Shallow water

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Version 0.27: 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 a common type of terrain throughout the Dungeon and many of its branches (particularly the Swamp and Shoals); moving through it is difficult for those who cannot swim.

While traveling through shallow water, most creatures have the following penalties:

  • Movement delay is increased by 6.
  • Stealth score is halved.
  • Melee attacks have a chance to fail (players have a 37.5% chance to fumble their attacks, monsters have a 25% chance). Note that this penalty only applies to melee combat; ranged attacks, spells, wands, and god abilities are all unaffected.
  • Water is displaced, meaning invisibility has no benefit.

The effects of shallow water are negated entirely by flying above it, and large species (Ogres, Trolls, Nagas, and Palentongas) ignore the penalties to melee combat.

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


Some monsters and species are aquatic, allowing them to ignore or even benefit from swimming in water. They may have increased speed, damage, and accuracy, though the specifics vary by creature.

For player characters:

Monster behavior

Intelligent monsters that would suffer penalties from fighting in shallow water will try to avoid doing so if they can help it.


  • Prior to 0.20, wading in shallow water had a randomized speed penalty, which varied from 30% to 100%.
  • Prior to 0.19, dexterous characters were less likely to fumble an attack while standing in shallow water.