Rune of Zot

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
A talisman which allows entry into Zot's domain.

Runes of Zot are required to enter The Realm of Zot; there lies the Orb of Zot, the goal of your quest, in its fifth floor.

Useful Info

Runes can be used to open rune locks:

  • In order to enter Zot, you need 3 runes of Zot.
  • In order to exit the Vaults, you need a rune of Zot.
  • Treasure troves may ask for either the Slimy or Abyssal rune for entry.

Runes do not occupy inventory slots, and can never be destroyed. Once you've collected a rune, it stays collected for the rest of the game.

In any given game, there are 15 possible runes to obtain. You can see what runes you have by typing } (which also shows you what runes you can get) or by checking the % / character overview screen, below the lines for your abilities and traits.

Having more runes also increases your score.

Rune locations

Runes can be found on the bottom floors of several dungeon branches. There are 17 runes in total, but only 15 are possible in any given game:

  • The Lair has no rune itself but contains 3 branches which do. It always contains:
plus one of the two watery branches:
  • Decaying rune.png The Swamp:4 contains the decaying rune of Zot.
  • Barnacled rune.png The Shoals:4 contains the barnacled rune of Zot.
and one of the two poisonous branches:
  • Silver rune.png The Vaults:5 contains the silver rune of Zot. An entrance to The Crypt can be found earlier in the branch.
    • The Crypt has no rune itself, but contains an entrance to The Tomb.
      • Gold rune.png The Tomb:3 contains the golden rune of Zot.

You will also come across runes in the following bonus levels:

  • Abyssal rune.png The Abyss contains the abyssal rune of Zot.
    • This rune has a low chance of being generated on floors 3 to 7, with deeper floors having higher rune generation rates (but also more monsters); you'll know its location when it spawns. If you happen to be a follower of Lugonu, this rate is greatly accelerated. If you see the rune but cannot get it (e.g. if the Abyss shifts before you can reach it), do not despair: the game will keep generating abyssal runes until you pick one up.
  • Pandemonium contains five runes.
    • The four unique Pandemonium lords each guard a unique rune that is generated once. Leaving the level without the rune means it is lost forever:
    • The fifth is the demonic rune of Zot.
      • This may be found in any Pan floor without another rune, usually guarded by a random pandemonium lord. Most floors have a 1/9 chance, but a few vaults always have it (see Pandemonium for details). When a vault with a guaranteed rune appears, it will be announced:
        The tension of great conflict fills the air! The demonic rune of Zot may be found here.
        A powerful Pandemonium lord resides here. It guards the demonic rune of Zot.
        Like the abyssal rune, it will be regenerated until picked up.
Demonic rune 1.png Demonic rune 2.png Demonic rune 3.png
Demonic rune 4.png Demonic rune 5.png Demonic rune 6.png

Strategy and Difficulty

All runes are not equal in difficulty of obtaining them. Below is a list of runes in rough order of difficulty, with some basic strategy notes. See the articles on the specific branches for more details. Depending on your character build, some of the branches may be different in difficulty from what is given here.


The four Lair branch runes are the generally the easiest to get. If not in relative difficulty, then they at least have the lowest power level. Players will typically acquire both of the 2 runes that have generated in their game.

  • Serpentine (Snake Pit): Home to the venomous, constricting snakemen, their salamander brethren, and countless snakes. Poison resistance is extremely helpful, and fire resistance is also recommended. Still, among the easier branches. Make sure you can take a beating or have the ability to avoid melee combat.
  • Decaying (Swamp): A waterlogged forest guarded by hydras, dangerous plant monsters, amphibious undead, spriggans, and even more esoteric foes. Poison resistance helps here, as does a source of flight, but you'll probably want to have a good range of resistances just to be safe.
  • Barnacled (Shoals): An archipelago patrolled by merfolk and other creatures of myth and legend. Teeming with polearms and ranged attacks, this area is easier if you have good EV or Repel Missiles. Flight is helpful here, and Invisibility (if flying) too.
  • Gossamer (Spider's Nest): Most of the monsters in this branch are faster than you and can easily swarm you. Very few of them have ranged attacks, though. Ghost moths are especially painful for magical players. Like Snake, poison resistance is a must.


These runes can challenge even XL 27 characters, but at least one of them is required for a three rune ascension.

  • Silver (The Vaults): Vaults:5 has over a dozen vault guards waiting for you around the stairs, requiring you to fight (and potentially attract more dangerous foes), or teleport and fight in dangerous teritory. Several other dangerous opponents such as titans, storm dragons, quicksilver dragons, shadow dragons, and liches appear in the quadrants.
  • Slimy (Slime Pits): Most of Slime is unrewarding, but the final floor consists of a "boss fight" with the Royal Jelly. Resist corrosion is practically necessary, and mutation resistance is also very helpful, if available. Be very careful with the Royal Jelly: fight it in the corridors of the central vault. Make sure you can kill things very quickly or take a fair bit of damage, as everything down here hits hard in melee.
  • Abyssal (Abyss): The Abyss is an infinite and unmappable plane that contains many sources of mutation and some deadly monsters. It is also somewhat tedious, as the rune might not generate quickly. Try not to get bogged down in fights with dangerous monsters, as teleports take longer to kick in and stairs out are randomly generated.


For those looking to expand beyond a basic extension, the runes of the Pandemonium are good to start with. They are part of the "extended" game, and should be treated with care.

When entering the Pandemonium, be prepared for a journey. Like the Abyss, the only way out is via a rare return portal. Stairways just conduct you to another of Pan's infinite levels. You will need some protection from torment - rN+++ is ideal. The place is also littered with neqoxecs and cacodemons, so keep potions of mutation handy.

Once you enter the Pandemonium, you are unable to choose which realms appear, and, except for the demonic rune, leaving the level means that rune never generates again. This means you must be ready for all 4 of the unique runes, so come packed with all the resistances you need.

  • Dark: Gloorx Vloq is fast and evasive. rN+++ is vital, as are potions of haste. Unlike the rest of Pan, you also need poison resistance, as miasma and Poison Arrows will be very painful. Allies, if you can get them, are helpful in ensuring that all of Gloorx Vloq's many attacks, minions, and spells aren't directed against you.
  • Glowing: Mutation resistance is even more vital here. Try to lure the neqoxecs around corners, so they don't get tons of free shots at you with Malmutate. Mnoleg itself isn't that difficult, although watch out if it starts summoning floating eyes. Try to fight Mnoleg in a corridor so you won't get mobbed by summoned large abominations and tentacled monstrosities.
  • Fiery: As the name suggests, you really need fire resistance here. rF++ is a bare minimum, and rF+++ is really what you want, since Cerebov's sword strips you of one rank of fire resistance. Cerebov has a lot of hit points, so be prepared to teleport away and reengage it several times: it won't have fully healed before you do. Cerebov has poor evasion, so spells such as Lehudib's Crystal Spear can be useful against it.
  • Magical: Have at least two levels of cold resistance and some source of electricity resistance. Lom Lobon is fairly weak if you can engage it in melee, although its blinking and Polar Vortex can make that quite difficult. Beware of Major Healing, and be prepared to teleport out.
  • Demonic: The demonic rune spawns with a 1/9 chance in most floors without another rune. A few specific vaults always have it (it is announced on floor entry):
    • The hellion island vault requires the use of ranged attacks: 10+ hellions all dropping 3d15 damnation bursts on you up to twice a turn leads to a quick death.
    • The smiting vault is generally doable: Shatter can greatly assist in getting past it, but even without it sufficient speed will generally let you survive.
    • The draining vault (with ghost moths) is not difficult, but requires a wand of digging to get the rune at all. As for random vaults which might contain the rune, they vary hugely in difficulty. Be prepared to run away.


These runes are the riskiest to get. Only go for them if you know what you're doing.

  • Hell: This area is one of the hardest in the game. It is filled with fiends, both found naturally and summoned by the forces of Hell. Zin gives a piety-dependent chance of blocking Hell effects, making the Hells a lot easier to navigate. Other characters must be prepared for a constant HP and stat drain, making an increased regeneration rate (or TSO's regen on kill) and some form of torment protection absolutely vital. As with Pandemonium, specific strategies and resistances are needed for each rune:
    • Iron (Dis): Dis provides a -8 corrosion effect to all who enter it. Instead of one specific resistance, you will need a little of everything -- or sometimes a lot of everything, as the last level contains both Brimstone fiends and Ice fiends. Dispater himself is no pushover, with powerful earth spells and bringing lots of greater demons to the party.
    • Icy (Cocytus): Potions are unusable here. Have rC+++ for Cocytus. This place is filled with Ice fiends, who have, in addition to torment and Bolt of Cold, a horribly damaging cold-branded melee attack. Antaeus himself hits like a truck but luckily doesn't summon any friends. Unluckily, he tends to be escorted by four Ice fiends. Separate them first.
    • Obsidian (Gehenna): Scrolls are unreadable here. Have rF+++, but be aware that this doesn't help against the numerous Brimstone fiends and hellions who will gladly spam damnation at you until you die. Make sure to kill them quickly. Asmodeus himself is not horribly difficult, but be aware that he is surrounded by a ring of flames and loves summoning fiends and Balrugs.
    • Bone (Tartarus): Willpower is halved here. If you're not undead, Tartarus can be easier than the other branches. This occurs because rN+++ completely protects you against the draining attacks that are so common there. Be aware that Ereshkigal is a little meaner than she looks: she may be somewhat low on HP, but she is fast, has absurdly high evasion, can torment, and can summon greater demons that also torment. If you are undead, be very, very careful, as tzitzimimeh can and will make short work of you with Dispel Undead Range.
  • Golden (Tomb): Like the Hells and Pandemonium, you will have to endure a fair amount of torment. Unlike the Hells and Pan, you will also endure mummy death curses. This includes stat drain, HP drain, negative energy damage, slowing, and even more torment. Kikubaaqudgha provides a good (but not infallible) protection against death curses and torment. Necromutation protects you from the worst of the curses as well as torment, but be careful of Dispel Undead from ushabtiu and the occasional revenant. Zin can protect you from the stat drain, but The Shining One is more useful here for the recovery on kills. Either way, you can always do a quick conversion to Elyvilon and use Purification to cure all the stat damage, then build your piety back up by fighting all the mummies. See the Tomb article for more specific strategies, but know that it is very difficult to simply force your way through Tomb. You need something to deal with its nasty effects or you will die.


  • In 0.28, getting the abyssal rune gets you 2 XL's worth of XP. This was removed in 0.29.
  • Formerly, there were many, indistinguishable demonic runes of Pandemonium, which could be collected ad infinitum (the record was 250-odd). As of version 0.9, the demonic rune is treated like the abyssal rune: once you've picked one up, no more demonic runes will be generated.
  • Before 0.9, runes were carried in main inventory, which led to silliness like piling extras on D:1 before going for the Orb, or characters locking themselves out of Zot by leaving their runes inside.