Zot clock

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
No one knows who or what Zot is: demon, god, wizard, something else entirely? But adventurers seeking the Orb will, in turn, be hunted by Zot. Even a moment's contact with Zot is enough to permanently damage one's health.

Zot is very slow moving, and can only sense adventurers once they've spent an inordinately long time in one area of the dungeon. Even once this happens, adventurers will have plenty of warning to either descend to new depths in the area (diffusing Zot's attention once more) or to leave the area entirely.

The Abyss is beyond Zot's comprehension, and adventurers there are safe from it (albeit subject to many other hazards). The Hells, along with their Vestibule, are a single area as far as Zot is concerned. Rumours claim there are ways to escape Zot's pursuit forever, but what magics could be mighty enough to forestall such an implacable entity?

The Zot clock is a game mechanic that limits the time you can stay in a dungeon branch; in order to replenish the clock, you must visit new levels.

Useful Info

The Zot clock is a timer measured in decaAuts, or 1 turn acting at normal speed. For the most part, each branch has its own Zot clock. Normally, you'll get 6,000 decaAuts for entering new floor. Felids dying will also restore a floor's worth of time. You can store a maximum of 27,000 decaAuts in a branch at any one time. Certain effects may modify the timer speed:

  • Cheibriados slows down the clock by 1.5x (9,000 decaAut/level and 40,500 decaAut max)
  • Finishing a Ziggurat or picking up the Orb of Zot immediately stops the clock for all branches.
  • Dungeon Sprint negates the clock entirely.

The Abyss doesn't have a Zot clock, and you can explore it for unlimited time. Hell branches, including the Vestibule, share the same Zot clock.

When the clock reaches zero, Zot will find you and permanently reduces your max HP by 16.6% of your current value.[1]

  • If you had 36 max HP, you'd go from 36 -> 30 max HP. If the clock reaches 0 again, you'd go from 30 -> 25 max HP.
  • If you were drained from 36 -> 30 max HP, and your "true" max HP increases to 120, you'd end up at (120 - 6 =) 114 max HP rather than (120 * 5/6 =) 100 max HP.

At worst, it can leave you at 1 max HP. After being found by Zot, your clock will be increased to 1,000 decaAut.

You can see the remaining time by pressing E. When the clock reaches 1,000, you will get a warning and the Zot(number) status effect, which shows how much time you have left. The rcfile option always_show_zot = true will display your time in the status bar in less pressing situations.

Tips & Tricks

  • The clock is designed not to hinder regular gameplay - the average character can fully clear a floor, even with continuous rest, retreat, and autoexplore, in less than half the time. This even applies to high HP species like Oni and slow species like Nagas, though they should watch out for backtracking time.


  • Prior to 0.30, the Zot clock ending would temporarily drain you for ~36% max HP. If you were drained above 90% max HP, Zot would kill you.
  • Prior to 0.29, the Zot clock ending would instantly kill you instead of draining you.
  • Prior to 0.27, finishing a ziggurat did not stop the clock.
  • The Zot clock was added in 0.26 as a replacement for the food clock. Unlike the previous clock, it affects all species, including mummies and vampires.


  1. zot.cc:183 (0.30.0)