Shallow water

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Version 0.17: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
A pool of cloudy, waist-deep water. It makes movement and combat cumbersome for landlubbers - sometimes dangerous, but never directly fatal.

Shallow water is difficult to maneuver in, increasing the amount of time it takes to move and reducing the combat capabilities of anyone caught fighting in it, as well has reducing stealth. The effects of waters are negated when flying above. It is found throughout the dungeon and most branches, particularly the Swamp and the Shoals.

Any of your attacks while standing in shallow water if you are not a Troll, Ogre, Naga, Centaur, Gray draconian, Octopode or Merfolk character is subject to two failure checks, one at a flat 20%, the other at 4/Dexterity*. If either fails, the attack is negated. Monsters are merely subject to a single flat check against 25%. The same characters also see their stealth halved, while Octopodes and Merfolks get a bonus. Movement is slowed by a random 30% to 100%, except for Merfolk (who get a boost instead) and Octopodes. Merfolks also get a bonus to Evasion.

Unlike deep water, shallow water poses no risk of drowning.

  • These exeptions are either due to character size (Troll & Ogre are big, Naga and Centaur are hybrid) or being an aquatic species (Grey draconians, Octopodess and Merfolk).


Some monsters and species are aquatic, allowing them to ignore or even benefit from shallow water. They may have increased speed, damage, and accuracy, though the specifics vary by monster. For players, naga characters can ignore shallow water penalties, while merfolk significantly benefit from combat in it.

Monster behaviour

Smart monsters will try to evade shallow water if it would set them under penalty standing inside.