User:Oneirical/Onei's 6 Runes of Legend Bastet-Approved Feline Brainwashing and Re-Education Walkthrough - (FeSu^Kikubaaqudgha)

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Trunk-only: This article pertains to a feature of Crawl which is being tested. It will likely change before the next release, and may even be removed entirely.
This article contains advice from other players, which may be subjective, outdated, inaccurate or ill-advised. Take advice as you see fit, and read at your own risk!
Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Another contender! Will you prove worthy, or rot like the rest?

Did you know 100% of deaths in DCSS are the result of taking damage? The common melee brute builds may appear efficient at first, but they suffer from a critical flaw - they let the enemy hit you. Every single time an enemy applies its claws, club, arrows, or reality shattering magic to your sensitive skin, you are exposed to the leading cause of mortality in the Dungeon. I therefore propose an alternative that will make your journey down into the depths 50% less painful, 100% less lonely, and most importantly, 300% fluffier.

The Felid Summoner of Kikubaaqudgha.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png It's not "evil magic"! It's recycling. Those bodies would have gone to waste.

Cats have a terrible reputation for being, supposedly, a “challenge species”, a “tedious ordeal of optimal play” or even an “unfun experience I’d never do again”. I’m here to inform you that this is all baseless canine propaganda, and I hope you too will learn to bow before your true feline masters as you read through this guide. As a cat, you will be able to laugh in the face of paralysis (due to your high willpower), laugh in the face of invisible enemies (due to your intrinsic See Invisible passive), laugh in the face of melee enemies (due to your high speed) and even occasionally laugh in the face of death (due to the extremely unique ability to reincarnate after you meet your demise).

This all comes at the high price of having the lowest amount of hit points in the game, and the inability to use any item besides consumables, evokables and jewellery. Thankfully, you won’t need any of the baubles inferior humanoids depend on, as you will delegate most of the dirty work to pathetically obedient underlings. Prepare to embark on a journey like no other which will flip the game around completely, turning the lethal into the laughable, and the harmless into the horrifying.

This guide was written for DCSS version 0.31 (released in MONTH HERE YEAR HERE). The target audience here are players who have already won at least once, and would like a kind of build that’s a bit off the beaten path of the tried and true brute/caster duality, or even their first Felid victory. While this is quite a complex way to play for a newcomer to Crawl (there's a lot of choices to make and a lot of ways to tackle each encounter), players still looking to snatch that elusive first win can also benefit, upgrade their threat assessment capabilities and significantly improve their tactics in such a way that may lead to victory, perhaps even with a completely different species/background combo! I myself got my very first win with a Felid Summoner, and would be delighted to have others join me.

Travel Preparations (optional)

If you care about quality of life, I suggest editing your rc file (in online mode, it's the button right next to the "Play trunk/Play (current version)" button, and in offline mode, it's under the settings folder > init.txt). Add these at the very bottom, on new lines (though this is entirely optional - if you don't think constant confirmation prompts will bother you, feel free to proceed to the next chapter):

default_manual_training = true
show_more = false
fail_severity_to_confirm = 0
fail_severity_to_quiver = 5
tile_player_tile = tile:felid_2

In order, these will:

1. Prevent the very useless and dangerous Auto-training feature from working.

2. Will help you not press "Enter" every 5 seconds while 99 allies and enemies are fighting on the screen.

3. Will allow you to cast dangerous spells without a confirmation prompt.

4. Will allow you to quiver dangerous spells without a confirmation prompt.

5. For the reasonable among you, this will turn your likely very ugly Felid sprite extracted from the default rotation - which you may somehow find cute if you suffer from an utter lack of taste - into the objectively superior black counterpart. Secretly grants bonus Willpower from the sheer confidence your glossy black fur will exude (not scientifically tested). For those visually challenged by the black-fur-on-black-floor lack of contrast, tile:felid_4 or mons:natasha are also acceptable. Offline players can also press “-” and cycle through available sprites with left and right arrow keys while ingame.

Points 3 and 4 may be slightly controversial. The reason for this is simple - the "danger rating" of spells is based off your maximum HP, and as Felid has the lowest max HP in the game, even the actually very safe spell Call Canine Familiar will be labeled as "astonishingly dangerous" and constantly ask "are you sure????" when it's actually very safe, and in fact required for progression.

An Agonizing Introduction (XP Level 1)

As the title suggests, pick Felid for your species (ignore the “Advanced” difficulty: that’s merely a ploy to hide true power from your grasp). Pick Summoner for your background, as is wisely recommended by the game.

Upon starting your run, you will be met with the following:

  • 7 pitiful HP points, enough to get two-shotted by a quokka, defended by a lonely, single point of AC.
  • Complete lack of any items (except a measly consolation magic cocktail), weapons, or armour, and only three equipment slots for jewellery only. Felid culture prohibits equipping rings on your rear-limbs, as this is symbolic of the time one spent caged by their (now rightfully eviscerated) master.
  • The pathetic ability to call forth fuzzy critters from the unfathomable depths of the eldritch cosmos.
  • A deranged repartition of default skill training. Press “m”. If you haven’t set up your rc file as explained in the beginning of the tutorial, set training to “manual” mode (press “/” to do so). Then, turn off every skill except Spellcasting and Summonings. Important note: at any time, should you wish to review my suggested skill training plan, view the addendum at the end of this guide.
  • Your first Extra Life, ripe to be harvested by possibly the very first foe you will encounter.

All of this is, to put it bluntly, utter trash. The good news is that XP level 1 and 2 are the only thing separating you from supreme feline domination. Please refer to the following advice to avoid becoming a delicacy in the next hobgoblin feast.

  • Try to avoid being in melee range of anything that isn’t a “trivial creature” - which are bats, rats, frilled lizards and ball pythons. In the latter case, if a ball python hits you with the “Constrict” status, do NOT continue fighting and attempt to retreat until you have been cleansed from the status. If you are cornered without MP and forced to fight, do so, but be aware that this is very likely your end. You may take one step in a foe’s reach to reposition, but always remember that most of the denizens of D:1 can two-shot you.
  • Cast Summon Small Mammal twice for every encounter (press “p” to do so, or - if the game complains about you being too reckless - "z" then "a"). Bats are almost useless, rats are mediocre, and quokkas are somewhat passable. If you happen to pull forth one of the latter two from your interdimensional nonexistent hat, you may direct them to get their furry heads bashed in at the nearest available enemy. This is done by pressing “t” to bring up the ally command menu, and then pressing “a” and selecting the enemy you wish to submit to death by a thousand adorable critter bites. If your fuzzy friend meets an unfortunate end at the tip of a kobold’s dagger, there’s always more where that came from - bring on the onslaught until all opposition has been reduced to quokka food. You can have up to a maximum of 2 mammals simultaneously - replace the fallen with more units eager to die in your name. While your summons fight it out, feel free to distance yourself from the action, or to press “.” to allow the battle to unfold, occasionally shooting a “t”-“a” command to direct firepower. Trying to join the action is a certain way to die - remember, do NOT melee non-trivial creatures!
  • Remember the golden rule of summoning: what you can’t see cannot be seen by your summons either. No ally can attack outside of Line-of-Sight (LOS) distance. If you want something to die, it has to be on your screen. The opposite is not necessarily true: while your feline senses let you see invisible enemies, all of the critters in your starting spells (except those from Call Canine Familiar) are not as fortunate.
  • If you run out of MP, retreat (towards known territory, if possible, as delving into the unknown will result in a swift death) and rest up to recharge your reserves - unless you are being chased by jackals or a quokka, in which case you should drink your starter Potion of Magic and resume gathering your furry army to avoid being ran down. You can also close doors behind you - animals of all kinds do not have paws as dextrous as yours, and will be forced to scratch your impenetrable barricade while you rest and recuperate. As a Felid, you are faster than most creatures, which makes it easy to outmaneuver foes while you scrape the mammalian demiplane to bring in more friends. Remember, do NOT attempt to enter in melee range of non-trivial creatures at level 1. You WILL get your snout slapped faster than you can say “YASD” (a roguelike acronym for Yet Another Stupid Death).
  • Your summons can tank stones and other missiles for you if you stand behind them, but this is extremely unreliable (projectiles continue their trajectory if they are dodged). Additionally, keep an eye out for branded weapons! A single hit from either of these is enough to go from a pristine, full health scruff to a game over screen showing 3 unidentified scrolls of acquirement. Venom and Electrocution in particular are extremely lethal. Branded melee weapons are handled in the same way as dangerous creatures of D:1, that is, drowned in pettable fluffballs until the threat is vanquished and drops their dangerous item (possibly a +34 triple sword “lol you can’t use this play minotaur next time” {flaming, Slay+12, AC+10}).

Quite an agonizing experience so far, no? Are you beginning to doubt me? Do you lust to return to a race that starts with HP in the double digits? Foolish! After this, the fun begins.

Interdimensional Battle Tactics 101

All enemies of DCSS, from the gurgling jelly to the mighty Pandemonium Lord Cerebov, are extremely unintelligent. In a situation like:


(where @ is you, S is a friendly summon, E is an enemy and . are floors), foes would rather hammer their way through your friend (which may be an eight-headed hydra zombie) to reach you, and certainly won’t think about just circling around to one-shot the squishy cat behind. You will need to abuse this as much as possible. Try to always ensure you are shielded behind your loyal servants. This, for example, is not acceptable:


Since the enemy can directly trace a line between you and their position (imagine they’re trying to fire a Magic Dart at you - if they can hit you, you’re not positioned correctly), they will ignore your ally and charge directly at you to slice themselves some fresh feline cutlets. In a situation such as this, it is preferable to either A) send out more allies to return to a more favourable state


Or B), retreat to a hallway.

1-tile hallways are your saving grace as a Summoner. Look at the following situation, where # represent walls:

Situation 1


The enemy is possibly an ogre about to bash you into a bloodied furball. Casting your summoning spell placed your unit behind you. Simply walk backwards to swap places with your unit, watch the fight unfold (preferably from a distance), and if your soldier perishes in honourable battle, your MP should have regenerated while they were battling it out: simply send out a fresh combatant eager to finish the job.


Zero risk, zero worry. If you run out of MP, simply use your swift cat paws to return to the upstairs, regenerate and try again. Most enemies in the game won’t be able to catch you. Here’s another interesting case:

Situation 2


Here, you got unlucky, and casting your spell spawned your unit behind the foe you are attempting to introduce to your friends. You could walk backwards until you have a 1-tile gap with your enemy, then cast your spell again, hoping it lands in the right spot this time around:


Casting your spell here may bring you back safely to Situation 1. However, Situation 2 is not entirely unfortunate: fast allies, like Hounds, Quokkas or later Mana Vipers, are capable of biting the enemy while you are running away. If you are in Situation 2, your summon is Fast, and your enemy does not have Fast speed, you may simply walk backwards, kiting this enemy desperate to reach you while your loyal pet bites them from behind every 3 turns or so. It may eventually despawn, but that is simply an invitation to recast the spell. Inspect enemies by right-clicking them - watch out, if the text mentions that it "covers grounds quickly" or is "very fast", you WILL be eating attacks of opportunity on every step and perishing in record time should you try to mindlessly run away without any friends to swap places with.

Of course, if you foolishly end up cornering yourself in a dead end, use a Teleport Scroll. It’s often the second-most common type of scroll.

If all this sounds complicated, do not worry: while it may take a few early D:1 splats to get the hang of it, it will become second nature after just a few battles.

A Devilish Upgrade (XP Level 2)

If you have reached this point, congratulations, you have won the game. You may now press Ctrl-Q to abandon the run, as objectively speaking, your chances of victory are now exactly 100.00%. Go bake some cookies. Take a nice walk in the park. Do anything else than watching pixelated animals fight. While being an animal yourself.

What? Still here? Very well.

Most of the Level 1 advice still applies, but you now have a little more room for mistakes. As soon as you level up and find yourself in a safe area, immediately memorize Call Imp by pressing "M", your new very mischievous addition to the roster. Press "z" then "b" to meet your new demonic friend. The unspeakably dark forces of Hell will be delighted to deliver you a dastardly blue imp proudly wielding a sharp stick.

This rampage machine is anything but (imp)otent. Savour the tears of the hobgoblins who once terrified you, revel in the yips of those pesky jackals - they will be poked, and there shall be no mercy. Imps will also occasionally compliment you and call you their “pillow-pawed master”, which is a step up from the blank stares of rats. Disregard these attempts to appeal to your nonexistent mercy, and send them to die in your name with more liberal usage of “t”-“a”. Unlike furry mammals, you may only have a maximum of one imp at a time.

At any moment, I encourage you to bring forth assistance from your previous, less talkative and much fuzzier friends! You may do this by either clicking the spell in the side menu (in offline mode) or pressing "p" or "za" again (in online mode). The total gang of three summons is now sufficient to circle enemies and dish out quick justice to anything on D:1. Keep being careful until you reach level 3. If D:1 fails to provide enough experience for this, carefully descend to D:2 to finish the job, but know that dealing with any of the D:2 new enemies that weren’t featured on D:1 is extremely risky - especially adders and orc priests/wizards. Try to focus on foes you are already familiar with, and use a different staircase if your chosen means of descent places you next to something you haven’t killed yet.

Canine Thralls vs. The Interdimensional Police (XP Level 3)

Increase (I)ntelligence, and only do so every single time you will be prompted with this choice in the future.

Find a safe area. Memorize Call Canine Familiar immediately (press "M"). This is the real deal. There are very few creatures in the early dungeon which can survive having three hounds dumped on them one after the other (the summon cap is one, just like the imp - do not recast the spell if your loyal pet is still alive, unless it wandered off and you wish to obtain a fresher, closer and potentially more obedient specimen). Not only can you just stand back and watch the carnage, you do not risk getting hit, and can effectively watch adders get slaughtered from Line-of-Sight (LOS) distance. Even the infamous D:2 Sigmund is powerless before canine brutality! Hounds, like imps, occasionally try to look cute and print out endearing messages in the text log. Again, do not let this affect you - remember that the canine race is lesser before feline glory, and heartlessly send them to their doom (“t”-“a”) while they obey with unfaltering zeal.

You can look (and cast) any of your memorized spells at any time by pressing "z" then "?". If it says, for example, "c - Call Canine Familiar", pressing "z" then "c" will welcome your new canine unit without having to bring up the menu every time. However...

There is one small problem.

Every time you attempt to call a canine slave friend, there should be a ~7%-9% chance of a miscast, which will reduce as you progress through the arts of Summonings. Miscasts in other schools of magic are generally not too dramatic (given that the caster is not trying to sever reality itself right after learning how to say “pick a card, any card”). However, your constant telemarketing calls to the eldritch cosmos asking “Who wants to die in the name of feline supremacy?” have begun to get on the nerves of some eldritch monstrosities. TentacleMail may therefore rarely deliver you a Nameless Horror instead of your ordered furry companion. Instead of filing a complaint, start to run. The bad news: a single hit from these things is often enough to blow up your HP AND MP bars, they will only leave after you have managed to kill them, and they will occasionally return your summons back to their home realm, so they may meet their family again instead of dying for a cat in a dungeon. The good news: you’re much faster than these terrible abominations.


What do I do if I incur the wrath of cosmic aberrations?

It depends on your kit. If you have damaging wands that aren't Mindburst and there are no real threats around, feel free to gun them down. If you are in a safe location, kiting them around an empty level and spamming hounds on them will eventually destroy them (after a long time). If you are in immediate danger, leave through the nearest up-staircase without getting hit by the Nameless Horror (that means, do not walk into a tile adjacent to the Horror), and take a different staircase to enter the level in which this horrifying creature is now roaming loose. If you are FORCED to walk in melee range of their tentacles, try to minimize your exposure to their reach - do not linger for too many turns, for a few unlucky rolls is all it takes for you to meet your doom! If the Nameless Horror isn't marked as "extremely dangerous" (it will be marked by a red square around it if it is) and you have HP to spare, you can ascend with it to a cleared floor, and park it there for later. Maybe the end of your run, at which point it will tremble before the FELINE GOD you have become.

How can I minimize my chances of being investigated by the interdimensional kidnapping police?

The Summonings school is not to be messed with. It is strongly advised that you never try to cast a Summonings spell with a failure rate higher than 10%, as the consequences may be disastrous. Only violate this rule when extreme firepower is needed imminently in a life-or-death situation. Hounds should be safe to be called upon as soon as you unlock them, but later spells may require more training before you should even consider trying them out - even in an open, clear space.

What if I accidentally spawned some all over the level?

First, you are very unlucky. While the miscast chance may initially be 9%, the risk of a nameless horror answering a miscast is even lower. Second, you should simply skip D:2 and plunge into D:3, returning later once you have the ability to show these tentacled bullies the power of feline might.

How can I possibly lose with such loyal followers?

Orc priests, my noble feline acolyte. These green-robed menaces have the ability to inflict undodgeable, instant and two-shotting damage from full LOS range. Right now, no amount of summons could protect you from their devotion to the god of the Orcs. If you see one - or, Xom have mercy, two or more, do not even attempt to test their mettle. Press “X”, move the cursor towards them, and press “e” to set up an exclusion - this is your way of telling the game “NOPE”. Remember, you are much faster than them. If they stay visible on your screen for 5 turns or more, you are asking to die. Leave through the nearest up-staircase, and attempt a different portion of the level (or descend to D:3 if the level is truly doomed), leaving these dissenters alive for later. They will suffer the consequences of their insolence in due time.

I have no MP, no friends and I am going to die. What do I do?

First, if nothing chasing you is Fast or has ranged attacks, consider running away (towards known territory, preferably), or even running in circles around a dungeon wall, pillar or feature - this should give you back some MP to dial up emergency help. If that is impossible, look at your wands - wands of acid, quicksilver, paralysis, roots, mindburst and iceblast are particularly efficient, although flame can do in a pinch. A wand of charming, used successfully, can incapacitate a single enemy (press "t" then "r", then select a far away square to tell them to GTFO, or have them destroy their former allies with "t"-"a"!). If that is not an option, read your scrolls hoping for a Teleport/Blink/Fear, possibly quaff potions to stay alive should you find it, and pray. Remember, once you have found the Scrolls of Identification (often the biggest stack of scrolls), you should be using them as soon as you find them (and it is safe to do so)! Don’t procrastinate!

The Delicate Art of Explosive Incineration (XP Level 4)

You now have an extra life! Such is the privilege of feline supremacy. As a proud member of the most blessed race in existence, death is not the end for you. Still, you should pretend it is - it will help you take better strategical decisions. If you do meet an unfortunate end, stay focused, take a break if you are feeling frustrated, and continue to play carefully as if you hadn’t died. Most Felid runs die around 3 to 9 times in an average 3-rune run, so do not feel too bad. Felid lives are meant to be used like rare, powerful consumables, and many Felid 3-rune or even 15-rune wins have 1 or 2 deaths as early as D:1.

Do not quit a Felid run because of an early death! With the way the system is designed, it's almost as if you are supposed to die in early Dungeon. It's much easier to level up early on than in the late game. A life lost on D:4 is gotten back on D:7, but a life lost in Pandemonium may take a full clear of all 4 Hell branches to get it back.

I will repeat it again. Do not quit a Felid run just because you died twice in a row to the same enemy. Save your game and go do something else instead. I know it's infuriating, but that would be like using a blink scroll and then quitting because you're mad about using a lifesaving item. Lives are consumables. Playing a Felid without dying is like playing an Octopode with 2 rings. You are supposed to die.

Press “E” to see how long it will take to get your next life. Press "%" to see how many lives you have (look in the top right of the popup!)

Once again, as soon as you find a safe place, immediately add your new friend to your roster - the Guardian Golem. Do not even think about casting it yet! Soon enough, it will be below 10% fail rate, and you may then use it safely. Tweak your skills as follows - turn on Hexes, press “=” to set a skill target, select Hexes, and set it to 5.0. While you're at it, you should also set a target for Spellcasting at 14.0, and Summonings at 14.0. You should also turn on Fighting and Dodging, and set a target to 10.0 for Fighting, and 10.0 for Dodging. Do not turn these two off until they have reached this level, no matter what.

Starting from D:3, the Dungeon loves to throw at you fast, high-damage, or sometimes even fast and high damage enemies before you are ready for them. You may therefore encounter water moccasins, ogres, killer bees, dangerous Lair enemies (wyverns & hornets are a classic), among a variety of other nasty creatures. However, you will laugh in the face of these pitiful attempts at stopping the march of progress, oneshot them with what is probably the most overpowered level 3 spell in the game, and witness the XP trickle down like cat treats. This is what you were suffering in D:1 for - whereas your average Minotaur Fighter or Deep Elf Conjurer would meet a swift end against a swarm of light speed enemies that make your healthbar have more red than green (or sometimes yellow), you will sacrifice unholy amounts of expensive machinery, and will probably make the interdimensional inventor shipping these to you very frustrated.

The Guardian Golem does zero melee damage and only knows how to take hits. Nearby summons may occasionally transmit some of their wounds to the Golem instead, but this is barely noticeable. The real reason you summon a Guardian Golem is to BLOW IT UP.

As a Remote Detonated Bomb Guardian Golem gets close to death, a red icon may appear in the corner of its sprite, and the message log will mention it is “overheating”. Once this happens, do NOT stand in melee range of the Golem. It’s going to EXPLODE, INCINERATE everything adjacent to it (including you, if you are incapable of following basic safety protocols), and leave behind CLOUDS OF BLAZING FLAME to block passage and allow you to leave, rest, and recuperate.

Do NOT stand in melee range of your Guardian Golem when it has that fire icon on its sprite. You WILL be oneshotted.

If you HAVE to brace for an inescapable blast, or must walk through flame clouds to reposition away from an orc with a +99 Halberd of Feline Culling, consider briefly putting on a ring of Fire Protection/a ring of Fire! This is very fast (less than one turn) and will halve the damage, allowing you to survive. Also consider simply recasting the spell to get a fresh, less explosive specimen if the current Golem is directing their murderous intent towards you.

In fact, "ring swapping" in general is a good skill to develop when playing a Felid. See a lindwurm? Ring of fire resistance. Rime drake? Ring of cold resistance. Nergalle the orcish necromancer? Ring of positive energy. Erolcha the banish-you-to-the-abyss-bot? Ring of willpower. Swapping rings is extremely fast - half of a turn to be precise. Don't try swapping amulets, though, trying to tie up a string around your fuzzy neck without opposable thumbs while a violent brute is inching closer is generally not advisable.

Here are some diagrams of potential ways you can commit feline war crimes with this improvised explosive. @ is you, the one and only genius fuzzball, E are your foolish enemies, and G is your trusty golem. . represents floors, and #, walls.

Hallway Exit Triple-Blast


Outsmarting Lesser Beings in Open Spaces


Yes, this actually works. The enemies on the sides won't even swerve around, captivated by the shining metal of your loyal robot. Do note that one step forward will put you in the blast zone, and that one step back will disrupt the captivation of your foes and have them rush to attack you.

Cheering on the Sidelines

...EE   EE...
...G.   .G...
.....   .....
..@..   ..@..
.....   .....

Super Final Destination Crematorium


In which case "H" is your very distressed Hound, or any other summon that can tank the hits while inevitable explosive doom approaches. Of course, it's rare to get the full value octo-blast, but getting 4 to 6 kills in packs of orcs or yaks is absolutely doable.

From now on, the plan is as follows:

  • Summon a Hound for every single trivial-to-medium difficulty battle. Make use of “t”-“a” to direct focus, and do not hold back until the entire canine demiplane has been sacrificed to mitten-pawed glory.
  • Demolish every single high damage or out-of-depth (OOD) enemy by letting them uselessly punch a robotic time bomb over and over until it inevitably burns them to a crisp. Ice beast? Boom. Ogre? Boom. Bullfrog? Boom. Wyvern? Boom. Water moccasin, yak, two-headed ogre, sleepcap, gnoll sergeant, any Unique creature, hornet, ugly thing, scorpion, troll, orc warrior? BOOM. They will not survive, and if they somehow do, you can simply bring out more golems for your foes to commit the same mistake. So much for having “human”-level intelligence - clearly, the humanoids are hopeless, dull-witted morons before feline genius.
  • Stuck in a pinch with no MP and a really angry dude invading your personal space? Getting turned into a porcupine by a very merry centaur? Getting a taste of orcish zealotry and being told that "smite makes right"? Use wands! They are the guns of the fantasy world, and will dispose of any pesky denizen of the Dungeon. Do not hesitate to spam these against dangerous uniques, centaurs and orc priests. The bolt ones, like Quicksilver, Light or Acid, are especially effective. Remember, if you use Charming, you can "t"-"r" the mind-controlled foe to get away from you, then use that distance to execute a swift, zero-risk retreat!
  • If you end up in a terrible situation, use a consumable. A teleportation scroll will often get you out of trouble in just a few turns. They are the second-most common type.
  • In the semi-common case where you encounter the unique siblings Dowan and Duvessa, always slay Duvessa first, preferably with an incinerating payload. Otherwise, Duvessa will get very mad, run at you at light speed and oneshot you.

Try to abuse the 1-tile hallways described earlier in Battle Tactics 101! This guarantees your foes will not attempt to circumvent your units to instead give you a very uncomfortable petting session. You are extremely frail, and lingering in melee range of anything that isn’t a basic orc or a D:1 creature is bound to result in your doom. Constantly use your turns to reposition and ensure you are always behind your summons - any turn spent not moving is a turn not spent using your speed advantage! If your summons lose, you will be the next target on the list, and you will NOT survive should you stand your ground with tooth and claw. Run, rest and try again.

It is advised to not send Golems against low-damage enemies - most of the time, this will cause them to despawn before they can blow up, resulting in MP waste. On the contrary, extremely high damage enemies can sometimes demolish the Golem before it even has a chance to trigger its explosive mechanism - this can occasionally be observed against death yaks and hydras, for example. Persistence is key - eventually, they will roll low and be covered in flames like they are supposed to be.

Finally, while the Guardian Golem is highly attuned to pyroclastic energies, it is very much not immune to the blazing clouds left by its formerly-alive predecessors. This can greatly assist you in your remote detonation endeavours, for you can simply direct your next Golem to go get themselves incinerated on the exact same tile of the previous Golem for faster massacring. Use caution, however, so that an imminently-self-destructing robot doesn't walk into a flame puff next to you and instantly one-shots you.

Dastardliness, Cackles and Dark Tricks (God Choice)

You have only three equipment slots to fulfill Ashenzari’s bondage fantasies, no time to learn the ways of Invocations, and would not benefit from weapon gifts with your lack of opposable thumbs. As the lead of an interdimensional kidnapping startup, you should delegate EVERY task to your staff and NEVER do any work yourself.

Ru is technically quite viable for you, but as you don’t care for employee wellbeing, in-office buddhist yoga sessions are not at the top of your schedule. Plus, you will need both of your paws to play with the Orb of Zot like a ball of yarn. There was also once a time where feline CEOs such as you would strike a divine partnership with Gozag and crack open endless amounts of lootboxes and microtransactions, but that time has come to pass.

No, instead, in this guide, we shall be learning arts and magic as dark as the colour of our fur, from scratch, under the tutelage of the villainous god Kikubaku-



Kikubaaqudgha. Yes. That's how you spell it.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Untainted souls are so much more fun to corrupt! But... why are you so fluffy? I need goth elves and black mascara. I can't have my subordinates looking like this!

Sorry Kiku, malnourished nerds and lanky skeletons are just so passé. If you wish to increase your approval ratings among the public, research has shown that a marketable, plushie-like mascot is a much better driving force for sales and engagement.

Anyhow. The reason I suggest picking Kiku for this build is to secure the mid-and-late game, as the Summoner background is so powerful (as you may have noticed already) that no immediate divine assistance is required. For now, Kiku will do absolutely nothing to help you - focus on proving yourself worthy by engaging in senseless, indiscriminate murder. Or, in other words, just the usual routine. Kikubaaqudgha's altar can spawn in D:3, the Temple, as deep down as D:10 - it really doesn't matter at all, you just need to have joined Kiku before entering Lair.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png "An evil god, Kikubaaqudgha requires worshippers to cause the death and destruction of as many creatures as possible." Well, that's rich. It's not as if almost every single other god wants the exact same thing. Why am I being singled out?

Actually, I lied. Kiku does do one thing right away. And that's flaming you in the message log when you lose the run. Let that be motivation to play intelligently.

Murder and Electrical Engineering (XP Level 6 to Lair)

You should have collected a nice array of scrolls by now. The biggest stack is very likely to be Identification - find it, and proceed to use each one to label your possessions respectively as "potion of Save Felid" and "scroll of GTFO". Personally, I think identifying potions before scrolls tends to increase your chances of survival ever-so-slightly. From now on, every single time you discover an Identification Scroll, use it immediately, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Between level 6 and 8 (variable depending on your dungeon adventures), the ability to memorize Summon Lightning Spire will be made available to you. This is the big gun, the heavy artillery, and other militarily pleasing expressions. Whereas the Guardian Golem granted the power to slay individual high-level threats, the Lightning Spire welcomes a little bit of ranged combat to the battlefield. This stationary turret has zero chill, and will electrocute anything breathing the same air as you in record time, only stopping once you and your allies are the only thing left standing. However, it occasionally likes to sleep on the job, so make sure to wake it up with more ample usage of “t”-“a”. Remember that neither the Golem nor the Spire have vision as refined as yours, and will completely ignore invisible enemies - most commonly orc wizards. You can still direct fire on a visible enemy, and if a sneaky invisible trickster is in the way, they will still get zapped!

To tap into this immense electrical power, open up your skills menu with “m” - notice that your Hexes should be at 5 and disabled, or close to 5. Now, turn on Air Magic, and set a target to 5. Remember, do not attempt to cast a Summonings spell above 10% fail rate!

There are two main issues: first, the Spire is highly considerate of your wellbeing (which is nice, for the velvet-pawed deserve utmost comfort) yet also just as compassionate towards your other summons (which is less nice, as they are disposable and unimportant lesser beings). It will therefore not shoot if its piercing, bouncing bolt would cause harm to you or to any of your loyal servants. Strangely, it seems to hold a grudge against the Guardian Golem, and will occasionally zap it anyways, but this is uncommon - most likely, the Golem dimension played an amusing prank on the Spire dimension before you ripped both of them from their home realm to perish in unspeakable agony. Just kidding. They’re constructs. They don’t feel anything.

The second issue is that unlike other units, the Lightning Spire is incapable of moving out of your way or swapping places with you. This is problematic if you cast the spell in a hallway, potentially blocking your escape route.


You can’t walk backwards to escape the ogre (O), and the (S)pire won’t do anything, too afraid of daring to disrespect you (@)!

Instead of trying to melee an ogre with 0 Unarmed Combat skill, I propose an alternative - a disciplinary paw-scratch. Hold Ctrl, and move in the direction of your Lightning Spire. This will attack it, and immediately one-shot it no matter what, allowing passage again. An alternative is to recast the spell, though this is risky - it may simply land in an equally unfortunate position.

With all of that said, you should be set for clearing floors until you find the entrance to the Lair. Your faithful trio - Hound, Spire and Golem - can take on pretty much anything. In addition, you may occasionally notice Call Canine Familiar will now send out much more effective Wolves instead of Hounds! This guide will still refer to this unit as a “Hound” for convenience. You should honestly send the entire trio for every battle - they will make quick work of anything the game may attempt to impede your progress with. Remember to also put on any jewellery you may find (press capital "P") - Intelligence, Wizardry, Magical Power and Protection are the best rings you could hope for (in that order), and Magic Regeneration, Regeneration, Reflection and Acrobat are the best amulets (also in that order) - for now. Avoid Faith and Guardian Spirit.

If you find a runed door vault with a ghost in it, this could be an opportunity for instant acquirement of three degrees from the Summonings College! They are worth boatloads of experience, but can range from trivial to lethal. Inspect them with "x"-"v", and check their kit - if they have Conjurations that could annihilate you or dangerous Summonings spells, they should be left alone. If they, however, only have a few joke cantrips or only know how to o-tab like a Minotaur Berserker, then it is time to guide them to eternal rest. Once the floor is fully cleared, gather up all your friends, open the door, and make them bash golems, eat electricity and be eaten by wolves until they die (for the second time in their existence).

The true threats are ranged attackers - centaurs, steam dragons, electric eels, or big packs of orc priests (speaking of, if you left enemies (such as orc priests) or nameless horrors behind on upper floors, now is the time to come back and dispense a rightful whooping!). Since Spires have almost zero evasion, they will gladly tank arrows for you (unlike those scumbag canines), so they may be of great use should you face off a centaur - hide behind them, and let the ranged battle unfold. Which will win, wooden sharp sticks, or thousand-volt lightning bolts? Spoiler alert: the latter.

However, keep in mind:


This is not a safe way of hiding. The centaur (E) will still turn you from a cat to a porcupine while the Spire will desperately attempt to dish out damage before you die in an anxiety-inducing Damage Per Turn race. First, consider Wands - polymorph is especially effective, as wielding a bow is quite hard without opposable thumbs. As you may have discovered yourself. Otherwise, you can spawn more summons - if a hound gets in melee range, the centaur will panic and stop shooting. Consider a Scroll of Fog or Summon Butterflies if things get too dire. Of course, the classical melee brute tactic of hiding behind a corner/closing a door and waiting for the centaur to get closer remains efficient here.

As for electric eels, they can prove to be quite dangerous. These living death traps are resistant to your Spire, and will three-shot you. To add insult to injury, they’re worth almost no experience - for comparison, a single scorpion rewards you with about 53% more experience than one eel. Thankfully, there's a trick: a zap from a wand of flame will oneshot or twoshot them, due to the steam clouds this technique will spawn. If flame is unavailable, most other wands, while rarer, will make short work of them.

Steam dragons are deceptively dangerous. Their breath weapon will turn the heat up in every sense of the word, and may even twoshot you should the dice be animated by murderous intent. Thankfully, there is counterplay - a ring of fire protection, or a ring of fire. If you can give yourself a + of rF, this battle will go from terrifying to laughable. If rF is not available to you, tread lightly, and be ready to retreat out of their sight the moment you are hit.

If you’re unlucky enough to encounter a Meliai, know that they are practically cyber-augmented orc priests. Just one isn’t that bad, but they often hang out with their friends, and you do NOT want to be the centre of attention of bee-witch gossip. Eating a quadruple smite in one turn can happen, and it will kill you. Potions of Invisibility work, and so do Wands of various kinds - or have them be zapped one at a time by your spire before they notice your presence, and they should fall relatively quickly. Otherwise, pushing a Golem in their faces will ensure a fiery doom.

Should you be so hapless as to encounter the unique slug mage Gastronok, you must immediately try to avoid empty spaces. Hug walls, surround yourself with allies - if you find yourself with 4 or more completely empty tiles, you WILL be twoshotted with an insanely powerful, irresistible Smite ability. If you have found a scroll of Silence, I highly recommend using it as soon as you’ve churned out a few friends to help take him down. If you do not have silencing abilities, keep him at the edge of Line-of-Sight while the battle unfolds, hug walls and potentially some Small Mammals, and be ready to step away the second you are smited by Airstrike. Even with wise positioning, all it takes are approximately 3 casts to detonate you into an unrecognizable mess of gore and fluff.

For the rest of the run, don’t ever have rF- or rC- no matter what. Yes, even if it means giving up an Int+10 ring (you can also wear rF+/rC+ to cancel out the rF-/rC- if it’s really good). Vulnerabilities will be your doom: 50% extra damage is plenty to oneshot you before you even realize what has happened.

A Malodorous Fanbase (*.....)

Allow every dopamine receptor in that brain of yours to fire up when the message:

Kikubaaqudgha grants you a gift!

appears for the first time in the message log.

Gather up your lucky trinkets and your maneki-nekos, it's time for some Kiku Gacha Lootbox opening. You will receive 3 spells out of 5 possible drops, in addition to Edginess Beam Necrotise, which is so laughably irrelevant you shouldn't even spare a single picosecond contemplating its existence.

Here is what you want in an ideal situation: Animate Dead and Sublimation of Blood. Everything else is useless in your current situation. It's quite likely you will miss out on one, and if you are unlucky, you might miss out on both. This is not a big deal, it just means you'll have to wait a little longer before getting your first Necromancy spell. Do keep an eye out for these spells in book shops or loot piles to compensate for Kiku's lack of etiquette.

Some particularly "lucky" players can find an extremely early Kiku altar, and then receive these spells before they have even made their Lightning Spire reliable, or even gotten their Golem castable. In this case, wait until your entire starter Summoner kit is usable before beginning your necromantic journey.

You will want to memorize Animate Dead right after your Lightning Spire, and immediately turn on your Necromancy skill, setting a target all the way to the maximum of 27.0. The reason you can miss out on one of these two spells is because Kiku thought more appropriate to gift you Kitty Smooch The Ogre And Die (Vampiric Draining), Kitty Smooch The Ogre And Die 2 - The Rekissing (Kiss of Death) or perhaps even Summon Fart Cloud (Cigotuvi's Dreadful Rot).

Sublimation of Blood will be useful... but not right now. Leave it in your library, it will be discussed in due time.

Do not ever use Vampiric Draining or Kiss of Death. Both serve a purpose for other species (and Felids who foolishly decided to venture into the Dungeon without a single friend), but when your HP bar is a wet paper towel, it's generally ill-advised to close distance with sharp, bladed objects. Dreadful Rot is a rather unimpressive escape spell used to create a gap with melee enemies chasing you, which you can do extremely easily with your summoning spells. As for Necrotise, it is a consolation spell supposed to get a Necromancer out of the very early game. You are no weak Necromancer. It's a mystery why Kiku even gifts this spell this late into the game.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png You ungrateful sack of fleas! Of all gods, I am the one to grant the most gifts to even my least precious followers, and you still have the nerve to be discontent?

If you have not received Animate Dead, skip the rest of this chapter, coming back to it should you eventually obtain it from another source.

You may have noticed that the many denizens of the Dungeon are very disrespectful of your Eminence, soon to be their overlord and army commander. Your first task will be to re-educate these ruffians into submission and obedience. Animate Dead provides a buff lasting for about a dozen turns. Each enemy slain while this buff is active has a chance to betray their former allies and serve you as a... slightly more malodorous version of themselves. These will escort you until you leave the floor, or have them perish in battle.

Zombies can be a bit on the "slowpoke" side of the movement speed spectrum. Unlike you. This can get annoying if you have a big squad and press Autoexplore, only for all your fans to trail behind as a spiny frog appears in your face. Right now, press "Ctrl-t" to set your autoexplore only speed to your slowest ally (or to swap it back to full kitty speed). If Ctrl-t opens a new tab in your browser, try *(asterisk)-t instead. I really enjoy using this feature, as it technically has zero downsides. Sadly, it resets to default when you start your next game - but you're obviously going to win on the first attempt, so that doesn't matter. Remember, it only affects your speed when you press "o" - walking normally will force your undead slaves to do some exercising instead of having you stoop down to their level.

When Animate Dead becomes castable (>12% fail rate), you may begin playing like such:

  • Initiate each battle with a batch of highly loyal summons praising how good of a slaver friend you are.
  • Begin emanating such confidence with Animate Dead that the defeated will turn against their former companions in your name.

Now, whenever a foe is slain, there is a high chance they will become an ally - and betray their former allies, making the latter join your army in turn, and so on, until all are at your beck and call. It's just like rolling a snowball!

The little militia that will now follow you around will act as a testament to your charisma. Recasting Animate Dead will, however, dismiss all of your current servants, with the hopes of replacing them with fresher, potentially more numerous ones. Therefore, it's great practice to cast Animate Dead when encountering a pack of enemies (yaks or bees, for example, are good fodder), and to only recast it once your lackeys are falling apart.

Yredelemnul altar.png This is way too complicated for the fluffball that serves as your brain. Join me instead, and gain permanent reaping of the deceased instead of trying to emulate my power with puny magic!
Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Pah! Don't listen to my competitor. Their worshippers are brutes and thugs, whose first word at birth was "Axe".

Some extra useful tips about this spell:

  • Insubstantial enemies (like Will-o-Wisps from Swamp) and most undead creatures will never be recruited.
    • There is an exception: Vampire Mosquitoes and (much, much later on) Death Scarabs are undead, yet can still be turned! They both make for fantastic allies!.
  • High speed enemies, like bees, vampire mosquitoes, frogs or snakes will always catch up with you, and will swarm enemies before you even see them on your monitor! Boulder beetles are actually quite slow, and won't get to keep their signature rolling attack.
  • Hydras, and much later, Death Scarabs, in zombie slave form, will play the game for you.
Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Undead... slaves? Pah! I am no slaver. They still have free will! They will turn against those who harm or mistreat them! Can Summoners say the same? I think not! And yet, I am the unholy one?! Disgraceful!

And while what Kiku just said is true, Zombies (and all other undead companions) have no comprehension of the concept of chains of command, and will think you completely innocent if you send forth a golem to blow up in their faces. They will also idiotically stand in the flame clouds and die, waiting for your next order. The Guardian Golem explodes extremely fast when using Animate Dead squads due to the damage being shared all over the place, and should only be used for initiating snowballs or taking down high priority targets once your necromantic journey has truly begun. Feel free to recast Guardian Golem if it is about to incinerate your army to get a fresher, less explosive specimen.

Kiku grants the ability "Unearth Wretches" very early for on-demand zombie creation. I suggest not using it in the Dungeon, as the results will be disappointing. Wow! A cockroach zombie with 3 damage!! Why thank you, you shouldn't have. It's the intention that counts, Kiku.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png I didn't even mean to send these over. I was just doing some housekeeping, brushing up my skulls, sacrifical altars and blood fountains, and accidentally threw a kobold into an interdimensional wormhole. Hate when that happens.

Employee Tour At The Zoo (***...) - Lair:1-Lair:5

Have a glance once in a while at your jewelry collection by pressing "P". Rings of wizardry and intelligence reign supreme, and so do amulets of magic regeneration. Amulets of regeneration, reflection or of the acrobat are quite stellar as well, and rings of Protection, Magical Power or Fire Resistance (for accidental Golem mishaps) will significantly contribute to your survivability. Rings of Dexterity or Evasion are passable, and everything else is pretty much mediocre. Amulets of Guardian Spirit and Faith are an outright negative, and should not be worn unless they are a particularly amazing artefact.

Should you encounter elemental threats (such as the mage Fannar, an Efreet, or a Lindwurm), swap on a ring granting a relevant resistance! It is extremely fast to do so. Just don't forget to put your normal ring back on afterwards, especially if you were using one of the vulnerability-granting rings of fire or ice. Do not casually run around with an elemental vulnerability (rF-/rC-) on a Felid. You WILL be oneshotted.

Soon, you will be once again reading the words:

Kikubaaqudgha grants you a gift!

Well, well, well. Looks like we've got another Kiku Gacha Lootbox on our paws!

Here are the possibilities:

  • Get Borgnjor's Vile Clutch, Death Channel & Simulacrum (50% chance) If you obtain this, turn on Earth Magic, and set a target to 8.
  • Get Death Channel & Simulacrum (16.6% chance) If you obtain this, turn on Ice Magic, and set a target to 8.
  • Get Borgnjor's Vile Clutch & Death Channel (16.6% chance) If you obtain this, turn on Earth Magic, and set a target to 8.
  • Get Borgnjor's Vile Clutch & Simulacrum (16.6% chance) If you obtain this, turn on Earth Magic, and set a target to 8.

Once again, if you don't get all 3 of these fantastic magical abilities, you can blame the wet raspberry farts Agony and Corpse Rot. Dispel Undead is actually decent, but you won't be using it until much, much later in the game, and it is quite easy to find in random books lying on the floor.

Agony and Corpse Rot are, in my opinion, the worst spells in the entire game across all spell schools. I wouldn't even take both of these if they were level 1, that's how ridiculously bad they are. Agony has extremely niche uses, particularly for the """Necromancers""" of this world who take a single ally creating spell, strap on some medium armour, poke things with sharp sticks, and occasionally smooch hydras with Vampiric Draining or torment them with Agony. Nobody is ever seduced by these ugly ogres and demonspawn (except maybe Snorg or Erolcha), and they rightfully eventually have their hideous head bashed in, accompanied by a morgue file that shows "Total uses of Unearth Wretches: 0". As for Corpse Rot, it is a suicide spell that is exactly as underwhelming and disgusting as the name suggests, most infamous for blocking your retreat by randomly spawning deadly miasma clouds around you that enemies won't even touch. Have fun standing still in the middle of your bad body odour while getting pelted by arrows, rocks and comments on your intelligence for memorizing this spell. Even the spell icon looks bad.

If you fail to get one of the three spells in the "Three Stars Trinity", I strongly recommend buying it from a shop as soon as it is made available to you. Sometimes, the oh-so-generous God of the Floor RNG can also provide.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Commerce? Capitalism?! My spells are 100% locally sourced, woven by the expert craftsmanship of unionized and esteemed skeleton artisans! You would resort to purchasing mass-produced, store-bought necromancy that's probably also full of microplastics? You and me have a lot of work to do before we can get along with each other.

In a nutshell:

  • Borgnjor's Vile Clutch is a long-range piercing beam that leaves all allies completely unharmed, and irresistibly afflicts all squeezable (that means no jellies and ghosts) enemies in its path with a Constriction status effect that prevents movement and deals heavy damage every turn.
  • Death Channel is like Animate Dead - a status effect that incites the betrayal of the slain against their former friends. However, this spell summons spectres instead - they are immensely more plentiful, stack with all other ally-creating necromantic spells, and will rapidly flood the screen - but are also very ephemeral, fading into thin mist a few dozen turns after the spell was cast.
  • Simulacrum is a single-foe, smite-targeted mark that lets a chosen enemy become a collection of high-ranking officials of your perfectly obedient army on their death. They wield ridiculous damage output (seriously, it's insane), but have paper-thin fragility.

The synergies thus just keep growing - not only can you now gain double the amount of undead from each target with Death Channel, you can now also use Borgnjor's Vile Clutch to constrict and imprison those who have still not sworn unbreakable loyalty and service to your charismatic, fluffy form. In addition to restricting movement, bypassing allies and dealing damage, this absolutely nukes enemy evasion, leaving them extremely vulnerable to taking a beating from your faithful soldiers - both those incited into betrayal and undeath, and those you kidnapped from other dimensional planes, such as your trusty Hound. Later on, you will be able to select choice targets with Simulacrum, who will instantly freeze all thoughts of rebellion, opposition or resistance against your military might with their immense cold damage.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Life would be so much simpler if everyone was an undead thrall, you know? Perfect order, absolute obedience, flawless coordination. I bet technology would be propelled centuries foward if people stopped clutching that worthless "identity" everyone keeps talking about.

Who is the Orc Priest Now? (Anguish)

Anguish is THE answer to everything a Felid despises - smiters of all flavours, centaurs, steam and acid dragons, boulder beetles... The list goes on and on! Enemies in DCSS generally have lower maximum HP than the player - yes, even a Felid - and this is especially true for ranged threats of all kinds, which very much sport the "glass cannon" style.

Early on, Anguish is particularly impressive when used against:

  • Orc Priests && Meliai - Very likely to oneshot themselves the second they dare invoke the word of Beogh against a creature as lovable as you are!
  • Steam Dragons - They continue to self-destruct while you (or one of your companions) are standing in a steam cloud!
  • Acid Dragons - Go ahead. Shoot me. See what happens.
  • Centaurs & Centaur Warriors - These aimbot hackers will finally feel the pain of the many kitties they have slaughtered! Warriors may take a few casts of Anguish to get them properly, but the payoff is immense!
  • Boulder Beetles & Hydras - These can be a little bit more resilient to your propaganda, but as any tyrannical regime would tell you, repetition is the key to domination! Simply cast the spell again until they are successfully cursed. Boulder Beetle self-oneshot as they roll-attack some hapless Golem is a very real thing!

Guardian Golems become a DEVOURER OF GODS when put against Anguished enemies, who will be blasted both by the immense guilt of damaging your precious robo-friend, and by the more literal explosion of blazing fire that will ensue.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png The Wu Jian council always lectures its followers to "use the enemy's strength against themselves". I try to do the exact same thing, and somehow, now it's "evil" just because it's me doing it? What injustice!

It is worth noting that some enemies' willpower is nigh unbreakable - they probably really despise cats even through your most charismatic charms. Some early game culprits include:

  • Death Yaks
  • Catoblepas
  • The Minotaur (at the end of a Gauntlet)

When casting Anguish, you can move the cursor around to any of the targeted enemies (outlined in yellow). In the message log, the probability that they will become cursed will be shown! Should you need a little bit more oomph on your Anguish curse probability, try a Scroll of Vulnerability - extremely effective for neutralizing a high Willpower unique, or the Minotaur that awaits at the end of a Gauntlet! Do be mindful that the scroll will also cause a lapse in your own self-confidence, rendering you vulnerable to hexes like Paralyze or Confuse - make sure that there aren't any of those around when committing to a Vulnerability Scroll play.

Brainless or artificial enemies (from gently gurgling jellies to the dreaded Orbs of Fire) have no concept of love, hate or righteousness, and will remain completely unaffected by Anguish. They won't be unaffected, however, by your swarm consuming them.

I like to put Anguish on my "Q"uiver, and to cast it with "p" right after I have unrolled a batch of summons. 2-3 casts for a single enemy should be your maximum number of attempts - do not spend your entire mana bar trying to curse a particularly rebellious specimen!

You can start trying to use Anguish when it reaches 10% miscast rate.

When Life Gives You Monsters, Make Blood Lemonade (Borgnjor's Vile Clutch)

Borgnjor's Vile Clutch (BVC) is a beam. Point, click, and everything in its path that doesn't resist constriction, isn't located on a deep water/lava tile and hasn't sworn allegiance to your indisputable leadership will be irresistibly crushed into a fine paste. This includes:

  • Locking them in place. Nice try, hornets.
  • Dealing usually fantastic damage over time. It has very high variability, though - I've seen BVC take down major threats in one fell swoop, or tickle a yak and then fade a turn later.
  • Absolutely wrecking the EV score of the affected. Unimaginative pew-pew-people will use this to have their Iron Shots properly hit foes that like to jump all over the place, but for you, BVC is a beacon signal - "Hey! This guy is weak for a few turns and cannot dodge! Whoop em' up!"

The only downside is that the constriction-resistant are immune - jellies of all flavours are the prime example. You can know something if constriction resistant if the spell doesn't auto-target them when you try to cast it and forces you to manually drag the cursor over.

It may become clear why many highly experienced players consider this spell to be among the best, if not THE best in the game. Accordingly, the temptation to run around going squish-squish-squish on everything you see will be very high.

Do not do this.

Here's what will happen: you will demolish a yak pack. You will think to yourself "wow I'm so OP". You will annihilate a hydra. "haha I am unstoppable". You will come face to face with a black mamba. You have no zombie yaks or hydras protecting you because you thought it would be funnier to give a few animals a power massage. You get fully poisoned and die.

BVC is used for two things: starting the snowball and keeping it going. If you are using it with zero faithful allies around, you better be juiced up right now with ways to create them. Killing things without enlisting them afterwards is Very BadTM. Unless you only have Animate Dead, a batch of cool zombies you don't want to replace, and nothing else. In that case, that's excusable.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png I am a firm believer that everyone deserves a second shot in life. Or death, rather. Didn't visit that natural park you always wanted to go to? Couldn't tell your crush you loved them before getting crushed by a rock? Ran out of motivation to write your DCSS guide? Become a mindless thrall and forget about all your regrets! What, did you think I'd actually give you the chance to do these things you missed? Get real.

Current Battle Tactics: OVERWHELM (Death Channel)

Death Channel is the second of the four ally-creating spells you will be encouraged to use in this guide. Underrated by many players of the DCSS community, this spell makes up for its ephemerality by its sheer swarming potential. Just like Animate Dead, it is a status effect you can bestow upon yourself before a battle.

Spectre Pros

  • Sees Invisible, unlike all other flavours of undead servants! Perfect for wiping out Ghost Moths and their ilk.
Kikubaaqudgha altar.png If ghost moths are always invisible, but cannot see invisible, then how do they reproduce?!
  • Always flies, disregarding all liquids in their quest to overpower all that stands in their path!
  • Extremely plentiful - one spectre per slain enemy, without overriding any other ally-creating necromantic spell!
  • Similar health/damage statistics as Animate Dead zombies, with an added draining touch that subtly helps out a bunch.

Spectre Cons

  • Extremely short-lived. You'll be lucky if they last one entire skirmish.
    • This is the most dangerous part of this spell. Always monitor the composition of your army. If it is composed almost solely of spectres, then as soon as your Death Channel runs out, your entire protective wall will vaporize in a single turn, and reveal some very unamused individuals who will gladly charge and destroy your defenseless scruff.
  • Cannot be recasted to extend the duration - which means you can be stuck with a 3-turns-remaining Death Channel while enemies are approaching and you have little MP left. Not ideal.
  • Soulless enemies (constructs and the non-living, like Crystal Guardians) and all undead creatures will never be recruited.
  • Gives a false sense of security, and secretly inflicts rHubris-- whenever the snowball REALLY gets going.

Who to recruit:

  • Literally everything that breathes. If you're entering combat, you should turn on your Death Channel at some point. If you aren't pressing the Death Channel button every single time something vaguely resembling an enemy appears on your screen, you should be passing the keyboard to an actual cat, who will no doubt play much more competently than you.

Cold-Hearted Officers (Simulacrum)

Third of the four ally-creating spells, Simulacra have exactly four advantages over your other troops - they do more damage, they hit harder, they have bigger damage numbers and they also do massive damage. Exceedingly fragile with their weakness to fire and their measly dozen of hitpoints, these represent a pricey, but potentially devastating career path for your repentant enemies. When casting the spell, point-and-click any enemy on the screen to irresistibly present them with an offer to join you they will not be able to refuse. When they are dead, that is.

Simulacra Pros

  • MEGA damage. At the extreme, the Lernaean Hydra as a simulacrum deals over 1000 damage per turn, but even a basic hydra will probably melt anything it touches.
  • Relatively decent duration. It's no Animate Dead, but as long as you aren't waiting in place after each battle, they can absolutely follow you to the next fight.
  • It might be just me, but I think they look very nice with their bright blue and white hues. Cold, soulless, villainous, only willing to see all join your ranks. It's just how I like it.

Simulacra Cons

  • MEGA fragile. They get hit, they shatter into pieces. It's as simple as that. They live by the principle of "ONESHOT OR BE ONESHOTTED".
  • Very expensive. For a whopping 6 MP, you can only curse one foe, which will produce one or a couple of simulacra, depending on your spellpower. These don't come cheap - choose your targets well.

Who to recruit:

  • MULTIHIT ENEMIES. If they go schak-schak-schak-schak instead of THUMP, take them in. Bonus simulacrum damage is a flat bonus applied to each hit. Hydras first come to mind, obviously, but there's more to it than that - dragons of all flavours are outstanding due to their bonus trampling, and anything with constriction effects (especially tentacled monstrosities) will prove worthwhile as well. Demonspawn from the Abyss and Pandemonium are **insane**, but you probably won't see them for a while. Double-attackers like ettins, two-headed ogres or juggernauts are splendid as well.
  • Slimes. Don't ask how they move around when turned to ice. It's magic. I ain't gotta explain anything.
  • Humanoids casting spells are, generally, **to be avoided**. The main exceptions are uniques or "fighter-mages" like nagas, merfolk and giants, but knowing how to wave your hands in funny circles doesn't really translate well to being a nice icy animated statue.

The Proper Way To Roll Your Face On The Keyboard (Macros)

Getting tired of "zazbzczdEnterze....ozazbzczdEnterze....o" yet? You can press Ctrl-D to set macros and begin feeling like you are playing some tryhard MOBA instead of composing Beethoven's Tenth Symphony on your keyboard.

For example, press "Ctrl-D", then "1", then type "za" in the field to link the "a" spell (often the first one) that appears when you look at the spell list (accessible with "I" while in-game). On each press of "1", you will now cast the "a" spell.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Back in my day, you had to draw a pentagram and whisper demonic prayers each time you'd want a skeleton friend. Who thought it was a good idea to automate murder?! Can't you appreciate a good old blood sacrifice in the rules of the art?

This is my favourite loadout:

  • (Q)uiver Anguish (or, in Crypts/Tomb, Dispel Undead), and cast it with p.
  • / (the one to the left of 1 on the number row) for Statue Form, Necromutation, or some other Form. Early on, Simulacrum fits well here while you do not have a Transmutation.
  • 1 for Call Canine Familiar, and later Haunt.
  • 2 for Summon Guardian Golem, and later Simulacrum.
  • 3 for Summon Lightning Spire, and later Infestation.
  • 4 for Borgnjor's Vile Clutch.
  • w for Animate Dead. Normally, it's used for (w)ielding weapons, buuuut... yeah. No opposable thumbs and all.
  • e for Death Channel.
  • Spacebar for an emergency spell - I like a simple Blink, or, for bonus coolness points, the heart-racing Death's Door. Big button, big problems! I actually remember to use my emergency spells this way.
  • c for any extra you may appreciate. Unearth Wretches is a good candidate, with a macro like "aa". Sublimation of Blood, if you decided to commit suicide with use that spell, also works.

This way, every single time you want both your ally-creation buffs (such as when descending a new staircase), simply press "we". To dial up the early-game squad, press "123". In case of trouble, your salvation is right on the biggest button of your keyboard. For a mega-scarab death rave, press "ecc3"!

Emergency Manual For Distraught Would-Be Feline Commanders (or how to salvage a run that misses out on vital spells)

Only read this section if you missed out on one of the previously mentioned spell gifts in your Kiku Gacha Lootboxes.

Sometimes, RNGesus shows their not-so-nice side, and prevents one or two spells from ever appearing in your game. Here are my recommendations (when I say "medium-level Summoning spell", my favourites are Summon Forest, Summon Cactus Giant and Summon Mana Viper!):

  • Missing out on Borgnjor's Vile Clutch: Honestly not that bad. You'll simply have to rely on allies a lot more, and be even more generous with your usage of Unearth Wretches. Do not hesitate to use the spell slots you have saved up to get yourself a medium-level Summon spell - Summon Forest even has a constriction effect, potentially emulating Vile Clutch!
  • Missing out on Simulacrum: Unfortunate, but not disastrous. Your army will lose a lot of its potential damage output - until you scale up to Infestation, that is. Be prepared to use Anguish a lot more. Do not hesitate to grab a medium-level Summon spell to take up the spell slots!
  • Missing out on Death Channel: Really, really bad. Death Channel is a cornerstone of all FeSuKiku runs, as it's effectively an ally duplicator. You will want to be on the lookout for this spell at all costs - but having Simulacrum will still greatly help you at flooding the screen somewhat effectively. Later on, bearing both Borgnjor's Vile Clutch and Haunt grants an easy way to spawn the initial batch of simulacra.
  • Missing out on Anguish: Kind of sad, but not the end of the world. You'll have significantly more trouble in the early game, but once you can churn out some of the higher level undead reliably (who actually have high damage output on their own without Anguish's help), you won't miss it as much.
  • Missing out on Animate Dead: Will significantly increase the danger level of the early game, as you'll actually have to rely on your Hound/Golem/Spire starter trinity to clear mid Dungeon and upper Lair. Having both Simulacrum and Death Channel will eventually make up for the lack of this spell, but until then, abuse your Golem explosion with no restraint. Do not hesitate to memorize Animate Dead later on if you find it - even if it's a low level spell, it's universally useful.
  • Missing out on BOTH Animate Dead and Death Channel: This one is brutal, which is why I'm mentioning it specifically. It's almost a death sentence, as the only allies you'll have will be a few measly summons and fragile Simulacra. This negates the whole point of playing FeSuKiku, which is negating your terrible defenses with a necromantic meat (and ectoplasm) shield. I strongly recommend investing in a Form (preferably Statue) or a mid-level Summon to make up for your severe lack of allies, because Simulacrum alone cannot protect you due to their fragility. You run the risk of being exposed to a lot more enemy strikes, and must make up for it by filling up the missing spell slots with defensive options like Summon Cactus Giant, and using Borgnjor's Vile Clutch/Haunt a LOT.

And, of course, if you find the Inescapable Atlas or its contents in other random books while Kiku is mocking you with trash spells, consider throwing a big old kitty-grimace their way and return to the One True Gooey Path. It's not an optimal decision at all, but it's better than trying to clear the Snake Pit with two walking ice cubes, a dog and a glorified tower defense minigame.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Turncoat! Betrayer! You lawless toxoplasmosis-infested flea-ridden fuzz-thing! How dare you suggest abandoning the righteous forces of evil and torture for some first-grader slime making experiments?

Kiku's wrath really isn't that bad... relatively. Wrath is still wrath. As you might expect, it mostly revolves around tormenting you, using torment on you, and also cutting your HP bar in half with Torment. Did I mention you might also be occasionally tormented? There's some other minor effects, but if you can cast Storm Form and fight with it, you can survive Kiku's wrath. The only scary part is when you suddenly get tormented in the middle of a hard battle. Don't o-tab everything you see, be ready to use an escape tool if your HP bar explodes, and soon, the mad cackling of Kiku will grow silent.

A Short Guide on the Necromantic Hierarchy (interactions between ally-creating spells)

If I could summarize each ally-creating spell in one word, it would be this:

  • Animate Dead: Permanence.
  • Death Channel: Quantity.
  • Simulacrum: Power.
  • Infestation: Versatility.

Animate Dead, Simulacrum and Infestation are body spells. They will not stack. A single enemy can become a scarab, multiple simulacra, or a zombie, but not multiple of these undead types at the same time. The higher level spell always takes priority. You cannot Infest and then cast Simulacrum on a target, then expect to get simulacra. The order you cast the spells in does not matter.

Death Channel is a soul spell. It stacks with every other ally-creating spell, and will not impede the production of any scarab, simulacrum or zombie.

Addendum: From Lackey to Supervillain (Character Building)

For convenience, I will gather all skilling targets and the spell memorization order in this section. Feel free to return here as you need for quick reference!

Your Propaganda Arsenal (Spells)

Throughout this run, you will be encouraged to memorize, in this order, and approximately at these points of the game:

(Note: the "LV" numbers are how many spell slots you need for each spell, not your XP level. As for the locations on the right, you are expected to memorize the spells at these moments, not for them to be immediately usable!)

  • LV 1 - Summon Small Mammal (D:1)
  • LV 2 - Call Imp (optional - Necromancy is very tight on spell slots and Scrolls of Amnesia are precious, but this spell helps prevent early splats) (D:1)
  • LV 3 - Call Canine Familiar (D:2)
  • LV 3 - Summon Guardian Golem (D:2-D:3)
  • LV 4 - Summon Lightning Spire (D:3-D:6)
  • LV 4 - Anguish (D:5-Lair:2)
  • LV 4 - Animate Dead (D:5-Lair:2)
  • LV 5 - Borgnjor's Vile Clutch (Lair:1-Lair:5)
  • LV 6 - Death Channel (Lair:3-Orc:2)
  • LV 6 - Simulacrum (Orc:2-SBranch:2)
  • LV 7 - Haunt (SBranch:1-SBranch:4)
  • LV 8 - Infestation (Slime:4-Vaults:2)
  • LV 8 - Necromutation (Vaults:1-Vaults:4)
  • LV 4 - Dispel Undead (Vaults:4-Crypt:1)
  • LV 9 - Death's Door (Tomb:1)
  • LV 7 - Enfeeble (after Death's Door is at 8% fail rate or less)

Check your "M"emorization screen every so often. Whenever you have the spell slots required to memorize the next spell, do so immediately and, if it has an entry in the section below, adjust your skills appropriately.

Do note that Kikubaaqudgha will not necessarily grant you every single necromantic spell on this list every game. Their delivery service can be a little bit... lacking at times.

Kikubaaqudgha altar.png Running a forbidden knowledge book printing business isn't easy. I'd like to see you explain to your publisher why blood sacrifices are essential to have in "Fun Necromantic Activities for Children"!

Skip to the next entry on the list if you are incapable of finding a spell anywhere in your game. As soon as you find a missing spell, however, you should add it to your repertoire as soon as possible to catch up. I strongly encourage you to cast every single one of these fantastic incantations at least once in your game!

Situationally, these spells may be useful as well.

  • Blink (universally useful escape spell on any character)
  • Sublimation of Blood (niche, dangerous spell that takes very few spell slots)
  • Statue Form (will pave the way towards Necromutation, will be replaced after the latter is online)
  • Ozocubu's Armour (easy to cast alongside Simulacrum's Ice Magic training. Great defensive replacement if Statue Form is not found!)

Of course, the Wilderness Trinity will never not be overpowered. If you fail to obtain one of the crucial Kiku spells, these can certainly come along as a replacement:

  • Summon Forest (Translocations 8, Summonings 10)
  • Summon Cactus Giant (Summonings 14)
  • Summon Mana Viper (Hexes 10, Summonings 10)

Studying the Dark Arts (Skills & Training Targets)

As soon as you start your run, train these skills and set them to these targets, with the "=" button:

  • Spellcasting: 14
  • Summonings: 14
  • Turn off Stealth and Dodging.

Right when Summon Guardian Golem has been memorized, add the following skills:

  • Hexes: 5
  • Fighting: 10
  • Dodging: 10
  • Forget Summon Small Mammal as soon as you can.

After Summon Lightning Spire becomes part of your kit, complement it with this:

  • Air Magic: 5

(OPTIONAL) - Blink will never not be useful, and can come along at any point in your run:

  • Translocations: 8

If you find Animate Dead, your necromantic journey can truly begin.

  • Necromancy: 27

Upon getting either Death Channel or Anguish, power yourself up like so:

  • Necromancy: 27 (if you have not already done so)
  • Hexes: 10 (only if Anguish has appeared in your game)

Haunt brings you back to your blessed origins of Summoner. If its spell rate is less than 15%, it's worth adding to your kit.

  • Forget Call Imp, Call Canine Familiar, Summon Guardian Golem and Summon Lightning Spire (in that order) if you need spell slots.

Ultimately, after Death's Door's failure rate has dropped below 5%, your choice of ultimate pick to iron out your last weaknesses is quite open-ended.


  • Hexes: 16
  • Fighting: 21
  • Dodging: 21
  • Forget Anguish if you need spell slots.

Unused Text

Through some unfathomable magical force, all DCSS characters are seemingly capable of learning any discipline in minutes while doing utterly unrelated things. In real life, it would be like mastering painting while going to do reps in the gym. Or getting an education while playing Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

And yet, they pour all of that experience into knowing how to swing a metal stick really, really fast, or how to correctly pronounce "pew pew" while conjuring forth assorted metal pellets and crystal shards. But in their tutelage, they learn next to nothing about the omnipresent entity that is Death itself, and when the words "You die..." finally stain the bottom left corner of their screen, they are left powerless.

In this guide, we will not make the same mistake. We will learn to know Death until it becomes that friend we go to the movies with on rainy Sundays.

Apart from clearing the Dungeon, this build is a very different experience compared to the FeSuJiyva playstyle of rushing Storm Form and tabbing through the entire game. Do not be fooled by the fact that both start as the same background! I recommend this playstyle to players who have won at least one game, and would like to try out something a bit off the beaten path of the brute/blaster-caster duality. As a dastardly wielder of the magic that controls life and death, you will be using an abundantly available weapon against those who dare stand in your way - your aforementioned enemies, brainwashed to serve you instead. You will experiment with deranged synergies that other mages could only dream of, stand in the middle of over 50 enemies with 15 HP remaining, and tell yourself "this is fine."

Soon, all will fall, horrified at how foolish they were to stand on the wrong side of the Felid-Zot war.