The Tomb

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

This page is about the dungeon branch. For the card, see Tomb card.

The Tomb of the Ancients is a place of damnation, of horrors animated by the vilest necromancy. The list of those who have returned from this place of pure death is exceedingly short.

This branch is unnaturally silent: sounds travel farther here.

The entrance to this branch can be found on level 3 of the Crypt.

This branch is 3 levels deep.

This branch contains the golden rune of Zot.

A way to the Tomb of Ancients, a place of damnation, of horrors animated by the vilest necromancy.

Tomb entry.png The Tomb of the Ancients (usually referred to only as the Tomb) is a branch located under the Crypt, inhabited by desiccated mummies of all kinds. Although mostly bare of valuables, it holds the golden rune of Zot and two massive treasure heaps for those who manage to survive all the way to the end.

Useful Info

Stairs to the Tomb are found on the last floor of the Crypt. It's only 3 levels deep, but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security: it's one of the most dangerous branches in the game, even for powerful characters. You'll meet a wide variety of mummies, which if not carefully dealt with can destroy you with torment and crippling death curses. There is also a greater density of traps here than you'll find anywhere else.

While it's not as deathly quiet as the Crypt, the Tomb has very little in the way of ambient noise. As a result, every sound (be it from casting a spell, hitting something with a weapon, or attracting the attention of a flying skull) will carry farther than you're used to. Be extra careful if you wish to avoid attracting attention.

Unlike other areas of the game, the layout of the Tomb is mostly fixed, with only a few variations possible.

You cannot be shafted inside the Tomb. The Formicid shaft ability still works, though.


M Mummy (monster).png Mummy (monster) M Guardian mummy.png Guardian mummy M Mummy priest.png Mummy priest M Royal mummy.png Royal mummy
z Flying skull.png Flying skull z Small zombie.png Zombie z Skeleton small humanoid.png Skeleton z Simulacrum small humanoid.png Simulacrum
B Death scarab.png Death scarab 9 Ushabti.png Ushabti b Bennu.png Bennu H Sphinx.png Sphinx

Rare Monsters

z Skeletal warrior.png Skeletal warrior z Revenant.png Revenant
L Lich.png Lich L Ancient lich.png Ancient lich L Dread lich.png Dread lich


L Boris.png Boris A Mennas.png Mennas M Khufu.png Khufu

The following monsters deserve a special mention:

  • M Guardian mummy.png Guardian mummy - A slightly tougher mummy. The monster itself shouldn't be much trouble, though their death curses can slow or torment you.
  • M Mummy priest.png Mummy priest - Tougher than guardian mummies, they can also cast Torment, Smite, Summon Undead, and Summon Demon. Their death curses are more likely to be unpleasant than those of the guardians.
  • M Royal mummy.png Royal mummy - The biggest threat in Tomb, they are an upgraded version of mummy priests. They have a similar set of spells, but over three times the health, faster movement, and the highest chance of delivering devastating death curses. These will kill you if you are not prepared. Try not to take on more than one at a time!
  • B Death scarab.png Death scarab - Extremely fast, hit hard, and their attacks slow you. They move like bats or unseen horrors, backing away after hitting you.
  • z Revenant.png Revenant - Blinking foes which flood you with spectral things. They possess Dispel Undead, which really hurts undead players.
  • 9 Ushabti.png Ushabti - Creates miasma clouds, which slow and severely poison characters that are vulnerable (living characters, and those in Tree Form). Has a weaker version of Dispel Undead, too.
  • b Bennu.png Bennu - Have a holy melee attack, which is dangerous to undead characters. They can revive once after death.


1. Upon entering Tomb:1, you'll find yourself in an open hallway, boxing in the actual "Tomb". The hallway contains a handful of mummies, guardian mummies, and skeletons. There are rock walls on the edges of the map, which can be used to create a killhole.

2. On the other side of the level, you'll find a massive statue-lined hallway, leading to the center of the map. It is guarded by a large pack of sphinxes.

You should bring enough willpower to prevent paralysis. Even though sphinxes are relatively weak, do not underestimate their smites. Multiple sphinxes smiting you every turn will hurt even the strongest of characters.

3. Past the hallway, you'll find one of several possible interiors, each containing several royal mummies and other nasties. Somewhere, you'll find a one-way staircase leading down.

4. As soon as you enter Tomb:2, you'll find yourself in a large open chamber. There won't be scary enemies initially, but it won't take long for mummies to close in from all directions. There is an up-one-way-stair about 10 tiles diagonally to one corner of the square chamber (chosen randomly). As such, it is advisable to get out of the central chamber rapidly, doing one of several things:

  • Reading a scroll of magic mapping, to identify the stair. Use a combination of blink scrolls, haste potions, and Passage of Golubria to get there. Once you get there, you can comfortably fight, and go upstairs if it gets too dangerous.
  • Reading a scroll of teleportation until you end up in the outside rim of small rooms. From here, you can fight a small number of enemies at once. If you're really lucky, you'll notice that you ended up in the section of Tomb:2 with the one-way stairs down to Tomb:3. In this case you can skip to point 7.
  • Using haste potions, Swiftness, blink, or teleport to get to the outer rim of small rooms, where you can fight a small number of enemies at once.

5. You'll find several doors on the edges of the central chamber. These lead to a series of small rooms, enveloping half the map. These contain mummy priests and many traps. Eventually, you'll find a staircase back up to Tomb:1.

If you can break stone walls, you can try to break open the wall, where it's obvious there should be a continuation of the small rooms. This lets you skip the Tomb:1 re-entry, skipping to point 7.

6. Heading back up to Tomb:1, you'll find yourself in the only unexplored area of Tomb:1, a large horseshoe surrounding the inner courtyard. You'll encounter many royal mummies, with a few guardian mummies and priests. Traps will be scattered throughout. At the end of the horseshoe, you'll find another one-way staircase to Tomb:2.

Handled carefully, you should only encounter one or two royal mummies at a time. Make too much noise, and you may wind up with a lot more on your hands. Consider luring them back to the nearest corner before engaging them, and remember that a teleport to safety is almost guaranteed to send you back to the now-clear first area of Tomb:1.

7. Remember the small chambers you found on Tomb:2 earlier? Now you get to clear a mirror image of those on the other side. Expect more of the same, with an even greater concentration of traps, and eventually you'll find two one-way staircases leading to Tomb:3.

8. Both staircases leading to Tomb:3 will place you in the same area. You'll drop to the start of a short, wide hallway. There is one door on each side, with each door containing treasure and up-stairs back to safety. The rune chamber is straight ahead. You will almost immediately encounter a large number of guardian mummies and death scarabs, followed by plenty of reinforcements in the form of flying skulls, mummy priests, and royal mummies (over a dozen of each is not unusual).

It is usually good to focus on making a path to the up-stair before fighting, because more and more mummies will turn up if you fight. If you can, grab the figurine of a ziggurat, found in one of the large loot piles, on your way, to act as a 2-turn escape tool in the case of disaster. It is likely you will have to go upstairs, reset and make your way back to the upstairs several times before the entire floor is clear. Once the flood of mummies stops, you are free to check out the loot and grab the rune, but be careful of dangerous stragglers.


If not done correctly, Tomb is one of the deadliest places in the game. A character facing Tomb must tackle these problems:

  • Royal mummies and mummy priests can torment you, instantly cutting your HP by up to half. They can then smite you to finish the job.
  • Royal mummies and mummy priests can summon a ton of tough monsters, which makes it difficult to attack the summoners with melee or single-target attacks. And they will frequently abjure your own summons.
  • All non-regular mummies cast death curses when killed, potentially slowing, tormenting or draining you or your stats, and dealing pain damage which is not resisted by rN. Since there are so many mummies in the Tomb, these effects can quickly reach debilitating levels.
  • Inability to stairdance. You cannot simply bring one stairload of enemies upstairs at a time and polish them off.

Some strategies, with their specific strengths and weaknesses, are outlined below. One should mix and match them to fit your character: it is unlikely that one can do Tomb simply by being a Zin or a Kiku worshipper, or simply by having Dispel Undead, but a lichform necromancer of Kiku, or Zinnite with a holy weapon and silence, stands a very good chance of making it. The best general advice is to know your limits. If one encounter with a royal mummy nearly killed you, then the next one may very well finish you off. Just remember that completing the Tomb is by no means required to win the game.

Staircase Tactics

Generally, the safest approaches to Tomb:2 and Tomb:3 involve getting to the up-stair back to where you started as the first priority, and killing off all the mummies in Tomb:2 and 3 as the second priority. Read scrolls of fog to limit line of sight to avoid the number of torments and smites you face, and be ready to use up your buff potions, evocables, and scrolls of blinking at any point.

The main issue with staircases (or any place, really), are the bounty of traps. Dispersal traps will move teleport-vulnerable players off the stairs, net traps will disable your movement, and Zot traps inflict a variety of nasty effects. If the staircase happens to not have them, great, you are in luck. Otherwise, use said line of sight manipulation, try checking the other stair, or use a potion of lignification to make you immune to both teleport and torment (but resistant to movement, too).

Another approach is to teleport until you find a defensible spot. It may be worth reading magic mapping to find if the layout has any suitable spots and to know if you are near them. This represents more of a commitment, but it avoids the scenario where the entrance points, the upstairs, and everywhere between are packed full of nasties and on returning to the level you are immediately in serious danger.


  • Gear with negative energy resistance - Reduces damage from torment and draining death curses.
  • Gear with stat boosts - Improves your general performance and decreases the likelihood of unexpectedly reaching stat zero from death curses.
  • Gear with willpower - Weak-willed characters will have a much worse time dealing with the sphinxes than characters with insurmountable will. You don't need it for the entire branch, but it's very useful for that one stretch (and handy when dealing with ancient liches out of the blue).
  • Apart from the occasional summoned demon or surprising unique, there are no sources of fire, cold, acid, or electricity damage in this branch, and the only likely source of mutation is if you accidentally step into a Zot trap.
  • If you are confident in your offensive capabilities, consider bringing potions of lignification with you. Fighting in Tree form will render you immune to torment, allowing you to focus on the task of reducing the hordes of mummies to dust uninterrupted.
  • A scroll of immolation can help greatly in taking out the gigantic horde of enemies on Tomb:3, but the sheer quantity of death curses this will trigger is enough to oneshot any character. Undead characters, or characters with Death's Door, Necromutation or with a stock of potions of lignification can attempt this strategy.


  • Necromutation - Provides immunity to draining and torment. However, you become vulnerable to Dispel Undead Range (from ushabtiu) and lose access to potions.
  • Death's Door - Gives a long enough period of invulnerability to escape upstairs from almost anything in Tomb.
  • Borgnjor's Revivification - For when you unexpectedly end up on 10 HP in the middle of a bunch of mummies (Does a very similar job to Death's Door).
  • Statue Form - Provides significant torment resistance without the downsides of Necromutation, including its use with good gods. Slows your actions and cannot be used if you worship Zin, however.
  • Silence - Disables the spells of all mummies within its aura. Be careful with this spell, because mummy death curses still take effect, including those that can torment you, and you lose access to scrolls and spells.
  • Ignition - Works great in the cramped and fire-vulnerable corridors of the Tomb.
  • Dispel Undead - Deals heavy damage to almost everything in the Tomb. Only affects one melee target at a time though.
  • Shatter - Deals heavy, unavoidable damage to the entire screen. Noisy, but also tears down walls.
  • Most other level 9 spells - Dragon's Call creates a mass of allies, Polar Vortex mops the floor with a widespread tornado, Fire Storm roasts mummies even harder...


  • Kikubaaqudgha - Provides significant torment resistance, negates most death curses and provides access to useful Necromancy spells.
  • The Shining One - Provides rN+++, a weapon of holy wrath, powerful holy burst attacks, HP and MP recovery on each kill, with summonable angelic warriors.
  • Zin - Provides immunity to stat loss, temporary invulnerability, though Zin prevents use of Tree Form, Statue Form, or Necromutation.
  • Ru - Provides tremendous area-of-effect damage through Apocalypse, but watch out for the draining.
  • Makhleb - Provides very significant HP recovery on kill.
  • Gozag - Bribe the tomb, easy life. Also provides potions in Lichform.
  • Jiyva - Slimifying mummies will completely cancel their death curses. Being tormented will spawn high-end jellies very often, and regeneration helps recover the lost HP.


  • Prior to 0.30, Formicids could not shaft in the Tomb.
  • In 0.29, most uniques were removed from the Tomb.
  • In 0.27, all mechanical (physical) traps were removed.
  • In 0.25, death curses were reworked and simplified, now having only 4 total effects.
  • In 0.23, the trap rework dramatically effected the Tomb. Most notably, Zot traps became visible, but the new dispersal traps made standing on stairs a lot more difficult.
  • In 0.20, the staircases in Tomb were made one-way, similar to hatches but with set destination locations. The up one-way staircases were placed in locations not too far from the down-stairs, but far enough that walking is difficult, and in Tomb:3 some doors were added to make access to the up-stairs easier.
  • In 0.19, Anubis guards were replaced with ushabtiu.
  • In 0.17, the Unborn were removed.
  • In 0.16, even more non-mummy opponents were added: Anubis guards, bennu, death scarabs, and ushabtiu.
  • In 0.15, the Tomb received a new layout of the courtyard in Tomb:1, as well as more non-mummy monsters. Also, the entrance to Tomb always appears on the last floor of the Crypt instead of appearing on Crypt:2 or Crypt:3.
Dungeon branches
Dungeon exit.png The DungeonTemple entry.png The TempleDepths entry.png The DepthsZot entry.png Realm of Zot
Lair entry.png The Lair ( Spider entry.png Spider's NestSnake entry.png Snake PitSwamp entry.png The SwampShoals entry.png The ShoalsSlime entry.png Slime Pits)
Orc entry.png Orcish Mines ( Elf entry.png Elven Halls) • Vaults entry.png The Vaults ( Crypt entry.png The CryptTomb entry.png The Tomb)
Abyss entry.png The AbyssPandemonium entry.png PandemoniumHell entry.png Hell ( Cocytus entry.png CocytusDis entry.pngDisGehenna entry.png GehennaTartarus entry.png Tartarus)
See also: Portal