| It is still a mystery how this bizarre place was created. Some claim that it is the playground of bored gods, whereas others maintain that it was shaped by all kinds of species who fled the overworld and shunned the light. No matter what its origin, this deep cavern is filled with riches unheard of as well as with ample dangers to any intruder. Few have escaped alive, and even fewer have kept some sliver of sanity sufficient to tell the tale.
The dungeon is 15 levels deep, but, honestly, this is only the beginning.
The Dungeon is the main setting of Dungeon Crawl. The first area you arrive in upon creating a new character, it is 15 floors deep, not counting its many branches. The final floor contains an entrance to the Depths, where portals to more dangerous branches are found, including the Realm of Zot.
The Dungeon consists of 15 randomly generated floors filled with rooms, corridors, doors, and vaults. Most walls are made of rock, but sometimes from other materials such as stone, metal, or green crystal. You can travel between floors using stairs and (not always intentionally) shafts.
Each floor has three stairs leading up and three stairs leading down; sometimes you'll also encounter hatches, which are one-way staircases. Save those for emergencies, and never use them to enter a new floor if you can take the stairs, as you will be unable to flee back up them if you encounter trouble right away.
Going upstairs on Dungeon:1 will return you to the overworld and end the game, whether you have the Orb of Zot or not. Although your character did not die, they have retired all the same and you will have to create another.
Unlike certain other roguelikes, floors in Crawl are permanent, once generated. They do not change if you leave, then return.
The Dungeon's difficulty increases the deeper you delve into it. The first few levels are populated by nothing more deadly than rats and goblins, but as you descend the difficulty will gradually rise. Try to gauge the difficulty of each floor's monsters as you progress. If they suddenly seem too difficult, you should retreat and go explore one of the many Dungeon branches instead. Exploring the branches is ultimately necessary in any case, as neither the Dungeon nor the Depths contain any of the runes of Zot you need to enter the Realm of Zot.
Prior to 0.14, the Dungeon was 27 floors deep, with the Realm of Zot located on D:27. The Depths were introduced to help better control the amount of experience a player acquires throughout the game, and to help force the player to explore side-branches earlier in the game.