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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

A spell is a magical effect that the player can produce at will, provided they have sufficient MP, are skilled enough in the spell's magic schools, and not under a few status effects. Spells are learned from the spell library (M).

Useful Info

Every spell has the following:

  • A spell level. This determines:
    • If you can learn the spell at all. In order to memorize a spell, your experience level must be greater or equal to a spell's level.
    • How difficult a spell is to cast. Higher levels of spells require more skill training to reduce their failure.
    • How much MP a spell costs, where MP Cost = Spell Level. Some spells, like Dragon's Call, can use extra MP after being cast.
In addition, characters can only memorize so many spell levels at a time. A given character can learn up to (2 × Spellcasting) + (XL - 1) spell levels at once. E.g. an XL 11 character with 5 Spellcasting would have a total of 20 spell levels; they could learn four level 5 spells, or two level 9 spells and one level 2 spell.
  • One or multiple magic schools ("spell schools"). For example, Summon Ice Beast is a Summonings / Ice Magic spell. Both "Summonings" and "Ice Magic" are skills that boost the strength and success rate of the spell. Spells with multiple schools will take more XP to train.

In the spells menu (M), a spell will be shown in red if your god prohibits it. Otherwise a spell is shown in white if you can learn it (i.e. your XL is high enough, and you have enough spell levels) and grey if you cannot.

In any case, you can only learn up to 21 spells:

"Your head is already too full of spells!"

Casting spells

Spells are cast by pressing z and selecting one of the learned spells. A spell is shown in white if casting it is possible and would achieve something (e.g. if you can affect something with an attack, heal MP with Sublimation of Blood...). Otherwise, it is greyed out and can only be cast by pressing Z. The game's assessment of whether it would achieve something is not always accurate; for example, you might cast a Fireball at a spot where you suppose there is an invisible monster.

Once a player has learned a spell, that spell gains a new set of player-dependent properties:

  • Spell power: how powerful the spell will be if cast successfully. For example, more powerful Conjuration spells do more damage, more powerful summoning spells can summon stronger monsters or last longer (depending on the spell).
  • Spell failure: how likely you are to miscast the spell.
  • Range: how far the spell can be cast, if the spell has a ranged effect.

Monsters casting spells

Monsters can also cast many of the spells available to players (as well as many that are not), but the mechanics are very different:

  • Monsters don't have MP.
  • Monsters can't miscast spells, but they can fail while under the antimagic status effect.
  • Monsters can only cast spells when there is an enemy in their LOS. The exceptions to this rule are Dig, Minor Healing, and Major Healing.
  • Most monsters can cast up to 6 different spells, though player ghosts can have even more.
  • Polymorphed uniques won't retain their spells in their new form. Shapeshifters don't get spells.
  • Monsters don't cast spells less often when they are able to attack in melee, unlike with ranged weapons or wands.

See also


  • Prior to 0.20, uniques would keep their spells when polymorphed into a different form of human intelligence, unless the poly target had innate spells (e.g. naga spit).
  • Prior to 0.10, it was necessary to have one level in Spellcasting to be able to memorize spells.