| From afar you hear the steady sounds of waves and smell the salty spray. Upon reaching the Shoals, you are impressed by exotic underground beaches, making up a few islands in a vast sea. All of a sudden, a bloodcurdling scream fills the air, followed by a gurgle. Anxiously, you look around and wonder: Who is the predator? And who is the prey?
The Shoals are five levels deep and contain the barnacled rune. A dungeon features only two of the Snake Pit, Swamp, Shoals and Spider Nest branches. If the Shoals are present, the entrance is located between Lair:3 and Lair:6.
|Here be the Shoals: exotic underground beaches, salty spray and creatures that bite, stab and maul.|
The Shoals branch is an archipelago of islands surrounded by deep waters, and home to many aquatic creatures and merfolk. Although dangerous, their lowest floor contains several treasure vaults and the barnacled rune of Zot.
The Shoals are 4 floors deep and set at sea, in a little archipelago of islands with beaches, tides, mangroves, and monsters. Unless you're amphibious or flying, it will take some time to fully explore each floor.
The tides in the Shoals will shift between shallow water and land fairly quickly, but this effect will never create any deep water blockades. As such, each island on a Shoals floor is accessible, although it may be hindered by shallow water.
The Shoals are somewhat more difficult than the Swamp. There are few places to hide and you will be attacked from all directions by polearm-wielding merfolks, javelineers, and the occasional cyclops. There are also merfolk aquamancers who take advantage of the terrain with their water magic, fast-moving harpies that can deal rapid amounts of damage, seductive sirens that can mesmerize you, vicious alligator snapping turtles that can use reach attacks, and devastating krakens. In exchange for this added difficulty, shops will occasionally generate here.
The last floor is significantly more difficult than the earlier three. Shoals:4 is often heavily populated with several uniques (the sea witch Ilsuiw almost always makes an appearance) and legions of merfolk. Expect to face elemental damage in the form of branded polearms, and make sure to have at least rC+ before engaging Ilsuiw, as she can deal tremendous amounts of damage with Throw Icicle. Proceed carefully, explore the various chambers cautiously, try not to engage too large a band of merfolk at once, and fight on staircases when possible so you can retreat if overwhelmed.
Tips & Tricks
- High EV and magic resistance are recommended for this branch. This means spellcasters and dodgers are generally better suited for this place, while armour-dependent melee characters will struggle to survive. Repel Missiles and Deflect Missiles are almost mandatory for spellcasters to protect against javelin-throwing merfolk.
- Flight and possibly Swiftness will make exploration a lot easier.
- Unless you're amphibious or flying, stay out of the water when fighting to avoid combat penalties. It is also helpful to lure merfolk onto dry land when possible, so that they lose their innate abilities while in water.
- You can take cover behind rock walls, but try not to do this unless you are certain that there aren't even worse things behind them.
- It's easy to wake up entire hordes of merfolk if you aren't careful. Stealth pays off here, as does luring enemies to you instead of charging into combat.
- Merfolk avatars and sirens have dangerous abilities that can cut off your ability to escape. They should be a high priority when encountered in any group. Clarity can deal with mesmerization, should you have it.
- Most of the enemies in this branch do not see invisible, so invisibility can trivialize even the most difficult of encounters.
|m Merfolk (monster)||m Siren||m Merfolk avatar|
|m Merfolk javelineer||m Merfolk impaler||m Merfolk aquamancer|
|c Centaur (monster)||C Cyclops||m Water nymph||E Water elemental|
|Y Sheep||Y Yak||Y Death yak||Y Catoblepas|
|H Hippogriff||H griffon||H Manticore||H Harpy|
|t Snapping turtle||t Alligator snapping turtle||S Sea snake|
|P Plant||P Oklob plant||c Faun||c Satyr|
|X Kraken||k Wind drake||C Frost giant|
|C Polyphemus||m Ilsuiw|
Prior to 0.17, Shoals was 5 levels deep.
Prior to 0.16, the tides of the Shoals could create and destroy deep water tiles. These would never drown the player, but could trap them temporarily on a stair-free island.
The Shoals were added in the Stone Soup version of Crawl.