Rune lock

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

A rune lock is a barrier that prevents you from traversing a branch before you have a sufficient number of the runes of Zot. Two rune locks currently exist in Crawl:

  • In order to exit the the Vaults, you must have 1 rune. If you enter the Vaults with no runes, you must get one (either from the Vaults itself, the Tomb inside, or from the Abyss) before you can go back to the Dungeon normally. Note that Ignis' Rising Flame ability will bypass the rune lock.
  • The entrance to the Realm of Zot requires 3 runes to unlock. This serves as the main barrier preventing the player from simply descending as deep as possible and reaching the Orb.

Rune Availability

  • All runes are available as the first rune. However, it is highly recommended to get the first rune from one of the two Lair branches (Snake Pit/Spider's Nest and Swamp/Shoals). Obtaining the second rune is generally best done in the other Lair branch from the list above.
Followers of Jiyva can easily acquire the rune from the Slime Pits once they have accumulated sufficient piety, but others will likely wish to wait until later.
  • The third and final rune for opening the Realm of Zot is best obtained from either the Vaults, the Slime Pits, or the Abyss.
  • All runes found in the Hells, Pandemonium, and Tomb are largely considered optional and are mainly used to improve the final score.


  • Prior to 0.30, you needed a rune to enter the Vaults. This rune lock has been moved to exiting the Vaults.
  • Prior to 0.28, you needed 2 runes to enter a ziggurat.
  • Prior to 0.19, you needed 3 runes to enter a ziggurat.
  • Prior to 0.14, you did not need a rune to enter the Vaults.
    • Although the concept of a rune lock to the Vaults had been debated since very early versions of Crawl, it was only implemented after the 0.13 tournament, in which acquiring a rune before D:14 was an optional challenge conduct.
Without a rune lock, players have much less of a reason to enter the Lair Branch endings. They could explore Dungeon, both Lair Branch: 1-4s, and Vaults: 1-4 before entering a branch end. So by the time the player entered their first rune vault, they'd be overlevelled (thus, removing the challenge from obtaining your first rune).