Vine Stalker

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

This page refers to the player species. For the monster, see Vine stalker (monster).

Limber in shape, Vine Stalkers are anthropomorphic masses of thick vines. They possess a once-humanoid core, parasitised moments before death by the magical vines. Lacking any other discernible features, their faces are dominated by the disproportionate, vicious maw with which they disrupt and devour the magical energies of their foes.

Magic courses freely through their bodies, and any damage they take is split between their health and magical reserves. They also physically regenerate at an alarming rate. However these traits come at a price: the dual nature of their bodies makes them extremely frail, and they cannot benefit from potions to heal their wounds.

Living examples of adaptation, Vine Stalkers level up quickly and lend well to an all-out offensive style; trusting their stealth to choose their prey and then their regenerating capabilities to power through the wounds they may sustain in battle. Many members of the species however, are seen wielding magic quite competently and then switching to a hybrid style when their reserves start to run low, thus replenishing their shroud of magic and their spells' fuel with each voracious bite.

Innate Abilities

  • Fangs 2: Vine Stalkers possess a bite attack.
    • Antimagic Bite: Vine Stalkers' bite is 2.5x more likely to activate, deals more damage, and inflicts antimagic on enemies (which makes their spells less likely to be cast). Each bite also has a chance to restore MP, depending on damage inflicted and your current MP percentage. You don't need to inflict the antimagic status to restore MP, so even if a target has no spells, you can recover MP. Unlike antimagic weapons, there is no penalty to your maximum MP.
Damage done: Fangs_level×2 + XL/3
Drained MP: 1dDamage_done × (1.25 - MP/MaxMP)

Vine Stalkers have a base Strength of 10, Intelligence of 8 and Dexterity of 9 (before Background modifiers). They have +1 base magic points.

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Starting Skills and Equipment

Vine Stalkers receive the skills and equipment listed for their background.

Difficulty of Play


In spite of their Spriggan-sized HP pools, lack of healing potions, and unimpressive defensive aptitudes, Vine Stalkers are actually quite durable. With innate spirit shield, an MP-stealing bite, the regeneration of a Troll, and no armour limitation, they can sustain combat for a fair bit of time. However, Vine Stalkers are still vulnerable to sudden spikes of damage. Otherwise, their aptitudes are decent across the board (except for Armour/Dodging), so they can do well in most roles.

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting -1 Armour -2 Spellcasting 0
Dodging -2
Maces & Flails -1 Shields -1 Conjurations 0
Axes -1 Stealth 3 Hexes 0
Polearms -1 Summonings 0
Staves -1 Invocations 0 Necromancy 0
Unarmed Combat 0 Evocations -1 Translocations 0
Throwing -1 Shapeshifting -1 Alchemy 0
Fire Magic 0
Short Blades -1 Ice Magic 0
Long Blades -1 Air Magic 0
Ranged Weapons -1 Experience 0 Earth Magic 0


The lack of healing potions is a great hindrance, especially in the early game, as it removes one of your main emergency options. It remains significant for the entire game, though. There are a few ways to compensate:

  • God choice - Elyvilon and Ru offer immediate ways to heal. Potions of curing and heal wounds from Gozag's Potion Petition can restore Vine Stalkers' health too.
  • High stealth - Vine Stalkers have great stealth aptitudes, allowing them to escape from encounters both early and late game. This allows you to find a safe place to recover.

Vine Stalkers are fairly versatile. Apart from a knack for Stealth and a general weakness in defensive skills, Vine Stalkers have no real aptitude issues. The following builds are not the only way to play, but have a few synergies with Vine Stalkers:

  • Stabber / Short Blades user: High stealth makes it easier to stab and avoid foes. Even against foes you can't stab, Short Blades are still decent weapons, due to the added damage from your bite. The faster you attack, the more bite attacks you make per turn, and Short Blades are fast weapons. Uskayaw is a strong god choice, giving you many opportunities to stab via irresistible confusion and paralysis.
  • Melee + caster hybrid: Their bite can be used to recover lost MP.

Tips and Tricks

  • Be ready for the appearance of ghost moths and other threats to your MP -- they will chew through your supernatural defenses with lightning speed, leaving you significantly less hardy than normal.
  • Due to their powerful auxiliary bite attack, Vine Stalkers often prefer fast weapons, such as Short Blades and demon whips. The faster you swing, the more you can bite. Thanks to the antimagic, a quickblade-wielding Vine Stalker can handle even orbs of fire (assuming you have enough rF+).


  • Prior to 0.31, Vine Stalkers only gained the Regeneration mutation at level 4.
  • Prior to 0.28, Vine Stalkers' Regeneration 1 would provide +1 HP/turn.
  • Prior to 0.27, Vine Stalkers would reach Regeneration 2 at level 12. However, each level of Regeneration provided +0.4 HP/turn.
  • Prior to 0.26, Vine Stalkers had rotting immunity.
  • Prior to 0.16, Vine Stalkers started with Regeneration 1 and would eventually reach Regeneration 3 as they gained experience, but each level of Regeneration gave +0.2 HP/turn.
  • Vine Stalkers were added in 0.14.
Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianTrollDeep ElfArmataurGnoll
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnDjinniSprigganGhoulTenguOniBarachi
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidMummy