.11.