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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

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 announced or silent. The majority of portal levels are announced.

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 so often, the portal gives a "sound", indicating roughly how far the portal is (ignoring walls):[1]

Adjective Distance (tiles)
(No adjective) 0 - 6
Very nearby 7-13
Nearby 14-20
Distant 21-27
Very distant 28+

Each portal also gives a rough indication of how much time it has left - for example, an Ossuary's "brisk hissing" means that time is running out. When an announced portal times out somewhere out of sight, you may get a message such as: "The floor vibrates strangely!"

Silent (or permanent) portals comprise of treasure troves, Ziggurats, and some bazaars. They won't ever time out, remaining until you enter them, even if you leave the level.

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.


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.


  • 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.