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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Reavers have an assortment of powerful, but highly situational, conjurations to draw upon when their skill in melee is insufficient. They start with a simple weapon of their choice and leather armour.

Reavers are warriors who learn Conjurations (destructive magic) in order to complement their deadliness in combat.

Preferred Species

Gnoll, Tengu, Barachi, Demonspawn, Draconian, and Hill Orc are the recommended species if you pick a Reaver Background.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Available Spells

Reavers start with the Kiss of Death spell memorised.

Starting Skills

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Reaver adds 4 to your starting Strength, 5 to Intelligence, and 3 to Dexterity.


Reavers should be treated as melee warriors, with a little extra power from their set of spells. Their spells have a theme: limited use, but powerful.

Reaver is a flexible background. If you've found a set of plate armour, don't be afraid to rely entirely on melee for a while. If you've found a Book of Conjurations, then you have a path towards general spellcasting. Being a "pure hybrid" isn't always possible; some characters will spend the rest of the game focusing on melee or magic.

Spell Details

Kiss of Death should be thought of as a consumable, like Brigand's darts or Gladiator's throwing nets. It deals extreme damage for its level and ignores EV. However, it drains a good chunk of your max HP (temporarily). You can cure draining by killing monsters. You should use Kiss of Death sparingly, but it can be a strong option against early gnolls, adders, and other scary monsters. Past D:4 or so, this spell becomes too weak to deal with dangerous threats. Training 1-2 levels of Necromancy skill, in addition to Conjurations, can be worthwhile.

Momentum Strike, like Kiss of Death, is not a main source of damage. It deals relatively high damage, but if you hit, you are prevented from moving for a few turns. And if you can't move, you can't cast this spell (e.g. it has a cooldown). Position yourself in a hallway or other advantageous position before casting this spell. Due to its casting limitations, Momentum Strike is closer to a support spell than an actual killing tool.

Hailstorm doesn't harm the player for using it, but with a range of 2-3, it is a very awkward spell to use. Most characters are limited to 1-2 casts before an enemy gets into melee range. Depending on the character and dungeon loot, it might not be worth it to train Conjurations up to Hailstorm at all.


Warriors FighterGladiatorMonkHunterBrigand
Zealots BerserkerChaos KnightCinder Acolyte
Warrior-mages WarperHexslingerEnchanterReaver
Mages Hedge WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistAlchemist
Adventurers ArtificerShapeshifterWandererDelver