Spell memorisation

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

Spell memorisation is the process by which you learn spells from your spell library.

Spell Library

The spell library can be viewed by pressing M. You can gain spells by starting background, by picking up spell books, or through the gifts of certain gods (Vehumet, Kiku).

Once you're in the memorisation menu, press the letter of the spell in order to learn it. This takes a few turns (spell level + 1 turns), and is interrupted when you are attacked, so do it in a safe area.

You can search for spells the library with ctrl-F, and can switch between memorisation, checking descriptions, and hiding/showing spells you have no interest in with the ! key.


While any character may gain access to spells, the following restrictions apply:

  • There's a limit to the number of spell levels. Each spell has a level, from 1 to 9. You can only have up to 2 * Spellcasting + Experience Level - 1 levels of spells at one time. E.g. a character at XL 11 and 5 Spellcasting can learn 20 levels of spells - that's four level 5 spells, two level 9 + one level 2 spell, etc.
    • If your spell level capacity is lowered (Ru sacrifice, removing Ashenzari curses), you will keep all your spells, even if you'd reach "negative" spell levels.
  • You cannot memorise a spell whose level is higher than your experience level.
  • There is a hard limit of 21 spells.

In addition, you cannot physically memorise a spell if you are confused, berserk, or brainless.

A scroll of amnesia lets you unmemorise a spell, freeing up spell levels. The spell remains in your library, so you can relearn it later.

Species Restrictions

Some species can't memorize certain spells, usually because they'd be useless:

Also note that memorising spells while worshipping Trog will trigger penance.


  • Prior to 0.26, spells gifted by Vehumet were not added into the player's library even when memorised.
  • Prior to 0.22, there was no spell library. Spellbooks were permanent objects, and spells had to be memorised directly from a book each time.
  • Prior to 0.12, your chance of success at memorising a spell was related to your chance to cast the same spell. Failing to memorise a spell had no effect, except from a Book of Annihilations, a Grand Grimoire or a Necronomicon. In these cases, you'd suffer a (likely high level) miscast effect from Conjurations, Summonings or Necromancy, respectively.